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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 – Morrisons #MRW knows its onions – dividends up by 85.8%

Morrison W Sprmkts. MRW became clear leader of the supermarket pack during the 53weeks to the 4th February, as it enjoyed its third consecutive year of growth, growth which it describes as being meaningful, consistent and sustainable as well as full of confidence and promise for the future. Underlying profit before tax increased by 11%, or 16.9% on a reported basis and group like for like sales rising by 2.8% or 4.1% including fuel. Not one of them has the aptitude or ability to run a corner shop. They couldnt tell the difference between a cabbage and a cauliflower. and have no interest in learning it. Sir Ken Morrison who sadly died just over a year ago, aged 85, was still frequently seen in Morrisons stores, arriving unannounced and opening packs of food to check their freshness. That is what shop keeping is all about but its not for the number crunchers and city whizz kids who whinge about declining footfall and all the ills which afflict the nations high street and their crumbling businesses and haven’t a clue what to do about it.

The final ordinary dividend is to be increased to 4.43p per share making a fully year total of 6.09p, an increase of 12.2% The good news does not end there however, for a special dividend of 4p per share is also going to be paid, bringing the full years total dividends to 10.09 p per share,an increase of 85.8%, all of which goes to show that if you want to run a chain of supermarkets, you’ve got to know your onions

Hikma Pharmaceuticals HIK produced what its Executive Chairman describes as a solid performance in the year to 31st December. Core group revenue rose by 1% on a constant currency basis as management was beset with challenging market conditions in the US. In fact the year was so bad that the solution management came up with to solve the company;s ills was to refresh the corporate branding. That perhaps explains a lot and especially why the previous years reported profit of $302m. was turned into a loss of $747m. Hands up if there is anybody else on the planet who thinks a billion dollar turn down represents a solid performance. Is a fall of 11% in basic earnings per share or 8% on a constant currency basis, a solid performance except to the inhabitants of cloud cuckoo land. The final dividend is being increased but only to 34 cents per share, a derisory increase of 1 cent. which no doubt will be referred to in the boardroom as a solid increase.

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Pharmas, Builders Supplies and Construction Boom

Today’s mix of results clearly indicate continuing boom conditions in well managed pharma companies with new successful products – (viz AMS yesterday) and in companies which can prosper on the tailcoats of the house builders whose boom seems never ending. ( except for the warning signs in Central London)

Marshall’s MSHL showed a strong rise of 31% in profit before tax for the year to the end of December. Basic earnings per share followed suite with a rise of 32% The final dividend was increased by 22% and the recommended supplementary dividend will be up by 50%, making a total rise for the year of 30%. This was all achieved on a rise in revenue of only 3%. Since the start of the new year both sales and order intake have been strong.

Clinigen CLIN achieved over 30 growth across all its key financial measure in the half year to 31st December and is increasing its interim dividend by 23%. Adjusted gross profit and earnings per share rose by 34% and 31% respectively and more strong growth is promised for 2017.

Forterra FORT A strong second half performance resulted in both revenue and profit increases for the year to the end of December, its first year as a misted company. Profit before tax surged by some 75% from £22.2m to £37.1m. The outlook for the first half of 2017 is good, buoyed by strong activity from the major house builders.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals HIK claims that its business became stronger than ever in 2016, with group revenue rising by 39% and operating profit up by 14%, both in constant currency terms. A final dividend of 22 cents per share is to be paid making a total of 33 cents for the full year, a rise of 1cent. A significant increase in intangibles and exceptional items, led to reported operating profit falling by 9% in constant currency terms.

Somero Emterprises SOM enjoyed an excellent year in 2016 and is increasing its final dividend by 61%. Revenue for the year to the end of December rose by 13%, profit before tax by 22% and adjusted EBITDA by 23%. The company is excited about the prospects for 2017 with more strong growth expected.

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WPP Slumps, Costain Excited

Costain Group COST is enjoying exciting times as the countries energy, water and transport infrastructure continues to be upgraded. The interim dividend is to be increased by 15% to 4.3p after revenue for the half year to 30th June rose by nearly 25%.  The half year ended with a record order book, 90% of which was repeat business.

Paddy Power Betfair PPB Online half year revenue rose by 20% and total revenue by 18%. merger integration is ahead of plan but merger related items led to an operating loss of £48m. and a loss per share of 68.3p Underlying operating profit however was up by 39% and underlying EBITDA by 31%. an interim dividend of 40p per share is to be paid.

WPP plc WPP After exceptional write downs interim profit before tax slumped by 40.1% and profit after tax by 53.1%. On a headline basis however, reported PBT was up by over 15%. Billings rose by 9.3% and revenue by 11.9%. Like for like net sales grew by 3.8% and the  interim dividend is to be raised by 22.9% to 19.55p.

Headlam Group HEAD enjoyed a strong first half to the 30th June and is increasing its interim dividend by 11.7% to 6.7p.It made further gains in market share in the UK where it outperformed and saw an improving trend on the continent. Profit before tax rose by 22.4% and basic earnings per share by 23.1%

Hikma Pharmaceutical HIK claims a solid first half performance which saw operating profit fall by 27% on revenue up by 28%. Basic earnings per share were down by 49% and the interim dividend is being maintained at 11 cents per share.

Goldplat GDP has put in a strong financial performance for its year end at the 30th June thanks to the recovery in the price of gold and the collapse in sterling. A full year profit before tax of £2m. is now expected.

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