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Alan Green CEO of Brand Communications talks hVIVO (HVO) RA International (RAI) Sativa Investments (SATI) on the Vox Markets Podcast

Alan Green CEO of Brand Communications talks about:

hVIVO (HVO)

RA International (RAI)

Sativa Investments (SATI)

(Interview starts at 7 minutes 40 seconds)

Ian Pollard: Morrisons – The Legacy Lives On With Bumper Christmas

Morrisons W. Sprmkts MRW If you do not know how to sell a pack of frozen peas, then you should not be on the board of a chain of supermarkets. Britains high streets are riddled with major retail outlets which are in a state of collapse and its Boards are littered with bankers, accountants and management experts with not a grocer amongst them. At Morrisons however the legacy of “our Ken” lives on and the company is leading the big guns of British retailing a pretty dance. Whilst they cry over their shelves of unsold peach and ratatouille consomme, Morrisons just get on with the job of selling goods which its customers want to buy in stores which they want to visit.

The result,  Morrisons has just enjoyed its fourth consecutive Christmas of like for like sales growth. Total sales for for the nine weeks to 6 January rose by 4%. Customer satisfaction increased significantly and the price of its basket of key Christmas items remained  the same as last year.

Greene King plc GNK is another company which got its festive hat perched at the right angle, as like for like sales over the last two weeks of Xmas and the New Year leapt by 10.9% compared to a rise of only 3.2% over the first 36 weeks of the financial year. It is accepted that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit may still have an impact on consumer confidence and spending during the year, but the company is confident of the outlook for the full year.

Safestore Holdings plc SAFE has announced its fifth consecutive year of double-digit earnings per share and dividend growth. Revenue for the year to the 31st October rose by 10.4% or 5.2% on a like for like basis and underlying EBITDA by 6.5%.The dividend has been increased from 14p to 16.2p per share, a rise of 16.1%. The company says that the start to its current financial year has been encouraging.

SIG plc SHI faced challenging market conditions and lower trading revenues in the second half of the year, particularly in December. Group like-for-like revenues were down 2.3% over the full year, with the UK and Ireland being particularly badly hit  with a like for like fall of 5.7%.

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Ian Pollard: Cloud Cuckoo Land Is Never Empty

2018 was quite a good year for the self important types who could not resist making fools of themselves in the full gaze of the public. The overall group winner of the year award must go to company directors and CEOs who have provided us with endless hours of amusement as they have literally tied themselves in knots trying to convince  us that the absolutely disastrous results which their companies have produced under their grossly incompetent leadership are really a good thing.

The examples are legion but a favourite is the self deluded belief that the continuing collapse in sales has been a blessing in disguise, because it led to a sharp fall in costs which enabled the company  to increase its dividend.

But for the mindless contribution from the country’s boardrooms, breakfast time business news would never be the same.

Shortly before Xmas Government ministers woke up to the opportunities they were missing and the votes they were losing, with their failure to take advantage of the Gatwick airport drone scandal. There was the Essex police making a ham fisted attempt at policing Essex and arresting innocent citizens in the process, when Ministers woke up and  discovered there was at last a major scandal in the country for which they had no responsibility whatsoever. What a golden opportunity. Essex police are incompetent, they screamed. Essex police are making a mess of it they brayed, even, Essex police should be removed from the investigation and Ministers  be put in charge.

Now hang on a bit. Ministers put in charge of a major investigation which the police had made a mess of? Ministers? These are the people, who brought you Brexit. These are the people who wanted customs posts in the Irish Sea, the uprooting of expats who had built new lives all over Europe and of Europeans who had been happily settled in the UK for years.Turn the south of England into a lorry park? Certainly sir. That shouldn’t be a problem They could not resist jumping on a bandwagon they would fall off at the first jolt. – all for a bit of self serving political advantage. They could not run a whelk stall, never mind Brexit and they claim they should be handed such responsibility.

Fortunately cloud cuckoo land is never empty.

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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 31 December 2018

NEX EXCHANGE 

China-based Gamfook Jewellery (GAMF) joined NEX on 24 December. The online retailer of customised jewellery was introduced at 15p a share, and the shares ended the first week at 15.5p (14p/17p).  That values Gamfook at £15.5m. Executive chairman Jindian Lin and his wife own 72.8% of Gamfook. A dividend based on 28% of profit attributable to shareholders is promised.

