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Ian Pollard – Wizz Air #WIZZ Beats The Budgets

Wizz Air Holdings plc WIZZ which was named The Best Low-Cost Airline of the Year in the CEE region in 2018 and also received the Best Cabin Crew award, continued growing in March.15 New routes were opened and a number of new aircraft were brought into service.Seat capacity rose by 6.9%, passengers by 9.9% and load factor rose by 2.6ppts to 94.1%. At least it is good to see the former budget favourites being given not only a run for their money but lessons in customer service as well as the real meaning of “budget” .

Wizz Air also provides a trading update for the year to the 31st March 2019. Demand across the Company’s markets remains robust. It experienced an excellent operational performance in March with only one cancelled flight compared to 68 in March 2018.  On time-performance also improved by 10ppts to 85%. The new financial year has started well with Revenue per Available Seat per Kilometre  forecast to grow 4% year-on-year in the first quarter. Net profit for the year is expected to be in the upper half of its guidance range of between €270m and €300m.

Gear4music plc G4M updates that for the 13 months from 1 March 2018 to 31 March 2019 sales increased by 36% with continuing strong growth in the UK and Europe. Active Customer numbers increased by 53% to 727,400. Decisive management action has been taken during the period to solve the problems of lower gross margins and with a strong emphasis on margin growth, the Group is expected to return to a more profitable growth trajectory during the new financial year. The momentum in sales growth has continued both in the UK and Europe. In only six years revenues have grown from £12m to £110m.

Hydrogen Group plc HYDG is delighted to report a strong performance in 2018, with underlying profit before tax up by 264,% and basic earnings per share  moving from a loss of 4.4p per share to a positive 7p. Shareholders get  their rewards with a final dividend of 1p per share taking the total for the year to 1.5p, a rise of 88%. Continued growth is confidently expected for this current year.

Intercede Group plc IGP announces that it received a large US Federal Government order totaling $4.3m on the 29 March 2019. Revenues for the year ended 31 March 2019 are expected to be in excess of £10.0m, which is ahead of market expectations and approximately 10% higher than the previous financial year. A return to profitability is now expected at both operating profit level after 2018″s: £4.5m operating loss) and after interest and tax.

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Ian Pollard – Gear4Music #GFM rocking to the tune

Gear4music  G4M Enjoyed strong growth during the four months to the 31st December with total sales up by 41%. Further sales growth in excess of expectations was constrained by the York distribution centre reaching maximum capacity during the peak trading period between Black Friday and Christmas. As a result full year EBITDA for 2019 is expected to be slightly below 2018 levels. UK sales during the four month rose by 36% and Europe and the Rest of The World by 47%. The total 41% sales rise shows a further gain over the 36% rise shown in the first half

LightwaveRF plc LWRF saw revenue rise by 156% during the first quarter to the 31st December with Telesales up by 46%  and E-commerce by 506%. The momentum from the last quarter of 2018 continued into the first quarter of 2019, which produced a rise of 156% compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Johnson Service Group JSG continued to trade well during the half year to the 31st December. The Stalbridge Linen unit in London has now been successfully completed on time and on budget and the recent acquisition of South West Laundry made at the end of August 2018 is being successfully integrated within the Brand. A contract has now been signed  with a developer for the building and subsequent lease of a new laundry in the North of England.

Ian Pollard – easyJet #EZJ, excellent winter performance

Vodafone Group VOD claims that the year to 31st March was one of significant operational and strategic achievement which produced a strong financial performance. In fact it was so strong that revenue fell by 2.2% and in troubled India, Service revenue was down by over 18%. Despite these little local difficulties operating profit rose by 15.4% and the final dividend was increased by 2% to 10.23 euro cents.It also suffered from something called “roaming headwinds”. There is a new entrant in Italy and competitive pressure in Spain but profit growth is expected to continue in the current year.

easyJet plc EZJ produced an excellent performance during the half year to the 31st March with a total profit of £8m, one of its best ever winter trading results. The strong performance was helped by capacity reduction in other airlines but passenger number increased by three million, 8.8%, to £36.8m. Total revenue jumped by 10.5% and revenue per seat was up by 10.9%. Forward bookings for the second half are ahead of last year.

