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Ibstock plc IBST updates that demand in the UK brick markets is robust and factories have been producing at, or close to, full capacity for an extended period. Adjusted EBITDA for the six months to the 30th June is expected to be about £58m which reflects the impact of bad weather at the start of the year and higher energy costs.But whilst demand from the new housing sector has been strong and market fundamentals are favourable, there are clouds on the horizon and it looks as if the tide may be turning to reflect the realities of life among the house builders. In recent months and particularly in July, production has been lower than expected and it is now anticipated that output for the second half of the year, will be below expectations.
Keller Group KLR is increasing its interim dividend by 24% for the half year to the 30th June, after rises in statutory pofit before tax and earnings per share of 31% and 37% respectively. First half revenue was a record at £1,075m with constant currency growth of 15%. The strong financial performance was achieved despite a harsh winter in the northern hemisphere and markets have remained broadly healthy.
Cranswick CWK revenue in the first quarter to the 30th June was 3.2% ahead of the same period last year and export revenues were modestly ahead. The Group is in a robust financial position with net debt of 18m. a year ago having been turned into net cash of 8m. at the quarter end despite substantial ongoing capital investment.
Senior plc SNR Trading in the six months to the 30th June has been slightly ahead of expectations with profit before tax for the half year riing by 36% and basic earnings per share by 25%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 6.8% and he order book remains strong across most of the businesses.
Dialight plc DIA claims to have taken targeted actions to improve its operational performance during the six months to the 30th June. Despite that, statutory profit before tax fell from 4.0m. to 2.8m. and earnings per share from 8p to 6.4p. Late orders have been significantly reduced since the start of the year and on-time delivery and cost performance are now both excellent, it says. The move from recovery to growth leaves the Group excited by its future prospects.
David Paul of VectorVest discusses market timing, Gulf Keystone #GKP, Persimmon #PSN, Anglo American #AAL, #KAZ Minerals & Cranswick #CWK with Nick ‘Moose’ Batsford of Core Finance.
Halfords Group plc HFD found itself facing a challenging retail environment in the year to 30th. March which is Boardspeak for “we lost the plot a bit”. Like for like revenue rose by 2% and total revenue by 3.7%. but profit before tax fell by 5% and basic earnings per share wee down by 2.3% which was not sufficient to prevent a 3% rise in the full year ordinary dividend. As for the current year, the motoring market is expected to remain robust and there are good growth prospects for cycllng.
Cranswick plc CWK delivered a strong financial performance across each of its four product categories in the year to 31st March and the full year dividend is to be increased by 21.8% to 53.7p. Like for like revenue rose by 12.7% and export sales surged by 30.2%. Statutory profit before tax increased by 13.5% and like for like earnings per share by 11%.
Pets at home Grp PETS claims to be back on a better footing after a drop of 16.6% in statutory profit before tax for the year to 29th March. . Group like for like revenue grew by 5,5% as against 1.5% for 2017. The total dividend is maintined at 7.5% and the new Chief Executive is both proud and excited to be taking over and sees a bright future ahead.
Entertainment One Ltd eOne reports another year of double digit growth in profits and earnings..Despite a 4% drop in revenue for the year to 31st March, adjusted profit before tax was up by 11% (or 116% on a reported basis) and the full year dividend is being increased from 1.3p per share to 1.4p. eOne claims that its market has now changed and customers, with the exception of sports vents, want to watch what they want, where they want and when they want. It believes that its three pronged strategy of connect, create and deliver, will drive rvenue and ABITDA growth.
Sanderson Group SND claims strong trading momentum and further profitable growth in the year to the 30th September so despite only tiny rises in revenue and operating profit, it is increasing its final dividend by 11% as part of its progressive dividend policy. It is however carefully monitoring market conditions and then comes out with the rather strange statement that it has not “yet” detected any major loss of confidence from existing or prospective customers. So a major loss of confidence appears to be expected, the only question being the time of its arrival.
Pets At Home PETS produced strong growth in the veterinary business with income up 16.1% for the half year to the 12th October and omnichannel also put in a strong performance with with revenue up 6.24%. is being held at last years level. Despite that, statutory profit before tax fell by 11.3% and the dividend. The company claims that it is satisfied that it s taking the right decisions. The CEO is departing, as is a non executive director.
Greencore Group GNC has been substantially transformed during the year to the 29th October and it admits that the transformation has not been without its challenges, although it believes that it is now set up for further progress. Group revenue rose by 56% but profit before tax dived by 74.3% and basic earnings per share by 80%. On an adjusted basis profit before tax was up by 35.9% and earnings per share down by 3.8%. The dividend remains unchanged.
Cranswick CNW is increasing its interim dividend by 15.3% for the half year to the 30th September, which also saw record investment of 29m. to increase capacity, capability and efficiency. Revenue rosen23% or 18% on a like for like basis, whilst profit before tax rose by 17.2% and earnings per share by 20.1%. Net debt rose strongly from 2.9m. to 16.7m.
Cranswick CWK – reports a positive start to the current financial year, with 3-month revenues to June 30 up 27%, while net debt of £18m is down £4m on this time last year. The board is confident in both outlook and continued long-term success and development of the business.
Earthport EPO – FY revenues are up c33% to £30.3m, with a adjusted EBITDA losses reduced by c65% to £2.4m Group cash balances at June 30 stood at £11.9m vs. £14.4m this time last year.
Mortice MORT – reports a 36.7% hike in FY revenues to $181.01m, with EBITDA up 114 % to $10.3 m. Following the pacing last December, Mortice reports net debt of $13.5m and balance sheet flexibility to pursue growth opportunities.
