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Ian Pollard – Dunelm #DNLM facing unprecedented levels of uncertainty & delays new website

Dunelm Group DNLM  Unprecedented levels of uncertainty have forced Dunelm to delve deep into the jargon drawer in an attempt to mask its half year and fourth quarter problems.The one strong area has been online sales which rose by 37.9% during the 13 weeks to the 29th December, as against like for like store revenue which only managed growth of 5.75 in the same period. The retail industry can not even begin to comprehend that the shopping public has staged and is continuing to stage a massive rebellion against the big stores. And who can blame them ? Massive increases in the cost of public transport with journeys of 15 minutes costing a fiver each way per adult. That immediately adds 20 pounds to the supermarket bill. Unless you are a councillor, parking costs are exorbitant and the queues to get into a car park or shopping mall make the whole experience unpleasant.Far better to stay at home, put your feet up and do it online in warm pleasant surroundings.

The really bad news can not be hidden. Total growth at group level came in at 2% after store closures and over six months the figure was even worse at 1.2%. By Dunelm standards these are fairly poor figures but a sign of the times. Management boasts that gross margins have been improved but only by the sleight of hand of closing down low margin stores and businesses. Despite the importance of online sales management has had to delay the launch of its new  website  to quarter 4 because it needed to “evolve and optimise its plans” which raises the question as to why it did not opyimise them in the first place. The company no longer counts the number of stores it has (169) but shows how mod it has become by claiming it now has a store footprint, which really is nonsense English.

Full year profit before tax is expected to be modestly ahead of the top of the range current analysts forecasts. The Chief Executive regards the first half performance as a strong one but is cautious about the outlook for the second half. Perhaps he had better pull his finger out and hurry up with that new website.

Churchill China plc CHH has enjoyed a strong finish to the year and the operating performance for the year to the 29th December will be ahead of current market estimates. Growth in export markets has remained strong and the UK performance  improved in the second half.

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Ian Pollard – Churchill China #CHH Smashing Export Records

Churchill China CHH has delivered a strong first half performance and is increasing its interim dividend by 18%. Profit before tax and earnings per share both rose by 24% but perhaps the best news of all is that export revenue which grew by 17%, now represent 63% of group revenue, up from last years 57%.

Hays plc HAS delivered record international profits in the year to the 30th June as well as record total dividends for the year. Profit before tax rose by 17% and basic earnings per share by 18%. As usual the UK & Ireland was the laggard with only 2% net fee growth compared to 17% for the Rest of the World and 16% for Germany. Core dividends for the full year are increased by 18% plus payment of a special dividend of 5p per share.

W.H. Smith plc SMWH updates that the travel business performed strongly for the year to the 31st August. Perhaps not surprisingly the high street business only performed in line with expectations.

Hunting plc HTG is restoring its interim dividend with a payment of cents per share for the half year to the 30th June after enjoying a strong increase in volumes manufactured during the first half of 2018 and compared to 2017 when the interim dividend was nil. Reported profit from operations came in at $38.9m compared to last years loss of $23.9m loss. Results for the half year are underpinned, says the CEO by a strong market environment which has led to outstanding results for Hunting Titan and improving profitability for Hunting’s US operations. Reported diluted earnings per share rose to19.1 cents per share compared to 2017’s loss of 15.8 cents loss per share.

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Ian Pollard: Countryside Properties, Robust & Excellent

Countryside Properties CSP The half year to the 31st March saw excellent progress and robust trading in all regions.  After strong growth the interim dividend is to be increased by 24% with reported revenue rising by 14%, operating profit by 19% and basic earnings per share by 23%.

National Grid plc NG produced a strong operational and financial performance for the year to the 31st March  On a  statutory basis profit before tax rose by 24% and earnings per share by 116%. On an underlying basis the figures were 4% and 3% respectively. Medium term growth is expected to beat  the top end of the 5-7% range.

Royal Mail plc  RMG With parcel volume the best in four years and a resilient letter performance, the year to the 25th May was another successful one for Royal Mail, despite a challenging environment.,  Revenue rose by 2% and profit before tax edged up from £559m. to £565m. whilst basic earnings per share rose from 41.1p to 45.5p. The dividend for the full year is to be increased by 4%.

