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3i Group “Good” First Half As Returns Slide

3i PLC (III) Claims another good first half performance for the six months to the end of September during which it invested in some attractive and well priced businesses in private equity. Total return in this “good” first half fell by some 35% from 1006m. to 655m. and the percentage return on opening shareholder funds virtually halved from 23% in 2016 to 11% in 2017. The dividend remain at 8%.

Mediclinic International plc MDC reports that one of the features of its first half performance was a turnround getting underway in its troubled Abu Dhabi business. Total revenue for the half year rose by 10% but underlying earnings per share were down by 12% and revenue from its Middle East operations in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi fell 5% in constant currency terms. Despite this the Middle East is expected to produce a strong second half. The interim dividend is maintained at 3.2p. The group added that in accordance with Rule 2.6(a) of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers, by not later than 5.00 p.m. on 20 November 2017, Mediclinic will be required to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Spire Healthcare in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer. Although discussions have continued, no agreement has yet been reached on any of the key terms of an offer.

Royal Mail Group RMG Revenue per share rose by 2% in the half year to the 24th September but transformation costs reduced operating profit from 148 to 26m. Profit before tax was well down from 110m. to 77m,. although basic earnings per share almost doubled from 8.6p last year to 17.1p this year. The interim dividend is being raised by 4% to 7.7p per share. The group is prepared for a decline of between 4% and 6% in addressed letter volume  but parcels are performing well in a highly competitive market. Anybodywho has attended RMG’s jargon specialisation course (JSC) will be able to understand that GLS has performed strongly and UKPIL parcels revenue rose by 5%.

Coats Group COA continues to perform strongly and the 2% rise in group sales for the quarter to 31st October would have been much higher but for the decline in the  crafts division increasing to 12% and bring the average over 9 months up to 10%. The problems there are due to tough market conditions and a major customer moving to own brand retailing. The Industrial division produced a strong performance with growth of 5%  which was closely matched by the other divisions which, apart from crafts continue to perform well.

 

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