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Ian Pollard – Winter Of Discontent Impacts Begbies’ Business.

Begbies Traynor BEG claims that a winter of discontent has impacted business with 481,000 now in significant financial distress.  Those  in ‘critical’ financial distress increased by 25% year on year as the year came to a slow end and stand at  2,183. Real estate was the hardest hit sector in quarter 4 with a 9% increase. The retail industry should, it forecasts, be braced for a tough start to 2019 after poor Christmas trading from M&S and Debenhams. Link here to a detailed article by Begbies Traynor Regional Partner Julie Palmer 

Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ describes its third quarter performance to the 31st December as solid, with profits for the quarter collapsing by 87.6%. Fear not however as full year profit guidance is maintained. Passenger growth during the quarter was 15% and revenue 21%. A new carry on bag policy saw revenue per passenger rise by 7% and means that passengers now get the injured backs instead of the baggage handlers. Like all low cost airlines it is having to face the challenging industry-wide operating environment

Solid State plc SOLI updates that trading results for the year ending 31 March 2019 will now comfortably exceed current market consensus guidance. Revenues are expected to be above current guidance and adjusted profits significantly ahead. The strong demand seen in the first half has continued into the second half and the Value Added Distribution division has is now expected to deliver results well ahead of management’s previous expectations.

Ingenta ING  is now leaner and focussed on delivering first class services to all its customers claims the CEO, meaning it is significantly better placed to propel the business through the next stage of its growth. The Board confirms its intention to pay a dividend of 1.5 pence per ordinary share for the 2018 financial year.

Staffline Group STAF announces that publication of the results for the year ended 31 December 2018 has been delayed and a further update will be provided as soon as possible.

Rhythm One plc RTHM confirms that it is in advanced discussions with Taptica International Limited (“Taptica”) regarding a potential all-share offer for RhythmOne by Taptica.

Inspired Energy INSE expects to announce another strong set of results, delivering good growth in revenue, profits and cash for the year to the end of December. Group revenues are expected to be approximately 21 per cent ahead of 2017 with revenue growth expected to be approximately 29% ahead

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Ian Pollard – #888 excited by growth prospects.

888 Holdings plc 888 updates that it has delivered further progress during the second half of the year. In the UK the  initial positive trends in revenue seen in the first half have continued in the second half. In the US it remains very excited by long-term growth opportunities  with significant operational progress  made throughout the year. the Board also remains excited by the company’s long-term growth prospects.

Cambridge Cognition COG Total sales order intake for the year to 31st December is expected to exceed £7.6m, compared with £5.1m in 2017. In addition a number of materially significant contracts are expected to be signed in Q1 2019.The total order book at the end of the year is expected to show a 40% increase over last December.The financial performance of the company in 2018 was however impacted by the adoption of IFRS15 which is expected to show revenue of about £6.0m rather than the £7.0m which it would otherwise have been and compared with £6.7m in 2017. The consequence of this is that the loss for the year is expected to be £1.5m as against the loss for 2017 of £0.3m,

Begbies Traynor BEG is increasing its interim dividend by 14% for the half year to the 31st October, after a good first half with both revenue and adjusted earnings ahead of a strong comparative period. It claims to be well placed to deliver upon current market expectations for the full year and continues to anticipate a further year of increased revenue and earnings. Adjusted profit before tax rose from £2.9m to £3.2m and adjusted basic earnings per share from 2p to 2.2p

Beachfront  houses for sale in Greece;   http://www.hiddengreece.net

Ian Pollard – Ocado Slumps To Half Year Loss

Ocado OCDO The 26 weeks to the third of June was a transformational period for Ocado, claims the CEO but perhaps not the sort of transformation which every company would welcome. Group EBITDA fell by 13.9% and 2017’s first half profit before tax of £7.7m was transformed into a loss of £9m.for the current year. First half sales growth however was significantly ahead of the market at 11.7% and retail revenue growth of between 10% and 15% is expected for the current year.

My Sale Group MYSL updates that the year to the 30th June produced another record performance with double digit revenue growth of 10% driving EBITDA growth. Results are expected to be at least in line with the top end of market expectations leading to a significant year-on-year increase in profitability. 