Experian EXPN put in a strong finish to the year with fourth quarter total revenue growth of 12% or on a like for like basis, 8%. The strong performance came despite profit before tax falling by 7% which is deftly transformed to a rise of 7% at actual benchmark rates, enough to justify a 10% rise in the second interim dividend.

Thomas Cook Group TCG  The half year to the 31st March saw like for like revenue rise by 5% and following a strong airline performance coupled with a reduction in net finance charges the seasonal winter loss before tax was improved by 16m. Summer demand is strong with bookings up by 13%.

Churchill China CHH is making good progress in the current year, with trading since March ahead of last year. Further progress is being made in both export markets and in the UK.

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Ian Pollard – Tiddlers Taking Off

Taptica TAP Tremor Video has performed better than expected and has achieved profitability during 2017 rather than 2018. With significant contributions to revenue from its newly opened international offices, it now expects to report adjusted EBITDA for full year 2017 will be ahead of market expectations.

Sopheon plc SPE The build up of momentum highlighted in the interim results in August has continued, particularly in the fourth quarter. Inidications now are that revenues, EBITDA and pre tax profits for the year to the end of December will all exceed market expectations.

Symphony Environmental Technologies SYM expects profit before tax for the year to 31st December will be significantly  higher than current market expectations. Revenue has risen to £8.2m from last years £6.8m and profits before tax it is anticipated will more than triple, from last years £123,000 to at least £400,000 for the current year. 2018 is looked forward to with optimism.

Churchill China CHH expects that its operating performance for the year to the 31st December will slightly ahead of current market estimates, following good revenue growth in export markets.

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Jimmy Choo going for global luxury leadership

Jimmy Choo CHOO With profit before tax for the half year to 30th June rising by 174.2% to £18.1m, Jimmy Choo is delighted with itself both for its performance and for the excellent strategic progress made by its management. Revenue growth was ahead of the market at 16.5%, or 4.5% on a constant currency basis. Like for like retail sales rose by 3.5% across all regions. Earnings per share were up by 140% and EBIT by 24.5%. Its platform is also exciting it with its two iconic brands aiming to achieve global leadership in luxury retail.

Ladbroke Coral LCL Group revenue in the half year to the 30th June rose by 1%, EBITDA was flat, basic earnings per hare halved from 2p to 1p and reported profit after tax was slightly down. In celebration of these mundane statistics which Ladbroke claims represent good operational and financial progress the interim dividend is being doubled from 1p to 2p per share. The second half is being looked forward to with confidence and will produce £45m of synergies which by 2019 are expected to be more than double the original estimate of £150m

Hays plc HAS is celebrating a milestone year which saw it produce record levels of fees and profits enabling shareholders to be rewarded with payment of a special dividend of 4.25p per share plus an 11% increase in the ‘core’ dividend. The total dividend payout for the year to 30th June has more than doubled from £41.7m for 2016 to this years £108m. Profit before tax rose by 18% and basic earnings per share by 14%

Churchill China CHH has maintained its record of improved performance over several years and is increasing its interim dividend for the six months to the 30th June, by 17% after a rise of 30% in profit before tax. Basic earnings per share rose by 32%. Further improvements are continuing into the all important second half.

Restaurant Group RTN is maintaining its interim divided for the half year to the 2nd Jule and current trading is in line with expectations. Half year like for like sales were down 2.2% and on a statutory basis  total sales fell by 7.1%. Adjusted earnings per share were down from 14.3p to 10p and profit before tax fell from £36.6m to £25.5m

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Is Primark Ex Growth ?

Image result for associated british foodsAssociated British Foods ABF freely admits that it has been a major beneficiary of sterling weakness over the 40 weeks to the 24th June. Group revenue during the period  grew at constant currency rates by 10% but on an actual exchange rate basis it was double that at 20%. Third quarter underlying operating performance was ahead of forecast after a stronger performance from Primark where revenue was 13% ahead, based on like for like growth and an increase in average selling space.

The problem for ABF is that the growth in average retail selling space at Primark was also 13%, exactly the same as revenue growth  without any exchange rate benefits – – so where, one may ask, is the like for like revenue growth. The only growth at Primark on these figures came from currency benefits which lifted revenue growth up to 21% and from increased selling space.

