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Ian Pollard – Intertek #ITRK Dividend Rises 39%

Intertek Group ITRK is going from strength to strength, with consistent progress on strategy and performance leading to a 39.1% increase in the full year dividend. In 1918 revenue grew by 3.7% on a like for like basis at constant currency rates,. profit before tax was up  by 8.3% and diluted earnings per share by 7.7%. Good organic revenue growth at constant currency is expected  in 2019.

Ashtead Group AHT delivered a strong quarter in the 3 months to the 31st January. Underlying profit before tax and earnings per share rose by 18% and 34% respectively. whilst revenue was up by 19%.  As a result, for the nine months to date  revenue and underlying pre tax profit both increased by 18% at constant exchange rates.

Direct Line Insurance DLG delivered a strong set of results for the year to the 31st December driven by what it describes as its resilient business model which it claims, performed well in a highly competitive market. A final dividend of 14.0p, is announced, an increase of 2.9% on last year plus a special dividend of 8.3p.

Ibstock Brick plc IBST claims that the year to the 31st December was a busy year of development with profit before tax rising by 19.1% on revenue up by 7.9%. Statutory earnings per share rose by 17.5% but the final dividend remains unchanged at 6.5p making the 2018 full year dividend 9.5 pence per share compared to 9.1 pence per share for 2017.  Market fundamentals remain encouraging for the medium term, says the CEO

Netcall plc NET has seen strong sales momentum continue into the second half with order inflow significantly ahead of the same period last year.  Profit before tax for the six months to the 31st December leapt by 49% on revenue up by 6%. Revenues for the full year are expected  to be more weighted toward the second half, as Cloud services growth accelerates.

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Ian Pollard – Ashtead #AHT ups expectations & interim dividend

Ashtead Group plc AHT delivered a strong second quarter with a good performance across the Group.  As a result, Group rental revenue increased 18% for the half year to the 31st October and underlying pre-tax profit by19%. Earnings per share rose by 38% in the second quarter and by 42% over the half year. Accordingly the company expects that full year results will now be ahead of prior expectations.The interim dividend reflects the success of the first half  with an increase of 18% from 5.5p to 6.5p per share.

RWS Holdings plc RWS claims an outstanding performance for the year to the 30th September with revenue up by 87% and adjusted profit before tax up by 43%. The proposed final dividend is to be increased by 15% making a total increase for the year of 15%. A very good start has been made to full year 2019 with a strong performance in the first two months, leading to  expectations of another record year

My Sale Group plc MYSL is very disappointed in its performance during this year’s peak trading period. Challenging conditions impacted the second quarter and as a result the board now believes that revenue and profits for the year to 30 June 2019 will be significantly below market expectations. Selective price increases have had to be reversed after adversely affecting both revenue and transaction volume. Higher levels of discounting and postage promotions had to be used in order to offset lower demand. In Q1 the business traded in line with expectation, but in Q2, the peak trading period, the ongoing disruption caused by legislative changes in Australia was more acute than anticipated and gross profit was negatively impacted.

Zytronic plc ZYT Reported profit before tax for the year to the 31st September fell to £4.2 from £5.4m..in 2017 , as a result of reduced revenues, lower gross margins and litigation costs. An unchanged final dividend of 15.2p is proposed bringing total dividends for the year to 22.8p a rise of 20% year on year. Present revenues and trading are  at similar levels to last year.

LightwaveRF plc LWRF Enjoyed a strong last quarter with revenue run rate up 50% on the previous three quarters after a weak first half performance. Revenue for the year to the 30th September fell to £2.81 million compared to 2017’s £3.03 million, whilst the loss before and after taxation slumped to £2.54 million from last years £0.85 million.However things are now improving Revenue run rate for first two months of the 2019 financial year, up a further 25% on the strong last quarter of 2018

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Ian Pollard: JD Sports #JD – More Records

JD Sports Fashion JD delivered another record result with profit before tax for the 26 weeks ended 4 August 2018 increasing by a further 19%.and revenue up by 35% despite reports of market conditions continuing to be challenging. Like for like revenue rose by 3% and basic earnings per share by 24%.The interim dividend is to be increased by 4%.

Ashtead Group AHT delivered a strong first quarter and with the added help of weaker sterling, anticipates that full year results will be ahead of expectations. On a statutory basis revenue for the quarter to the end of July rose by 22% and profit before tax by 23%. Earnings per share were up by 44% and profit a. fter tax by 44%.

