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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 – Forex volatility impacts Diageo #DGE

Diageo plc DGE updates prior to its AGM that the year has started well but increased foreign exchange volatility in emerging markets will have a £175m impact on sales and a £45m.impact on operating profit for the fiscal year.

Stobart Group plc STOB  has issued a pre close trading statement for the six months to the 31st August showing that aviation passenger numbers at London Southend Airport have risen by 37%. Further growth will be added with the start of Ryanair flights in spring 2019, the target being to reach 5m passengers per year by 2022. Stobart claims it is well placed to deliver the ambitious growth targets set by the Board to double the value of the business. An interim dividend of 4.5p per share is to be paid.

Kier Group plc KIE announces what it describes as a good set of results for the year to 30th June with all divisions performing well. The year ended with a record order book of 10.2bn in construction and services. Both profit before tax and basic earnings per share rose by 9% and an increase of 2% is proposed in the full year dividend.

Iofina IOF has continued to improve both revenue and profitability. in the half year to the 30th June. Revenue rose by 20% on top of which it benefited from price rises of 8% and production increases. Iodine prices are continuing to rise and production increased by 12% ahead of revised production targets. EBITDA was up by 6% and the operating loss was reduced to $47,000 and the loss before tax to $0.8m.

The City Pub Group CPC claims it made strong progress in the half year to the 1st July, with sales up by 24%, adjusted EBITDA by 25% and adjusted profit before tax by 73%. Nine pubs have been opened this year and it anticipates operating more than 50 by mid 2019. It is ahead of its strategy to double in size to 65-70 sites by 2021.The momentum seen in the first half has continued into the second half

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Ian Pollard – Special Dividends Day

Ferrexpo plc FXPO is to pay a special dividend of 3.3 cents per share, thereby doubling the interim dividend paid on the 8th September. The explanation as to why this has become almost a necessity is so long winded that  the company appears to have guilt feelings over having to do it. The shortened version is that it has continued to trade strongly since announcing its interim results in August and this has enabled it to reduce net debt, fund capital expenditure, on top of which there is strong demand outlook for pellets in 2018 and in any event when one is awash with so much, cash one really has to do something with it.

Stobart Group STOB is also joining in the fun and announced that it too will  pay a further interim dividend of 4.5p per share which also doubles its interim dividend paid on the 6th October. A further similar payment will also be made on the 18th April. The group has sufficient non operating asset resources to keep this going until 2022, after which it will go back to that old fashioned habit of paying dividends out of profits. Other than that no explanation is given other than this what they said they would do, at the AGM back in June.

Smith DS SMDS is delighted with organic volume growth which accelerated to 5.2% in the half year to the 31st October, with all regions sharing in the growth and the increase in the paper price progressing as expected. The interim dividend is to be increased by 7% after djusted operating profit and earnings per share grew by 11% and 6% respectively. Profit before tax fell by 1% and on a statutory basis, earnings per share were down by14%. An acquisition in Romania is due to be completed in January and there are further exciting growth opportunities in both Europe and in North America.

Circle Property plc CRC produced a strong operational and financial performance for the year to the 30th September and the interim dividend is to be increased by 8.3%. Rental income for the year rose by 26% and net operating profit was up by 57% with NAV per share rising by 15.3%

RM plc RM expects that results for the year to the 30th November will be ahead of expectations following second half revenue growth and a resilient performance resulting from the 2016 restructuring.

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Buy Stobart Group #STOB say VectorVest. The stock is undervalued and over the past year has significantly increased EPS.

Stobart Group Limited is engaged in infrastructure and support service businesses operating in the biomass energy, aviation and railway maintenance sectors, as well as has investments in a national property and logistics portfolio.

Its segments are Energy, Aviation, Rail, Infrastructure and Investments. The Stobart Energy segment specializes in supply of sustainable biomass for the generation of renewable energy. The Stobart Aviation segment specializes in operation of commercial airports and includes a joint venture investment in an airline. The Stobart Rail segment specializes in delivering internal and external civil engineering development projects including rail network operations. The Stobart Infrastructure segment specializes in management, development and realization of a portfolio of property assets, and investments in energy plants. The Stobart Investments segment holds non-controlling interests in a transport and distribution business and an aircraft leasing business.

