(Adds company news items and futures)
Nov 21 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 12 points higher at 6,960 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with FTSE 100 futures expected to be up 0.38 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* UNITED UTILITIES: British water supplier United Utilities on Wednesday said first-half earnings jumped 23.7 percent due to incentives from the country’s regulator and lower costs.
* PATISSERIE HOLDINGS: Britain’s accounting watchdog said on Wednesday it had launched an investigation into the audit by Grant Thornton UK of cafe chain owner Patisserie Holdings Plc’s financial statements for 2015-2017.
* SSP GROUP: SSP Group Plc, which operates food and beverage stores in travel locations, said Kate Swann is stepping down as chief executive officer and would be replaced by Simon Smith, currently head of its UK & Ireland region.
* BABCOCK: British engineering firm Babcock said first-half revenue fell 2.3 percent as it took a one-off exceptional charge of 120 million pounds ($153.60 million) to reshape its oil and gas business.
* INDIVIOR: British drugmaker Indivior Plc stuck to its full-year forecast on Wednesday even after a U.S. court allowed an Indian generic rival to sell a copycat version of Indvior’s blockbuster opioid addiction treatment drug.
* SAGE: British software provider Sage posted annual organic revenue growth of 6.8 percent, broadly in line with a downgraded target, but said growth could slow in the short term as it accelerates a plan towards subscription services.
* PARAGON BANKING: Paragon Banking Group said it was looking at property values to lessen any blow the lending market might take as Britain moves out of the European Union.
* KINGFISHER: Kingfisher, Europe’s second largest home improvement retailer, said on Wednesday it would exit Russia, Spain and Portugal so it can focus on markets where it has, or can reach, a market leading position.
* BOSTON SCIENTIFIC, BTG: US medical device maker Boston Scientific is backing its recommended cash offer for UK-based BTG plc with a £3.3bn bridge loan from Barclays Bank.
* SAINSBURY, ASDA: British supermarket group Sainsbury’s proposed takeover of rival Asda could lead to a further price squeeze for farmers and reduce the choice and innovation of products available for shoppers, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said on Tuesday.
* GOLD: Gold prices dropped slightly on Wednesday, as the U.S. dollar got a boost from safe-haven demand amid heightened risk aversion.
* OIL: Oil prices on Wednesday recovered some of the previous day’s over 6 percent plunge, lifted by a report of an unexpected decline in U.S. commercial crude inventories as well as record Indian crude imports.
* The UK blue chip index ended the day down 0.8 percent on Tuesday as investors dumped financial, oil and mining stocks amid renewed fears about Brexit and Rome’s budget showdown with Brussels, and Wall Street gloom across tech and retail spread across Europe.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru)