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Lukewarm support for FirstGroup’s sell-off and pet chain’s strong results have little impact on the City

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Shareholders in Aberdeen-based train and bus operator FirstGroup showed their displeasure over the sale of its North American school bus and transit divisions today, with 38.7% of investor votes rejecting the £3.3 billion deal at a general meeting.

The FTSE 250 company’s shares still gained 0.6p at 86p in a slow day on the London markets.

FirstGroup activist shareholder Coast Capital led opposition to the disposal plans, which needed only 50% of votes for approval.

Bosses aim for ‘constructive dialogue with all shareholders’

David Martin, the transport giant’s chairman, said: “We welcome the support of shareholders in approving the sale of First Student and First Transit.

“Through this transaction, FirstGroup will return value to shareholders, address its long-standing liabilities and make a substantial contribution to its pension schemes.

“I look forward to continuing an open and constructive dialogue with all shareholders as we look to the future.”

Good year for pet store chain

Growth in puppy and kitten club membership topped a forecast-busting year for Pets at Home.

Revenue jumped 7.9% to £1.14bn for the 12 months to March 25 as the retailer benefited from a surge in new pet ownership during the pandemic. Pre-tax profits rocked more than 35% to £116.4 million.

Shares in Pets at Home have soared throughout the year but eked out only a small gain today, up 0.2p at 463.6p.

Footsie almost flat

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 closed down 7.26 points, or 0.1%, at 7,019.67.

AJ Bell director Russ Mould said London’s top market “seems to be on a road to nowhere at the moment”.

Brent crude oil was 0.35% higher at $68.95 a barrel, as of 7.25pm, while the pound nudged up a fraction against the US dollar to 1.4203.

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