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The largest shareholders of the business are Neil Woodford and his previous employers Invesco. 65% of the shares are held by large investment houses.

The chart of Stobart is shown below in my normal format. The price is in candlestick format while the VectorVest valuation is shown by the green line study above the price. Earnings per share (EPS) is shown in the window below the price.

Stobart Group VectorVest chart

As can be seen the share is undervalued and over the past year has increased EPS significantly. The Growth Potential of Stobart (RV) is an indicator of long term share price appreciation. On a scale between 0 and 2 the RV is 1.72 which is excellent. The Growth to PE ratio (GPE) is on a level of 4.5 which indicates that the share is mispriced and undervalued. The share pays a dividend of over 4% and has an excellent record of paying and growing the yield.

Since being revalued by VectorVest in August 2017 the share has traded sideways and eagle eyed technical analysts should see the 5 wave “flag” pattern which looks to be complete soon.

Superimposed on the Stobart chart is the performance of the overall market as measured by the VectorVest Composite of the London market. This is an equally weighted index of all the 2165 shares that VectorVest follows on the LSE and AIM. The red and green triangles on the chart represent the signals from the most conservative VectorVest market timing model known as Confirmed Calls.

At VectorVest we believe that the most important thing to know is whether the market is moving up or down. Everything follows from that. As you can see Stobart starts to move when the overall market turns positive as shown by the green triangle on the chart.

Since the 17th November the overall market has been trending downwards as defined by the Confirmed Call market timing system and the advice on VectorVest has been to stand aside. That’s been excellent advice.

Should the overall market print a new BUY signal (green triangle) and the recommendation on the share change to BUY then the probability of a trending and bankable move upwards looks excellent.

Summary: Nothing to do at present until if and when the overall market records a new BUY signal. Consider the share if STOB.L breaks upwards through 3 pounds and prints a BUY recommendation.

Dr David Paul

December 5 2017

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Unilever Ice Cream Sales Melt In Europe

Unilever plc ULVR Reports that emerging markets drove third quarter sales growth with underlying sales up by 2.6% and, over nine months, by 2.8%. Total third quarter turnover however was down by 1.6% after a 5.1 % currency impact. Developed markets were a problem and remained challenging, with turnover, led by of all things, ice cream in Europe, down by 2.3%. Emerging markets saved the day with volume up by 1.8% and turnover by 6.3%.

Rentokil Initial RTO obtained growth in its third quarter, from acquisitions which produced a total rise in company revenue of 10.10% but on an organic basis growth at 3%, was much lower. Strong performances came from Asa Pacific, Latin America and the target market of North America. Five further aquisitions were made in quarter 3 and prospects for the rest of the year remain good.

Stobart Group STOB is to increase its interim dividend by 50% for the half year to 31st August from last years  3p to 4.5p per share this year. Profit before tax came in at £111.6m compared to last years £10.8m and underlying EBITDA rose from £20.2m last year to £131.8m this year but after taking into account £123.9m of profit from the partial sale of its investment in Eddie Stobart Logistics, which appears to mean that excluding that one off bonus real EBITDA fell somewhat.

Travis Perkins TPK enjoyed continued strong third quarter growth across all its contract businesses and a significant improvement in sales in Plumbing & Heating. Group sales rose by 3.5% for the quarter rising to 4.1% on a like for like basis.

Tristel plc TSTL Sales and profitability in the year to the 30th June exceeded both market expectations and the company’s own internal plan,enabling the standard full year dividend to be increased by by 21%. Turnover for the year rose by 19% which included a 43% rise in oversea sale and earnings per share increased from 5.01p. per share to 8.06p

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Stobart faces short term risks

Stobart Group STOB The new CEO who has only been in post for two months has issued a surprise warning that the company faces short term risks in both energy and aviation and that there will be short term delays in the company’s value creation potential although the long term potential remains unaffected. Despite the popularity of Southend airport where passenger numbers rose by 22% in the 5 months to the 31st July, more airlines need to be persuaded to use it. In energy, problems have been caused by delays in commissioning new power stations and in the take up of agreed  bio mass volumes, with only 40,000 tonnes being supplied out of a notified 190 tonnes. The second half should see some amelioration in the position with expectations that deliveries will reach 330 tonnes.

