First Group plc FGP The year to the 31st March saw adjusted operating profit fall by 10% on a constant currency basis and a statutory loss before tax reflected in part, the onerous provisions of the contracts on Trans Pennine rail franchises, carefully omitting to mention that these onerous provisions were not forced on the company, it actually volunteered for them. The CEO departs from the company today. Revenue at constant currency rose by 14% during the year but the statutory loss before tax more than doubled from 152.6m. to 326.9m. and earnings per share tumbled from 9.3p per share to a loss of 24.6p. At Greyhound like for like revenue fell by 0.7% as it failed to meet the competition of ultra low cost airlines. Admissions are also made that Great Western and South Western have operational challenges to overcome. Taken all in all a bit of a second class performance all round.
Johnson Matthey JMATT The year to the 31st March was a year of significant progress with sales on an underlying basis and excluding precious metals, rising by 8% and profit before tax by 1%. It is proposed to increase the final dividend by 7%. Mid to high single digit growth in operational performance is expected in the current year, with the second half being stronger than the first.
Card Factory plc CARD provides an update on first quarter trading to the 30th April and “tough trading environment” gets three mentions in a comparatively short release. The first is to headline the tough trading environment, the second is to stress that it did not prevent a solid seasonal performance and group like for like sales only fell by 0.4% which is regarded as a robust performance. Nor was it so tough that it prevented anticipation to return further cash to shareholders, towards the end of the current year.
Brady plc BRY The executive chairman claims to be delighted to be able to report that the company has failed to exceed its management expectations during the first four months of the year and announces that he regards that as substantial progress.