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Ian Pollard: Safestore Holdings – Strong Start To The Year

Safestore Holdings plc SAFE claims an excellent start to the financial year, with a strong first quarter performance, continuing the trading momentum seen in the second half of 2018 in both the UK and Paris markets. Group revenue from the 1st November to the 31st January rose by 6.% at constant exchange rates and on a like by like basis by 6.4%. Paris led the way on a like or like basis with a rise of 7.3% compared to 6.1% for the UK. Revenue for the quarter in Paris grew by 8.3 % following the opening of the new store in Poissy in summer 2018.

easyJet PLC EZJ confirms that it is in discussions with Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and Delta Air Lines about forming a consortium to explore options for the future operations of Alitalia. In the words of the song there is no certainty at this stage that any transaction will proceed and easyJet will provide a further update in due course, if and when appropriate.

Money Supermarket.com Group PLC MONY made great progress in its Reinvent strategy in 2018 with profit after tax for the year to 31st December up by 11% and the ordinary dividend up by 6%. A good trading performance saw  revenues up 8% and In 2019 it is intended to return an additional £40m to shareholders.

AVEVA Group plc AVV delivered low double-digit revenue growth in the first nine months of the financial year, following the pattern set in the first half. Software sales grew at a faster rate compared to services, resulting in a modest improvement in gross margins. Operating margins also improved, although  some additional costs were incurred due to a better than expected sales performance.

Ashmore Group plc ASHM Profit before tax at £93.0 million, fell by 6% during the half year to the 31st December. The company described it as a respectable operating performance in the first half followed by a positive start to 2019. The investment performance remained strong and out performed by 30% over one year. Revenue growth of 13% was driven by 18% increase in net management fee income.

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Ian Pollard – easyJet #EZJ load factor & spend per passenger both fall

easyJet plc EZJ made a good start to the 2019 financial year with robust customer demand and ancillary sales.At least that is the official version. Flying at Tegel had what is described as a dilutive impact. as did the Christmas drone incidents at Gatwick, or perhaps more accurately, the Christmas no drone incidents at Gatwick. The Chief Executive is proud of the way the teams worked around the clock to mitigate the impact of the incident and looked after affected customers. Total revenue in the first quarter to 31 December 2018 increased by 13.7% and passenger numbers in the quarter were up by 15.1% to 21.6 million. Unusually for easyJet load factor decreased by two percentage points to 89.7% and total revenue per seat was down by 4.2%. So perhaps when you get into the real statistics where the company usually does shine, on a comparative basis, things were not quite as robust as at first appears, with. more empty seats and a nearly 5% fall in spend per passenger.

Dixons Carphone plc DC produced record sale in the 10 week Christmas period to the 5th January and did so against a strong backdrop.  UK & Ireland like for like sales rose by 2% whilst group like for like only managed a 1% rise. Mobile sales in the UK and Ireland look to have been a disaster area with reported revenue down by 12% but that does not seem to matter too much because it was expected. As usual international revenue did well with a 5% rise and accounted for almost 40% of sales. Good progress has been made with what it describes as its long term plans to deliver more engaged colleague which may appear to mean that it has woken up to the fact that customer service level can be fairly abysmal, just try paying for something in Greece. The outstanding performance came  from Gaming, up 60% year-on-year.

IG Group Hldngs plc IGG Net trading revenue for the six months to the 30th November fell by 6% whilst operating expenses rose by 4%. Operating profit declined by 18% and basic earnings per share by 16%. Not surprisingly revenue in in 2019 will be lower than in 2018. The Chief Executive is excited to bring his experience in strategy and product innovation to the company but his confidence is not such  that a return to growth is expected until after 2019.

ZOO Digital Group plc ZOO updates on current trading for the year ending 31 March 2019.The second half performance has been affected by the loss of a single, material project, Revenues from DVD and Blu-ray titles in the second half will be significantly lower than anticipated because  the overall market decline has accelerated more quickly than envisaged. he Company now expects revenues for the second half to be comparable to those in the first half and  approximately 10% below full year expectations.Nonetheless the company’s excitement for the future remains undiminished.

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Ian Pollard – HSBC Believes It Is Enhancing Its Reputation

HSBC Holdings HSBA saw growth in operating expenses easily outstrip the banks increase in revenue. Todays interim results reveal reveal that during the first half, revenue rose by 4% whilst operating expenses grew by 7%., or 8% on an adjusted basis. Adjusted profit before tax fell by 2%. The Group Chairman descended from on high to tell us that a good start had been made on its two main targets of enhancing not only performance but reputation as well. He does not enlighten us but I wonder who told him that, customers or senior management ?, Whoever it was has presumably not  had the experience of trying to get a broken down(for the umpteenth time) ATM to dispense cash on a Saturday afternoon, or even if it was not broken down, having the same problem because it has, yet again, run out of cash. Go back to the grass roots Mr. Chairman and find out the truth about your bank’s real reputation.

