Sumary of Activist investor ups stake in WH Smith but backs management:
- The activist investor calling for a shake-up at Rolls-Royce has upped its stake in WH Smith but insisted it iswas supportive of management at the struggling high street chain.
- Causeway Capital Management is the retailer’s biggest shareholder and owns 9% after buying shares in the wake of a recent profit alert.
- Analysts suggested the California-based investor was betting on a recovery in international travel rather than agitating for change.
- WH Smith, whose products include sandwiches to books, newspapers and stationery, has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic as trade in its previously successful stores in airports and railway stations collapsed on the back of travel restrictions and remote working.
- It had also acquired the US travel retail chain Marshall Retail several months before the first lockdown.
- At the start of September, Carl Cowling, the WH Smith chief executive, told the City the “trajectory of the recovery in travel remains uncertain” and that profits in the year to August 2022 would be at the low end of market expectations.