The FTSE 100 is up 0.2 per cent in early trading. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are Currys, Safestyle UK and Wickets Group. Read the Thursday 2 November Business Live blog below.

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Revolut hires ex-Deutsche director as new UK chief

Revolut has hired a new UK chief executive as the former fintech darling awaits a decision on its two-year bid to obtain a banking licence in this country.

The troubled company has appointed Francesca Carlesi, a one-time Deutsche Bank director who is currently the chief executive of little-known digital mortgage lender Molo.

Weight-loss drug boosts pharma firm Novo Nordisk

The maker of a weight-loss drug vowed to supply ‘significantly’ more doses next year as sales and profits soar.

Danish giant Novo Nordisk has struggled to keep up with booming demand – particularly in the US – for the appetite-suppressing anti-obesity injection wegovy.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents break down as FTX founder is found guilty

Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents broke down in court on Thursday night after their son was found guilty of embezzling $10 billion of his clients’ money, in what the prosecutor said was ‘one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.’

Bankman-Fried now faces up to 115 years in prison.

ALEX BRUMMER: Bid threat looming at BT

Philip Jansen may face one further challenge before he hands over his position as chief executive of BT to Allison Kirkby at the end of this year.

Aggressive cost cutting and stronger pricing have reversed the slippage in BT revenues in the latest quarter.

MARKET REPORT: Shares soar after bumper day of corporate results as central banks put rates on hold

Wickes sees DIY dip – shares down 1.2% at the open

Wickes Group has reiterated 2023 guidance despite a 4.4 per cent dip in like-for-like sales within its do-it-for-me (DIFM) business during the third quarter.

The group told investors this was partially driven by ‘a more normalised order book’ compared to previous quarters, as well as ‘delays to delivered sales as a result of the transition to a new software solution fulfilling customer orders’.

Wickes said actions are being taken to resolve the issue, but admitted there will be ‘some impact’ on delivered sales in the final quarter of this year.

David Wood, CEO of Wickes, said:

‘Once again thanks to our amazing colleagues we have delivered a solid performance in a challenging market as we continue to deliver against our strategic growth drivers. In our Core business we have gained further market share and achieved a return to volume growth. We have fulfilled strong demand from our Trade customers and been encouraged by greater stability in DIY.

‘As we continue to rollout our programme of store openings and refits, I am confident that we have the right product offer and the most attractive locations – enabling us to deliver value for customers and shareholders.’

Safestyle UK becomes ‘cash shell’

Safestyle UK has become a ‘cash shell’ after the glass company fell into administration earlier this week.

The group, which recently reported a £6.7million pre-tax loss, fell into administration after talks with stakeholders to strengthen its debt-laden balance sheet failed. Its failure will cost nearly 700 jobs.

Safestyle UK said this morning: ‘Upon the appointment of the administrators, Safestyle ceased to control and/or conduct substantially all of its business activities and assets and, as a consequence, Safestyle is now regarded as an AIM Rule 15 cash shell.

‘In light of such developments, the Directors are now taking legal advice and are likely to be required to place Safestyle into liquidation in due course.

‘As an AIM Rule 15 Cash Shell, Safestyle is required to make an acquisition, or acquisitions, which constitutes a reverse takeover under AIM Rule 14 or seek to become an investing company pursuant to AIM Rule 8 within six months from 30 October 2023, failing which its shares will remain suspended.

‘Given the liquidation process which is now expected to commence, Safestyle is not currently pursuing such a transaction and it is therefore anticipated that once liquidators have been appointed, the admission to trading on AIM of the Company’s ordinary shares will be cancelled.’

Shell shareholders land £20bn share buyback and dividend bonanza

Shell will hand its investors almost £20billion this year in a share buyback and dividend bonanza despite a slump in third-quarter profits.

The gas and oil giant yesterday said it will buy back another £2.9billion of shares over the next three months as well as pay a 27p dividend for the third quarter.

That brings the total payouts planned for this year so far to a total of £19billion.

The bumper payday for shareholders sparked a backlash from unions who accused the firm of profiteering from high consumer energy bills.

Currys sells Greek business

Currys has agreed the sale of its Greek Kotsovolos unit to Public Power Corporation for an enterprise value of £175million in efforts slash debts and reduce its pension deficit.

Currys, whose shares have fallen 29 per cent over the last year, said the disposal will simplify its structure enabling it to focus on its larger markets of the UK and Ireland and Nordics.

The deal, expected to be about £156million after various costs, will also strengthen its balance sheet, increase flexibility to invest and grow the business, and improve shareholder returns.

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