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Ian Pollard – #BT Riddled In Jargon But ARPU is up 1%

BT Group plc BT.A claims that positive momentum in the second quarter resulted in encouraging results for the half year to the 30th September.That may be so but you will have to take BTs word for it because the update is riddled in jargon that much of it is meaningless to anybody who has not spent a lifetime working for BT, where Engliish now appears to have become a foreign language. Thus you will be delighted to know (inter alia) that group NPS is up 3.6 points and Right First Time up 2.7%, whilst consumer fixed ARPU is up 1%.

Getting back to the real world,  reported revenue of £11,588m was down by 2% and adjusted revenue by 1%. Despite that reported profit before tax rose by 24% and basic earnings per share by 29%. The interim dividend  has been reduced by 5%

Just Eat plc JE. now anticipates full year revenues will be towards the top end of the £740 to £770 million range, after a strong third quarter which saw revenue rise by 41%. Over the nine months to date the rise was 44%. International order growth was particularly strong, with new restaurant partner sign-ups across major cities.

Croda International plc CRDA The sales momentum seen in the first half of the year has continued into quarter three. Constant currency sales grew by 3.4%, with the Core Business up by 4.5%  after a strong performance in the  consumer businesses. Growth in Core Business for the year to date has been 4.7%. Constant currency sales were 4.2% higher  and the quarter 3 sales reflected the strength of sales in Health Care.

Biome Technologies plc BIOM Group revenues for the nine months to 30 September 2018 showed a 56% increase over the same period last year. At the end of quarter 3,  year-to-date Group revenues already exceed those for the whole of 2017. The progress made  during the first half of the year has continued into quarter3 and the Board expects this momentum to continue for the remainder of the year.

Elektron Technology plc EKT produced an exceptional third quarter performance with with sales at record levels after rising by 17%. The Board now expects that the full year performance will be significantly ahead of market expectations.

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Ian Pollard – European Air Traffic Control Hits Wizz Air #WIZZ

Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ Profit for the first quarter to the 30th June  fell 14% from 58.1m. to €50.0 million,   compared to 2017 reflecting the timing of Easter and the effect of higher than expected disruption costs. Passengers carried rose by 19.7% and revenue by17.9% but profit margins were down by 3.3ppts from 12.4 to 9. Disruptions caused mainly by European air traffic control,were at an unprecedented levels and led to a 426% increase in cancellations. Passenger delay and compensation costs incurred by the Company, as a result, increased by 203% to €9.1m

Vodafone Group VOD Revenue fo the first quarter to the 3oth June fell by 4.9% due to foreign exchange headwings and the the adoption of IFRS 15.India was the groups worst performer with a fall of 22.3% due to intense competition. On the commercial front momentum was maintained as mobile data traffic grew by 57%. Italy and Spain also suffered from increased competition but the UK saw some recovery and there were gains in broadband. Operating costs were reduced for the third year running.

Croda International CRDA delivered a strong performance in the six months to the 30th June with record profit before tax and basic earnings per share. The interim dividend to be raised by 8.6% from 35 to 38p. per share.. All 3 business did well with excellent sales growth of 9.3% at  constant currency in Personal Care. In Life Sciences the performance was resilient with sales up 2.3%. Profit growth in Performance Technologies is described as impressive with operating profit up 15.2% on sales up 1.7%, at constant currency rates. On an adjusted basis, basic earnings per share rose by 12% and profit before tax by 7.7%. Sales increased by 3.6% after the impact of stronger sterling.

Informa INF continued to deliver a good trading performance with strong growth continuing during the half year to the 30th June. The interim dividend is to be increased  by 6%.with the company claiming to be firmly on track for another year of growth in revenue, adjusted operating profit, adjusted earnings, cashflow and dividend.

