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Ian Pollard – Greggs #GRG Finds Trading Environment Challenging

Greggs GRG found that the trading environment in March and April became challenging and although May has started more strongly, the company is now cautious about the sales outlook for the remainder of the year. Total sales in the first 18 weeks of the year rose by 4.7% but like for like sales in company managed shops could only manage 1.3%, compared to last years 3.7%

Compass Group CPG claims another strong half for the 6 months to the 31st March, with good revenue growth and excellent progress in North America where organic revenue rose by 7.3%. The UK  also enjoyed good growth. setting the lead in Europe.The interim dividend is to be increased by 9.8%, matching the increase in organic earnings per share.On a statutory basis revenue and earnings per share showed falls of 0.8% and 2.7% respectively. For the full year organic growth above the middle of the 4-6% range, is expected. 

Imperial Brands plc IMB admits that it regularly reviews not just its dividends but its dividend policy to ensure that shareholders are kept happy. The result for the half year to the 31st March is that the interim dividend is increased by 10%, after falls all round in the adjusted and operating figures. The largest declines were 26.9% in basic earnings per share and 7.6% in reported operating profit.On an adjusted basis, earnings per share were down by 6.2% and tobacco volume by 2.1%.  Net tobacco revenue fell by 5% and adjusted tobacco operating profit by 8%. The Chief Executive describes this as good progress.

TUI AG TUI Second quarter turnover rose by 6.3% with Hotels & Resorts and Cruises leading the way with rises of 15.2% and 17.1% respectively. The total rise in all segments came out at 4.9% but the net loss for the quarter rose by 13.7% and for the half year by 18.5%. This is described as a good first half performance and expectations for the full year are for growth of at least 10% in underlying EBITA

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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 Thursday 21st September 2017

APC Technology APC says unaudited FY results to 31 Aug 2017 are expected to show revenue of £15.6m (2016: £17.9m), gross profit of £5.5m (2016: £6.4m), an operating profit before interest, amortisation, depreciation and exceptional costs of £0.8m (2016: £0.3m) and a PBT in the region of £0.2m, the first PBT since Aug 2014.

Compass Group CPG says CEO Richard Cousins has decided to step down on 30 Sept 2018. He will be succeeded by Dominic Blakemore, currently COO Europe.

IG Group IGG reports a record Q1 in relatively quiet financial markets, with revenues 21% of the last quarter at £135.2m.

Mitchells & Butlers MAB says the weather in August and September has adversely affected the market, but it remains encouraged that its like-for-like sales performance continues to outperform the market. As such MAB expects to deliver a full year performance in line with the Board’s expectations.

NCC Group NCC said it continues to trade in line with expectations for the full year.

SCISYS SSY reports half year results to 30 June 2017. Half year adjusted operating profit rose 18% to £1.3m, on revenues up 23% to £27.2m. Order book stands at a record £64m, and the interim dividend is up 11% at 0.59p. Chairman Mike Love said the company currently expects to deliver FY results at the upper end of current guidance.

Upbeat Results From FTSE 100

News In Brief FTSE 100

Compass Group CPG is continuing to have a good year with like for like revenue up 3.9% in the third quarter and accelerating. North America is producing strong new business and the business environment in the Rest of the World, is improving.

ITV plc ITV Total external revenue for the half year to 30th June fell by 3.0% but the broadcast business remains robust and full year 2017 guidance remain unchanged. The interim dividend is to be increased by 5%

GKN plc GKN Sales rose by 15% in the half year to 30th June and both profit before tax and earnings per share were up by 14%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 5%. Investment in technology is continuing.

Hammerson plc HMSO joins its FTSE friends with a 5% increase in its interim dividend after a strong set of results for the half year to the 30th June. Net rental income rose by 9.7% and basic earnings per share by 74.9%

3i Group III had a busy first quarter with a good portfolio performance and a total return of 4.!%. The economic back ground is improving and the weakness of sterling added a 68m foreign exchange gain during the quarter.



Unite Group UTG had a highly active and successful first half resulting in the interim dividend being hiked by 22%, after a strong financial performance. Profit before tax fell from 122.8m to 83.9m due to a lower revaluation surplus.


Minoan Group MIN claims it is about to enter the most rewarding period in its history. It has successfully fought the appeal against the grant of planning permission for its major project in Crete and in Travel and Leisure group profit has risen by 35% at EBITDA level for the six months to the 30th June..

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Sterling Helps Compass Pay £1bn Special Dividend

Compass Group CPG received a big helping hand from the weakness of sterling which added an extra 15% to revenue, operating profit and earnings per share for the first half year to 31st March. The result is that the company can afford to celebrate with  a proposal to pay a special dividend of  £1bn, as well as raising the interim dividend by another 5.7%.  Well done sterling.

Revenue for the half year rose by 20.3% but on an organic basis this was reduced to a more realistic figure of 3.6%, North America leading the way with a rise of 7% and the board remains excited about the long term prospects of the company. Let us hope that sterling does not wipe the smile off their faces by reverting to a more realistic valuation.

Barratt Developments BDEV is firing on all cylinders and expects house completions for the year to the end of June will be the highest for nine years. It displays no signs of the ills which have begun to afflict some of its competitors and appears to be going from strnegth to strength. Profits are expected to be at the top end of current analysts estimates. Total forward sales as at the 7th May were at record levels after a rise of 12.7%.  Market conditions remain good and attractive mortgage finance is widely available. Private average selling prices have shown upward momentum, as the company euphemistically puts it and the net cash position at the year end will be ahead of expectations at £600m.

ITV PLC ITV saw total revenue fall by 1% in the quarter to the end of March whilst total external revenue was down by 3% and family NAR fell by 6% over the 4 months to the end of April, with a forecast ofr further declines of 8% in May and 15-20% in June, making a total first half decline of 9%. One good sign among the statistics was a rise of 4% in viewing share for the quarter and guidance for the full year remains unchanged.

Marshalls MSLH. Group revenue rose by 6% compared to last year, in the 4 months to the 30th April, whilst sales in the domestic end market increased by 13%. Order books are at their highest ever and the board is becoming increasingly encourage about the groups overall performance for the current year.

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