Spirax Sarco Engng SPX updates before today’s AGM that the trading environment remains positive with global Industrial Production growth similar to last year. The currency tailwinds of the last two years have become a headwind during the current year but on an organic constant currency basis, group operating profit for the irst four months of the year is ahead of 2017

Gear4music (Holdings) G4M The year to the 28th February saw revenue rise by 43%, gross profit by 34 % and customers by 39% but pre tax profit slumped by 43% and EBITDA was down by 4%. The year was expected to be transformational with short term profitability implications. The target now is to deliver strong and sustainable revenue and profit growth

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Corporate news review Friday 28th July 2017

Barclays BARC – Reports a 13% increase in half-year PBT to £2,341m reflecting materially lower non-core losses of £647m (H116: £1,904m), while core PBT fell 25% to £2,988m impacted by PPI charges of £700m (H116: £400m). EPS came in at 11.8p, while tangible NAV fell to 284p (Dec 2016: 290p) as profit from continuing operations was offset by decreases across reserves.

BT Group BT.A – Q1 revenues rose 1% and underlying revenues rose 0.2%. Adj EBITDA fell 2% due to increased pension costs, business rates, sport programme rights and investment in customer experience. CEO Gavin Patterson said he is “confident in the outlook for our Company.”

Johnson Matthey JMAT – trading is in line with expectations. Q1 saw low single-digit sales growth at constant rates and double-digit reported sales growth. The restructuring programme announced in June which will deliver £10m cost savings in H2, with a further £15m cost savings in 2018/19.

Gear4music G4M – At today’s AGM the company will report that trading in the financial year to date is in line with Board expectations. Based on the overall performance, the Board is confident of another year of good progress.

International Airlines Group IAG – Results for the six months to June 30, 2017 include Q2 operating profit €805m before exceptional items (2016: €555m), with passenger unit revenue for the quarter up 1.5%, (4% at constant currency). Half year operating profit before exceptional items grew 37.3% to €975m

Rightmove RMV – reports an 11% increase in half-year revenue to £119.5m with underlying operating profit up 11% to £91m. Trading in July has been in line with the strong monthly revenue achieved in the first half of the year. The visibility gives the Board confidence in delivering its expectations for the current year.

William Hill Surges in Australia and US

Image result for william hill logoWilliam Hill WMH has made a positive start to the year with group net revenue rising by 9% and online revenue up by 16%, for the 17 weeks to 25th April. Australia and the US  both surged by 41% after producing double digit “wagering” growth.

Image result for spirax sarco logoSpirax- Sarco SPX Organic sales growth for the quarter to 30th April, helped by a strong economic background, exceeded that of 2016 which was unusually weak. China & Korea put in a particularly good performance and the fall in the pound provided a strong “tailwind.” Expectations for the full year remain unchanged.

Image result for gear4music logoGear4music G4M saw record growth in sales a profits for the year to 28th February which it describes as transformational. International markets were particularly strong with a rise of 124% and the number of active customers rose by 50%. Revenue was up by 58% and on an underlying basis EBITDA rose by 115% and operating profit by 192%. The company sees the next 12 months as exciting.

Cello Group CLL has made a strong start to the year and sees the outlook as pleasing.

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WPP Currency Tailwinds Add Over 10% Growth.

WPP plc WPP produced another record year in 2016 helped by huge favourable exchange rate movements, especially in the second half. Without these, the strength was much less pronounced. Reported billings rose by 16% but at constant currency rates the rise was reduced to 5.5% and on a like for like basis it was down to 3.3%. Growth in revenue  varied from a rise of 17.6%  to an actual fall of 7% in Yen. Overall 10.4% revenue growth was due to currency movements. Profit before tax rose by 26.7% but in constant currency terms fell to 12.5%. Dividends for the year have also been increased by 26.7% at 56.6p per share, which means that the target pay out of 50p per share has been reached a year ahead of schedule.

2017 has started slowly with January producing a like for like rise in revenue of only 1.5% due to what are described as tepid economic growth and weaker new business trends. The growth target for 2017 has  been set at 2%.

