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The Mail on Sunday - 2021-10-10

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Can Moonpig bring home the bacon for investors?

Financial

Alex Lawson’s alex.lawson@mailonsunday.co.uk

TAPPING into the green trend, defence giant Thales outlined its environmentally friendly suite of products to shareholders last week. The listed French firm, which employs 6,500 people in the UK, has lightweight thermal imaging sensors and sonobuoys it reckons use less power than market incumbents. The industry’s biggest carbon emitter is aviation, and UK chief Alex Cresswell said its flight simulators and digital twinning software can cut flying hours, helping it make gains in a multi-billionpound-a-year sector. ‘Thales is constantly looking for ways to counter new threats and increase mission effectiveness, but increasingly also to deliver environmental benefits,’ he said. THE chirpy ‘Moonpig dotcom’ adverts became a feature of lockdown television as the online card seller capitalised on deserted high streets. But investors who bought into February’s £1.2billion listing could be forgiven for finding the earworm irritating now. The stock, which floated at £3.50 and hit summer highs of £4.88, has slid to £3.13. The company says consumer habits haven’t switched back towards physical stores since they reopened, but a sell-off of tech stocks – notably in e-commerce – has hit Moonpig. It has been an opportune time for its non-executive chair Kate Swann to show some faith. The former WH Smith boss – who sold £3.4 million of stock at the IPO – last week shelled out for shares worth £199,000. Swann earned a reputation as a darling of the City when she rewarded investors while managing Smiths’ retrenchment from the high street. Can she tempt investors to dig into the Pig? ACQUISITIONS in the gambling trade are becoming more commonplace than screwed up betting slips – and this week brings two of the biggest deals into focus. Online specialist 888 will update on quarterly trading just weeks after scoring the £2.2 billion purchase of William Hill. Analysts expect revenue to have slowed against last year’s pandemic lockdown boom, and are hoping for more details on its plans overseas. Meanwhile, investors will be examining the performance of Ladbrokes owner Entain’s US joint venture with MGM. The subsidiary is seen as the jewel in the crown for DraftKings, which is trying to convince the board to back its £28-ashare bid.

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