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Next Online Surges

Next plc NXT  appears to find it amazing that  profits for the year to January 2019 are exactly in line with the guidance which the company gave in er… January 2019. There would have been something strange, most people would have thought, had they been different. As with most  senior executives they must also claim that the year was challenging because without that they can not claim how well they have done. The online business did do well, increasing full price sales by 14.8% but only at the continuing expense of retail sales which fell by 7.3%. The final ordinary dividend was raised by 4.4% to 110p per share. the High Street looks set to remain challenging but the Online business will continues to save the day by increasing its contribution to sales and profits of the Group.   For the year ahead  Earnings Per Share are expected to grow by +3.6%.

Halma Group plc HLMA updates that it has made good progress from the period since the 1st October to date. Widespread revenue growth has been seen geographically, with the USA and the UK showing the strongest growth.  Mainland Europe and Asia Pacific have been more moderate.

Renishaw plc RSW as announced in the half year results on the 31st January, Renishaw experienced a slow down in demand in Asia for its encoder products and from large end-user manufacturers of consumer electronic products.There has been no improvement since then and based on recent order trends and customer feedback, the company now expects these conditions to continue through the remainder of this financial year. Rest assured though that despite this early warning the Board remains confident in the future prospects of the Group.

Safestyle UK plc SFE Found 2018 challenging  with significant business disruption caused by an aggressive new market entrant but by the year end on the 31st December., the company had achieved a substantial recovery. Phase two of the recovery plan which is well underway, involves returning the Group to profitability. An encouraging start has been made to 2019 and the Group expects to return to profitability in 2019 as well as generating positive cashflow.

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Ian Pollard – Kingfisher #KGF Not So Chirpy

Kingfisher plc KGF claims that its engine has now been largely rebuilt and it is confident in delivering significant financial benefits but only over time. And looking at results for the year to the 31st January, that time sees nowhere near having arrived. Growth in sales, margin and returns is being targeted but only over the medium term which appears to indicate that there is not much promise for the short term. Underperformance in France and other parts of the business needs addressing which is an admission that it has not not been so far. The closure is being considered of 15 poorly performing stores across the business over the next 2 years; as well as the closure of 19 Screwfix outlets in Germany, where the heart of industrial Europe is alleged to beat strong. As for the recent past, there is little wonder that the immediate future looks grim.

Total sales for the year fell by 1.6% on a like for like basis, Uunderlying profit before tax was down 13% or 52.6% on a statutory basis. Underlying basic earnings per share fell by 6.%. Mercifully the dividend remained unchanged.

TI Fluid Systems plc TIFS had a great year in 2018 with strong organic growth and solid profit margins. Final results for the year to the 31st  December showed profits growing by 24.9m. to 140.1m.. whilst a final dividend is proposed of 5.94 euro cents per share. The groups approach to continued and disciplined organic growth has, it says, positioned it well for 2019 and beyond.

SDL plc SDL reports a solid improvement in the Group’s financial performance compared to 2017, with all divisions performing well. Revenue for the year to 31st December rose by 12.6% and on an adjusted basis, basic earnings per share gre by 23.7% and operating profit by 20.8%. The company believes that Brexit brings risks and opportunities which it can manage.

Tasty plc TAST Revenue fell by  6% to £47.28m in the year to the 30th December due to site closures and like-for-like decline. Three restaurants were sold and one closed  in 2018. There is no intention to open any new restaurants in 2019 and management claims it will be focused on restructuring and improving profitability from the existing portfolio.

Ten Entertainment Group TEG has had another good year and is facing excellent future growth prospects. Sales in the first 11 weeks of the current year have started positively, with like-for-like sales up 5.1%. to date. Total sales in 2018 rose by 7.5%, adjusted EBITDA by 8% and earnings per share by 16.6%. A final dividend is announced  of 7.7p per share making 11p per share for the full year

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Ian Pollard – Polypipe #POLY Breaks More Records

Polypipe Group plc PLP  delighted to report another record performance and claims significant strategic progress for 2018 together with a continued focus on organic growth ahead of the market. Revenue rose by 5.2%, profit before tax by 4.7% and underlying basic earnings per share by 4.4% The dividend is to be increased by 4.5% and the balance sheet is robust.

Learning Technologies Group plc LTG   Profit came in ahead of expectations for the year to the 31st December, with  EBIT up by 104% to £27.2m. Revenue rose by 83% with half of it coming from the US. and the full year dividend is to be increased by 67%. In the five years since the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange  a compound annual growth rate of 48% in adjusted diluted EPS has been achieved. A good start has been made to 2019.