Tesco TSCO has signed its long term strategic alliance with Carrefour. It will become operational in October and last for three years. What possible good it will do even to troubled Tesco, only time will tell.

easyJet plc EZJ was hit by a triple whammy in July, with industrial action in Europe, a runway closure at Gatwick and adverse weather.. Despite that it still managed to increase passenger numbers by 4.5% but this was well down on the 6.2% increase over the year from July 2017. Load factor for this July rose by only 0.1% compared to 1.4% for the rolling 12 months.Still, unless the European Union has its evil way, it will be a few years before they are reduced to doing pleasure flights round Blackpool Tower.

Ultra Electronics ULE benefited from increased US defence spending during the half year to the 30th June but the reported results were impacted by cost overruns. Organic revenue rose by 1.3% and organic profit growth by 1.4%. Basic earnings per share were down by nearly 50% and statutory profit before tax fell by a third to 20m. The order book has been and continues to be strong and better than expected. Foreign exchange “headwinds: are blamed for a 5.8% impact  on underlying operating profit. The interim dividend remains unchanged at 14.6p per share.

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Ian Pollard – easyJet #EZJ, excellent winter performance

Vodafone Group VOD claims that the year to 31st March was one of significant operational and strategic achievement which produced a strong financial performance. In fact it was so strong that revenue fell by 2.2% and in troubled India, Service revenue was down by over 18%. Despite these little local difficulties operating profit rose by 15.4% and the final dividend was increased by 2% to 10.23 euro cents.It also suffered from something called “roaming headwinds”. There is a new entrant in Italy and competitive pressure in Spain but profit growth is expected to continue in the current year.

easyJet plc EZJ produced an excellent performance during the half year to the 31st March with a total profit of £8m, one of its best ever winter trading results. The strong performance was helped by capacity reduction in other airlines but passenger number increased by three million, 8.8%, to £36.8m. Total revenue jumped by 10.5% and revenue per seat was up by 10.9%. Forward bookings for the second half are ahead of last year.

Spirax Sarco Engng SPX updates before today’s AGM that the trading environment remains positive with global Industrial Production growth similar to last year. The currency tailwinds of the last two years have become a headwind during the current year but on an organic constant currency basis, group operating profit for the irst four months of the year is ahead of 2017

Gear4music (Holdings) G4M The year to the 28th February saw revenue rise by 43%, gross profit by 34 % and customers by 39% but pre tax profit slumped by 43% and EBITDA was down by 4%. The year was expected to be transformational with short term profitability implications. The target now is to deliver strong and sustainable revenue and profit growth

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Ian Pollard – BP, Phoenix Like From The Ashes

BP plc (BP.) 2017 was one of the strongest years in BP’s recent history and on the exploration front it was the most successful since 2004. Underlying  profit rose by 139%. Underlying replacement cost profit soared both for quarter 4 and for the full year. For the quarter it rose five fold from $400m. to  $2.1 bn whilst for the year it was up from $2.1bn to $6.2bn

easyJet plc EZJ January passenger figures rose by 8.7% and the load factor was up by 2.2pp to 88.4% which well down on the 12 month rolling figures of 93.2% and 91.5% for January 2018 and 2017

Babcock Intnl Group BAB is on track to achieve another record year after continuing to make steady progress in the period to the 31st January. Revenue will be slightly lower than expected at between 5.3 and 5.4 bn

Softcat Trading SCT Trading has been strong across all segments in the 6 months to the 31st January and is ahead of the boards expectations. Gross profit and adjusted operating profit grew by approximately 22% and 19%.

Amino Technologies plc AMO is increasing its final dividend by 10% for the year to the 30th November, the sixth consecutive year of dividend increases. Adjusted profit before tax rose by 10% and basic earnings per share by 12%. The company has a strong sales pipeline for 2018

Wall Street in Crisis For those who will never understand  stock market psychology, the crisis on Wall Street which is being copied this morning in the City, is being caused, believe it or not by the success of the US economy. So whether its the Great Depression of the thirties or the Great Boom  you cant win !