Halfords HFD Like for like revenue for the 20 weeks to the 18th August rose by 2.7% with retail growing by 3.5% and auto centres down by 2% “as planned”. No explanation is given as to how or why the decline was planned (editor has a good idea – sic). The strongest areas were travel solutions with growth of 8.2% and cycling which was up by 5.2%.

Redrow RDW has delivered record financial results for the fourth consecutive year and  a final dividend of 11p per share  makes a 70% increase for the year to 30th June. And that is nothing compared to what the future three years will bring, with expectations that 2017’s 17p total will in 2020 have nearly doubled to 32p per share. As for 2017 legal completions rose by 15%, revenue by 20%, profit before tax by 26% and earnings per share by 27%. Sales in the first 9 weeks of the new financial year are up 8% on a year ago.

Mattioli Woods MTW enjoyed strong new business flows during the year to the 31st May leading to a 17.4% rise in revenue, 18% in EBITDA and 18.7% in basic earnings per share. The final dividend is to be increased by 12.8%. The company;s financial position is described as strong with net cash of £23m

Lighthouse Group LTG made further progress in the 6 months to the 30th June with revenue rising by 8% leading to rises in EBITDA and basic earnings per share of 26% and 35% respectively. The interim dividend is to be increased by 33% to 12p per share.

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BT Admits The Cost of Bad Management

BT Group BT.A airs its dirty washing in public after describing the year to the end of March as a challenging one, made worse by headwinds in the UK public sector. It is still managing to increase its final dividend by 10% despite a 19% fall in reported profit before tax, which slumped even more in quarter 4 with a fall of 48%. Reported basic earnings per share were also down by 33% for the year and 49% for quarter 4. And that is not the end of the bad news. Revenue for the current year is expected to be broadly flat and dividend growth will fail to reach the anticipated 10%.

To add to its list of excuses there were further headwinds from the international corporate market and the self inflicted in house disasters created by BT management itself, including hefty fines and avoidable problems in Italy. Management has learned lessons, it humbly claims. A bit late in the day perhaps but we shall see. The lack of heads rolling around on the boardroom and executive canteen floors may be regarded by some as a cause for concern.

Stobart Group STOB is proposing a 50% increase in dividends for the year to 28th February with a final payment of 4.5p per share. The year produced a statutory loss of £8m after deduction of non underlying items of £ 35.4m. On an underlying basis, profit before tax rose by 48.9% and basic earnings per share by 62.4%.

On The Beach Group OTB is paying a maiden interim dividend of 0.9p for the half year to 31st March, after a 7.3% increase in revenue led to a 33.8% surge in profit before tax. Adjusted earnings per share rose by 27.1% and net debt fell by some two thirds to £2.3m. The group describes this as a solid performance, strengthening towards the end of the half year and continuing to grow in the second half.

United Carpets UCG has announced a special dividend of 1p per share which will be paid on the 25th May

Supergroup SGP The year to 29th April produced good sales and profit growth, with revenue ahead by 27.2%. Profit for the year is ecpected to be in line with expectations at £86-87m

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Not Again – More Unspecified “Challenging Conditions”

More and more Boards and CEOs seem to be waking up to the fact that if they claim to be operating in “challenging conditions” it makes their performance and governance, good or bad, look even better than it really is. What they forget is that some of us, perhaps even some shareholders, would like to know what these challenges actually were but generally they remain a well kept secret. If they were so serious that they affected the company’s performance and results, surely shareholder have a right to have details as to exactly what the challenges were which their company management was too clueless to overcome.

Wood Group WG. still expects that full year 2016 EBITA will be about 20% down on 2015 but it still expects to increase dividends per share by 10% or more. It has found that the North Sea operating environment has been very challenging for both volume and pricing but the International business performance has been robust.

Stobart Group STOB intends to increase the level and frequency of  dividend payments as from October when a quarterly dividend will be paid. Stobart exp[ects that this will be at the rate of 3p per share on top of which share buybacks and special dividends will occur as circumstances permit.

