BUSINESS LIVE: GSK boosted by RSV vaccine; H&M boss exits; Hercules launches construction academy

The FTSE 100 will open at 8am. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are GSK, Hercules Site Services and Banco Santander. Read the Wednesday 31 January Business Live blog below.

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H&M boss exits as profits disappoint

H&M boss Helena Helmersson who has decided to step down and leave the group after the Swedish retail giant posted disappointing quarterly profits.

The firm told investors this morning it has appointed Daniel Erver as its new CEO, starting immediately.

Helmersson said she had decided to step down, saying the role has been very personally demanding.

It posted a fourth-quarter operating profit of 4.33 billion crowns, up from 821 million a year earlier but below the 4.57 billion expected by analysts.

KPMG partners see pay rise to £746,000 each despite slowdown in growth and profit fall

KPMG partners were paid an average of £746,000 each last year despite a slowdown in growth at the professional services firm.

Payouts for its 833 UK partners rose 4 per cent in the 12 months to the end of September 2023, up from £717,000 a year earlier.

In the same period, the accountancy giant’s sales jumped 9 per cent to £2.96billion – a slowdown compared to the 16 per cent growth rate recorded the year before.

GSK boosted by RSV vaccine

GSK profits beat market expectations in the fourth quarter as the drugmaker was boosted by the launch of its respiratory syncytial virus vaccine Arexvy.

The FTSE 100 firm, which also saw sales lifted by steady demand for its shingles shot and HIV medicines, reported a profit of 28.9p per share on sales of £8.05billion, compared with forecasts of 28.63p profit on sales of £7.29billion.

‘GSK delivered excellent performance in 2023, with clear highlights being the exceptional launch of Arexvy and continued progress in our pipeline.

‘We are now planning for at least 12 major launches from 2025, with new Vaccines and Specialty Medicines for infectious diseases, HIV, respiratory and oncology.

‘As a result of this progress and momentum, we expect to deliver another year of meaningful sales and earnings growth in 2024, and we are upgrading our growth outlooks for 2026 and 2031. We remain focused on delivering this potential – and more – to prevent and change the course of disease for millions of people.’