Part of the £407,000 Sanderson Capital Partners loan to Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has been converted into shares. The conversion of £258,500 was done at 0.1247p a share.

Milamber Ventures (MLVP) reported an increased interim loss of £343,000, up from £263,000. There were net liabilities at the end of September 2018, but the balance sheet has been improved by the issue of shares for cash and to pay off creditors. Problems at apprenticeship training company Eseential Learning are being sorted out.

PCG Entertainment (PCGE) had $913,000 in the bank and shareholders’ funds of £1.02m at the end of September 2018. There was a cash outflow from operations of £817,000 in the six month period to September 2018.

A subsidiary of Lombard Capital (LCAP) is issuing two bonds. The first is a 4% bond, raising up to £50m and expiring at the end of January 2022, and the other is a 4.5% bond, raising up to £90m and expiring at the end of January 2024. It is intended that both bonds should be lised on a recognised exchange.

AIM  

For a change the last major announcement of the year is a positive one. Gordon Dadds (GOR) has completed the acquisition of international law firm Ince UK and it will trade as Ince Gordon Dadds. Trading in the shares recommences on 2 January. The deal will cost £27.3m over four years, plus options over three million shares, and the combined group generated fees of £30.5m in the year to April 2018. The deal should be earnings enhancing in the current financial year.

Earthport (EPO) is recommending a 30p a share bid from Visa Inc. This values the payments technology company at £198m. The bid is 50% higher than the 20p a share placing price in October 2017, but lower than the 40.85p a share placing price in September 2014.

Chamberlin (CMH) improved its trading in the first half and the cash from the sale of the Exidor business has improved its balance sheet. The foundries business moved back into profit in the first half as demand continues to increase for turbo charger housings, which are used for hybrid cars as wells as conventinal ones. The company’s debt has been reduced from £10.5m at the end of September 2018 to £3.7m. The pension deficit has been cut from £4m in the last balance sheet to £1.5m.

Facilities management and security services provider Mortice Ltd (MORT) increased its interim revenues by 10% to $116.7m. Underlying pre-tax profit was 5% ahead at $2.3m. Net debt was $20.1m at the end of September 2018.

TUS International has published a circular for a general meeting in January in order to gain shareholder approval for the acquisition of the Telit Communications (TCM) automotive business, whose reorganisation is near completion.

In the six months to September 2018, Stanley Gibbons (SGI) continues to lose money although costs have been reduced. Revenues fell from £7.14m to £5.03m. Coins and medals are the part of the business still making a profit. The overall loss has been reduced from £2.93m to £2.37m.

The People’s Operator (TPOP) does not expect to appoint a new nominated adviser and the share placing with the owner of LycaMobile has been pulled. The investment of £1.3m in shares (29.9%) and convertible loan notes will not go ahead but the potential investor is considering its options. The AIM quotation will be cancelled on 3 January.

TSX-V quoted PetroTal Corp (PTAL) has gained an AIM quotation. The Peru-focused oil producer is developing its interests at Bretana and growing near-term production.

IT compliance and security services provider GRC International (GRC) increased its interim revenues by 54% to £8.91m, thanks to a boost from GDPR, but it moved from a pre-tax profit of £614,000 to a loss of £2.18m. There was additional investment following the flotation of the company in March. Cash is running out and an overdraft and a loan facility have been secured.

Gaming technology developer Nektan (NKTN) is raising £1.5m at 15p a share, although not all the shares will be issued until the company gets shareholder approval at the AGM on 7 February, and it will generate £2m from the sale of 57.5 of US subsidiary Respin. There are also plans to restructure the conversion terms of loan notes and a shareholder loan. These proposals are dependent on each other going ahead and on the successful negotiation with the HMRC over the payment terms for £2.9m of UK point of consumption tax. There was £1.4m in cash at the end of June 2018, which is similar to the cash outflow from operations in the preceeding 12 months.

Functional food ingredients developer Provexis (PXS) improved interim revenues from £124,000 to £194,000. The company’s Fruitiflow products are being more widely sold and the prospects for the deal with BY-HEALTH in China are positive. Pro forma cash was £556,000.

Veltyco Group (VLTY) is going to launch its own regulated financial trading brand in the first quarter of 2019, although this depnds on regulatory approval.

