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Ian Pollard: SSE Impacted By Triple Weather Whammy

SSE plc SSE The first quarter was impacted by weather conditions with hydro output higher than last year due to higher snow melt but for both years output was below expected levels, with this year, some 20% lower than expected. Output from onshore and offshore wind farms has been around 15% below expectations due to poorer than average wind conditions. Finally temperatures in the UK for the three months to the 30th June were 1.5 degrees centigrade warmer than thirty-year average,  leading to a fall of about 10% in average domestic gas demand. Dry, still and warm weather, has also been accompanied by persistently high gas prices. Thus energy costs have risen,  electricity output from renewable sources has fallen at the same time as demand. All of these factors have negatively impacted adjusted operating profit for the quarter by some 80m which will potentially have an impact on the full year results.

Unilever plc ULVR claims a solid all round performance in challenging market conditions for its first half with one of the highlights being a 5% drop in turnover including an adverse currency impact of 8.9%. More and more companies failing to meet expextations, seek refuge in challenging market conditions, without ever explaining what exactly the challenges were and why management was incapable of meeting them. SSE appears to be no exception treating it as one of the facts of business life for which they need not offer a meaningful explanation.

Sports Direct Intl SPD will no doubt please shareholders with the news that t has am elevation strategy which is continuing to exceed expectations. Preliminary results for the year to the 29th April show that on a reported basis, profit before tax fell by 72.5% and earnings per share by  88.3%. On an underlying basis the figures showed rises of 34.5% and 74.6%, respectively.

Babcock International Group BAB updates that it has delivered strong growth in its aviation and nuclear sectors but defence revenues have been impacted, albeit perhaps only on a temporary basis, by another government restructuring in the creation of a Submarine Delivery Agency whose main purpose in life, apart from the creation  of more jobs for the boys, appears to be the creation of slowdowns and delays in activity levels.  Perhaps another level of bureaucracy could be added to get levels of activity back to where they were before the new agency was created.

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Severn Trent Lost For Words

Image result for severn trent logoSevern Trent SVT  Expects net Customer Outcome Delivery Incentive Rewards ODI will be ahead of previous guidance for 2016 -17 and will meet or exceed last years level.  This must be a good thing because it follows a strong operational performance in the three months to 31st December. All fine and good but what does it mean. Presumably  another highly paid executive will have to waste his time issuing an explanatory RNS so that the rest of the world can understand todays.

Image result for ocado logoOcado Group OCDO enjoyed robust trading in its core business during the year to 27th October and was voted best online supermarket for the second consecutive year. A double digit rise in revenue with growth of 14.7% compared favourably to the limited growth shown by the grocery market generally. Profit before tax rose by 21.8% but profit after tax was up by only a smidgeon at 1.7%. Net debt grew by 30% during the year and external net debt rose eight fold to £56m.

Image result for sse logoSSE plc SSE is on target to meets its first financial objective of an increase the full year dividend at least in line with RPI. It experienced volatile market conditions in the third quarter to 31st December and in the first nine months of the year renewable energy output fell 20% below a normal year because of still and dry weather conditions.

Image result for earthport logoEarthport EPO expects revenue to have increased by 35% for the six months to 31st December, following a rise of 80% in transaction numbers and 96% in payment volumes.

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