London Stock Exchange LSE proposes to increase its final dividend by 20% after a strong financial performance for the year to 31st December. Income rose by 17% and adjusted profit before tax and earnings per share both grew by 21%

Harvey Nash HVN claims resilient  trading for the year to the end of January despite gross profit falling by 1% on a constant currency basis. Brexit is blamed for holding back growth in the UK & Ireland, whilst the Rest of the World faced challenging market conditions in Hong Kong and Offshore Services were hit by the weakness of Sterling, leading to a fall of 7% in gross profit. Only Mainland Europe helped to save the day with growth of 8% ( 4% at constant currency rates.)

Gear4music G4M Sales for the year to the 28th February were well ahead of expectations with a rise of 58%. Europe and the Rest of the World led the way with a rise of 124%. Profits are expected to be marginally ahead of expectations.

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Fenner In Recovery Mode

Fenner FENR now expects results for the current year will be comfortably ahead of previous expectations as a result of gains in market share and refocusing of the businesses. These factors have helped to create an improving trend in order intake and a stronger market position in the US. Australia is doing well and results are ahead of last year.

Crawshaw Group CRAW With like for like sales down by 3.8% for the 5 weeks from 29th November to 31st December and like for like customer numbers down by 4.2%, Crawshaw claims that it has continued to build on previous progress, presumably wishing to rely for justification of its claim that total sales and customer numbers for the same period both rose by 13%. At least the figures for the 5 week Christmas period showed  an improvement on the previous 4 weeks like for like figures when sales had slumped by 8.1% and customer numbers by 9.7%.

Gear4music G4M enjoyed a strong sales performance in the last 4 months of the year and full year profits are now expected to be ahead of the increase indicated at the half year stage. UK sales rose by 29%, Europe and the rest of the world by by 129% and total sales by 55%.  For the year to date growth has totaled 63%.

easyJet EZJ With December traffic figures up by 15.1% easyJet is not allowing itself to be left behind by Ryanair. The rise in load factor at 3.3% was also similar to that of its competitor, although over the rolling 12 month period, load factor did slip slightly by 0.1pp

Sky plc SKY Broker Investec has upgraded its investment rating on Sky plc SKY from reduce to hold and has raised its price target from 800p to 1075p.

Next NXT has suffered from yesterdays results with Citigroup cutting its price target from 4,800p to 4,100p

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Burberry Fails To Benefit From Collapse In Sterling

Burberry BRBY claims that its ambitious revenue growth plans are on track with a 4% drop in revenue for the six months to the end of September. Presumably it can find some form of logic in that but if there is it certainly seems to have escaped the CEO who produces a wordy paragraph of what read like vague and empty promises and explanations to justify the company’s performance. True, the second quarter did show some improvement with like for like sales rising by 2%, compared to the first quarters fall of 3%. Wholesale revenue for the half year fell by 14%, demand in the Americas is described as uneven and licensing revenue fell by 54% after the planned expiry of Japanese licences. Digital was one strong point and outperformed in all regions.

Burberry is just the sort of company which was supposed to reap large benefits from the collapse of sterling and is yet more proof, if proof were needed that company’s are failing miserably to take advantage of this so called golden opportunity.

Hays plc HAS shows the UK slumping whilst the rest of the world gets on with making itself prosperous.Whilst Asia Pacific grew by 30% in the quarter to the end of September and Continental Europe and the Rest Of the World by 33%, poor old UK & Ireland actually fell by 10%. As an example of how bad this is,  France managed  to produce 22% growth. recruitment is one of the main bel lweather of any economy. On these figures the UK’s bell is badly cracked. Hays claims it has a world class management team in the UK and it is leading the company through uncertain times.

Utilitywise UTW is increasing its dividend by 30% for the year to the end of July, after a 22% rise in revenue led an increase of 7% in profit before tax. Net debt was down by 97%. Customer numbers were up by 23% in the UK and Ireland and by 49% internationally.

Gear4Music G4M Strong first half revenue and profit growth seems set to be followed by  a strong Christmas trading period and the board believes that full year results will now be ahead of its previous expectations.Revenue for the half year to the end of August rose by 73% and gross profit by by 74%. Adjusted profit before tax came in at £966,000 after last years first half loss of £217,000.  Europe produced particularly strong growth, especially in July and August and now accounts for nearly 40% of sales.

Marshall Motor Holdings MMH claims it knows of no reason for recent share price movements, other than general speculation about the possible consequence of Brexit. Since the end of June the company has enjoyed material growth in revenue and profits, following two acquisitions and September produced significant like for like new vehicle sales growth, whilst after sales revenue also grew strongly.