Hilton Food Group HFG achieved strong volume and profit growth during the twenty eight weeks to the 15th July and the interim dividend is to be increased by 12% to 5.6p per share.Turnover for the half year was up by 24.5% on a constant currency basis, basic earnings per share rose by 10.4% and profit before tax was up by 20.3%.

Surgical Innovations SUN delivered growth in revenue and profit in the first half of the year despite what it describes as significant headwinds in the market and regulatory environment. Revenue for the six months to the 30th June. were up by 52.4% albeit primarily due to the acquisition of Elemental Healthcare. On an adjusted basis EBITDA rose by 13.3% and operating profit by 35.5%.The Chairman concludes that the the group has now emerged from a challenging period with improved financial results and a strong balance sheet.

Team17Group plc TM17 Celebrates its maiden interim results with a record first half performance which saw revenue rise by 48%. On  an adjusted basis earnings per share more than tripled from 0.56p. per share to 1.93p and EBITDA rose by 36%.Performance for the full year will as in previous years be weighted towards the second half. Revenue growth in the second half will be driven by new product launches and continued growth in the business.

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Ian Pollard – Hornby #HRN & self-inflicted wounds

Hornby plc HRN Years of mismanagement continue to take their toll at Hornby, where sadly, things seem to go from bad to worse with every year that passes. Revenue for the year to the 31st March slumped badly from £47.4 to £35.7m whilst the annul loss before tax edged slightly higher to £10.1m. Group sales for the 10 weeks to the 8th June are lower than expected, a self inflicted wound if ever there was one, caused it seems by the impact of insufficient investment in tooling in past years. The new CEO puts a brave face on things, claiming that they are currently laying down the foundations for their future success.

Ferguson plc FERG third quarter revenue rose by 10.2% and trading profit was up by 17.1% despite a miserable performance in the UK. The US continued to grow strongly and the fourth quarter has started well. Yet again the UK let the side down badly with growth of 0.7% which included price inflation of 3%. In the UK organic revenue declined by 10.9%, whilst trading profit slumped by 29.3% at constant exchange rates.

Ashtead Group AHT Announces another very successful year crowned with a strong fourth quarter which saw revenue and profit before tax each rise by 20% and earnings per share by 26%.Revenue for the year to 30th April rose by 20% and it is proposed to increase the final dividend  to 27.5p per share making a total rise for the year of 20%.

Telecom Plus TEP performed as expected in the year to 31st March, with further growth in all areas of the business. Revenue rose by 7.1% and on a statutory like for like basis profit before tax just managed to edge ahead  by 0.3%, earnings per share rose by 2.1% and the full year dividend is to be increased by 4.2% to 50p per share. The most notable achievement of the year appears to have been winning the Which “Best Utilities Provider” 2018 award.

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Ian Pollard – McCarthy & Stone MCS supported by large price increases

McCarthy & Stone plc MCS Despite trading in January and February having remained resilient MCS can not avoid sounding a bit worried in today’s update and is relying on trading being weighted towards the second half to help it recover from the first half where it had to rely for support on  a large increase of 14% in the average selling price. . Its problem appears to be that even with such a whopping increase in average prices, it only managed to increase first half revenue by less than 1%, up from £238m. to £240m.. Basic maths would indicate that without the price rises, first half revenue could have fallen. It also admits that first half operating profit is likely to be in the order of about 12% of current market expectations for the full year. A further sign of the need for caution is that first half planning applications slumped from 34 to 21. Net debt for the full year is expected to have doubled from £30m. to  £76m.One healthier sign is that the forward order book is up by 16% but of real concern is the impact which the proposed changes to ground rents will have on the company which is taking on the government in an attempt to ease that impact.

Just Eat plc JE. produced  an excellent performance in 2017 with revenue rising by 30% on an organic basis. Despite that the company still made a statutory loss of £76m. despite 10.5m. active customers purchasing  £1.9 billion pounds worth of food. International revenue rose by 75% and now amounts to 44% of the total. EBITDA rose by 42% and basic earnings per share by 38%. For 2018 EBITDA is expected to rise  to between £165m  and 185m.

