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ASOS ASC experienced a significant deterioration in “the important trading month of November” and conditions remain challenging. As a result, it has had to reduce expectations for the current financial year. Total retail sales for the 3 months to the end of November rose by 12%, the UK leading the way with a 19% rise and Rest of the World bottom with a fall of 2%. November was seriously behind expectations and there is almost an air of desperation in some of the company’s comments.
Consumer confidence is seen as weakening and growth in online clothing sales is the weakest of recent years. Heavy discounting and promotions will see the weighting between first and second half profitability transformed from the 30/70% seen in recent years to an even more substantial weighting towards the second half. Trading conditions across its two largest European markets of Germany and France, which account for c.60% of EU sales, have become significantly more challenging, with growth at 15% for the year to date.In Rest of the World performance has been significantly behind expectations with an actual fall. Not many companies are so badly hit that they are forced to recalibrate expectations for the full year, at the end of the first quarter
Hunting plc HTG updates before the December year end that current volatile market conditions will impact short term budgetary decision making by its customers with possible deferrals of work in 2019. Group results to the end of November 2018 remained in line with management’s expectations, but some market softness has been observed despite progress in the US during 2018. 2019 is expected to start with a cautious outlook, but Hunting believes it is in a robust position to manage the challenges it faces.
Safestyle UK plc SFE is confident thatits recovery and performance in 2019 will be ahead of current market expectations after delivering an underlying loss before tax for 2018 of between £8.2m and £8.6m)
Churchill China CHH has delivered a strong first half performance and is increasing its interim dividend by 18%. Profit before tax and earnings per share both rose by 24% but perhaps the best news of all is that export revenue which grew by 17%, now represent 63% of group revenue, up from last years 57%.
Hays plc HAS delivered record international profits in the year to the 30th June as well as record total dividends for the year. Profit before tax rose by 17% and basic earnings per share by 18%. As usual the UK & Ireland was the laggard with only 2% net fee growth compared to 17% for the Rest of the World and 16% for Germany. Core dividends for the full year are increased by 18% plus payment of a special dividend of 5p per share.
W.H. Smith plc SMWH updates that the travel business performed strongly for the year to the 31st August. Perhaps not surprisingly the high street business only performed in line with expectations.
Hunting plc HTG is restoring its interim dividend with a payment of cents per share for the half year to the 30th June after enjoying a strong increase in volumes manufactured during the first half of 2018 and compared to 2017 when the interim dividend was nil. Reported profit from operations came in at $38.9m compared to last years loss of $23.9m loss. Results for the half year are underpinned, says the CEO by a strong market environment which has led to outstanding results for Hunting Titan and improving profitability for Hunting’s US operations. Reported diluted earnings per share rose to19.1 cents per share compared to 2017’s loss of 15.8 cents loss per share.
Earthport EPO like so many companies faced with unexpected problems, management feels forced to dive deep into the jargon drawer in the false belief that if it can express itself in phraseology which only they and a few other of the initiated can understand, readers will be convinced that it must be doing a good job. The problem is fairly serious in that even as early in its financial year as now, it anticipates that revenue for the year to the 30th June 2018 will be 10%-15% below current expectations. That of course is nonsense in itself because those expectations are no longer the current ones, they are the previous ones which the company now no longer expects to be able to meet. The reasons for the rather dramatic changes in fortunes include delays in some expected contracts and a recent change at one client which on its own, will result in a loss of about 5% of projected 2018 revenue.
But help is at hand especially from various unspecified pipelines which get star billing in today’s update, in particular the new business pipeline which is stronger than at any time in the company’s history. Incremental transactions are also going to be ramped up and help will be forthcoming from international corridors, on boarding regulated business, receptivity at conferences, existing infrastructure will be leveraged and deep pocketed strategic partners will it seems, be prepared to dig deeply into those pockets. Fine sounding words indeed but what do they mean?. .Well basically it looks like they mean that cash flow beak even point will not be reached until 2019
Hunting plc HTG expects a modest profit for the full year with results strongly weighted towards the second half and following a strong second half performance from Hunting Titan. Restrictions on dividends have been lifted and payments will be resumed at an “appropriate time”
Redde plc REDD The positive start to the year announced in September and October has continued into December with sales continuing to show an increase over last year and trading profit also ahead. Interim results for the half year to the 31st December are expected to be announced on the 1st March.