Oil and gas explorer and producer Cabot Energy (CAB) says that it is still trying to raise cash via a share issue and it would be at a large discount to the current share price. The cash needs to bre raised by the end of January in order to pay overdue creditors and provide working capital.

Building materials sector consolidator SigmaRoc (SRC) has announced its plans to redeem its £10m of 6% convertible loan notes. SigmaRoc is offering 105p for each 100p loan note, plus 0.378p a note in interest payments. The last acceptance date for the tender is 16 January.

Mobile commerce services provider Bango (BGO) will be loss-making in 2018, although there was an EBITDA in the fourth quarter. End user spend more than doubled to £550m. There should be £3.5m in the bank at the end of 2018.

WANdisco (WAND) has secured a three-year agreement with an American healthcare company worth £700,000. The deal involves WANdisco Fusion and comes via the sales partnership with IBM.

Paracale Gold is providing a loan of up to $1.224m to Goldstone Resources (GRL) to finance the development of the Akrokeri-Homase project in Ghana. This mine could be in production in 2020. Paracale will receive 40.35 million warrants exercisable at 1.2p a share, which replace existing warrants.

Mobile payments technology provider MobilityOne Ltd (MBO) has secured an agency and reseller agreement with MBP Solutions for the company’s products in Malaysia.

In the six months to September 2018, Vast Resources (VAST) reported a 8% increase in gold production to 13,352 ounes at the Pickstone-Peerless gold mine in Zimbabwe. There was a 61% increase in copper concentrate produced to 1,526 tonnes at the Manaila polymetallic mine and zinc concentrate produced has nearly doubled to 199 tonnes. Revenues increased from $14.9m to $21.9m. There was still a cash outflow from operations of $1.79m.

Michael Principe and Greg Genske have resigned from the board of TLA Worldwide (TLA) following the sale of its core US business. The agreement with SunTrust Bank to defer capital and interest payments has been extended to 31 January.

Phoenix Global Mining (PGM) has raised £358,000 at 28p a share. There is a warrant exercisable at 28p, lasting until the end of 2021, with every four new shares. The cash will be invested in the Empire copper, gold, silver, zinc and tungsten mine in Idaho, where news of the most recent drilling is expected. A new resource statement will be prepared and additional acreage acquired.

Urban Exposure (UEX) had committed new lending of £522m during 2018. It has secured a £165m loan facility for its joint venture with KKR, as well as a £32.8m loan from Aviva for a single transaction by the joint venture.

MAIN MARKET    

Nanoco (NANO) has achieved the third milestone in its cadmium-free quantum dots technology development and supply agreement with a US customer and triggered a £1.6m. This is the final milestone of three and they have generated £4.2m.

Robin Boyle has requisitioned a general meeting at Athelney Trust (ATY) in order to get himself reappointed. He also wants David Lawman and Paul Coffin to be appointed and the three existing directors, Dr Emmanuel Pohl, Simon Moore and Jemma Jackson, to be removed. The other two resolutions are to terminate Jason Pohl as alternate director and any other director appointed by the time of the general meeting on 22 January.

Standard list shell Stranger Holdings (STHP) is still awaiting UKLA approval for its proposed reverse takeover of waste energy technology developer Alchemy, which was announced in August 2017. Management is hopeful that the deal could go ahead by the end of the first quarter of 2019. Stranger had net liabilities of £435,000 at the end of September 2018.

Dukemount Capital (DKE) has forward-funded and pre-sold its first development at West Derby to a fund managed by Alpha Real Capital. Dukemunt will receive £570,000 for the site and the total funding package for the development will be £3m. The development involves demolishing the existing building and constructing 17 supported living appartments and retail space. Dukemount continues to manage and develop the project on behalf of the supported living housing association that has taken a 50-year lease.

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard: ASOS Badly Impacted With Online Growth Weakest For Years

ASOS ASC experienced a significant deterioration in “the important trading month of November” and conditions remain challenging. As a result, it has had to reduce expectations for the current financial year. Total retail sales for the 3 months to the end of November rose by 12%, the UK leading the way with a 19% rise and Rest of the World bottom with a fall of 2%. November was seriously behind expectations and there is almost an air of desperation in some of the company’s comments.