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Halfords – Massaging The Figures ?

Halfords Group HFD will in future issue its summer trading up date for a period of 20 weeks because it will help to make the figures look better. So this years update is issued in two parts, the first for the 13 weeks of quarter one and then the next 7 weeks trading to the 19th August. Thus the 20 weeks figures benefit from the strong trading which the company gets in July and August once the school holidays start at the beginning of July. Pity when a company becomes so desperate to try and improve its image that its management sees the need to resort to practices like that.

The 7 week figures were generallyquite strong except for motoring and especially car enhancement which were down 4.2% over 13 weeks and 3.3% over the 7 week period. Group cycling figures really illustrate how the change affects the figures. Cycling sales rose by 12.5% in the 7 weeks to 19th August after falling by 4% in the first quarter but those strong 7 week sales mean that Halfords can show a 20 week rise of 11%.  Overall 20 week revenue rose by 4.8% or 1.2% on a like for like basis. Service related sales were very strong rising by 13.9% over the 20 weeks. The company describes the 20 week performance as solid, whereas the 13 weeks figures appear to have been far less so.

Redrow RDW Delivered its third consecutive year of record results and is rewarding shareholders with a 67% rise in the full year dividend. New homes completed during the year to the 30th June rose by17%, revenue by 20% and profit before tax by 23%

1pm plc OPM
has enjoyed a year of strong strategic and organic growth in both revenue and profit and is increasing its final dividend by 43%. Like for like revenue to the end of May rose by 45% and group profit before tax more than doubled from £1.6m to £3.7m

Gear4music G4M Overall profitability for the 6 months to 31st August will be ahead of expectations after the company produced overall sales growth of 73% which included a surge in Europe of 169%. A European distribution centre  is to be opened in Sweden and expected to be operational by the 31st Aug

Ashmore Group ASHM Net revenue for the year to the end of June fell by 18% and profit before tax by 8%. A final dividend of 12.1% is to be paid


Learning Technologies LTG is raising its interim dividend by 40% following a 52% rise in revenue for the half year to the end of June and a 145% rise in EBITDA. The company says that it is making strong progress in its strategic ambition to become a diversified international business.

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Bumpy Landing For Easyjet

Easyjet EZJ The chickens have at last come home to roost and Sir Stelios has been proved right. Number crunchers can not run a successful airline and that is why Ryanair and Intercontinental thingummiejigs are two of todays most successful airlines.

Easyjet has quietly tried to distance itself from its origins as a budget airline. Some fares now equal or even exceed those of the “proper” airlines but it can not get away from the fact that it still operates with the attitude of a budget airline and still tries to pretend it is a budget airline. The result is that it is caught between a rock and a hard place. The flying public is not as stupid as Easyjet thinks and has delivered it a strong warning. The results for the half year to to 31st March do not make pleasant reading.

Firstly it has clearly gone ex growth. The load factor is static and revenue has risen by by a tiny 0.3%. Revenue per seat has fallen by 4.2% but costs per seat have risen by 4.3% despite the collapse in the price of fuel, a double whammy if ever there was one.Worst of all it has managed to turn last years half time profit of £7m. into a loss of £24m and earnings per share of 1.3p have  become a loss per share of 5.1p

Easyjet calls this a robust performance, more like a bumpy landing

Few managements are capable of taking on board lessons from results like these. There is only one person capable of giving those lessons. At least Sir Stelios will be able to speak with added authority when he gives his next words of warning and advice.  For once perhaps, they should listen to him.

Bovis Homes BVS has seen the house building boom continue unabated during the first four months of the year. Freely available mortgage finance has fuelled strong demand.  Weekly sales rates have improved and sites have been selling out earlier than expected.

Cello CLL has had a good start to the year. Except in one division, it has a robust income pipelines and is continuing to work towards the resolution of its VAT dispute with HMRC.

Gear4music G4M has had a record year for its first as a listed company, with strong UK growth and excellent progress in Europe. Adjusted operating profit for the year to 29th February grew by 138%, adjusted EBITDA by 100% and revenue by 46%. Last years loss of £797,000 was turned into a tiny profit of £6,000. Year end cash has grown from just under £1million to £3.5m

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