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Ibstock plc IBST updates that demand in the UK brick markets is robust and factories have been producing at, or close to, full capacity for an extended period. Adjusted EBITDA for the six months to the 30th June is expected to be about £58m which reflects the impact of bad weather at the start of the year and higher energy costs.But whilst demand from the new housing sector has been strong and market fundamentals are favourable, there are clouds on the horizon and it looks as if the tide may be turning to reflect the realities of life among the house builders. In recent months and particularly in July, production has been lower than expected and it is now anticipated that output for the second half of the year, will be below expectations.
Keller Group KLR is increasing its interim dividend by 24% for the half year to the 30th June, after rises in statutory pofit before tax and earnings per share of 31% and 37% respectively. First half revenue was a record at £1,075m with constant currency growth of 15%. The strong financial performance was achieved despite a harsh winter in the northern hemisphere and markets have remained broadly healthy.
Cranswick CWK revenue in the first quarter to the 30th June was 3.2% ahead of the same period last year and export revenues were modestly ahead. The Group is in a robust financial position with net debt of 18m. a year ago having been turned into net cash of 8m. at the quarter end despite substantial ongoing capital investment.
Senior plc SNR Trading in the six months to the 30th June has been slightly ahead of expectations with profit before tax for the half year riing by 36% and basic earnings per share by 25%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 6.8% and he order book remains strong across most of the businesses.
Dialight plc DIA claims to have taken targeted actions to improve its operational performance during the six months to the 30th June. Despite that, statutory profit before tax fell from 4.0m. to 2.8m. and earnings per share from 8p to 6.4p. Late orders have been significantly reduced since the start of the year and on-time delivery and cost performance are now both excellent, it says. The move from recovery to growth leaves the Group excited by its future prospects.
David Paul of VectorVest discusses market timing, Gulf Keystone #GKP, Persimmon #PSN, Anglo American #AAL, #KAZ Minerals & Cranswick #CWK with Nick ‘Moose’ Batsford of Core Finance.
After the Brexit inspired sell-off, thanks to rising earnings, the FTSE 250 index has recovered sharply to hit record highs and post gains significantly in excess of the benchmark FTSE 100. At the time of the referendum, the slide in sterling was expected to be a disaster for UK plc, especially for those companies without significant dollar earnings. Even so the weaker pound has helped boost exporters’ orders, and although a mild pullback has been seen following the UK Election Hung parliament result, the recent trend shows the pound is continuing to strengthen against the dollar and euro, This stability has enabled midcap companies as diverse as Auto Trader (AUTO), Cranswick (CWK) and Greene King (GNK) to thrive.
These conditions haven’t suited all firms though, and there are plenty still suffering a weak sterling discount. Few pundits could predict the earth shaking political events of the past year, but with Article 50 triggered, and the UK Hung Parliament result, Brexit negotiations over the next two years coupled with European political uncertainty make it hard to identify opportunities. And for many FTSE 250 companies, the risks of a possible UK consumer slowdown cannot be offset by currency gains or outperformance in other parts of the world.
Despite the uncertain backdrop, one key element of the revival among FTSE 250 companies has been strong corporate earnings and positive news flow. Across the board, profits and sales are rising, dividends are being increased, and companies are expanding despite the obvious macroeconomic and political risk. Plus as of yet, consumer spending appears untroubled by recent political events.
Looking ahead, the pound looks stable and set to continue rising against the dollar and euro, a factor that could benefit companies without significant dollar earnings. A stronger pound could also take the sting out of the recent rise in inflation, which has hiked costs for importers.
While the wider global political outlook remains uncertain, financial markets have reacted in a broadly positive manner to the Hung Parliament result. This looks likely to provide backing to the ongoing stability and potential recovery of the pound, which in turn will further support FTSE 250 companies, and for some may even result in stellar growth performances, such as that delivered by Cranswick (CWK) and Cineworld (CINE) over the past year.
Brand CEO Alan Green talks markets,EU, Cranswick (CWK) & Topps Tiles (TPT) with Jenny Hammond on TipTV.
Brand CEO Alan Green talks markets, the EU, Cranswick Plc (CWK) and Topps Tiles (TPT) with Jenny Hammond on TipTV.
Countryside Props. CSP produced strong growth in the year to the end of September which is not surprising with completions up 20% on top of which it managed to impose a swingeing 21% rise in average private selling prices, to £465.000. Adjusted operating profit rose by 40%. Current trading is robust with sales rates and values both above year end levels. The private year end order book is at record levels after a rise of 64%. A final dividend of 3.4% is proposed.
Eckoh ECK Revenue during the 6 months to 30th September rose by 57% and gross profit by 25% despite being impacted by a £0.6m loss incurred by a discontinued division of Eckoh’s US subsidiary, PSS Inc. US operations now account for 30% of group revenue after rising from £31,000 to £4.0 million. The second half year is expected to be strong.
Cranswick CWK is raising its interim dividend by 12.9% after rises of 38.4% in statutory profit before tax and 30.8% in statutory earnings per share. for the half year to end September. Results were helped by a strong contribution from Crown Chicken which was acquired in April and also by strong performances in key export markets, with Far East revenues rising by 83%
Treatt plc TET claims a strong performance in the year to the end of September and is increasing its total dividend by 8% to 4.35p, after an 11% rise in adjusted profit before tax. Basic earnings per share were up by 8% but revenue showed only a modest rise of 2%
Easy Hotels EZH 2015/16 was a transformational year which saw a rise of 38.4% in profit before tax and 40% in basic earnings per share. Total revenue was up by 8.7%. 1527 rooms are now in developments and 576 new rooms will be added by early 2018 with the opening of 5 new hotels.
Food for thought – Alan Green discusses Cranswick (CWK) with Justin Waite on the ADVFN podcast. Click here to listen to the podcast