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Ian Pollard -“Robust” Card Factory #CARD Sees Profits Fall 8.3%

Card Factory plc CARD claims a robust performance in a challenging consumer environment for the year to the 31st December. Unfortunately looking at the actual figures, robust must mean different things to different people.. True, revenue rose by 3% although on a  like-for-like basis sales were flat. However profit before tax fell by 8.3%, EBITDA by 8.7% and basic earnings per share by 12%. Cover for the ordinary dividend fell from 2.03x to 1.89x

Galliford Try plc GFRD is undertaking a strategic review which will reduce the size of the Construction business. It is anticipated that as a  result profitability will be reduced by £30m-£40m below current consensus analysts’ forecasts. The damage reflects a reassessment of some legacy and current contracts, the effect of some recent adverse settlements and the costs of the restructure. The single largest element relates to the Queensferry Crossing venture where costs have increased.These are in  addition to the claim in respect of the completed Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, and the previously disclosed £38m work in progress balance in respect of three contracts for a single client, Significantly management appears to have avoided laying any blame at its own door.

JD Sports Fashion JD reports record results for the 52 weeks to the 2nd February with revenue up by 49,2% and EBITDA by 26.8%. Profit before tax rose by 15.4% and the total dividend is increased from 1.63p per share to 1.71. No need to worry about the meaning of robust, there, with total like for like sales growth in global Sports Fashion fascias of more than 6%.


G4S plc GFS updates for the three months to the end of March 2019 that Group revenue was 4.8% higher than the first quarter of last year, with growth in all regions and divisions.. Good progress is being made with the separation review which has the aim of turning the group into two strong, independent businesses that are able to take advantage of their market leading positions. The Board believes that this has the potential to unlock substantial shareholder value.

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Ian Pollard – Dunelm #DNLM caution over political uncertainty

Dunelm Group plc DNLM saw reported profit before tax rise by 24.3% in the 26 weeks to to the 29th December and strong like for sales up by 6.9%. Revenue was up by a comparatively small 1.2% and basic earnings per share by 23.8%. The Winter sale is described as having traded well but there is caution about the outlook for the remainder of the financial year due to the continuing political uncertainty in the UK. The interim dividend is to be increased 7.1%

Syncona Ltd Sync produced a continuing strong performance across the group of companies for the quarter from the 1st October to the 31st December. Blue Earth  demonstrated strong sales momentum, whilst Nightstar, Autolus and Freeline all made excellent clinical progress. The remaining Syncona companies in the Life Science portfolio continued to make positive progress in the quarter.

Galliford Try plc GFRD claims record pre-exceptional profits and a strong first half group performance.for the six months to the 31st December. When one looks at the actual statistics, however, the performance is not quite as strong as the company would have us believe. In fact on both a pre exceptional and statutory basis, apart from those profits, everything is down, including even the dividend  which has had to be sliced by an unhealthy 18%. At Linden Homes the  private average selling price fell by 5% at £352k which will be very unwelcome news amongst the rest of the housebuilding industry. The Chief Executive tries to put a brave face on it and and describes the outcome as a strong financial and operational performance.

Tullow Oil plc TLW continues to be underpinned by its West African business which performed strongly in 2018. The year to 31st December saw operating profit rise from 22$m to 528$m and last years loss of 175$m turned into a profit of 85$m,  whilst gross profit rose from 815$m to 1082$m

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Ian Pollard – Galliford Try #GFRD, time to stop Government support for Housebuilders?

Galliford Try plc GFRD claims a very strong underlying performance for the year to the 30th June which is perhaps the understatement of the year, with profit before tax up by 145% and earnings per share by 128%. The final dividend is however reduced by 10%, following the re-statement of last years dividend. The continued financial support for the housebuilders by its friends in government begins to look more and more unjustified and more like an outright bribe to the industry in exchange for political support. This has become capitalist greed at its worst and nobody cares less that a direct consequence is that few can now afford what used to be a Tory birthright – ownership of your own home.

SSE plc SSE Things have not got any better for SSE after it issued its July update warning of the consequences of warm dry weather, lower consumption and higher gas prices, which were expected to impact first quarter operating profit by some £80m. It has continued to suffer from dry, still and warm weather and persistently high gas prices, resulting in higher energy costs, lower output from renewable sources and lower consumption. In the first five months operating profit has been negatively affected by about £190.m with the result that adjusted operating profit for the six months to 30 September 2018 is expected to be about halved from last year’s figure.

