READY meal maker Bakkavor has bemoaned "challenging" UK trading as half-year profits plummeted by more than half.

The group - which supplies the likes of Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Tesco - reported a 59% plunge in pre-tax profits to £19.5 million for the six months to June 29.

It blamed Brexit uncertainty, rising prices and losses from its now closed meals site in Lincolnshire for a steep drop in UK operating profits, down 28% at £39.8 million.

Bakkavor shut its meals business in Holbeach in April, putting around 680 jobs at risk, although it offered alternative roles to 350 staff.

Despite a tough first half, Bakkavor said its growing international business across the US and China "performed well" and the group was set for a better end to the year.

Shares closed up 8% at 116p.

A leading shareholder in UK defence company Cobham has said it plans to vote against its £4 billion acquisition by a US private equity firm.

Sanderson Asset Management, the 11th largest shareholder of the company, has put its weight behind criticism from the founding family of Cobham over the move.

Lady Nadine Cobham, whose late husband Michael ran the business, wrote to the company's largest investors last week arguing that the offer significantly undervalued the firm after a recovery over the past two and a half years.

Lady Cobham, who owns a 1.5% stake in the business, has written to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom calling on them to intervene in the buyout by US-based Advent International.

In a letter back to Lady Cobham, Sanderson said it has told the company board about its plans to vote against the deal, becoming the first institutional investor to openly oppose the move.

Team17, the games developer behind the Worms franchise, held firm on forecasts for the year after profits rose sharply during the first half of the year.

The Wakefield-based business saw pre-tax profits jump to £10.4 million for the six months to June, from just £31,000 over the same period last year.

The games developer saw profits surge after revenues almost doubled to £30.4 million on the back of a mix of new launches and a solid performance from its back catalogue of titles. Team17 said that 74% of the group's revenues came from its back catalogue. It said it had a "solid selection" of third-party releases planned for the second half of the year and plans to grow the business further by expanding its studio site.

Shares in the company closed up 2.5p at 304.5p.