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WPP Uppish And Downish And Flat

WPP plc WPP has seen a steady decline since the beginning of the year and the third quarter saw results which managed to be up and down at the same depending on which currency they are in. The year started with first quarter rises in sales and revenue of 4.8% and 3.6% respectively and ending in the third quarter with sales up by 0.9% and revenue down 1.1% on a like for like basis. For the nine months as a whole they were still up and down with revenue on a constant currency basis down 0.9% and constant currency sales up 1.7% or down 0.7% on a like for like basis.  Not surprisingly the forecast for the year is that it will be neither up nor down but flat.

Croda International CRDA constant currency sales grew by 4.4% for the third quarter to the end of September and by 4% for the year to date. Strong sales in personal care  rose by 5.7%  and helped to build on the first half recovery whilst geographically Latin America remained challenging but North America, Europe and Asia grew by 8%, 7% and 6% respectively.

Weir Group WEIR expects to see strong growth in constant currency revenues and profits for the full year. Strong order growth continued into the third quarter with a rise of 21% headed by oil and gas which leapt by 59% Operating profit however will be slightly lower than previously indicated.

Plus 500 PLUS believes that full year results will be ahead of market expectations after a record third quarter which saw revenue up by 50% and new customers by 69%. Over the nine months to date the revenue rise was 29%

Earthport EPO The Chairman claims that 2017 was a good year with the loss after tax rising by 58% but adjusted gross profit up by 30% and adjusted EBITDA loss down by 58% thus establishing a solid platform for growth.

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Domino’s Claims Record Progress

Domino’s Pizza DOM The half year to the 25th June was another good period with record progress in the UK, despite the UK consumer having become more cautious about the economic climate. Underlying profit before tax rise by 9.1% with basic earnings per share up by 9.9% and the interim dividend increased by by 7.1% to 3.75p. 90 openings are expected during the year. Net debt rose nearly six fold from 10.9m to 61m

Croda International CRDA is increasing its interim dividend for the six months to 30th June by 6.9% after a rise in sales of 16.2%, driven by continued organic growth across all core business sectors and maintained margins. On a constant currency basis the rise was 3.8%. Adjusted profit before tax rose by 14.3% (4.4% on a constant currency basis) and basic earnings per share by 18.2%

Victoria plc VCP Despite another record year which saw profit before tax surge by 102% Victoria has decided that it will again not pay a final dividend, so that it can use the money to reduce debt. During the year to the 1st April  four earnings accretive acquisitions were successfully completed  leading to a 29% rise in revenue and a 92% rise in basic earnings per share. The company states that shareholders may not truly understand the enormous scope for growth which exists both in the UK and Europe. Victoria intends to take full advantage of this by continuing to make further acquisitions where the price justifies the investment.

PZ Cussons plc PZC produced a solid performance for the year to 31st May with what it describes as a solid set of results. The dividend is to be increased by 2.18% making this the 44th consecutive year on year increase.On a constant currency basis revenue fell by 0.9%, profit before tax rose by 1.7% and adjusted basic earnings per share were down by 2.2%. Despite consumer confidence in most markets remaining fragile,  Cuzzons say it is well placed to meet full year expectations.

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Crawshaw Cancels Dividend After Customers Desert

Crawshaw CRAW  having been forced to cancel its final dividend has had the audacity to claim that the year to the 29th January was a year of strategic progress. The only progress, strategic or otherwise, was that management at last woke up to the fact that it had ceased to “resonate” with customers who had been departing in ever increasing numbers.

Like for like sales fell by 7.3% during the year, the underlying operating loss quadrupled to £1.1m. and the statutory loss rose five fold to £1.4m. Customer numbers are still falling sharply, with the first ten weeks of the current year producing a decline of 4.5%, which Crawshaw describes as a “bounce back”.  At least it is an improvement on the third and fourth quarter losses of 13% and 7.4% but no way, outside cloud cuckoo land, can a decline be described as a bounce back .

One can only wonder for how much longer shareholders will continue to “resonate” with management and the board. Let us hope that new board advisor Ranjit Boparan and his £5.1m investment for a 29.9% stake (and warrants to acquire a further 20.1%) turns the company around.