Sports Direct Intl SPD updates that its strategy to transform House of Fraser into the Harrods of the High Street will be ” a game changer.”, with current expectations that it will achieve  between a 5% and 15% improvement in underlying EBITDA for the current financial year, excluding the acquisition of House of Fraser.

Dunelm Group DNLM reports what it describes as healthy sales growth during the last year which enables it to increase its final dividend by a mighty 1.9%. Group revenue for the year to the 30th June increased by 9.9% whilst like for like sales sales grew by 4.2%. Underlying operating profit before tax was down by 6.7%. The UK retail environment continues to remain challenging says the company but trading during the current financial year to date is in line with expectations .

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Ian Pollard – Royal Mail #RMG impacted by poor service

Royal Mail RMG Letter revenue in the 3 months to the 24th June fell 7%  but GLS continued to perform strongly, with volumes up 10% and revenue up 11%. The Quality of Service performance has been so bad and has impacted the company to such an extent that on the 1st June Ofcom commenced an investigation into it for the 2017-18 financial year. The outlook for addressed letter volume is not good and the expected decline of between 4-6% per annum may be exceeded and in GLS margins may be impacted by continuing labour market pressures. One brighter area was parcels where revenue rose 6% and volume 7%.

Talk Talk Communication Group TALK delivered strong customer and Headline revenue growth in the first quarter to the 30th June as momentum continued. Performance and demand in the various divisions is described as being strong or solid. Taking into account the ongoing cost reduction programme,this is expected to produce annual EBITDA growth of 15%.

Dairy Crest Group DCG  updates that sales of its four key brands in the 3 months to the 30th June were 6% higher than last year. The two largest brands, Cathedral City and Clover, continued to outperform with revenue growth of 10%. This was true generally for spreads which continued to go from strength to strength, whilst the butter market remains challenging. The full year outlook remains unchanged.

Galliford Try GFRD expects to report strong pre-exceptional results, after a strong underlying performance for the year to the 30th June. At Linden Homes the  average private sales price, rose 4% to  £367,000.and a further significant improvement in margins is expected. A total of 3,442 units were completed, up from 2017’s 3,296 units.

Clinigen Group CLIN has performed strongly in the year to the 30th June, with reported revenue rising by 26%. Commercial medicines had an excellent year. It is anticipated that results will be in line with market expectations and that in the coming year there will be further growth across all parts of the business.

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Ian Pollard – Galliford Try Cuts Dividend After Strong First Half

Galliford Try GFRD Has done the unthinkable, especially for a housebuilder which claims to have delivered a strong first half performance. It has not just tweaked its interim dividend, it has cut it by a hefty 13% The reason is of course perfectly natural. It wants to increase dividend cover to twice pre exceptional earnings. One of those exceptional items is £25.m lost through its relationship with Carillon.True, revenue did rise by 14% but profit before tax was down 11% and earnings per share 9%. Perhaps shareholders are hoping that the second half will not be quite as strong as the first half.

Sky plc SKY has won four packs of football rights covering 128 games from 2019 to 2022 and they have got away with paying 16% less than before for the so called privilege. Could this be the first sign that the allure of football has at last begun to fade as viewers get fed up watching grossly overpriced and overrated foreign players ducking, diving and brazenly cheating and fouling through 90 minutes of what used to be called sport. If the money continues to shrink may we eventually return to the days when we will see an English team with enough talent to enable it to start winning matches again.

Hargreaves Services HSP is another company to come unstuck in its first half with revenue for the six months to the 30th November falling from £170 .9m. to £150.3m. and earnings per share down from 0p to a loss of 4p per share. A tiny profit of 0.1m was also turned into a much bigger operating loss of 2.7m., results which were in line with management expectations. But the board stood by its shareholders in these difficult times and maintained its interim dividend at 2.7p per share.

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Galliford Try Blames Caution On Impact Of Politicians !!

Galliford Try GFRD When the best that a company can find to say about its annual results is that they show a strong underlying performance, then you know that something went wrong. Otherwise it would be claiming a strong financial performance, and that  is something which Galliford can not claim. Profit before tax for the year to 30th June fell by 57% and earnings per share by 55%, even though it had the benefit of robust market conditions. The financial performance for the year was impacted by legacy costs in Construction – so that’s alright then ? Can’t be laid at the door of management, that sort of thing, can it ? The shareholders are kept happy with a 17% rise in fully year dividends. To cover itself for the future it is even reduced to blaming the politicians and a board of directors can not sink much lower than that. It is cautious about the future it says, because of the impact of current political uncertainty. That does not seem to be a worry or even a concern for other house builders and in any event politicians and the uncertainty they create have been with us since the dawn of time.