Intertek Group plc ITRK is increasing its final dividend from 43p to 47.8p per share making a total increase of 14.3% or 2017. Adjusted profit before tax rose by 9.5% and diluted earnings per share by 10.4% at constant exchange rates.

Ashtead Group plc AHT continued to perform well in the third quarter to the end of January, with strong growth in each of its markets. Over the first nine months, profit before tax rose by18% on a statutory basis and by 24% on an underlying basis. Revenue increased by 20% and earnings per share by 130% on a statutory basis.

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Ian Pollard – Ashtead (AHT) to exceed expectations

Ashtead Group AHT is to increase its interim dividend by 16% and will also over the next 18 months, commence a share buy back programme of up to £1bn. The second quarter results showed growth exceeding that achieved in the first quarter and it is expected that full year results will now exceed expectations. For the half year to the 31st October rental revenue rose by 20%, profit before tax by 23% and earnings per share by 22%’

Balfour Beatty BBY reports that its performance to date is in line but still insists on ignoring the fact that the ludicrous and oft used name of its quality programme “Build to Last”  just acts as a constant reminder of the horrors of the not too distant past.

Driver Group DRV saw  a significant improvement on all fronts in the year to the 30th September with like for like revenue rising by 15%. Last years loss of £0.4m has been turned into a profit before tax of £2.5m and net borrowings slumped from £9.9m to £0.2m and are continuing to fall further.

Zytronic ZYT The year to the 30th September saw a significant improvement in trading profit which rose from £4.3m to £5.4m, with basic earnings per share up by 29%. The final dividend is to be increased by 39% making a total rise of 32% for the full year. A sound  base has now been created, says the company, for further dividend increases in the future.

Joules Group JOUL updates that it has performed well in the half year to the 26th November, with group revenue rising by 18.2% in constant currency. Further expansion has been delivered across channels and products, reflecting the growing appeal of its brands as well as a growing customer base which now exceeds  more than 1 million active customers.

Servoca plc SVCA A strong financial performance across all five of its business areas during the year to the 30th September saw revenue rise by 15.9% and adjusted profit before tax  and EBITDA up by 11.4% and and 12.8% respectively.  The final dividend is increased to 0.4p, a rise of14.3p

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JD Sports On Track For More Records

JD Sports (JD.) has produced yet another record set of half year results, with strong growth in the six months to 29th July producing a 41% rise in revenue. Profit before tax was up by 33% and the interim dividend is to be increased by 4%. Sales in the second half have continued at the same level and it is anticipated that year end figures will be towards the upper end of market expectations.

1PM plc OPM The year to 31st May was one of strong organic and strategic growth, continuing the trend of recent years. Revenue rose by 35% and profit before tax and exceptionals by 17%. Basic earnings per share were up by 4%. Robust levels of demand were experienced in all the company’s trading subsidiaries. A proposed dividend of 5% is proposed on the 83.8m shares currently issued compared to last years 52.5m.

Ashtead Group AHT produced another strong set of results for the first quarter to 31st July with revenue at constant exchange rates rising by 17% and both profit before tax and earnings per share by 21%.

Futura Medical FUM claims that excellent progress was made with MED 2002 in the first half of 2017 and a phase III study is now expected to start in the first half of 2018. Discussions with potential licensees have have already started. CSD500 has been successfully launched in the Middle East. First half losses fell from £1.89m to £1.5m as R&D expenditure on MED2002 was reduced.

AA plc (AA.) has admitted that yesterdays speculation was correct and that in early summer it did have preliminary discussions with Hastings about combining its insurance business with that of Hastings.

Tasty plc TAST experienced a weak trading environment in the 6 months to the 2nd July, with pressure on sales and margins forcing it to to take decisive action to improve its position. Despite an 11.8% rise in half year revenue, like for like sales actually declined and profit before tax slumped from £1,615,000 in 2016 to just £210,000. Challenging conditions, it claims, have been recognised, under performing sites have been identified, some are in the process of being disposed of and others placed on the market.

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Crest Nicholson Ups Divi And Prices As Sales Fall

Crest Nicholson CRST imposed swingeing increases of 12% in its open market average selling price for the half year to 30th April, giving it the courage to increase its interim dividend by 23%, despite rises in profits before and after tax and in earnings per share of only a modest 5% each.  Worse still those hefty price rises produced only a 3% revenue increase as completed unit sales for the half year fell from 1206 a year ago to 1064. Forward sales as at mid June were only 4% ahead of last year. Certainly not much evidence of a continuing boom in those figures except of course in the increased dividend.

