City Watch: Markets positive over Vodafone split, says Brian Tora

Brian Tora of J M Finn & Co

Brian Tora of J M Finn & Co - Credit: Archant

Markets have been generally trending upwards – until the end of last week, that is.

Largely influenced by an overnight slide in Asian markets, our own FTSE 100 index started this week shedding some of the gains built up during the month. In a way, this was something of a surprise, given the jump in Vodafone’s share price.

Yesterday was the day when the effective demerger of Vodafone from Verizon, in which it held a significant stake, took place. This has not been a straightforward transaction. As well as Vodafone shareholders each receiving a proportion of the Verizon stake, there has been a cash distribution and a consolidation of the existing shares on the basis of six new shares for every 11 held.

The old share certificates for Vodafone are no longer valid. Anyone unfortunate enough to hold Vodafone in certificated form (an increasing rarity) will be unable to sell their shares until new certificates have been issued. A further complication is that Verizon is a US company, so anyone wishing to retain these shares will have had to complete a form for the US tax authorities.

But the market view seems to be that this is a good deal for Vodafone, although the move was clearly insufficient to counterbalance negative influences elsewhere. HSBC, for example, disappointed with their results yesterday.

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There are those, though, that consider the injection of cash and American shares into the hands of Vodafone shareholders will provide a timely boost to the market as both the money received and the proceeds of any Verizon shares sold are recycled back into other investments.

We will have to wait to see what the longer term implications are.

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: : Brian Tora is an associate with investment manager JM Finn & Co.

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