Dunelm Group DULM went ex growth in the year to 1st July with a fall of 0.5% in like for like revenue and profit before tax down by 28.3%, as it tried to cope with a challenging and subdued Homeware and Furniture Market. EBITDA fell by 7.8% and earnings per share  by 28% from 50.3p to 36.1p. The ordinary dividend is to be raised by 3.6%. Things improved with the start of the new financial year and sales growth in the first two months is described as being good. What exactly “good’ means in round figures is for some reason being kept a closely guarded secret.

Adv. Medical Solutions AMS continues to go from strength to strength as profit before tax for the six months to 30th June rose by 27% and the interim dividend is increased by 17%. Group revenues grew by 8% at constant currency rates with US revenue rising by 52% and sales of Liquiband strong in all its markets. the company is optimistic about future organic growth.

Surgical Innovations SUN produced strong growth in both revenue and profits in the half year to the 30th June. Revenue rose by 14.1% and last years first half loss of £0.6m was turned into a profit of £0.3m. both sets of figures being at the upper end of the board’s expectations. The acquisition of Elemental Healthcare on the 1st August is regarded as being transformational for the company.

Alliance Pharma APH is increasing its interim dividend by 10% following strong growth from its international brands and an 8% rise in revenue. The integration of Sinclair Pharma has now been completed and “bolt on” acquisitions are now being pursued.

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Marks Surrenders to Sainsbury

Marks & Spencer MKS is giving little away in its first quarter results for the 13 weeks to the 1st July. The subdued tone certainly seems to indicate a surrender to Sainsbury at least for the time being. The quarter did at least see an end to discounting in Clothing & Home, whilst Simply Food openings produced strong growth and food revenue rose by 4.5%. Like for like UK sales however were miserable with Clothing & Home down 1.2% and food down 0.5%, In constant currency terms international revenue for the quarter fell by 4% whilst group revenue rose by 2.7%.

Galliford Try GFRD updates that the year to the end of June has been one of excellent progress and robust market conditions. Underlying results are expected to be strong and the final dividend is expected to be in line with previous guidance.

Page Group PAGE In constant currency terms gross profit for the first half grew by 7.7% to record levels. The UK was bottom of the pile with a fall of 4.5% compared to the Americas which showed a rise of 13.8%.  The weakness of sterling was a major factor benefitting the group and adding £28m to  gross profits for the half year. In the second quarter growth in France rose to 23% but even this was dwarfed by SE Asia with a rise of 35%

Grafton Group GFTU performed strongly and better than the company expected in the 6 months to the 30th June. Group revenue rose by 9% or 5.7% on a like for like basis and 6.2% on a constant currency basis. However, it is important to note that the company remains cautious in the short term because of uncertainties in the economy and fears that spending on housing may decline because of pressure on real incomes. Housebuilders beware !

Ilika IKA continued development of its new batteries during the year to the 30th April but revenue remained small despite nearly doubling to £1.1m. Losses remained level at £3.5m.

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Bashful Bovis Rejects Bids

Bovis Homes BVH is in demand by predators if not by investors, with bids over the weekend being announced from Redrow RDW and Galliford Try GFRD, neither of whom knew that the other was interested. Bovis, no doubt delighted that it has found an escape route from its management problems, decided that the bride price was too low and both offers were rejected. Redrow was informed that  that its proposal did not merit further consideration.

Any housebuilder which has managed to do badly during the current boom conditions is not really fit for purpose and Bovis should be delighted that it is suddenly in such demand. Housebuilders are so flush with cash that they do not know what to do with it and presumably this is an alternative to keep giving it back to the shareholders. Obviously neither bidder felt that it should be reducing, rather than increasing its exposure to the collapsing central London market but that is house builders for you. Discussions with Galliford Try are continuing and Redrow believes that Bovis is a compelling opportunity.  Let battle begin.

Computacenter CCC admits that results for 2016 were mixed which is a bit of an understatement with statutory profit before tax falling by 31.3% and diluted  earnings per share by 36.3%. The only thing that was mixed appears to be that the UK part of the business did badly with a material decline in profitablity, after a 1.1% revenue decline,  despite a strong second half, whilst Germany leapt ahead with a 15.4% rise in profitability and France edged upwards with a rise of 4.5%. The dividend is to be increased by 3.7%.