Softcat plc SCT expects that  adjusted operating profit for the year to the 31st July will be materially ahead of prior expectations following an exceptionally good performance in the final quarter. Market conditions have been very favourable and growth against last year has accelerated.

Dechra Pharmaceuticals DPH has delivered another year of strong revenue growth, with reported group revenue for the year to the 30th June showing an increase of 14% at constant exchange rates and 13% at actual rates. North America produced what is described as an excellent performance.

Young & Co Brewery plc YNGA Trading in the current year has started well, with managed house sales for the first thirteen weeks up 8.8% in total and  5.2% on a like-for-like basis and the warm weather getting at least some of the credit.

Begbies Traynor BEG   proposes to increase its total dividend for the year, by 9% the first increase since 2011 and whilst this may be good news for shareholders it does not bode well for the economy. Profit before tax for the year to the 30th April rose from last years £0.6m to £2.3m and basic earnings per share increased from £0.2m to £1.3m

Beachfront villas & houses for sale in Greece;   http://www.hiddengreece.net

450,000 British Companies Financially Distressed

Begbies Traynor BEG  announces doom and gloom for many British companies with 450,000 of them suffering from signs of financial distress, even before the effects are felt of any interest rate rise on Thursday. The number has risen by 27% from a year ago and 250,000 have become “zombie” companies with no net worth and who will not have the reserves available to survive increasing employment costs due to changes in the minimum wage and the Revenues crackdown on personal service companies.

Next plc NXT is unable to determine any underlying sales trend in the quarter to the 31st October,  the main impact appearing to have come from the weather which does not seem to say much for management’s marketing skills. Sales rose significantly in August and September coinciding with the arrival of warmer weather and temperatures which were higher than last year. The end result is that third quarter full price sales rose by 1.3% compared to last year but 1.2% of that growth came from new space. Total sales including markdowns rose by 0.8% but for the year to date they are down 1.2%. The future does not look any brighter and  a further decline of 0.3% is expected for quarter 4.

Paddy Power Betfair PPB found quarter 3 to the end of September to be encouraging and trading since the interim results has been good. The international businesses have performed well with Australia producing an exceptional revenue rise of 29% followed by the US with a rise of 18%. Group revenue for the quarter was up by 9% led by 11% in sports revenue but offset by a 3% drop in online revenue. Underlying EBITDA rose by 7% and it is anticipated that full year EBITDA will be between £450 and £465m.

Biome Technologies BIOM saw third quarter revenue jump from £0.9m. to £1.5m. making a rise of 46% for the year to date and the fourth consecutive quarter of EBITDA profitability. The progress and momentum seen so far are expected to continue for the remainder of the year.

Luxury villas & houses for sale in Greece    http://www.hiddengreece.net

Quoted Micro 19 December 2016

ISDX/NEX

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has indicated an improvement in pre-tax profit for the year to October 2016 by raising its dividend payments. The first payment in January will be 7p a share and the second in May will be 14p a share. The total dividend has been increased from 18p a share to 21p a share. Hydro Hotel still has a significant cash pile. Company secretary Sally Gausden has been appointed as a non-executive director.

Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) has replaced its managing director. Richard Condon will become a non-executive director and he will be replaced in the role by development director Andrew Robathan. This follows a review of the company’s strategy and Netalogue will further develop its B2B functionality, which will help it compete against rivals and gain global strategic partners.

Trading commenced in property developer Formation Group (FRM) shares on ISDX on 15 December, although the AIM quotation will continue for the time being.

Gledhow Investments (GDH) made a number of new investments last year but disposals meant that there was still cash of £258,000 at the end of September 2016. The existing investments include a €40,000 convertible loan to Netherlands-based electric scooter developer AppScooter and investments in placings in virtual reality content developer EVR Holdings and Management Resource Solutions, which has run into financial difficulties. The NAV is £452,000, which is slightly higher than the market capitalisation based on the mid price of 0.75p (0.5p/1p) a share.

Black Sea Property (BSP) has signed a non-binding letter of interest to acquire Varna Project Investment, which owns six, almost complete, apartments and development land on the Black Sea coast. The acquisition will cost €130,000 and the assumption of debt of €1.02m – at an interest charge of 5% a year. The apartments will be marketed next May and the land should be sold within 18 months. The loan is repayable on 1 July 2020. The deal could be completed by the end of March.

