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Fast start to the year for Whitbread

by Ian Pollard

Whitbread WTB – Management reports a good start to the year, with first quarter sales growth of 7.6%, in line with expectations. Premier Inn continued to win overall market share with strong sales growth of 9.2%, benefitting from a resilient hotel market and the contribution from the c.9,000 rooms opened over the last two years. Costa sales grew 8.7% with UK equity like for like growth of 1.1% and a good performance in the expanding travel and drive thru channels. Whitbread has a clear plan to deliver growth and remain on track to open c.4,200 hotel rooms, 230-250 Costa coffee shops and install c.1,250 Costa Express machines this year.

Hornby HRN – A dismal performance from a management team that needs to turn this company around, although CEO Steve Cooke claims “solid evidence of our delivery in phase one of our Turnaround Plan.” FY revenue of £47.4m (2016: £55.8m), loss before tax of £9.5m (2016: £13.5m loss). At least net cash at 31 March 2017: stood at £1.5m (2016: £7.2m net debt). Hornby claims the current financial year has started positively and it is are well placed to achieve the Board’s expectations for the year.

Wynnstay Group WYN – Interim results benefited from greater demand for agricultural inputs over the winter period but were affected by continued subdued trading at pet products business, Just for Pets. Revenue of £205.32m (2016: £193.24m) and adjusted profit before tax, before goodwill & investment impairment charges of £4.07m (2016: £4.08m). The interim dividend of 4.20p is an increase of 5%.

Lekoil Limited LEK – Reports continuous commercial production and cash flow generation at Otakikpo. The company says the 15m Shell offtake facility secured on Otakikpo production provides liquidity to complete Phase 1 development and ramp up production to 10,000 bopd by year end. The Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources of Nigeria, granted consent to complete the transfer of the original 17.14% participating interest that LEKOIL acquired in OPL 310 in February 2013.

Berkeley Group Holdings BKG – FY profit before tax shot up an impressive 53% to £812.4m, with net asset value per share up 18.4% to £15.56. Management claimed it had delivered another strong performance in a fast-changing environment.

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