Consumer confidence is seen as weakening and growth in online clothing sales is the weakest of recent years. Heavy discounting and promotions will see the weighting between first and second half profitability transformed from the 30/70% seen in recent years to an even more substantial weighting towards the second half. Trading conditions across its two largest European markets of Germany and France, which account for c.60% of EU sales, have become significantly more challenging, with growth at 15% for the year to date.In Rest of the World performance has been significantly behind expectations with an actual fall. Not many companies are so badly hit that they are  forced to recalibrate expectations for the full year, at the end of the first quarter

Hunting plc HTG updates before the December year end that current volatile market conditions will impact short term budgetary decision making by its customers with possible deferrals of work in 2019. Group results to the end of November 2018 remained in line with management’s expectations,  but some market softness has been observed despite progress in the US during 2018. 2019 is expected to start with a cautious outlook, but Hunting believes it is in a robust position to manage the challenges it faces.

Safestyle UK plc SFE is confident thatits recovery and performance in 2019 will be ahead of current market expectations after delivering an underlying loss before tax for 2018 of between £8.2m and £8.6m)

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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 17 December 2018

NEX EXCHANGE        

Ecommerce software provider Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) moved into profit in the first half and had £648,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018. Revenues increased by £168,000 to £647,000, even though subscription-based pricing is reducing the initial revenues from B2B clients. A loss of £60,000 became a pre-tax profit of £142,000, helped by lower operating expenses.

Veni Vidi Vici Ltd (VVV) is acquiring a 51% stake in a licence in the Shangri La gold, silver and copper project in Western Australia for A$220,000, which is payable to Goldfields Consolidated in the form of 190,000 shares and A$20,000 in cash. The shares cannot be sold for three months. VVV will spend an initial A$300,000 over three years and Goldfields will receive a 10% management fee.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has raised £367,000 at 4p a share and each new share comes with a two-year warrant exercisable at 7.5p a share. If the share price averages more than 15p for five consecutive days, then the company can require the warrants to be exercised.

Gastropubs operator Barkby Group (BARK) has signed heads of terms to acquire Northamptonshire-based upmarket car dealer Centurian Automotive Ltd. The most recent accounts were for a dormant company and shows £200 in the bank.

Quetzal Securities Ltd sold 6.75 million shares in Pelican House Mining (PHM) for 0.5p each and Eight Capital Partners (ECP) acquired 8.25 million shares at 0.491p each. Quetzal subsequently sold a further 6.75 million shares in Pelican shares, leaving a 13.2% stake, to Eight Capital at 0.5p a share, taking its stake to 15.3%.

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has declared an unchanged total dividend of 21p a share for the year to October 2018. An interim of 7p a share will be paid in January (ex-dividend 20 December) and a final dividend of 14p a share paid in May (ex-dividend 18 April).

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has appointed Northland as broker.

EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (EL.P) had a NAV of 200.95p a share at the end of November 2018. The shares are trading at 160p.

AIM  

Construction consultancy Driver Group (DRV) reported a 2017-18 pre-tax profit of £3.8m, up from £2.5m, and it is returning to paying dividends with a 0.5p a share payment. Net cash is £6.9m, helped by a property disposal, and this could reach more than £10m by September 2019 even after dividend payments. The Diales expert witness business is becoming an increasingly important revenue generator and overall utilisation levels have improved. There has also been a focus on better margin work in the Middle East.

SigmaRoc (SRC) is in the process of acquiring precast concrete products supplier CPP Building Products for £15.2m, although the deal requires shareholder approval for share issues, so it will not happen until early January. CPP is based in north west England and fits well with the existing precast concrete business. In the year to August 2018, revenues were £20.9m and EBITDA was £2.6m. This year’s trading is in line with expectations. There are plans to refinance the convertible loan notes.

Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) had already warned about delays to its utility connection contracts with housebuilders and the 2017-18 figures were slightly better than expected with flat pre-tax profit of £9.2m. Nexus has a strong order book and could increase its 2018-19 pre-tax profit to £10.4m. The new electric vehicle charging points division will take time to build up.

Advanced coatings provider Hardide (HDD) has benefited from an upturn in demand from the oil and gas sector. It is also getting nearer to obtaining its first aerospace orders. Hardide remains loss-making and this will still be the case next year as it continues to invest in increasing capacity in the UK and US as demand grows.

Curtis Banks (CBP) has purchased around 600 SIPPS with assets of £180m from Hargreaves Hale, which will continue to manage the assets. Curtis Banks will launch a new SIPP product in January.