Without any greater detail, the figures appear to assert that Primark did not enjoy any like for like growth and went ex growth during those 40 week,. despite the claim that it has increased its market share. The only saving grace is that there was a spurt during the last 16 weeks when sales rose by 15% at constant currency rates and 21% at actual rates. Third quarter trading prior to Easter was particularly strong.

Image result for easyjet logoeasyJet EZJ June passenger statistics showed year on year growth of 11.3% and load factor rose again to 94.1%. Checking on some fares,appears to indicate that all pretence of being a budget airline appears to have been abandoned. Despite that the load factor indicates that it must still have something going for it. Perhaps it is the punctuality.

Image result for bovis homes logoBovis Homes BVS Trading for the 6 months to the 30th June has been in line with expectations but the group C.E.O. is confident a successful turn round can be delivered. He has visited all regions and 85 sites as part of the process but completions for the full year are still expected to be 10-15% down on 2016.

Image result for churchill china logoChurchill China CHH has enjoyed strong growth in its export markets  for the half year to 30th June as it continued to benefit from the weakness of sterling.

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United Utilities – High Level Of Regional Deprivation

Image result for united utilities logoUnited Utilities UU  complains that its customers and the area in which they live suffer from high levels of income deprivation ie “a damaging lack of basic material benefits.” I wonder what its customers think to that slur. Shareholders need not fear however, as the company has “innovative facilities for enhanced engagement with its customers” – i.e bad debts are being kept under control.

Gross revenue this year will be slightly lower than last year but it still expects record operating profits. These however will be impacted by reforms and restructuring costs. Now a well managed company can not allow problems like that, amounting to some £16m, to affect its results, so it has decided to ignore them and exclude them from its underlying profit calculations at the end of the year. Those of us who are not accountants, may view that with a certain incredulity

Image result for thomas cook logoThomas Cook TCG is closing its winter booking season at similar levels to last year but with average selling prices down 1%. Summer bookings are so far up 10% on last year, led by Greece with a huge surge of 40% and signs of a return taking place  to Turkey and Egypt. In the airline sector competition to the Spanish islands is putting downward pressure on prices.

Image result for churchill china logoChurchill China CHH is increasing its final dividend by 16% after a strong 2016 performance. Revenue for the year to 31st January rose by 9%, leading to rises of 29% and 30% in basic earnings per share and profit before tax.

Moss Bros MOSB had a successful 2016 with profit before tax for the year to 31st January rising by 20.3% and basic earnings per share by 17%. The final dividend is being increased to 3.98p per share making a total rise of 6.1% for the year. Retail like for like sales in the first seven weeks of the new year are up by 4.3% but like for like hire has collapsed by 14.3% due to an in store offer.

Card Factory CARD  boasts of another record year with operating profit down by 3.7% and basic earnings per share and profit before tax both down by 1.1%. The final dividend for the year to 31st January is to be increased by 5% making a total increase for the year of 7.1%.

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Persimmon Full Of Optimism

Persimmon PSN ends 2016 full of optimism and  certainly does not share the gloom displayed by many of its competitors. Revenue rose by 8% during the year and average sales prices were increased by a modest 4% which compares favourably with the greed shown by many of the household names in the industry. Competitive mortgage rates remain a key factor behind the strength of the market, Autumn reservations were strong and second half private sales rates were 15% ahead of 2015 and legal completions rose by 10%. Second half margins are also expected to have improved because of cheaper prices for land.

Churchill China CHH also has a smile on its face with its update for 2016. final quarter trading has been ahead of expectations, performance in export markets has been strong and the operating performance for the year to the end of December gas been ahead of market expectations and well ahead of 2015. Preliminary results will be announced on the 28th March.

<img class="alignleft" src="https://upload.wikimedia herbal slimming pills.org/wikipedia/en/d/d4/PureCircle_logo.jpeg” width=”113″ height=”68″ />Pure Circle PURE experienced very strong growth in 2016 in Europe and in Latin America but first half sales are expected to be down 14% on 2016 following the detention of shipments by US Customs which has been large enough to offset growth in the rest of the world. First half group profits are expected to be down by 19% as a direct result of this and for the full year it is anticipated that for the full year last years profit of $5m. will be turned into a loss of $2m. The company has been working with US Customs from whom a final decision is now awaited.

