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April 21 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 15 points, or 0.2 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.12 percent ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 4.91 points, or 0.1 percent on Wednesday at 6,410.26, at a fresh year high after a rally in the price of oil spurred gains in commodity-related stocks.
* ANGLO AMERICAN: Global mining company Anglo American Plc said iron ore production at its Kumba Iron Ore Ltd unit fell 27 percent in the first quarter as the mine moves to a lower-cost pit configuration.
* SABMILLER: SABMiller sold 4 percent more lager in its most recent quarter than in the year-ago period as momentum improved in the second half of its financial year.
* SMITHS GROUP: French aerospace and defence group Safran said it agreed to sell its U.S.-based Morpho Detection business and other detection-related activities to British engineering conglomerate Smiths Group for an enterprise value of $710 million.
* CENTRICA: British utility group Centrica said on Thursday it has agreed to buy Denmark-based energy management firm Neas Energy for 170 million pounds ($243.9 million) to build on its marketing and trading activities in mainland Europe.
* SKY: Pay-TV and broadband group Sky said it attracted 177,00 new customers in its third quarter, including 46,000 broadband additions in Britain and Ireland, helping revenue rise 5 percent for the first nine months, in line with forecasts.
* SKY: Mediaset and Sky Italia, a unit of Sky Plc, have been fined 55.4 million euros ($62.7 million) by Italy’s antitrust authority for breaching competition laws during the 2014 sale of soccer TV rights, the authority said on Wednesday.
* DARTY: Conforama, a subsidiary of Steinhoff International Holdings NV has increased its cash offer for shares in electronics retailer Darty Plc it does not already own to 138 pence per share.
* DARTY: French retailer Fnac said on Thursday it was offering 145 pence per share to buy Darty, Europe’s third-largest electronics retailer, trumping a freshly raised offer from Conforama, a unit of South African retail conglomerate Steinhoff.
* DAILY MAIL: The parent of Britain’s Daily Mail, Daily Mail & General Trust Plc, said on Wednesday it had not submitted its own bid to buy Yahoo Inc’s core Internet business, but was still in talks to partner with other suitors of the U.S. company.
* SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell has failed to halt production at the Gbaran Ubie oil and gas facility in southern Nigeria, contravening a court order for the site to be sealed and raising the prospect of legal action, state government officials said on Wednesday.
* BHP BILLITON: BHP Billiton does not expect recent rise in iron ore and metallurgical coal prices to hold for more than a few months, as more low cost supply is set to hit the market, its Australian chief said on Thursday.
* HSBC: Pay is not the only thing HSBC investors will challenge executives over at Friday’s annual meeting in London, calls for reassurance on dividends, Chinese expansion and succession planning are all set to feature.
* UK STEEL: Senior staff at Port Talbot, Britain’s biggest steel works, are seeking to launch a management buyout plan with the support of staff, investors and the government to save the loss-making plant put up for sale by Tata Steel .
* ECB: ECB President Mario Draghi is likely to drive home the case for ultra-loose monetary policy on Thursday, hitting back after a barrage of criticism from German officials who dispute the bank’s recipe for tackling the euro zone’s economic malaise.
* BREXIT: The ‘In’ campaign has a 11-point lead against rival ‘Out’ ahead of Britain’s referendum in June to decide if Britain should be a part of the European Union, according to a ComRes poll for Daily Mail and ITV News.
* BREXIT: British support for staying in the European Union has risen slightly, according to two opinion polls on Wednesday that add to signs the “Remain” campaign has gained momentum ahead of a referendum in June.
An Ipsos MORI telephone poll of 1,026 people showed the “In” camp, supported by Prime Minister David Cameron, holding a 10-point lead over those wanting to leave the 28-nation bloc.
* BREXIT: A British exit from the European Union would hurt London’s status as a global financial centre because international banks could move away and euro trading would be hit, the City of London Corporation said on Wednesday.
* BREXIT: U.S. President Barack Obama flies to London on Thursday with a mission: to persuade wavering British voters not to ditch membership of the European Union in a June 23 referendum that Washington fears could weaken the West.
* UK PAY: British employers offered the least generous wage deals in nearly six years in the three months to April, industry data showed on Thursday, a day after a Bank of England policymaker said low inflation was pushing down pay growth.
* OIL: Crude prices steadied after earlier declines on Thursday as the International Energy Agency (IEA) said 2016 would see the biggest fall in non-OPEC production in a generation, helping rebalance a market that has been dogged by oversupply.
* SILVER: Silver surged nearly 3 percent on Thursday, hitting an 11-month top and lifting gold with it, as commodities rallied on firmer oil prices and optimism over the Chinese economy.
* COPPER: London copper hit its highest in almost a month on Thursday, after strong gains in oil the session before stoked investor appetite for commodities already buoyed by a generally brightening picture for global growth.
* EX-DIVS: ARM, BAE Systems, Capita, Fresnillo , Mondi and Smith & Nephew will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 3.30 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)