Ashtead Group AHT reports another very successful year with rental revenue rising by 28% and the final dividend lifted to 22.75p per share making a rise of 22% for the full year to the  30th April. On a statutory basis, profit before tax and earnings per share both rose by 8% and revenue by 10%. In the fourth quarter revenue rose by 11% and profit before tax and earnings per share  by 5% and 4% respectively.  The current financial year has got off to a good start and is expected to produce strong cash flow.

Ted Baker plc TED produced a continuing good performance in the 19 weeks to the 10th June with total retail sales for the period up by 14.3% and e commerce sales by by 32.3% both on a constant currency basis. This was achieved despite an uncertain macro environment which sounds very impressive but in plain English means the economy as a whole was uncertain. Really??

Telecom Plus TEP chalked up its 20th consecutive year of organic growth and did so against a challenging market backdrop – hands up first to know the difference between challenging markets and a challenging market backdrop. Like for like profit before tax for the year to 31st March rose by 16.5% and earnings per share by 15%. The full year dividend is raised by 4.3% to 48p per share.

Halma HLMA produced a strong performance in the year to 1st April, its 14th consecutive year of record revenue and profits.Profit before tax rose by 16%,  earnings per share by 19% and revenue by 17%. The final dividend is to be increased by 7%.

Iomart Group IOM has a large and long runway for success which it seems to think is a good thing to have and as seems right and proper with such an asset, is proposing to increase its final dividend for the year to 31st March by 90%, following rises in both revenue and profits of 13%. Basic earnings per share were up by 9%.

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Futura Medical Hardens on Erectile Disfunction News

Futura Medical FUM  has for years been limping along trying to combat erectile disfunction with its MED 2002 product but this morning the share price has opened with a 30% rise as the company announced that it had at last achieved its “primary endpoint” following tests on over 200 randomised males, The company claims that MED2002 is now a breakthrough product and is excited about the commercial potential. Further details are to be released on the 13th September together with the half year results.

Barratt Developments BDEV Heaps praise on itself for its full year performance to the 30th June as if it was in any way responsible for the continuing housing boom which has enabled it to raise private average selling prices during the year by a mind boggling 10.4%. Perhaps they have forgotten but should remember that well worn phrase – “it’s the economy, stupid”. Profit before tax rose by 20.7%, revenue by 12.7% but completions were up by a comparatively meagre 5.3% and forward sales are up by an even smaller 4.1%. Shareholders do well out of the bonanza with a 19.1% increase in the final dividend.

Ashtead Group AHT enjoyed a strong first quarter with a 12% rise in revenue leading to a 4% increase in profit before tax.  It also benefited to the tune of £17m from the collapse in the pound.


Trakm8 Holdings TRAK New orders have risen by 37% since the 1st April, of which 27% is organic growth. First half profits however are expected to be down on last year, with the decline being recouped in the traditionally stronger, second half.

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Taylor Wimpey Still Hiking Selling Prices

Taylor Wimpey (TW.) enjoyed another record year in 2015. Despite imposing a whacking rise of 8% in average selling prices it sold 13,219 homes. It is pleased to note that the housing market has continued to strengthen in 2016 enabling it to impose even more price growth.

Just Eat (JE.) produced continuing strong global growth in 2015 with revenue up by 58%, underlying EBITDA by 83% and adjusted earnings per share by 57%. The strong trading has continued into 2016 and this years revenue is now expected to show a rise of some 40%

Ashtead (AHT) Whilst quarter 3 was another strong quarter, well up on a year ago, it was down on the previous 2 quarters. Profit before tax for the three months to t he end of January rose 16% and earnings per share 18%. For the first nine months of the year however, the figures were 19% and 22%. encouraging growth opportunities are seen for 2016.

Rotork (ROR) continues to be hit by challenging markets and weak oil prices. The shares have continued to slide since last May when they stood at 288p., to yesterdays 159.5p. Full year profit before tax has fallen by 27.8% on revenue down by 8.1% and basic earnings per share are down by 27.7%. The company claims that it is well placed to make progress over the medium to long term, which presumably means that the short term looks reasonably bleak.

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