EasyJet EZY has abandoned talks to join to join the consortium which would have bid for Alitalia although it said at the time that it was not certain that a bid for Alitalia would materialise. The Italian government has now given Delta Airlines and the Italian State Railway, the two remaining members of the consortium, until the end of this month to come up with a rescue plan for AlItalia.

Softcat plc SCT produced a very strong performance over the six months to the 31st January characterised by additional market share gains and a 36.4% rise for the shareholders, in the interim dividend. Revenue for the half year rose by 21%, diluted earnings per share by 40,8% and gross profit by 26.5% The company is debt free and has a cash balance of £52.8m. It is anticipated that the outcome for the full year will be marginally ahead of previous expectations.

Bonmarche Holdings BON the main aim of Bonmarche during the winter “sale” period covering January and February 2019, was to recover from the third quarter sales experience which was below expectations and in that it has succeeded. Autumn/winter season stock levels are now 40% lower than at this time last year but that has only been achieved at the cost of heavy discounting. And now things have got worse. Trading since the beginning of March has become significantly weaker, reversing sales gains which had been made in the previous months.It is now anticipating that the  the underlying  loss for the year will be far greater than the anticipated £4.0m. and current estimates are that it will rise to between £5.0m and £6.0m.

ASOS plc ASC for the 3 months to the end of February total retail sales rose by 11%, The UK outperformed  with growth of 14% and France and Germany both proved to be challenging. For 2019 unchanged sales growth of 15% is expected.

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Ian Pollard – Wetherspoons #JDW, Profits Fall Despite Warm Winter Benefits

Wetherspoons (JD) plc JDW is paying a maintained dividend of 4p per share for the six months to the 27th January. Despite a rise of 7.1% in revenue and 6.3% in like for like sales, profit before tax fell by 18.9% and earnings per share by 18.2%. Chairman Tim Martin, as can be expected, lambasts the establishment for a producing a barrage of negative economic forecasts  predicting that the UK will go to hell in a handcart without a ‘deal’ with the EU. The great link in economics is that between democracy and prosperity. The fact that the EU is becoming less and less democratic does not bode well for its future prosperity. This winters excellent weather has been a shot in the arm for the brewers and in the six weeks to the 10th March, like-for-like sales have increased by 9.6%  and total sales by 10.9%. Costs in the second half of the year will be higher than those in the same period last year and  an unchanged trading outcome for the current financial year.is anticipated.

Restaurant Group plc RTN made significant progress in 2018, A record number of new sites were opened in both the Pubs and Concessions businesses, and achieving improved like-for-like sales in the Leisure business throughout the year. Wagamama which was acquired during the year proved to be a high growth business. Like for like sales for the year to the 30th December fell by 2% whilst total sales rose by 1% and current trading for the 10 weeks to the 10th March showed a rise 2.8%. The final dividend of 1.47p is in line with the boards current policy.

Symphony Environmental plc SYM is pleased with its preliminary results for the year to the 31st December with the CEO claiming that it demonstrates positive momentum on many different fronts. Ten governments have mandated that certain plastic products must contain oxo-biodegradable additives A further nine countries have introduced positive regulation for all types of bio-degradable packaging, regulatory moves which are beneficial to the Group’s business. Reported profit before tax fell to £0.04 million from £0.43 million in 2017 and  basic earnings per share from 0.28p to 0.03p.

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Ian Pollard – Morrisons #MRW, Divi Up Lads!

Morrisons W.Sprmkts MRW They don’t beat about t’ bush in Bradford and with a total annual dividend rise of over 150% in three years, they’ve no need to.  The 12 months to the 3rd February produced a third consecutive year of strong sales and profit growth and a  24.9% rise in total dividends during that year.  In a challenging period ,  Morrisons can truly claim that it has has continued to progress well.and both sales and profits have again grown strongly. Todays dividend announcements include a further special dividend of 4.00p per share, taking the total dividend for the year to 12.60p.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals HIK delivered a strong performance in 2018, with revenue and profitability significantly ahead of expectations at the start of the year.Group revenue rose by 7%, operating profit by 19% and basic earnings per share by 31%. The full year dividend is to be increased  from last years 34 cents to  38 cents.

Stobart Group Ltd STOB updates prior to the announcement of the full year results for the 12 months to 28 February 2019, that it continues to make strong commercial progress in its core Aviation and Energy operating divisions. London Southend Airport saw a 33% increase in passenger numbers. Stobart Energy delivered 1.3 million tonnes of renewable fuel, representing an increase of over 45% on the previous year. Investment and cash flow requirements have led the  Board to decide to move to  twice-yearly dividend payments of 3p per share each. . The first payment of 3p per share is expected to be paid in July 2019.

