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Ian Pollard – Rank #RNK raises dividend after year of decline and disappointment

Rank Group RNK the year to the 30th June was a year of decline and disappointment which for some reason has left the Board full of confidence. The results are in line with the Boards expectations but only expectations which had been revised during the year. For Grosvenor Casinos the year was a challenging one but Mecca’s performance by contrast beat expectations. Profit before tax and earnings per share for the year both fell by 6.3% although on a statutory basis the fall in profit was much steeper at 41.4%. A company-wide transformation programme is only in its development phase but the new Chief Executive says he is moving quickly to identify the key priorities. The disappointment has not been allowed to spread to the final dividend which contrary to the other statistics is to be increased by 2.1%.

Marshalls plc MSLH produced strong revenue growth in the 6 months to the end of June and the interim dividend is to be increased by 18%. Revenue and profit before tax both rose by 12%, basic earnings per share by 10% and EBITDA by 13%. In June and July, however growth became even stronger with revenue rising by 21%.

Kingfisher KGF updates that second quarter group like for like sales to the end of July rose by 1.6% and on a reported basis by 3.4%.  The Chief Executive claims that the company is now on track to deliver its strategic milestones for the third year in a row, helped by good recoveries at both B&Q and Screwfix. For once the UK & Ireland is not the laggard with screwfis sales rising by 11.8%, still someway behind Germany with a rise of 26.6%

Filtronic plc FTC experienced another year of strong demand for its products. For the year to the end of May profit before tax rose from 1.2m to 2.2m and basic earnings per share from 0.59p to 1.51p per share after sales revenue rose from £24m. to £35.4m. Two major contracts were secured during the course of the year and the company was also approved as a vendor by a major US mobile network operator.

Tribal Group TRB has completed the first phase of the turnaround started in 2016 and for the half year to the 30th June, despite a small fall in revenue, earnings per share rose by 76% and and statutory profit after tax by 83%. Market share has been gained in its core markets.

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Ian Pollard – Filtronic Interim Profit Halved

Filtronic FTC has seen its strategy result in new contract wins but too late to prevent the first half turning into something of a disaster.. Revenue for the 6 months to the 30th November plunged from £21.6m to £12.8m and operating profit halved to £0.9m. The second half is not expected to be any better and no further growth is seen until 2019

Dominos Pizza DOM Trading performance was boosted by 43 net new store openings in quarter 4 compared to a record 95 for the full year. Organic revenue for the quarter rose by 10.1% as against 8.9% for the full year. The UK demonstrated its resilience in what is described as a challenging and competitive environment with like for like sales rising by 6.1% compared to 4.8% for the full year. Underlying profit before for the year is anticipated to be slightly above current market expectations.

PZ Cussons plc PZC Like for like revenue for the half year to the 30th November rose by 3.3% but that was not enough to prevent a 14.1% fall in adjusted profit before tax. Strong profitability in Asia was offset by reduced margins in parts of Europe and in Africa. The performance was underpinned by a strong and innovative product pipeline  and profitability is expected to improve in he second half as a result of new product launches and distribution expansion.

Safestay SSTY performed strongly in 2017, both in the UK and in Europe as interest in hostel accommodation rose to record  levels.Total revenue for the year to 31st December rose by 43% with the UK enjoying a 15% rise. Occupancy rates at the hostel at Kensington Holland Park grew by 32% during the year and a series of acquisitions in 2017 took the number of beds from 1526 to 2306 with a  further 330 still to come.

UBM plc UBM expects the full year out turn and adjusted operating profit to be ahead of expectations and a final dividend of 18p per share will be paid   making a year on year dividend increase of 6.8%. Fourth quarter trading was ahead of expectations and event revenue growth of at least 5% is expected, taking group revenue for the year to 31st December to above the 1 billion mark

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Plant Impact fears Impact

Plant Impact PIM fears that 4th quarter revenue could be affected by talks which are taking place with Bayer Cropscience about its minimum required purchase volumes for Veritas in Brazil, third quarter revenue for which rose from £0.5m last year to £2.4m this year. The result of the talks could impact full year results and also adversely affect next years performance. Revenue for the 9 months to the 30th April has risen by 55% over last year or 30% on a constant  currency basis.

Care Tech Holdings CTH is increasing its interim dividend by 10% to 3.3p per share for the half year to 31st March after what it claims was an impressive first half performance which saw revenue rise by 11.3%. Profit before tax fell by 37.5% from last years when the figures included a £5.6m profit on the sale of a fixed asset.. On an underlying basis profit before tax was up by 13.9%. Sustained growth in capacity and revenue is expected to enable the company to achieve its target of annual double digit growth in underlying diluted earnings per share.

Filtronic plc FTC nearly tripled sales in the 12 months to 31st May, with a rise from £13.6m. to £35.4m.. It describes 2017 as a year of tremendous progress in which it achieved both profitability and cash generation, last years operating loss of of £6.8m having been transfomed into an operating profit of £1.7m.

Bonmarche Holdings BON admits that it has failed to execute its plans to modernise and improve its offer to customers at the rate it had aimed for. The failure is laid at the door of internal and external factors for which it does not provide an explanation. Todays preliminary results for the 53 weeks to the 1st April. show store like for like sales slumping by 4.3% and group profit before tax down from £9.6m. to £5.8m. Underlying basic earnings per share fell from 18.3p per share to 10.1p. As for the future it claims to have a compelling proposition and a robust plan.