Clinical trials manager Venn Life Sciences (VENN) is collaborating with Open Orphan DAC. The two firms will share resources in the orphan drugs market. Venn is raising £1m from a two-year loan note issue.

WH Ireland has upgraded its forecast for banknote authentication and brand protection technology business Spectra Systems (SPSY) for the second time. The underlying pre-tax profit forecast has been raised by 10% to $4.5m. The 2019 forecast, which had previously been upgrade by 16%, is maintained for the time being.

Kibo Energy (KIBO) says that its 60%-owned subsidiary MAST Energy Developments has an exclusive option to undertake due diligence and acquire three peaking power sites totalling 31.3MW. This would provide initial revenues for Kibo later next year. Kibo has renewed its memorandum of understanding with Mozambique-based electric utility Electricidade de Mocambique for the financing and operation of the Benga independent power project.

eServGlobal Ltd (ESG) says that 2018 revenues will be lower than expected due to weak trading at the PayMobile business and the failure to close orders. The PayMobile business may be sold and the focus will be the HomeSend remittances business.

NWF (NWF) says feeds demand was strong in the summer because of a lack of natural grazing. In contrast, the hot weather held back demand for fuels. A Solihull-based fuel distributor has been acquired. The food distribution business continues to trade at around capacity because of contract wins. The interims will be published on 29 January.

ReNeuron (RENE) has important clinical trial results coming up in the next 18 months. A retinitis pigmentosa treatment is in phase I/II trials and there should be data in mid-2019. A phase IIb trial for a CTX cell therapy-based treatment for chronic stroke is due to report by early 2020. There was £30.7m in the bank at the end of September 2018. Management is seeking partners to help it to make the most of its technology.

PhotonStar LED Group (PSL) has raised £100,000 at 0.02p a share and this will enable the board to assess new business opportunities.

Property adviser Fletcher King (FLK) is maintaining its interim dividend at 1p a share even though pre-tax profit has dipped from £148,000 to £132,000. Ratings appeals revenues were lower. There is £2.28m of cash in the balance sheet.

Kromek (KMK) has secured an initial contract with the US Department of Defense worth $2m over 12 months. The plan is to develop a proof-of-concept device for a vehicle-mounted biological threat identifier.

Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) started trading on AIM on Friday and the share price ended the day at 272.5p. Crossword raised £2m at 290p a share.

Volex (VLX) is buying cable assemblies and connectors manufacturer GTK for £14.3m in cash and shares. in the year to July 2018, GTK generated a pre-exceptional operating profit of £1.7m. There was £1.3m in the bank. The deal is earnings enhancing.

African Battery Metals (ABM) has found it difficult to raise the cash it requires and trading in the shares has been suspended.  The company wants to come to a settlement with creditors so that it could continue to trade.

Smaller company mergers and acquisitions business K3 Capital Group (K3C) is cautiously optimistic but the full year outcome will depend on the timing of deals. There could be a small dip in pre-tax profit to £7m this year and there could be a corresponding dip in dividend from 11.2p a share to 10.8p a share.

Telit Communications (TCM) says that it will not complete the sale of its automotive business until next year. Telit is expected to make a 2018 loss. Further cost savings are being made in the Internet of Things operations.

More bad news from Filtronic (FTC) with sales of Massive MIMO antennas lower than expected. The main customer has reduced its forecast demand. The capitalised development costs of £500,000 will be written off and options are being reviewed. The rest of the business is trading in line with expectations. Filtronic will be loss-making this year. Net cash was £2.3m at the end of November 2018.

Science Group (SAG) has ended its formal sale process because of stockmarket and exchange rate uncertainty. The strategic review continues. Trading is in line with expectations and the company will recommence the share buy back programme. Net cash was £6.4m at the end of November 2018.

Like-for-like sales growth has been slowing at DP Poland (DPP) and this means that progress in 2019 is unlikely to be as good as expected. This means that it will take longer to reach profitability. Rivals have been spending money on marketing and warm weather has also held DP Poland back. A full year trading update will be published on 29 January.

Taptica International Ltd (TAP) plans to spend up to $10m on buying back shares and it has already spent nearly £110,000. There was net cash of $42.1m at the end of June 2018.

Tristel (TSTL) says that the US regulatory process for its disinfection products is on track and interim pre-tax profit should be £2.2m.

TomCo Energy (TOM) has managed to secure £550,000 at 2p a share. The previous £532,000 placing at 8.5p a share was pulled. Laurence Read has become a non-executive director.

