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Ian Pollard – Gloom & Despondency As UK plc Whinges About Its Own Incompetence

Mulberry Group plc MUL Revenue in the year to 31st March rose by 1% and retail sales by 3%. On the international front sales were good with a rise of 20% but the UK was flat and has gone even flatter since the year end with a drop of 9% and leading to a 7% fall in like for like goup retail sales for the 10 weeks to the 2nd June. Mulberry tries to put a brave face on the dismal news but can a fall of 9% in UK like for like retail sales over10 weeks  be passed off as  significant progress. New subsidiaries have been opened in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan but that has not been able to offset the lame excuse of a fall in UK footfall. Mulberry has a problem ad it seems to be getting worse.

Redhall Group plc RHL Despite a strongly growing order book, a strong tender pipeline and major contract awards in nuclear new build Redhalls first half performance has been impacted by programe delays. An adjusted operating profit of £0.2m has been turned into an operating loss of £1.9m. and a net cash position of £0.1m has been turned into debt of £4.5m Never mind, it has a transformation strategy underway.

Dewhurst plc DWHT did not have  good first half. Sales and profits fell and group revenue declined by 5%. Profit before tax was down by 4% and operating profit collapsed by 19%. The strength of sterling had a 5% negative impact – presumably they must have found a part of the UK which had a different exchange rate to he rest of the country.. The interim dividend remains unchanged at 3.5p. per share. The business climate is seen as being reasonably positive, except of course for the UK., so presumably there my be a good chance of them getting a positive impact from the continuing fall of the pound.

Eckoh ECK at least brings some cheer into what is otherwise a gloomy day for UK plc. A strong performance in the US saw revenue there rise by 16% for the year to the 31st March and the UK order book grew strongly in the second half. Profit before tax increased by 61% and the final dividend is being increased from 0.48p to 0.55p, a rise of 15%. It is good to see that there some companies with management whose eye is on the ball and is not content to just sit back and whinge about the results of its own incompetence.

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Ian Pollard – Victrex – Sales Volume Up 1%, Divi Up 160 %

Victrex VCT managed a  whopping  160% increase in dividends for the year to the end of September after a mediocre rise of 1% in sales volume led to a rise of 11% in profit before tax.   The dividend increase comprised a 15% rise in the regular dividend plus payment of a special dividend of 68p per share. The support for this largess to shareholders is based on strong core growth and  a rise of 88% in.cash generation. Pity they could not do more with the sales volume, then they could really have gone to town on those dividend increases.

Dewhurst plc DWHT announces record results for the year to the 30th September. With the help of positive currency movements sales rose by 12.2% and profit before tax by 17.3% including a 0.4m currency benefit. The final dividend is to be increased by 0.5p per share to 8.5p making a total increase for the year of 1p. UK demand is described as being fragile at present with projects being delayed and deferred whilst overseas markets are buoyant.

Ferguson plc FERG Trading profit in the quarter to the end of October grew by 13.9% after a 7.6% rise in organic revenue. The US enjoyed strong organic growth of 8.3% but as often happens the UK let the side down with a 3.8% fall in trading profit at constant exchange rates.

IG Group Holdings IGG continued to perform well in the second quarter after a strong first quarter and net trading revenue for the first half is expected to be up 9% on a year ago, whilst operating costs are expected to have fallen by 7% following a reduction in advertising and marketing.


Cerillion CER has won one of those significant major contracts which had been so elusive earlier in the year. The contract, with a European telecommunications provider is to start immediately  and is worth an initial £5m. and a total of £8.4m over five years.


Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ grew November passenger numbers by 22% and increased load factor by 1.5ppts to 88.3%.

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easyJet Feeling The Competition

easyJet EZJ is beginning to feel the heat of competition now that it has priced itself out of the budget airline market. November passenger statistics showed some growth but only by a comparatively small 2.9%, the comparison of course being with Ryanair. Load factor actually fell by 0.6% to 91.3% leaving it trailing way behind Ryanair’s  95% and not only did load factor fall in November it also fell by on 0.5% a rolling 12 month basis.

Imagination Technologies IMG has completed its restructuring programme on time enabling it to return to profitability for the 6 months to the end of October.  Annual cost savings of £27.5m have been acheived and half year like for like revenue grew by 6% as a result of the strong dollar which however caused a loss of £5.2m to be incurred on dollar denominated debt. The strong dollar is expected to continue to help the company’s trading performance. dollar is expected.

Dewhurst DWHT currency movements were the main factor in the changes in Dewhursts results for the year to the end of September. Profit before tax fell by 4.4% which the board finds disappointing after last years performance but 2016 was a volatile year with a very weak first quarter followed by a much stronger second half recovery. The final dividend is proposed to be increased by 1p to 8p plus a 3p special dividend.

RWS Holdings RWS delivered record revenue and profits, ahead of market expectations for the year to the end of September. Sales rose by 28% and adjusted profit before tax and earnings per share by 35%. Useful gains were made from currency movements after the referendum. The final dividend is to be increased by 15% to 4.5%. Trading in the first two months of the new year is described as having been very strong.

OMGplc OMG is to increase its final dividend for the year to the end of September, by 54% after a rise in adjusted profit before tax from £4.9m to £5.6m and growth in revenue from £25.7 to £29.5m. In the past two years over £16m has been returned to shareholders and the target now is to double group profit and triple like for like revenue by 2021.

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