Advanced Medical Solutions AMS is to increase its proposed final dividend by 20% for the year to the end of December, after a 12% increase in both profits before tax and diluted earnings per share. This was AMS’s 17th consecutive year of growth with strong financial and strategic progress across the Group.

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Ian Pollard – A Thousand Years Of History, plus #QLT, #DOM, #CCC and #SUN

Today may see the last dying days of a nation whose history was peppered with stirring speeches which matched the mood of the people just at the times when they were most needed, from Agincourt to Shakespeare, the singeing of some minor king of Spains beard, to Waterloo and to Churchill. All men with fire in their bellies who loved their country and would never think of profiteering from a cheap trick. Look at the disgraceful sight of those who now, to their shame and ours, stalk the corridors of power, always ready for the quick buck. Who won the war? Surely it can not have been us, now ready to roll over and make way for a new unelected dictatorship of European bureaucracy, a Europe which would not be recognisable to the people of all countries who fought and died, believing in vain that they were fighting for freedom.

Quilter plc QLT Despite increasingly challenging market conditions as the year progressed. Quilter report record profits with a rise of 11% for the year to the 31st December. Diluted earnings per share rose by 15% and the final dividend is recommended at 3.3p per share in line with the company’s dividend policy. On a like for like basis profit before tax came in at £5m. compared to the previous years loss of £5m.

Dominos Pizza Grp DOM Admits that 2018 was a mixed year. In the UK and Ireland, which account for around 90% of the business, the excellent record of growth continued Internationally, growing pains were experienced which hampered the overall financial performance. Total revenue rose by 14.5% but total profit before tax fell by over 22% and statutory basic earnings per share by 23.7%. The record of increasing dividends continues with a rise of 5.6%

Computacenter CCC Total revenues for the year to the end of December, exceeded over £4 billion for the first time, with  Germany delivering yet another record performance as revenue grew by 8.3 per cent. 2018 was a record year for the group in revenue, adjusted operating profit and adjusted diluted earnings per share and the foundations have been paid for further growth in the years ahead.

Surgical Innovations SUN has delivered the strong rebound which was expected in the second half and revenues for the year to the end of December grew strongly by 25% andadjusted profit before tax rose by 30%

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Ian Pollard – Clarkson #CKN Challenged By Headwinds

Clarkson plc CKN   Despite a challenging start to the year Clarkson produced a robust performance for the year to the end of December.Underlying profit before tax fell by 10% and earnings per share declined from 116p to 105p.The CEO is happy with this as it enables the dividend to be increased by 3% making it  the16th consecutive year of increased dividends. Headwinds are having their impact in the form of political uncertainty and natural disasters but these are expected to diminish as the year passes.

Polymetal International POLY  Preliminaries to the 31st December showed that 2018 was a year of strong operating and financial results,with revenue rising by 4% and gold sales up by 10$. Adjusted EBITDA was up by 5%, although average realised gold and silver prices both fell. A final dividend of US$ .31 is proposed. The dividend declared during the period has risen by 47% from last years 32 cents to the current 47 cents.

Xaar plc XAR updates that underlying trading results for the year to 31 December 2018 are in line with previous expectations and delays in ramp up of new product volumes in China have resulted in an unfavourable aging profile of working capital.   Provisions are therefore being taken on the basis of prudency.

Silence Therapeutics plc SRN updates that 2018 was a defining year for the company, with transformational change throughout the business. With the approval by the FDA of the first RNAi therapeutics, a new class of medicines has effectively been created. In-human clinical trials are due to commence later in 2019 to demonstrate both safety and tolerability. The interim Chair of Silence describes it as being at the cutting edge of an extremely promising new class of therapeutics.

Driver Group plc DRV reports that  the cumulative trading result is now behind the Board’s expectations for the current period due to a slowing in the speed of client conversion, in particular in the Middle East and south-east Asian markets. The cumulative trading result is now behind the Board’s expectations for the current period and the shortfall is unlikely to be recovered in the second half. Full year underlying profits before taxation are now expected to be slightly below the 2017/18 result at approximately £3.5m.