Croda International CRDA saw the improving sales trend seen in the final quarter of 2016, continuing through  the first quarter of 2017 to the end of March. constant currency sales rose by 4.9% with strong organic growth. Asia led the way geographically with a rise of 11%, whilst Performance technologies started the year with an exceptional; performance as sales grew by 11.4%.

GKN plc GKN updates that it has delivered good organic sales growth since the 1st January, with aerospace lower than expected and the automotive market better than expected.However the first quarters growth rate may not be continued throughout the rest of the year.

CRH plc CRH Like for like group sales during the quarter to the 1st April grew by 3%, europe leading the way with a rise of 6% and Asia falling behind due to price competition in the Philippines which is expect to continue in the second half of the year.

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Barclays – Down, Down, Down

Barclays plc BARC has so much small print at the beginning of its quarterly report that many readers will need a magnifying glass to avoid damage to their eye sight. The report for the 3 months to 31st March is full of gloss about how well Core is doing compared to Non Core but however they try Barclays can not gloss over the fact that in 2015 the 1st quarter dividend was 1p.  This year the column is blank, and the omission gets no further mention. Does that mean what I think it means.

Group profit before tax at £793m was down 25% compared to last year, underlying profit before tax was down 2%, net attributable profit was down 7% and basic earnings per share fell from 2.9p to 2.7p, so no matter what you call it, however you wrap it up, most things were generally down which is not as good as being up. Quickly move on to the next to save my eyesight

Lifeline Scientific LCIC both revenue and profit were ahead of market expectations for the year to the end of December, with rises of 14% and 139% respectively. Growth was seen in all major markets, the company has a robust cash position and is looking forward to a strong 2016.

London Stock Exchange LSE saw income to 26th April up by 9% and claims a strong first quarter performance in all its main business divisions with LCG’s OTC, FTSE Russell and Capital Markets (that’s what they say) particularly strong, as if anybody is really interested. Then it’s full of itself over the fabulous merger with Deutsche Bourse. Let us hope and pray that the emissions of hot air are cleaner than VW”s et al.

Croda International CRDA is on the few compananies with the honesty to admit that it has benefitted from favourable currency movements, which have added 3.9% to reported sales. sales of New & Protected Products grew by 8%, well ahead of overall sales whilst margins in Personal care did well. Core sector sales overall rose by 9.8% but those old Victorian Industrial Chemicals fell by 7.8%

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Stanley Gibbons Leads Corporate Cock Up Day

sglogoAs recently as mid January Stanley Gibbons (SGI) said that it would be comparatively unattractive to raise by way of new equity the 10m funding, which it desperately needed. So here we are less than 6 weeks later and guess what? The funding is being raised by way of new equity. Otherwise it would be unable to repay its additional overdraft facility of 6m., by the end of March.

The nonsense does not end there. The company now expects to make a full year loss of between 1 and 2m. due to lower revenues and failing to achieve the planned cost savings.

The auditors have resigned because the risks and uncertainties of doing the audit, exceed what they regard as acceptable.  Unfortunately the board still seems to be in situ and senior management is still clinging on but for what purpose, one can only guess.

Ladbrokes (LAD) has slashed its 2015 dividend by 66.3% as profit before tax plummets by 46.4% and group operating profit by 35.7%.  It claims that this is a good start to the delivery of its new strategy.

Drax (DRX) has decimated its final dividend with a cut from 7.2p to 0.6p meaning that 2015 total dividends have halved from 11.9p to 5.7p.  Earnings per share are down 52% from 23.7p to 11.3p. The disastrous performance is all due to severe market deterioration and believe it or not, difficult regulatory challenges.

As on every bad day, there is some good news and of course it comes from the property sector, where else? Unite Group (UTG) which now has 46,000 operational student beds is raising its full year dividend by 34% to15p after profit before tax soared from 108.4m. to 388.4m and earnings per share rose by 66%

Croda International (CRDA) also delivers good news with record sales and pre tax profits. The full year dividend is being increased by 5.3% in addition to which a special dividend of 100p has already been paid. The company made strong progress, driven by innovation and by sales growth in all four divisions and in all its geographical regions.

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