RA International (RAI) has won a five year contract worth up to $5.6m from a US corporate client in Central Africa.

MAIN MARKET   

Circassia Pharmaceuticals (CIR) is moving to AIM and it has decided to exercise its option to acquire US rights to COPD treatment Tudorza from AstraZeneca. This deal should complete by the end of the year and it will trigger a payment of $5m. A further $20m is payable upon approval of Duaklir and then there is further deferred consideration of $100m.

Tex Holdings (TXH) has warned that second half earnings will be lower than anticipated due to delayed deliveries and reorganisation costs.

Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) is on course to complete the expansion of its Runcorn facility by the end of 2018 with commercial volume manufacturing by the middle of 2019.

Lb-shell (LBP) is being wound-up because of potential litigation relating to before it became a shell. There is unlikely to be anything left for shareholders.

Giant Saint Technologies Ltd (GST) is installing a $1m data centre in Singapore.

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard: Stagecoach Pleased With Operating Loss of £6.2m (Unadjusted)

Stagecoach Group plc SGC  is pleased to report positive half-year financial results, ahead of expectations, at least according to the Chief Executive, David Griffiths. These included a total unadjusted operating loss of £6.2m compared to a profit of £114.8m profit for 2018, which may lead the more cynical to comment that some people are easily pleased. Virgin Rail did produce a strong profit in the six months to the  27th October but a statutory loss of 5.5p per share compares with last years first half earnings per share of 13.6p. Not surprisingly the interim dividend remain unchanged. Encouraging results have been delivered at the UK regional bus business, together with high customer satisfaction. The above forecast rail earnings have enabled increased  expectations for full-year adjusted earnings per share.

Wood Group plc WG  has been awarded a $43 million (USD) contract by a large-cap midstream US company to construct 80 miles of steel pipeline in west Texas. This is a strategic pipeline for the US and a milestone project for the company.

 

Versarian plc VRS is delighted to have entered into an MOU with a subsidiary of a subsidiary of China Railway Group Limited (“CRG”).one of the world’s largest construction and engineering contractors. The cooperation is intended to explore the applications for graphene, which are specific to CTCE’s needs. IT is envisaged that CTCE will provide funding for any manufacturing venture in a structure to be agreed.

Image Scan Holdings IGE after rapid growth in both sales and profits between 2015 and 2017 the year to the 30th September proved to be a disaster. Sales fell from £5m to £3.5 and profit before tax slumped from £480,000 to £90,000 as the company was impacted by exceptional costs associated with the an aborted acquisition and a decline in portable X-ray orders .However the order pipeline is strong, the team has been strengthened and  research and development has been refocused with the aim of returning to the growth of previous years.

Brave Bison Grp plc BBSN reports it is on track for a year of real progress in 2018. Trading is ahead of management expectations with an improved financial performance, revenues growing and full-year EBITDA3 positive for the first time since the Group came to market in 2013, as well as expectations of cash flow being positive. In October the company was named as the worlds second-biggest digital media publisher for views and consistently in the top 10 during 2018. The shares are so far responding well in early trading this morning.

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Ian Pollard: ABF – A Headline A Day

Associated British Foods ABF Yesterdays headline trumpeted that Primark blamed three periods of unseasonable weather for sales sliding by 2.1% over the year to the 15th September. But today a new day has dawned and brought with it new headlines as the media stands on its head and proclaims that today’s truth is that Primark has in fact delivered a strong performance with sales rising by 1%. Like for like sales in the UK rose by 1.2% where its share of the clothing market grew significantly. Despite suffering in Europe where sales were weak and fell by 4.7%, total sales including those from fifteen new stores in nine countries, grew by 5%

Perhaps George Weston the CEO got it right when he calmly headlined that it had been another year of progress, with strong profits, not only from Primark but from each of its other world beating divisions, grocery, agriculture and ingredients, with only sugar letting the side down. Adjusted profit before tax rose by 5% and earnings per share by 6% whilst the final dividend is increased by a healthy 10% in line with the promises of a strong  profit performance  made in Septembers update.