Karoo Energy (KEP) has generated positive results from exploration on its production licences in the Gemsbok Basin in Botswana. Further exploration, including additional wells and extending the gravity survey data, will be undertaken in 2017.

AIM

It was a mixed first half for defence equipment and services supplier Cohort (CHRT) but the second half is expected to be better. Cohort reported a loss but there was a small improvement in underlying pre-tax profit from £3.51m to £3.86m on flat revenues. The mix of revenues has changed with acquisition contributions offset by lower contributions from SCS, which is being absorbed into two other divisions. The order book is worth £129.6m. Full year profit is expected to improve from £12m to £14.3m but this is down to acquisitions and earnings per share will dip slightly. Dividends should still be increased with a total of 7p a share forecast.

Shell company SigmaRoc (SRC) has secured the acquisition of Ronez Ltd from LafargeHolcim Group for £45m. SigmaRoc chief executive Max Vermorken should know the business because he was a consultant to LafargeHolcim until recently. Ronez owns two quarries and other construction materials operations in Jersey and Guernsey. In 2015, these operations made an operating profit of £4.32m on revenues of £26.3m. Ronez was acquired, as part of Aggregate Industries, by Holcim back in 2005. The markets are limited and market share is already high. Further acquisitions are planned as part of the buy and build strategy. There will be a 104-for-one share consolidation and £40m will be raised at 40p a share, while a further £10m will come from a convertible loan. When the company’s original assets were sold SigmaRoc raised £500,000 at the equivalent of 25p (0.24p pre-consolidation) a share. A listing on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange is planned following the reverse takeover.

Property management services provider HML Holdings (HMLH) is raising £2m at 37p a share and this will help to finance three potential acquisitions. These acquisitions could cost a total of £4.4m but there will be some deferred consideration. Four acquisitions have already been made this year and there are 62,000 homes under management. Interim pre-tax profit improved from £810,00 to £920,000. Net debt was £1.4m at the end of September 2016. The shares ae being issued at ten times prospective earnings.

Ultrasound training equipment developer Medaphor (MED) appears to have settled its patent dispute in the US. The agreement has yet to be put in writing but after this happens the lawsuit will be dismissed. Medaphor says that it will pay cash in settlement but it has enough in the bank to cover this. There was £3.5m in the ban at the end of June 2016 but this is likely to be less than £3m now.

A lack of insolvencies continues to hamper the profitability of Begbies Traynor (BEG). Interim revenues dipped from £25.5m to £24.5m but underlying pre-tax profit was flat at £2.5m because of a higher contribution from the property services side of the business – partly due to additional contributions from acquisitions. The interim dividend is unchanged at 0.6p a share. Bank facilities have been extended until 2021 and this will reduce the interest charge. Further add-on acquisitions are planned.

The news does not get any better at Redcentric (RCN). There has been an overstatement of net assets of £20.8m, which relates to overstated profit. Net debt was £34.4m at the end of September 2016, although that is lower than average monthly levels. Banking covenants are being waived but, unsurprisingly, there will be no dividend. Redcentric is attempting to improve the running of its finances and interim results are promised before the end of the year slimming tablets.

Veltyco (VLTY) says that it will beat the profit expectation of €1.38m for 2016. This helps to make the 2017 profit forecast of €3.17m appear to be more attainable. Veltyco’s business is generating players for online gaming and option trading websites.

First half trading has been tough for property adviser Fletcher King (FLK) but it is maintaining its interim dividend at 1p a share. Property prices have fallen by 5%-10% and transaction volumes are lower. There was some turmoil in the property market after the EU referendum, with some transactions falling through, but demand recovered after a few weeks. In the six months to October 2016, revenues fell from £2.96m to £1.68m, while pre-tax profit, excluding investment gains, fell from £597,000 to £163,000. There will be no one-off gains this year but there could be next year. Net cash was £2.64m. The decline in the pound has attracted foreign buyers, although uncertainty remains.

MAIN MARKET

Hair care and tanning products supplier InnovaDerma (IDP) has raised £800,000 at 110p a share to help fund higher stock levels. This follows a placing earlier in the month which raised £540,000 at 70p a share. Andrew Hore

 

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