Croda sets sights on return to FTSE 100 as Merlin faces tumbling out

Chemicals maker Croda is in the running to join the FTSE 100 ahead of a top flight reshuffle this week, according to analysts.

Steve Foots, Chief Executive of Croda.

The Snaith-based group is one of a number of companies jockeying for position to join the UK’s biggest public businesses as a number of firms risk losing their place.

Croda was demoted from the FTSE 100 in the index reshuffle in December 2013. In February it announced a 10 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £252m in 2015 following a four per cent increase in sales to £1.08bn in constant currency.

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Also in the runnning are property website Rightmove, new and used car sales website Auto Trader, financial services firm Investec and defence to Defence-to-airport-detection firm Smiths as well as Hika Pharmaceuticals.

Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments faces tumbling out of the index on Wednesday when the stock market’s committee announces the results of its latest quarterly review.

The theme park giant has suffered from a weak euro and lower numbers at Alton Towers after a crash on its Smiler rollercoaster left five people seriously injured last summer.

Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said: “Merlin’s place in the top 100 could be at risk after a troubled year. The serious accident at Alton Towers last June continues to impact the group’s profitability, while it has also had to contend with a weak euro and a tough London market.”

Meanwhile, Inmarsat is also under pressure after investors piled out of the stock following the satellite communications firm lowering its full-year guidance by 50m US dollars (£34m) to between 1.175bn dollars (£802m) and 1.250bn dollars (£853m) earlier this month.

Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre owner Intu Properties, which owns 18 shopping malls in the UK, is also expected to fall out of the top flight.