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Ian Pollard – easyJet benefits from collapse of competition & Ryanair disruption

easyJet plc EZJ produced a strong first quarter performance thanks in part at least to the collapse of a number its competitors such as Al Italia, Monarch and Air Berlin, which it has now bought and the disruption suffered by its main competitor Ryanair. On time performance rose by 2 percentage points to 81% despite increased disruption. Total revenue for the quarter rose by 14% and passenger numbers by 8%. Constant currency revenue is expected to rise by mid to high single digits in the first half of 2018. Passenger numbers are expected to rise from 80 million to 90 million, again helped by the lack of competition.

IG Group Holdings IGG produced new records in revenue and profit before tax in the half year to the 30th November. Profit before tax rose by 29%, diluted earnings per share by 30% and operating expenses fell by 7%. Own funds generated by operations rose by 38%.The interim dividend is being increased a tad to 9.69p per share compared to 9.42 pence in 2017

Pets at Home Group PETS The third quarter to the 4th January produced group revenue growth of 9.6% or 7.2% on a like for like basis after a strong customer response following the launch of a low price initiative.

Marstons MARS suffered disruption from ice and snow  both at the beginning of December and between Christmas and the New Year which cost it nearly £1m in lost profits. Despite that  Santa looked kindly  on the brewer on Xmas day itself which produced record retail sales  of nearly £4m., 5.4% up on last year. Market conditions are tough but 2018 will still see the opening of 15 new restaurants and pubs and 6 lodges.

Elecosoft ELCO Profit before tax and revenue for the year to 31st December are expected to be significantly higher than in 2016. Following strong conversion of operating profits into cash, net borowings were eliminated at the 30th June. Staff are praised for the development of a number of significant award winning technical innovations which have pleased customers.

Ideagen IDEA saw revenue rise by 43% and adjusted profit before tax by 56% after a strong performance during the half year to the 31st October. Sales momentum was strong in the USA, Europe and in the Asia Pacific region. Current trading is described as robust and the interim dividend is to be increased by 15%.

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easyJet Still Flying High

easyJet EZJ October passenger statistics showed a rise of 9.9% in passengers carried and load factor increased yet again to 92.5pp up by 2.3%. On a rolling 12 months basis the figures were 10% and 1.5pp.

Ortac Resources OTC is to acquire an additional 33.82% of Casa Mining Ltd and will be making an offer for the balance. The deal includes converting the $2mn convertible loan note at an amended reduced share conversion price of $0.5586, and represents a major step forward in the delivery of the Company’s revamped strategy, announced on 11 September 2017, to focus on its high potential African exploration mining assets. Chairman Nick von Schirnding said the proposed acquisition of Casa “is a turning point in the Company’s recent history” and the board “look forward to a new chapter for Ortac and its shareholders. ”

Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ the cheeky upstart grew its passenger numbers by 30% in October as it added its 144th destination. Its load factor rose by 2.1% to 92.1pp, virtually the same as that of its much bigger brother.

SysGroup plc SYS Eventually gets round to admitting that it is issuing a profit warning, after explanations which are so long winded that they are made to sound less like explanations and more like excuses, such as difficulties in clawing back first half margin under performance, the Board in the end comes out with the admission that full year EBITDA and adjusted profit before tax will be significantly below market expectations.

AFH Financial Group AFHP reports strong organic growth for the year to the 31st October, together with a significant increase in recurring fee income. Total revenue for the year is expected to show a rise of 35% bout half of which will come from acquisitions. The board is confident of further expansion through its mix of organic growth coupled with acquisitions.

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British Minnows Swimming Strongly

Today brings more evidence of the strength of small, even tiny, British companies which are prospering and growing strongly. No complaints from them about Brexit, challenging market conditions, the weakness of the pound and all the other moans which issue forth on a daily basis from so many of our major companies who have become sclerotic lost both the will and the ability to succeed.

easyJet EZJ has reached agreement with Air Berlin to acquire part of Air Berlin’s operation at Berlin Tegel airport for a consideration of 40 million Euro. easyJet will take leases on up to 25 A320 aircraft and offer employment to up to 1,000 of Air Berlins pilots and cabin crew, thereby stealing a march on Ryanair which has suffered such severe consequences as a result of suddenly finding it had a pilot shortage.

Image Scan plc IGE is exceptionally proud of its achievements in the year to 30th September which saw sales rise by over 50% from £3.3m to £5m and profit before tax rise nearly five fold from £105,000 to £480,000. 65% of the increase in sales came from portable x ray machines, strong progress was made in new markets in India and the order intake for the year was a record at £5.4m. The CEO states that the strong momentum is set to continue.

