The UK’s largest homebuilder and a Kazakh copper mine were promoted to the FTSE 100 Index tonight at the expense of household names Whitbread and William Hill.
Persimmon joined the ranks of the UK’s top 100 companies for the first time after its recent takeover of rival Westbury boosted its share price 37%.
FTSE confirmed it would be joined in the top flight by Kazakhmys, which is based in Kazakhstan and became the first company from the former Soviet Union to gain full listing on the London Stock Exchange when it joined in October.
Kazakhmys, which employs 6,000 workers, is the world’s tenth largest miner and smelter of copper with a market value of £3.2bn (€4.7bn).
Going the other way, from the FTSE 100 Index to the FTSE 250 Index, are Pizza Hut owner Whitbread and the bookmaker William Hill.
The changes came at the FTSE quarterly review, which was based on share prices at the close of business yesterday but were confirmed by the review committee today.
A company is automatically promoted to the FTSE 100 Index if it is one of the 90 biggest stocks by market value when the review takes place.
York-based Persimmon, which bought Westbury for £643 million last month, stood at 84th in the table while Kazakhmys was 86th, although Kazakhmys underwent extra checks by the committee because of its recent listing date.
William Hill joined the top flight of blue chip stocks in April 2004 but was relegated to the FTSE 250 Index tonight after it fell to 120th – the lowest FTSE 100 Index listed company. Whitbread was next in line at 105th after gaining entry in December 2002.
Five small cap companies were also promoted into the FTSE 250 Index, including takeover target Reg Vardy and online poker giant 888 Holdings, which runs the 888.com website.
Its larger rival PartyGaming was admitted to the FTSE 100 Index earlier in the year.
FTSE tonight drew up a reserve list of six companies for the FTSE 100 Index to replace blue chips which are removed before the next review for reasons such as takeovers.
Brambles Industries headed the list at 93rd in the table and was immediately promoted after Exel was removed following its buyout by Deutsche Post.
P&O also gained entry to the FTSE 100 Index after plasterboard maker BPB stopped trading following its takeover by French firm Saint-Gobain.
But with P&O itself set to be delisted on completion of the proposed £3.3bn acquisition by Dubai Ports World, its stay in the top flight could be short-lived.
And that could mean an early return for Whitbread, which is on the reserve list along with British Energy Group, Corus, Bradford & Bingley and Lonmin.