(Adds company news items and futures)
Jan 24 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 44 points higher at 7,552 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.76% ahead of cash markets open.
* VIRGIN MONEY: Virgin Money (LON: VM ) UK VMUK.L said its chairman Jim Pettigrew is planning to retire by September 2021 when his tenure on the board will reach nine years. JUST EAT: Dutch online food ordering service Takeaway.com TKWY.AS said 90.2% of Just Eat JE.L shareholders have tendered shares to its takeover offer, and that the company will begin a squeeze-out process to acquire the rest. PREMIER OIL: Hedge fund Asia Research and Capital Management (ARCM) raised fresh concerns over Premier Oil's PMO.L plan to have its creditors vote on the planned acquisition of North Sea assets under a scheme that allows it to delay debt repayments and issue new shares. COPPER: London copper edged higher on after the World Health Organization (WHO) said a new coronavirus outbreak in top metals consumer China is not yet a global emergency, but prices were set for their biggest weekly drop in 17 months. GOLD: Gold edged lower after the World Health Organisation stopped short of declaring the China virus outbreak a global emergency, though prices were still on track to post a weekly gain. OIL: Oil prices were steady, but on track for a fall of up to 5% for the week on growing concern that fuel demand will weaken as the spread of a respiratory virus from China that has killed 25 so far dents travel and darkens the economic outlook. UK shares lost roughly 1% on Thursday as worries over the spread of a new flu-like virus from China forced dealers to dump risky assets, while financial stocks tumbled across the board after the European Central Bank kept interest rates at a record low level. UK PAPERS
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