(Adds futures, company news)
LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index was set to open steady on Thursday, with financial bookmakers seeing a flat open and futures up 0.1 percent at 0630 GMT. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The FTSE 100 closed up 21.52 points, or 0.3 percent, at 7,096.78 points on Wednesday, after rising to a new all-time record at 7,111.72 points earlier in the day.
* UNILEVER - The consumer staple firm reported better than expected sales for the first quarter on Thursday, showing improvement from the hammering it took last year from weak emerging markets including a slowdown in China.
* SABMILLER - The world’s second-largest brewer by sales reported a marginal rise in full-year beverage sales volumes and said its results were hurt by the strength of the dollar against various currencies.
* DIAGEO - The world’s largest spirits maker reported slower quarterly trading on Thursday, hurt by tough comparisons in Britain and retailers reducing inventory in Southeast Asia.
* PERSIMMON - British housebuilder Persimmon said the upcoming national election was making it more difficult to win planning permission for new developments.
* DEBENHAMS - Britain’s No.2 department stores chain posted a better-than-expected rise in first-half profit as its strategy of running fewer promotions boosted full-price sales, and an improved online offer helped increase demand.
* PENNON - British environmental management group Pennon has acquired rival water utility Sembcorp Bournemouth Water Investments for 100.3 million pounds ($148.8 million), the company said on Thursday.
* POLYMETAL - Russian precious metals miner Polymetal said on Thursday its revenues had decreased 11 percent in the first quarter of 2015, year-on-year, to $298 million.
* BP - The administrator overseeing a BP Plc fund to compensate people and businesses claiming they were harmed by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill said on Wednesday more than $5 billion has been paid out.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday declined to hold Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc liable for allegedly defrauding investors in its American depositary shares by downplaying its subprime asset exposure prior to the global financial crisis.
* HOUSE PRICES - British house prices grew at their fastest pace in five months in March, fuelled by a shortage of properties, a survey showed on Thursday, adding to other signs that a cooling of the market may be ending.
* ADVERTISING - British companies have spent more on marketing for the 10th consecutive quarter, reflecting optimism about the economy despite concerns over next month’s election, according to an industry survey on Thursday.
* EX-DIVS - BAE Systems, Capita, Hikma, Intu Properties, Reckitt Benckiser and Smith & Nephew all go ex-dividend on Thursday, after which investors no longer qualify for the latest dividend payout. Ex-divs are set to knock 4.86 points off the FTSE 100.
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 * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Alistair Smout)