March 6, 2019 / 7:57 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 6

(Adds company news items and futures)

March 6 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen opening 17 points lower at 7,166 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, while FTSE 100 futures were down 0.16 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: British lender Provident Financial Plc said on Wednesday it had a clear plan to execute growth and efficiency efforts across its divisions, as it reiterated that rival Non-Standard Finance Plc’s takeover offer should firmly be rejected.

* IWG: British serviced office space provider IWG Plc said on Wednesday it would close and refurbish some locations in certain markets, including the UK, to bring its performance back on track, after reporting a lower full-year operating profit.

* DS SMITH: Packaging company DS Smith Plc said on Wednesday it plans to sell its plastics division to private equity firm Olympus Partners for an enterprise value of $585 million.

* MELROSE: Turnaround specialist Melrose Industries Plc said on Wednesday it would sell its off-highway powertrain applications business Walterscheid Powertrain Group to One Equity Partners, a U.S.-based private equity firm for about 200 million pounds ($262.68 million).

* SOCO INTERNATIONAL: Oil and gas producer SOCO International Plc said on Wednesday it would not make an offer for Ophir Energy Plc after an original all-share proposal was rejected by Ophir in January.

* VIVO ENERGY: African fuel retailer Vivo Energy Plc reported a 2 percent rise in 2018 gross profit on higher volumes and forecast low to mid double-digit percentage volume growth for the current year.

* JUST EAT: Online takeaway service Just Eat plc said it would improve its margin this year after revenue rose 43 percent to 779.5 million pounds ($1.0 billion) while underlying core earnings grew by 6 percent to 173.9 million pounds in 2018.

* LEGAL & GENERAL: British life insurer Legal & General posted a 10 percent rise in operating profit to 1.9 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) in 2018, helped by record sales of annuities, it said on Wednesday.

* LLOYD: Insurance market Lloyd’s of London said on Tuesday its Brussels subsidiary had gained authorisation in Monaco to continue underwriting and reinsurance business after Brexit.

* INTERSERVE: Interserve said on Tuesday it had rejected a rescue plan put forward by its largest shareholder Coltrane Asset Management because it believed the proposal risked the future of the outsourcer in its fight for survival.

* DEBENHAMS: Debenhams warned on profit again on Tuesday, as the British department store group edged nearer to a restructuring that analysts expect will include a share issue and an acceleration of its store closure plans.

* GOLD: Gold prices steadied on Wednesday, after recovering from a more than five-week low in the previous session, lifted by a pause in global equities rally, while a firm dollar curbed further gains.

* OIL: Oil prices fell nearly 1 percent on Wednesday as bullish output forecasts by two big U.S. producers and a build in U.S. crude stockpiles outweighed ongoing OPEC-led efforts to rein in crude production.

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.69 percent up at 7183.43 on Tuesday as Ladbrokes owner GVC surged on strong results and a weaker pound paved the way for gains in dollar earners, while Intertek tumbled as investors rushed to book profits after an in-line earnings report.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Adil Bhat in Bengaluru)

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