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Ian Pollard – Smith & Nephew; Knee Implants Stand Out !

Smith & Nephew SN is increasing its final dividend by 14% for the year to 31st December after revenue growth of 2% in the final quarter confirmed full year growth at 3%. Knee implants produced what it euphemistically describes as a standout performance driving growth for the whole group, plus double digit growth in emerging markets. Interestingly enough statistics did show not all that long ago that some 50% of knee implant surgery in the States was completely unnecessary and carried out solely for the purpose of increasing the wealth of the surgeons.

Compass Group CPG produced a strong performance in the quarter to the 31st December with organic revenue growth of 5.9% led by North America with 8.2% but Europe down at only 2.1%. Currency movements caused a £24m profit loss during the quarter and if the present spot rate continues for the rest of the year, the impact on profits will amount to £97m.

Sophos Goup SOPH Billings for the first 9 months of the year rose by 21% with growth continuing to accelerate in the third quarter to to 23%. Despite this last years third quarter operating profit of £1.7m was this year turned into  a loss of 2.8%.

Tate & Lyle TATE Speciality Food Ingredients delivered good volume growth in the 3 months to 31st December. Helped by  growth in sweetener volumes in North America, robust profit growth is expected in Bulk Ingredients for the year to 31st March

Bellway BWY updates that housing revenue for the 6 months to the 31st January is expected to rise by 14% and the average selling price is expected to have risen by almost 7.8% to record levels with the average price now standing at £276,000  due, the company hastens to add to investment in higher value locations throughout the country. Customer demand is strong and the forward order book is up by 15.7%. Operating margins for the first half are expected to be about 22% and should remain at about that level for the rest of the year.

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Corporate news review Tuesday 17th October 2017

ASOS ASC says FY retail sales grew strongly at +34% on a reported basis and +27% on a constant currency basis. Customer engagement remains strong with active customers6 +24%, average basket value +2% and average order frequency +5%. CEO Nick Beighton said the new financial year “shows continuing momentum in the business” and the potential for the company “remains huge.”

Bellway BWY reports another record year with completions rising by 10.6% to a record 9,644 homes. Operating profit rose by 16.2% to £571.6m, with EPS up 12.7% to 370.6p and a 13% rise in the proposed total dividend per share to 122.0p.

Hornby HRN updates on trading and says to maximise the value of its brands over the long term, it will no longer offer for sale large quantities of stock at a discount. Hornby warns that current year revenues will be lower and, consequently, there will be a material impact on profitability in the current financial year. Interim Chairman David Adams has indicated his intention to step down to take up another appointment.

Merlin Entertainments MERL updates on trading and reports 12.4% revenue growth driven by continued strong New Business Development, including the successful opening of LEGOLAND Japan, five new Midway attractions, and 381 new accommodation rooms. Trading in recent weeks has remained mixed and Group like for like revenue growth for 2017 is therefore expected to be approximately flat on 2016. EBITDA is expected to be in the range of £470 – £480m.

Moneysupermarket.com MONY updates on trading and says it is on track for another record year.

Virgin Money Holdings VM. updates on trading and confirms profitability, earnings and underlying RoTE are in line with expectations.

Pearson PSON updates on trading and reports a good competitive performance year to date, while plans to complete the digital transformation and simplify the company are on track. Nine-month revenues are in line with expectations.


Bellway On Crest Of A Wave – But Is That A Safe Place To Be

Bellway BWY is riding on the crest of a wave, with favorable market conditions, the continued availability of cost effective mortgage finance and of  the voters friend, Help to Buy. Revenue for the year to the 31st July is expected to have risen by 13%, volume growth in completions by 10% and at the end of the year the forward order book was 16% higher than a year ago. It seems ludicrous that the poorer the country gets, the more its currency collapses and the more its services , from health and education to police, show signs of following suit, the brighter the prospects become for the housing industry.

Standard Life SL s increasing its interim dividend by 8.2% to 7p per share after a strong half year performancew which produced a rise of 6% in half year operating profit before tax and a 5% rise in fee based revenue. The merger with Aberdeen is due to be completed on the 14th August and this it is expected will open the next chapter of the the company’s transformation.