Science in Sport SIS enjoyed strong growth in the year to 31st December with sales rising by 30%. Direct sales for the year doubled and the new Australian operation delivered sales ahead of expectations.  Continuing strong growth is confidently expected for 2017 and beyond.

Johnson Services JSG is disposing of its dry cleaning business to Timpsons for £8.25m. Results for the year to 31st December will be slightly ahead of current market expectations.

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Punch Plays Cards Close To Its Chest

Punch Taverns PUB Todays trading statement for the year to 20th August omits virtually any mention of  its trading statistics  It says it has produced a solid set of results following completion of its strategic disposal programme but fails to back that up with any meaningful figures, save to say that average profit per pub has risen by 4% and like for like net income from the core estate is up by 1% and the retail divisions 97 pubs are operating ahead of expectations. No doubt all will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Churchill China CHH produced yet another strong performance with profit before tax up by 29% for the half year to 30th June. Group revenue rose by 12% and basic earnings per share by 30%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 12%.

Fisher (James) FSJ is definitely ex growth for the time being , although that has not stopped it raising the interim dividend by 10% and it does expect to see growth resume in the second half, with new contracts and good demand for ship to ship services. Group revenue for the half year to the 30th June was down by some 2% and statutory profit before tax declined slightly from £17.9 to £17.4m. Strong growth was experienced in Marine Support, Tankships and Specialist Technical but this was offset, perhaps not surprisingly, by poor results from Offshore Oil.

HSS Hire Group HSS produced revenue growth of 13.5% in the half year to 2nd July and adjusted EBITDA rose by 11.1% which all helped to bring down the loss before tax from £14.1m to £9.8m and most of that, says the company, was due to what it euphemistically calls “strategy execution”. The interim dividend remains unchanged and the third quarter has started off ahead of last year.

Chemring Group plc CHG Revenue in the three months to the 31st July  rose by 20% and the order book was up by 12.6% but £50m of this was due to the collapse of sterling which defintely did not help the company’s US dollar debt.

Surgical Innovations SUN Revenue for the six months to 30th June was robust rising by 16%, led by exports and a particularly strong performance in the US. Increased productivity helped margins rise by 26.6% and the company returned to profitability at the operating level. By the end of the half year net bank borrowings had been eliminated.

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Our Leaders Exposed As They Abandon Ship

Who would have thought on Referendum Day, that within two weeks the whole of the country’s political leadership would, with one exception, have scuttled off caring not whether their country needed them and their years of experience in domestic and world affairs. To a man they admitted to being men of straw, without moral fibre or backbone, liars, convincing or unconvincing and ready to betray both their ideals and their colleagues at the drop of a hat.  These two weeks, even without Chilcot, have proved to be two of the most shameful weeks ever seen in British political life.

Leaders who one minute claimed they were irreplacable in solving the challenges which the country faced, suddenly ran off abandoning it, its people and their own professed ideals and beliefs.

The only person who comes out of the last two weeks with his integrity unimpaired, appears to be, believe it or not, Jeremy Corbin, abandoned by the whole of his shadow cabinet seeking only to save what they saw as their political futures by doing a hatchet job on him. Now it is they who are without a political future. How they must wish, now that their bluff has been called and it is they who have entered the political wasteland, that they had remained loyal.

As for Cameron,  Mervyn King did the best hatchet job which has been seen for many a decade. Therein lies the advantage of the mild mannered man  who does not need to shout, bawl and bully his way through life. Yesterdays interview saw King in a polite, quiet and very professional manner, carve Cameron, his former boss, into little pieces and expose him fully for what he is. To do so without even raising his voice made it all the more devastating.

Our former leaders have left the ship of state rudderless in stormy seas.  They alone are responsible for the collapse of sterling and, worst of all, they do not care. They have proved to the electorate that they were basically untrustworthy and irrelevant.  Next time, the electorate, must do better


1pm plc OPM Adjusted profit before tax for the year to the 31st May will be materially above current market expectations after a year of strong organic growth in both revenue and profit.

Churchill China CHH part of one of the UK’s world beating industries updates that it has enjoyed strong growth across the business as a whole for the half year to 30th June.

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