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Ian Pollard – Paddy Power #PPB All of A Flutter

Paddy Power Betfair PPB Somebody at PPB thinks it is a good idea to rename the company Flutter Entertainment plc and hopes that the shareholders will be silly enough to give approval, when they are asked to do so in May. In February the company took podium position (as it calls it ) in Georgia with the acquisition of Adjarabet. As for the year to 31st December revenue rose by 9% and earnings per share fell by 6% whilst the the dvidend remained flat at 200p. per share. 2018 was a challenging year with regulatory and tax changes but Paddy Power regained its mojo, which management seems to regard as a good thing. 2019 has started with good momentum across key divisions

Costain Group plc COST announces it has performed strongly again in 2018 with an increase in underlying operating profit, a record order book and an 8% increase in the total dividend. The Chairman states that Costain is at the forefront of the rapidly-evolving UK infrastructure market. The record  order book of £4.2 billion was of a higher quality and the growth in underlying profit reflected enhanced margins.

Legal & General Group LGEN  Revenue for the year to the end of December rose by 9% and earnings per share fell by 6% whilst the dividend remained flat at 200p per share. Annuity sales rose to a record £10bn, operating profit rose by 10%,  profit after tax fell by 3% and profit before tax rose by 2%. having impacted by of volatility in global financial markets. Its market leading businesses  and high quality people have enabled LGEN to deliver eight years of compound annual profit growth of over ten per cent.

Allergy Therapeutics plc  AGY  Interim Results for the six months ended 31 December 2018 showed continued good sales growth and strong operating profit. Revenue increased by 10.6%  and pre-R&D operating profit grew by 27%. This reflects a strong start to the financial year with market share in Germany increasing to 14.5%. The clinical pipeline  is described as exciting making 2019 a very important year for the Group.

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Ian Pollard – Intertek #ITRK Dividend Rises 39%

Intertek Group ITRK is going from strength to strength, with consistent progress on strategy and performance leading to a 39.1% increase in the full year dividend. In 1918 revenue grew by 3.7% on a like for like basis at constant currency rates,. profit before tax was up  by 8.3% and diluted earnings per share by 7.7%. Good organic revenue growth at constant currency is expected  in 2019.

Ashtead Group AHT delivered a strong quarter in the 3 months to the 31st January. Underlying profit before tax and earnings per share rose by 18% and 34% respectively. whilst revenue was up by 19%.  As a result, for the nine months to date  revenue and underlying pre tax profit both increased by 18% at constant exchange rates.

Direct Line Insurance DLG delivered a strong set of results for the year to the 31st December driven by what it describes as its resilient business model which it claims, performed well in a highly competitive market. A final dividend of 14.0p, is announced, an increase of 2.9% on last year plus a special dividend of 8.3p.

Ibstock Brick plc IBST claims that the year to the 31st December was a busy year of development with profit before tax rising by 19.1% on revenue up by 7.9%. Statutory earnings per share rose by 17.5% but the final dividend remains unchanged at 6.5p making the 2018 full year dividend 9.5 pence per share compared to 9.1 pence per share for 2017.  Market fundamentals remain encouraging for the medium term, says the CEO

Netcall plc NET has seen strong sales momentum continue into the second half with order inflow significantly ahead of the same period last year.  Profit before tax for the six months to the 31st December leapt by 49% on revenue up by 6%. Revenues for the full year are expected  to be more weighted toward the second half, as Cloud services growth accelerates.

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Ian Pollard – Rotork To Slow In 2019

Rotork plc ROR The CEO claims it is a very exciting period for Rotork as he sees 2018 profit before tax rise by 53.8%. He is executing a comprehensive plan to enable it to return to the levels of growth and margin performance previously experienced by the Group. Revenue rose by 11% in the year, basic earnings per share by 17.9% and the full year dividend is being increased by 9.3%. Slower growth is planned for 2019 because of macro economic uncertainty leading to slower sales especially in the first half.

Ted Baker plc TED Following last weeks results Chief Executive Officer Ray Kelvin, who founded the business 32 years ago has resigned with immediate effect .Mr. Kelvin took voluntary leave of absence from his role as CEO in December 2018, after allegations of misconduct were made against him, all of which he has denied. A strong and experienced team is now in place ready to build the Ted culture and move the business forward.

Senior plc SNR Sales increased to another record for the year to the 31st December with an 8% rise on a constant currency basis.  On an adjusted basis profit before tax rose by 15% and earnings per share came in at 16 %, a year on year increase of 12.0% whilst the full year dividend is to be increased by 7%. The group is financially robust and expects to continue to make good progress.

Gfinity plc GFIN Revenue for the six-months to the end of December rose by 143% against the same period in the previous year but by only 3 % for the half year to June. Last years first half gross loss of £3.2m was turned into a gross profit of £0.5m. Adjusted EBITDA loss was £4.4m, a 39% reduction on the equivalent period in the prior year. The global e sports economy is predicted to break the $1billion barrier during the year and the group looks forward to a significant step change in its financial performance over the coming years.The company expects to reach break even by 2021.

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