Intercontinental Hotels Group IHG enjoyed a good first half to the year and passed the landmark of over 1 million pipeline rooms – just amazing how pipeline has become such a buzz word in the world of industry and commerce, unless, of course, you happen to be in the business of manufacturing pipelines. Operating profit rose by 8% on revenue up by a rather meagre 2% but the interim dividend is upped by 10%. The group continues to focus on  high quality brand growth and has opened 95 hotels with over 11,000 rooms, whilst removing 63.

Paddy Power Betfair PPB Management takes full credit for the efficiencies and investments which have seen strong results for the six months to 30th June and a 25% increase in the interim dividend. Half year operating profit rose by 22%, EBITDA by 21% and earnings per share by 23%. The figures were also helped just a little bit by the fact that Cheltenham was far more favourable this year than last, as well as by the provision of better odds and more generous offers.



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BATS Cloaks Itself In Secrecy

British Am. Tobacco BATS has a new policy of keeping its shareholders and investors generally less informed about its financial progress or the lack of it and has stopped issuing interim management statement, replacing them instead with short updates twice a year prior to the start of its closed periods. So all it will tell you with todays update is that the business is trading very well but no figures are quoted to justify that assertion.

All that it will tell is that it has benefited hugely from a currency translation tailwind of 14%, thanks no doubt to the destruction of the value of the pound, by our political leaders. One possible strong point is that full year volume is expected to outperform the market but then it admits that market volume is expected to be down 4%, so in the end that is hardly going to set the share price alight.

WH Smith SMWH has continued to focus on profitable growth with the result that total high street sales fell by 4%, during the 15 weeks to 10th June, as did like for like sales. Travel sales continued to shine with a rise of 8% or 5% like for like but as far as the high street is concerned the lack of focus continues to be alarming.

Bellway BWY experienced strong sales demand and robust market conditions in the period from the 1st February to the 4th June. Volume growth for the year to 31st July is expected to reach 10% and the average selling price should get up to about £260,000  as against last years £252,793. The company also regained its status as a five star housebuilder.

Mulberry Group MUL profit before tax rose by 21% in the year to 31st March with revenue rising by 8% and cash up by 50% to £21m. UK sales did well with a rise of 10%. For the 10 weeks to the 3rd June retail like for like sales rose by 1%. The proposed final dividend remains unchanged at 5p per share.

Luxury villas & houses for sale in Greece  – visit;   http://www.hiddengreece.n

Bellway – Moderate Price Increases For 2017

Bellway Homes BWY claims another excellent financial performance for the half year to the 31st January but the effervescence and price rises, such regular features of previous years, appear to be moderating. Increases are well within single digit figures except for earnings per share which just managed to break through the 10% barrier. Revenue  rose by 5.9% and profit before tax by 9.3%. One good sign for the future is that as at the 12th March, the order book is 18% higher than a year ago and 5% more houses are expected to be sold in the current year as against 6.5% more completed. Average price increases for private sales  are expected to rise by over 4% but this is positively pedestrian compared to industry figures for previous years. Perhaps a sign of the times there.

888 Holdings 888 2016 was another year of outstanding progress, in fact “fantastic” is how the CEO describes it, with very strong organic revenue and profit growth. Revenue for the year to 31s December grew by 13%, or 18% on a constant currency basis. whilst basic earnings per share were up by 74%. Total dividends for the year are increased from 15.5 cents to 19.4 cents, after a final of 5.1 cents plus an additional dividend of 10.5%. trading for the current year so far, is already 11% ahead of a year ago.

Good Energy Group GOOD produced a robust performance in 2016 in an increasingly competitive UK energy market. Revenue rose by 41%, EBITDA by 39% and profit before tax was up from just above a break even point of £100,000 in 2015 to £1.4m. The total dividends for the year remain unchanged.

Mears Group MER produced strong organic growth in the year to the end of December, especially in the Housing Division. Like for like profit before tax rose by 13% and the dividend is being raised by 6% to 11.7p.

Fevertree Drinks FEVR enjoyed exceptional growth in the year to 31st December.  Revenue rose by 73%, adjusted EBITDA by 97% and diluted earnings per share more than doubled.  The final dividend of 4.71p per share makes a total for the year of 6.25p compared to 2015’s 3.08p.

Villas & Houses For Sale in Greece; http://www.hiddengreece
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