Harvey Nash HVN has increased gross profit by 8% in the first four months of the current financial year despite challenging conditions. Significantly the UK was the worst performer with zero growth while mainland Europe from which we have just decided to divorce, came up with 11%, the USA with 24% and Asia Pacific with 5%.  Uncertain times lay ahead says the company. With the irresponsible and fairly clueless political leaders who claim to govern both the UK and the EU, that should come as no surprise.

Vianet VNET Despite economic uncertainty which the company finds unhelpful, trading in the first 2 months of the current financial year is noticeably ahead of last year.

AA plc AA has agreed to sell its Irish business for £156.6m

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Talk Talk “On-Net Adds Flat” & Other Tripe

Talk Talk Telecom TALK wins today’s prize for gibberish with a claim that on-net adds flat. RGU growth + 148k . Quarterly churn ( presumably from the dairy division) is the lowest ever at 1.3%  and the company is now a trusted value champion. Presumably it was previously either untrusted or not a champion. When will these people who run some of Britains best known companies wake up to how much damage they do to themselves and their companies with this sort of tripe. ( at least for those of us from the North of England who recognise a good piece of tripe when we see one.)

As for the understandable bit of the preliminary results, TALK enjoyed a strong bounce back in quarter 4 and there are strong opportunities for growth across all products. Corporate revenue for the year to 31st March fell back by 2.9% whilst Data revenue rose by 40%. Statutory profit before tax fell from £32m to £14m because of exceptionals and earnings per share plummeted from 7.8p to a miserly 0.2p. Obviously after a bit of a nightmare year the shareholders have to be persuaded not to ask too many questions and the dividend is being increased by 15%.

ITV plc ITV has made a good start to the year with external revenue up by 14% and ITV Studios revenue surging by 44% in the first quarter to the end of March. Viewing share was up by 3% and good group profit growth is expected for the first half.

 

Stobart Group STOB appears to have turned the corner in the year to the end of February, with a rise of 98% in underlying profit before tax and last years loss of £9.4m having been turned into a profit of £10m on a like for like basis. Basic earnings per share have nearly doubled from 2.6p to 5p and like for like revenue has risen by 8.6%. All five divisions produced improved profitability. The final dividend is held at 4p.

Southend airport which is still  misleadingly named as London Southend airport was named by Which as Britain’s best airport.

Supergroup SGP enjoyed robust trading during its 4th quarter, helping full year group sales to rise by 21% and retail sales by 24.5%. Wholesale revenue was up by 13.7% for the full year but the strength of the second half was sown with a rise of 19.6%

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Fastjet Slows & Warns

Fastjet (FJET) It seems only yesterday that Fastjet  was rapidly extending its network and Sir Stelios had a wide beam on his face. Now, all that can be forgotten and rationalisation of the newly built network has become an urgent necessity. 2016 results will be materially below expectation, the year will not be cash flow positive and the company may need to raise further funds during the course of the year. The source of the problems is that the challenges facing the African aviation industry have been far more prolonged than management envisaged. The shares have been marked down 26% to 49p, prior to the start of trading this morning.

Seeing Machines (SEE) produced record revenue and profits for then half year to 31st December.  sales and service revenue grew by 594% Last years loss of A$14.2m has been turned into a profit of A$11.2m.  The partnership with Caterpillar proved to be a milestone event, producing a A$21m licence fee which helped to create the record profit.

Clarkson (CKN) has put in a robust performance in what it describes as an incredibly challenging year. Revenue for the year to the end of December and profit before tax both rose by some 25%. despite all the doom mongering in which the media engaged in 2015, overall sea born trade actually grew and the company continues to see signs of a healthier shipping market which is at least one indication that the world economy is perhaps not as bad as pundits proclaim.

Stobart (STOB) Overall performance for the year to 29th February was in line but Infrastructure exceeded expectations with a strong performance.  Biomass and Southend airport are seen as the two main driving forces for the future

Petroceltic (PCI) Oil woes spread as trading in shares of Petroceltic International has been suspended as from this morning pending clarification of the company’s financial position.

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