Marks & Spencer Group MKS waved its magicians wand and produced a 7.1% increase in profit before tax after revenue which fell by 3.1% in the half year to the 29th September. The company is now going through the first phase of it transformation programme which includes the closure of over 100 stores and the introduction of a” new, very determined and energetic management team”  which indicates that the previous management team must have been regarded as somewhat lacking in these qualities. The store closures had their effect on revenue with Clothing & Home down 2.7%, Food down by 0.2% or 2.9% on a like-for-like basis, reflecting tough trading. Looking at the level of their food prices perhaps there is little wonder that trading was tough.
Persimmon PSN “All gone” is the word from Persimmon which admits that at the end of its third quarter on the 6th November it is fully sold up for the current year and forward sales beyond 2018 are 9% up on a year ago. Sales prices remain firm and consumer confidence is described as being resilient.
Dairy Crest Group DCG claims delivery of  a good performance in the half year to the 30th September, driven by its two largest brands, Cathedral City and Clover. Profit before tax fell by 88% and basic earnings per share by 89%. Revenue rose by 2% and the interim dividend is to be increased by the same amount

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Ian Pollard: JD Sports #JD – More Records

JD Sports Fashion JD delivered another record result with profit before tax for the 26 weeks ended 4 August 2018 increasing by a further 19%.and revenue up by 35% despite reports of market conditions continuing to be challenging. Like for like revenue rose by 3% and basic earnings per share by 24%.The interim dividend is to be increased by 4%.

Ashtead Group AHT delivered a strong first quarter and with the added help of weaker sterling, anticipates that full year results will be ahead of expectations. On a statutory basis revenue for the quarter to the end of July rose by 22% and profit before tax by 23%. Earnings per share were up by 44% and profit a. fter tax by 44%.

Hilton Food Group HFG achieved strong volume and profit growth during the twenty eight weeks to the 15th July and the interim dividend is to be increased by 12% to 5.6p per share.Turnover for the half year was up by 24.5% on a constant currency basis, basic earnings per share rose by 10.4% and profit before tax was up by 20.3%.

Surgical Innovations SUN delivered growth in revenue and profit in the first half of the year despite what it describes as significant headwinds in the market and regulatory environment. Revenue for the six months to the 30th June. were up by 52.4% albeit primarily due to the acquisition of Elemental Healthcare. On an adjusted basis EBITDA rose by 13.3% and operating profit by 35.5%.The Chairman concludes that the the group has now emerged from a challenging period with improved financial results and a strong balance sheet.

Team17Group plc TM17 Celebrates its maiden interim results with a record first half performance which saw revenue rise by 48%. On  an adjusted basis earnings per share more than tripled from 0.56p. per share to 1.93p and EBITDA rose by 36%.Performance for the full year will as in previous years be weighted towards the second half. Revenue growth in the second half will be driven by new product launches and continued growth in the business.

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Ian Pollard – GKN winning sales at expense of margins prior to takeover

Melrose Industries MRO & GKN. Melrose has published a trading update for GKN for the 13 weeks from 1st January to the 31st March and based on GKN’s own management accounts  produced prior to the takeover on the 19th April. GKN’s performance showed trends which were below market expectations. Melrose has made allowance for further under performance and claims that GKN, with sales up 5% and operating profit down 10%,  was achieving sales growth at the expense of operating margins. GKN’s net debt during the period rose from £889m. to £1124m. Despite this Melrose is confident that its net debt at the 2018 year end will be consistent with previous guidance.

London Stock Exchange Group plc LSE produced a strong performance in the quarter to the 31st March. Total income increased by 13% both year on year and on an organic and constant currency basis. All of the businesses performed well and the Group says it is well placed to develop its many growth opportunities.

Focusrite plc TUNE has thoroughly enjoyed its first six months and is celebrating by increasing its interim dividend for the half year to the 28th February by 33% to 1p per share. Group revenue rose by 21.2%, EBITDA by 33%, profit before tax by 26.8% and basic earnings per share by 23.3%. All major regions benefited from revenue growth and Xmas trading was particularly strong.

AB Dynamics ABDP has made an excellent start to the current financial year with  revenue growing by 39% in the 6 months to 28th February, profit before tax up by 34% and basic earnings per share by 86%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 10% to 1.465p per share. Demand for driving robots hit an all time high and the forward order book is described as good  both for the reminder of this financial year and going through into 2019

Osirium Technologies OSI total revenue for the year the 31st December rose by 63% and bookings by 123% but the loss for the year also rose – from £1,822,497m. to £2,296,814m.The company claims that it is continuing to build both momentum and value

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