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Ian Pollard – easyJet benefits from collapse of competition & Ryanair disruption

easyJet plc EZJ produced a strong first quarter performance thanks in part at least to the collapse of a number its competitors such as Al Italia, Monarch and Air Berlin, which it has now bought and the disruption suffered by its main competitor Ryanair. On time performance rose by 2 percentage points to 81% despite increased disruption. Total revenue for the quarter rose by 14% and passenger numbers by 8%. Constant currency revenue is expected to rise by mid to high single digits in the first half of 2018. Passenger numbers are expected to rise from 80 million to 90 million, again helped by the lack of competition.

IG Group Holdings IGG produced new records in revenue and profit before tax in the half year to the 30th November. Profit before tax rose by 29%, diluted earnings per share by 30% and operating expenses fell by 7%. Own funds generated by operations rose by 38%.The interim dividend is being increased a tad to 9.69p per share compared to 9.42 pence in 2017

Pets at Home Group PETS The third quarter to the 4th January produced group revenue growth of 9.6% or 7.2% on a like for like basis after a strong customer response following the launch of a low price initiative.

Marstons MARS suffered disruption from ice and snow  both at the beginning of December and between Christmas and the New Year which cost it nearly £1m in lost profits. Despite that  Santa looked kindly  on the brewer on Xmas day itself which produced record retail sales  of nearly £4m., 5.4% up on last year. Market conditions are tough but 2018 will still see the opening of 15 new restaurants and pubs and 6 lodges.

Elecosoft ELCO Profit before tax and revenue for the year to 31st December are expected to be significantly higher than in 2016. Following strong conversion of operating profits into cash, net borowings were eliminated at the 30th June. Staff are praised for the development of a number of significant award winning technical innovations which have pleased customers.

Ideagen IDEA saw revenue rise by 43% and adjusted profit before tax by 56% after a strong performance during the half year to the 31st October. Sales momentum was strong in the USA, Europe and in the Asia Pacific region. Current trading is described as robust and the interim dividend is to be increased by 15%.

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Ameriseur Production Soaring And Prices Rising

Amerisur AMER increased production significantly to 4475 BOPD in the half year to the 30th June. compared to 2016’s 2641 barrels. At the same time the average realised sale price rose from $38.4 per barrel to $47.3. These two factors resulted in revenue for the half year rising by more than 57% with the Platanillo field alone having producing 8MMBO so far this year. Average production by the end of the year is expected to have reach 7,000 barrels of oil per day compared to the present rate of 6,000 barrels. By the end of 2018, 16 wells are expected to be operational, all of them fully funded from cash resources and operational cash flow.

M&C Saatchi SAA enjoyed strong revenue momentum and earnings growth in the 6 months to the 30th June and interim dividend is to be increased by 15%. The UK as so often is the case, was the geographical laggard with only 5% like for like growth compared to 15% in Europe and 14% in the USA. Profit before tax and like for like revenue, both rose by 17% and earnings per share by 11%. The second half is said to have started well.

Elecosoft plc ELCO Saw profit before tax  rise by 81% in the 6 months to the 30th June and shareholders are rewarded with a 30% proposed increase in the interim dividend. On a constant currency basis the rise in profits came to 68%. Revenue for the half year rose by 14%, basic earnings per share by 83% and EBITDA by 66%. Growth was experienced in all of the company’s geographical regions.

Osirium Technologies plc OSI which came to aim in 2016, has produced strong progress in sales momentum in the six months to the end of June with invoiced sales rising by 393% and revenue up by 59%. High profile data breaches and new regulations which are due t come into force in 2018 have attracted new customers and ensured the renewal of existing contract. Profitability has not yet been achieved because of high investment in sales and marketing and operating losses for the half year more than doubled but the company is pleased with its  operational and financial progress which has resulted in it being declared a “cool vendor” by Gartner.

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BT Caught Out in Major Fraud.

BT Group BT.A has reluctantly apologised for cheating on its Openreach customers over a number of years. After a whopping £42m fine which has now been imposed by Ofcom, it did not have much choice but it still has the audacity to try and get away with calling them “mistakes”. Ofcom takes a slighty different view and calls them “serious failings” and they were serious failings which BT doggedly refused to do anything about for three years.

Even after it had been caught out, BT refused  for those three years from 2013, to pay any compensation to those of its customers who had suffered loss. In the end Ofcom has forced it to come to the table to agree a compensation figure which it is expected, will reach something in the region of £300m. BT laughingly blathers on about failing to adhere to its extremely high standards of customer service but makes no mention of action against any of its management who were responsible for what was in effect a major fraud.

Elecosoft plc ELCO saw a significant improvement in trading and financial performances in 2016 and the current year has started well. Like for like revenue on a constant currency basis for the year to the end of December rose by 8%. Profit before tax was up by 42%, EBITDA by 35% and basic earnings per share by 55%. The proposed final dividend is 0.25p, making a total of 0.4p for the year. Eleco also claims that it is well placed for trading post Brexit.

YouGov plc YOU enjoyed a strong period of organic revenue and profit growth in the half year to 31st January. Revenue grew by 24% or 8% on a constant currency basis. Earnings per share were up by 21% and profit before tax by 27% on an adjusted basis. trading in the second half has started positively.

Bioventix BVXP produced a strong first half performance and is inceasing its interim dividend by 21%. Turnover grew by 32% and profit before tax by 49% in the six months to 31st December.

Gama Aviaton GMAA claims an exceptionally busy year for 2016 and a robust financial performance, with aircraft under management up by 12.2% and total revenue at record levels with a rise of 12.6%. US air revenue for the year to the end of December rose by 30% and ground revenue by 15%, as Gamma became a powerful market leader in the US. Europe however told a different story with air revenue down by 5% and ground revenue by 15% as  it extricated itself from contracts it may have been better without and entered a restructuring programme. On a reported basis, profit before tax nearly tripled to $19.3m and earnings per share nearly doubled to $42.9m. the dividend is increased by 4%.

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Brainjuicer Trading Strongly Again

Brainjuicer BJU regained momentum in 2016 and traded strongly, especially in the US, after the modest performance of the two previous years. Gross profit for the year to the end of December rose by some 27% to about £25.6m and even after payments of £5.2m to shareholders by way of dividends and share buy backs, the year ended with a cash balance of £7.8m., equal to 63p per share. Pre tax profit for 2016 is expected to be 37% higher at £6.2m. Final results are expected on the 9th February.

Midatech Pharma MTPH expects revenue for the year to 31st December will have risen to £9m from 2015’s £1.4m. Double digit top line growth is expected for 2017.

Bonmarche Holdings BON had a fairly disastrous Xmas with like for like store sales for the 5 weeks to 24th December down by 3.4% and online sales, unlike other retailers, slumping by 14.3%. Total like for like sales over the 5 weeks fell by 4.2%. Obviously there seems to have been a problem with t heir online offer. Christmas trading was only a continuation of the fall seen over the first 9 months when total sales fell by 5.3%

Character Group CCT expects first half results to be lower than last years as sales of Teletubbies, Fireman Sam et al fell slightly for the 4 months to December. The fall in the value of sterling also adversely affected gross UK margins and the company has taken measures to mitigate this and these are already starting to take effect.

Elecosoft ECO expects profit before tax for the year to the end of December will be significantly ahead of market expectations after 2016 produced record sales. furt her progress is expected in 2017

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