Cerillion plc CER updates for the year to 30th September, that it has continued to perform well in the second half and full year revenue and EBITDA are expected to show rises of 8.2% and 16.3% respectively. Growth in software revenue form existing customers has been strong and opportunities for the future are seen as encouraging.

Artilium plc ARTA  The year to the 30th June was one of significant operational and technical progress, which enabled the company to become a leading figure in innovative telecom software solutions. Adjusted EBITDA for the year grew by 21.7% and revenue by 8.6%. New markets were penetrated, especially in Germany where a new office has been opened and strong demand is seen for the company’s software solutions. The leading position which it now holds is expected to be reflected in both revenue and EBITDA growth in the current year.

 

 

 

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easyJet Flying High as Ryanair “Messes Up” Big Time

easyJet EZJ  continues to fly high with statistics for September showing an 11% rise in passenger numbers and load factor up by a further 2.5pp to 93.6%. Mind you easyJet must regard as a blessing, Ryanair’s much publicised confession that it has messed up big time and will continue to do so for months to come, much to the annoyance of its passengers

Intercede Group IGP Revenue rose by about 30% in the 6 months to 30th September, due mainly to new customer wins. A strong second half is expected as diversification into Europe and the strengthening of the European pipeline is expected to offset budget difficulties  in the company’s US government customer base.

Redcentric RCN has been trading in line during the last six months which has seen strong operating cash flow leading to a reduction of  £33m in net debt, ahead of management expectations. A new CEO has been appointed who has a 25 years track record of delivering growth and business transformations.

BTG plc. BTG updates that it has delivered a good first half performance in the 6 months to the 30th September, producing double digit sales growth at constant exchange rates. Interventional Medicine’s growth is expected to have been  in the mid to high teens at constant exchange rates and this is expected to increase in the second half.

Accrol Group Holdings ACRL has experienced more challenging trading conditions which are having a significant effect on the company’s trading performance. It is believed that fine which is due to be imposed by the Health and Safety Executive will be more significant than previously thought, to the extent that it will have a material impact on the company’s cash position. Consequently the dividend payment for the current year is to be reviewed and application has been made for the temporary suspension of trading in the company”s shares on AIM.

Caledonia Mining Corporation CMCL announces yet another quarterly production record at its Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe.Gold production in quarter 3 rose to 14,389 oz. which was 15% up on the second quarter and 7% up on 2016’s third quarter. The improvement in gold production is expected to continue into the fourth quarter.

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Sports Direct – Is It “Come Uppance” Day ?

Sports Direct SPD  Preliminary results for the year to 30th April show revenue growth of 11.7%  but apart from that it looks like Mike Ashley needs to get himself down the pub sharpish for another of those famous non alcoholic problem solving meetings. Profit before tax fell by 58.7% on an underlying basis and 22.2% on a reported basis whilst earnings per share were down by 67.9% on an underlying basis and 15.8% on a reported basis. Mr. Ashley lists a litany of reasons which impacted the company but bouncily proclaims that he is looking to the long term and will try to avoid short term volatility. Meanwhile he sees SDL as a sort of Selfridges. At least trading in his new flagship stores is exceeding expectations but “come uppance” may be today’s popular catch phrase in the city

easyJet EZJ has been granted its Air Operators Certificate and airline operators licence by the Austrian authorities and the first flight takes place today. Who ever thought that Brexit would lead to this. Presumably next come the visa problems for those trying to enter the city boundaries of Benidorm.

The third quarter to the 30th June  has been a strong one with capacity rising by 9.5% and passengers by 10.8%. Revenue per seat at constant currency rates rose by 2.2%, ahead of guidance and the figures were further aided by strict cost control and an improved underlying trend in the trading environment. The result is that headline profit before tax expectations have been upgraded to between £380m. and £420m. for the full year.

Moneysupermarket.com MONY is increasing its interim dividend for the half year to 30th June by 3% and with a commitment that its progressive dividend policy will be continued. Group revenue for the half year rose by 5% led by a strong performance, especially in quarter 2, from insurance which showed a rise of 18% and good growth from money, credit cards and loans. However adjusted operating profit for the full year is now expected to be at the lower end of the consensus range.

Judges Scientific plc JDG is pleased to have seen the the reversal of a long term trend, in the half year to the 30th June. Organic order growth rose by 28.1%, matched by double digit like for like sales growth. Strong first quarter orders were followed by a good second quarter and interim results will be expected to show solid progress in revenue, EBIT and earnings per share.

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