Clarkson CKN produced a strong 2016 performance despite challenging markets and the final dividend is to be increased by 5%. Underlying profit before tax and earnings per share both fell for t he year to the end of December but reported profit before tax rose by some 50% from £31.8m to £47.3m. The company also sees the beginnings of what it calls “recalibration” in the shipping and offshore markets and is looking forward to the opportunities which it sees in 2017

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Cello Is a Bowed String Instrument And Not A Fiddle

Alliance Pharma APH has more than doubled revenue and pre tax profits in the 6 months to the 30th June and is increasing the interim dividend by by 10%. Revenue rose by 104% including sales of ex Sinclair products whilst profit before tax rose by 113% and basic earnings per share by 25%. The share price has been showing some signs of strength since the end of June with a rise from 42p to 51p, approaching its previous all time high of 60p.

Advanced Medical Solutions AMS claims to be in robust health, with strong financial growth for the half year to 30th June. LiquiBand continues to perform strongly in the US, producing a rise in revenue of 83% and further gains in market share.The interim dividend is being increased by 20% after a rise in revenue of 20% and a 13% rise in profit before tax. revenue has been helped by currency fluctuations. The share price as grown almost without interruption from 55p at the start of 2013, to its present 227p.

Dunelm DNLM Put in a strong performance for the year to 27th June and continuing a record of ever increasing sales and profits over the last 10 years. The final dividend is to be increased by 19.1% bringing full year dividends to 25.1p, a rise of 16.7%, in addition to which there has been a special distribution of 31.5p per share.Profit before tax rose by 6.2%, basic earnings per share by 7.4% and revenues by 7.1%.

Galliford Try GFRD produced another set of record results for the year to 30th June, but being a housebuilder, that is expected. Profit before tax rose by 18% and the full year dividend payments are up by 21%. Linden Homes saw completions rise from 2769 to 3078 which I make out to be a rise of 11% but revenue was up by only 8%.  Housebuilders do not give discounts, not yet at least but did the odd incentive become necessary during the course of the year?

Cello CLL is increasing its interim dividend by 19% following a statutory loss of £0.8m and a statutory basic loss of 1.8p per share, for the 6 months to 30th June. Last year it made a first half profit of £1.9m so this year has seen quite a turn round. Obviously the board must have put its thinking cap on as to how to justify the dividend hike and  to do so it came up with a new formula.  As from now dividends will be equal to 40% of headline earnings per share, that being one of the few statistics showing a positive outcome, even if at  3.54p they were lower than last years 3.61p. Nice for the shareholders, anyway. And to make sure that no one is confused with the half year results, the company makes it clear that “Headline operating margin is defined as headline operating profit as a percentage of segmental gross profit“. Can’t get fairer than that, can it?

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Galliford Try – Are Housebuilders Running Out Of Steam

Galliford Try GFRD expects record results for the year to 30th June which as a housebuilder, is only what one would expect. Underlying demand, the availability of mortgage finance and of course the governments Help to Buy Scheme all give cause, says the company, for continued confidence. Completions for the year rose by 11% from 2769 to 3,078 units However as with other house builders there are some warning signs on the horizon. Firstly the average private sales price rose by only 2% which is miniscule compared to what the housebuiders have been getting away with over the past few years. Secondly, which is more worrying, revenue secured for the new financial year is down to 82% from last years 88%.

ASOS plc ASC has enjoyed strong retail sales growth during the four months to the 30th June. Even the UK has been strong with a rise of 28%. International retail sales slightly beat that with a rise of 30%, the US leading the way with a jump of 53%.

Dechra Pharmaceuticals DPH saw strong trading in the year to the end of June with like for like revenue growth of 11%. Overll growth including acquisitions, came out at 21%. Dechra is one of the few company’s to describe the collapse of sterling as a currency headwind but it claims this has impacted growth by 3%.  North America produced excellent results with growth of 37%.

Hotel Chocolat Group HOTC which launched on Aim in May, saw revenue for the year to 26th June  slightly ahead of market expectations with a rise of 12% whilst digital rvenues were up by 20%.


Rhythm One plc RTHM expects first quarter trading to the end of June to be materially ahead of management expectations.  A return to full year profitability is expected in 2017.


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