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Cloth Caps, Whippets and Forelocks

From the Daily Mirror

In the absence of very much company news, the main story this morning must be the Prime Minster’s sudden realisation that the working class is alive and kicking. So, she is actually off slumming it to the North East with the intention of finding it and meeting some of its members, so that she can explain that they have been deserted by Labour. No doubt sales of cloth caps will have boomed as these relics of Victorian times don appropriate dress, rehearse the long forgotten practice of forelock touching and stuff their best whippet down their trouser leg.  Reet lads whippets out and off back down the shipyards to check on the rust.

It just goes to show how mislead we have been about what was supposed to be a classless Britain. What a picture it portrays of our Prime Minister, her ignorance and her real attitude to the plebs. What an admission of how out of touch she is. She must be one of the few person in the country who believe that the working class not only still exists but votes Labour as well.

Has she has forgotten that Harold McMillan abolished  the working class some 60 years ago and in so doing created a new modern Tory party. Do those living in the Tory heartland really look down on those who earn a living by getting their hands dirty. Theresa May lis completely out of touch even with her own party. More idiocy like this and she will make Jeremy Corbin look competent and throw away her chances of remaining Prime Minster after the election.

And now for a bit of business news.

Hydrodec HYR revenue for the year to 31st December grew by over 100% as the Canton plant was fully recommissioned.  At the same time administrative expenses fell by 44%. The result was that in quarter 4 the group became EBITDA positive, a trend which is expected to continue throughout the current year. The overall loss for 2016 fell sharply from $31.1m to $7.8m

Filtronic FTC Fourth quarter trading has been ahead of management expectations and group revenue for the year to the 31st May is now expected to reach £35m.

Gemfields GEM admits to mixed results for the quarter to 31st March, in a market where demand for coloured gemstones continued to increase and the sector itself, strengthened. Exceptionally heavy rainfall was only partly to blame. Lower production at Kagem and Monetpuez was a problem. Production of ore and Beryl and Emerald stones in the March quarter was the lowest for nearly two years and lower even than Decembers figures.

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Filtronic Returns to Profitability

Filtronic FTC traded strongly in the first half and returned to profitability as revenue leapt from £4.5m to £21.6m and turning last years half time loss of £4.1m into a profit of £1.8m. Increased sales of its main antenna product, and strengthening of its Wireless sales team were responsible for the turnaround. The Chairman went overboard with praise referring not to the company’s growing opportunities  but to its growing opportunity pipeline so he has obviously done his bit by attending company speak classes.

Torotrak TRK warns of a material reduction in the mass market for its V charger in passenger cars following the recent shift towards electrification and the move away from diesel engines. This appears to mean that t he company is going to basically have to re-invent itself which includes managing its resources prudently and focusing on KERS. Engineering resources will have to be consolidated.

Hydrodec HYR   expects revenue from its core refining business to have risen by 100% for the year to the end of December following the recommissioning of its Canton plant which enabled the company to become EBITDA positive in the last quarter, a situation which is expected to continue throughout 2017. Utilisation of plant increased to 73% as unscheduled plant stoppages declined. Recent changes in the operating environment also impacted the company positively.

Pure Circle PURE has received the happy news that it has been removed by US Customs from the Withhold Release Order and can now resume sales to the US which represented a third of its annual sales.

YouGov YOU anticipates that trading will be ahead of expectations for the half year to the end of January, following strong revenue growth

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Will Brussels Ban Referendums

The Italian’s have done it.  They have joined the growing list of countries whose peoples are sick and tired of their political establishments living lives completely divorced from the realities of the ordinary workaday world which most of us inhabit. The referendum has become the stock, shock weapon  for taming the arrogant political elites of the world. The only question now is whether the bureaucrats of Brussels will try to find a way of banning them as being in breach of the Maastricht treaty or any other nonsensical reason they can think up for saving their tax free privileged lives and their dictatorial powers. Perhaps the usual catch all of health and safety would be appropriate.

As we forecast on Friday as a strong possibility, the Euro has fallen sharply this morning to over 1.20 to the pound bringing our currency speedily back to levels which our economic commentators and experts proclaimed would not be seen again for many a year. And this is only the beginning, The Italians now have to face an election with the possibility of Beppe Grillo as the winner.

Filtronic FTC traded strongly in the 6 months to the end of November and expects unaudited first half revenues will have reached £21.6m  almost five times the total of £4.5m for the whole of 2016. The company cautions however that its success is based primarily on sales to one lead customer of its new ultra wide band antenna.

Ryanair RYA November traffic grew by 15% over last year, to 8.8m customers and load factor was up by another 2% to 95%. The airline advised customers to book their flights now for next summer

Purplebricks Group PURP claims to have caused a seismic shift in the UK estate agency market with its fixed fee revolution. Revenue for the 6 months to the end of October rose by 159%, exceeding the total for the whole of 2016. Gross profit for the half year surged from £4.1m to £10.2m and average revenue per customer rose by over 20%.

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