Ryanair RYA – Q1 results: CEO Michael O’Leary said the 55% increase in PAT of €397m was distorted by the absence of Easter in the prior year Q1. Highlights include: Traffic up 12% to 35m, load factor +2% to 96%, Av fare up 1% to €40.30, unit costs down 6%, €200m+ returned to shareholders via share buybacks and 397 B737’s in fleet at end of Q1.
Petra Diamonds PDL – issues a FY 2017 trading update and reports an 8% increase in FY production to 4.0 Mcts, with revenue up 11% to $477m. PDL reports year end cash of $205m, vs. $46.1m this time last year, and with Capex now in decline, debt levels will start to fall, expects to become free cashflow positive during FY 2018.
SThree STHR – reports encouraging H1 with accelerated momentum in Q2. Operating profits grew 26% year on year to £19.m, and the group reports a strong financial position with net cash of £5.2m, vs/ £4.4m debt this time last year. Says the macro-economic environment remains uncertain.
Reckitt Benckiser RB. – reports half-year net revenue of £5,017m, down -1%. The results include half a month of trading from Mead Johnson Nutrition, acquired on 15 June. RB CEO says the FY net revenue target of +2% LFL growth is a challenging target amid tough market conditions, and there is work to do on addressing the full implications of the recent cyber-attack.
W.H. Ireland WHI – reports a 24% increase in H1 revenue to £14.9m, with pre-exceptional operating profits of £0.4m. WHI remains optimistic about the outlook for the second half of 2017 and the foundations for future growth into 2018.
After the Brexit inspired sell-off, thanks to rising earnings, the FTSE 250 index has recovered sharply to hit record highs and post gains significantly in excess of the benchmark FTSE 100. At the time of the referendum, the slide in sterling was expected to be a disaster for UK plc, especially for those companies without significant dollar earnings. Even so the weaker pound has helped boost exporters’ orders, and although a mild pullback has been seen following the UK Election Hung parliament result, the recent trend shows the pound is continuing to strengthen against the dollar and euro, This stability has enabled midcap companies as diverse as Auto Trader (AUTO), Cranswick (CWK) and Greene King (GNK) to thrive.
These conditions haven’t suited all firms though, and there are plenty still suffering a weak sterling discount. Few pundits could predict the earth shaking political events of the past year, but with Article 50 triggered, and the UK Hung Parliament result, Brexit negotiations over the next two years coupled with European political uncertainty make it hard to identify opportunities. And for many FTSE 250 companies, the risks of a possible UK consumer slowdown cannot be offset by currency gains or outperformance in other parts of the world.
Despite the uncertain backdrop, one key element of the revival among FTSE 250 companies has been strong corporate earnings and positive news flow. Across the board, profits and sales are rising, dividends are being increased, and companies are expanding despite the obvious macroeconomic and political risk. Plus as of yet, consumer spending appears untroubled by recent political events.
Looking ahead, the pound looks stable and set to continue rising against the dollar and euro, a factor that could benefit companies without significant dollar earnings. A stronger pound could also take the sting out of the recent rise in inflation, which has hiked costs for importers.
While the wider global political outlook remains uncertain, financial markets have reacted in a broadly positive manner to the Hung Parliament result. This looks likely to provide backing to the ongoing stability and potential recovery of the pound, which in turn will further support FTSE 250 companies, and for some may even result in stellar growth performances, such as that delivered by Cranswick (CWK) and Cineworld (CINE) over the past year.
Brand CEO Alan Green talks markets, Cranswick (CWK) and Vipera (VIP) with Zak Mir on the TipTV Finance Channel.
Severn Trent SVT trumpets “Customers are at the heart of our business” , which no doubt, after all these years of rejection, must come as something of a surprise to those customers. Strange that it has taken all these years for Severn Trent’s management to wake up to the fact and give it such publicity. However, there does, appear to be an ulterior motive for this new found love affair, as there usually is when a company has to dig deep to find justifications for major increases in its dividends over the next few years. And to be fair to Severn Trent makes no bones about it. Customer delivery and strong operational improvements are its sole justifications for a new dividend policy which is upgraded to growth of at least RPI+4%, which will take the proposed 2017/18 dividend to 86.55 pence.
Group turnover rose by 3.7% for the year to 31st March, basic earnings per share were up by 19.9% or 4.9% on a like for like basis, whilst underlying PBIT was up by 4.3%. None of these figures you will note, gets anywhere near to exceeding RPI by 4%.
Cranswick CWK is increasing its final dividend by 19.7% after a year of strong financial and strategic progress. Like for like revenue rose by 12.7% for the year to the end of March whilst adjusted profit before tax and earnings per share rose by17.2% and 17.6% respectively. It made further strong progress in its key export markets, particularly the Far East where revenue rose sharply by 49% and claims it is in excellent shape for the new financial year.
Aveva AVV produced a resilient performance in the face of challenging conditions in the year to the end of March. The final dividend is to be increased to 27p per share making an 11% rise for the year. Profit before tax rose by 60%, although on an adjusted basis this was reduced to 7%, Basic earnings per share were up by 86% or 8% on an adjusted and diluted basis. Recurring revenue rose to 76.9% of total revenue, which on a constant currency basis was down by 3.8%.
Big Yellow Group BYG is increasing its final dividend for the year to the end of March by 10%, making a total increase for the year of 11%. Like for like revenue rose by 6% but adjusted profit before tax and basic earnings per share each fell by 11% and 12%. The company excepts to break through the 80% occupancy level during the summer bringing it nearer to its admittedly long term goal of 85%