Audioboom BOOM enjoyed a transformational year in 2017 but despite a surge in business and tight control of overheads the company was still loss making at about the samerateas in 2016. i.e. about 4.5m. Unique file requests rose by over 60%, monthly unique users by over 50% and available advertising impressions surged by 740%. Revenues for the year to 30th November are expected to show a rise of more than 250%. Its Originals Network is expected to grow strongly in 2018, with 15 new podcasts due to be launched.
Dixons Carphone plc DC has been facing challenging conditions in the UK mobile phone market as owners hold onto their existing mobiles for longer, partly due to price rises reflecting the weakness of sterling. It may also have something to do with people waking up to the fact that they do not need to change their mobile every time the model is brought out in a new colour. Apart from that the group produced a good performance in electricals for the 13 weeks to the 29th July, with group like for like revenue rising by 6%, even in Greece – perhaps a sign that at long last that country may be beginning to emerge from the years of austerity. Overall core profit for the year is expected to be in line with last year.
John Laing Group JLG concentrates on NAV in its interim results for the 6 months to the 30th June preferring that rather than more interesting basics such as profit before tax which slumped from from last years £108.3m to this years £36.6m. or even earnings per share which similarly dropped from 29.1 to 10.2p per share. The interim dividend is increased from 1.85p to 1.91p per share.
Hunting plc HTG Despite a 64% rise in revenue in the half year to the 30th June, the company still remains loss making, although the retiring CEO claims that positive EBITDA of $12.1m. indicates that profitability has returned in some of the company’s businesses, especially when one compares it with 2016’s EBITDA loss of $29.5m. The underlying operating loss hows a healthy reduction from $50.8m to to $9.1m. The out look for the full year however, still remains dependent on the price of oil.
CRH plc CRH claims a satisfactory start to 2017 with key European markets stabilising and growth in the Americas. First half profit before tax rose by 27% and basic earnings per share by 29% although sales revenue only grew by 2%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 2.1% and the present momentum is expected to continue for the remainder of the year.
Sainsbury J. SBRY put in a strong performance during the quarter to the 1st July with retail like for like sales growing by 2.3% and grocery sales by an even larger 3%. Online grocery sales surged by 8%. In General merchandising and Clothing, Sainsbury outperformed the market and this was not a one quarter flash in the pan. Clothing sales rose by 7.2% which is enough to make most clothing retailers turn green with envy, especially as this is the third consecutive quarter in which Sainsbury has stormed ahead on clothing sales, the second half of the previous financial year having produced growth of 15.2%.
The secret to the strong overall performance is put down to three simple things, quality, choice and value. Most of the big retailers would claim the same. The difference with Sainsbury is that it is not just more tired old jargon, it is actually giving it to the customers.
Hunting plc HTG expects to remain loss making as a group during the first half but with positive EBITDA. Its Perforating Systems Business has produced results ahead of management expectations, having benefited from the increase in onshore drilling in the US. Elsewhere conditions in Europe and in US offshore drilling remain weak as a result of the continuing law oil price. Hopes for the future hinge at present on US onshore drilling.
Imagination Technologies IMG completed its restructuring in the year to the 30th April and ended up producing a strong set of results. Group revenue rose by 19% and the adjusted loss per share fell from 9.2p to 0.9p whilst on a reported basis the decline was from 29.8p to 10.1p The impact of the dispute with Apple continues.
Apple no doubt, sees no reason why it should seek a resolution. All it has to do is sit tight and wait for the dawn of the new era when it no longer needs the technology provided for so long by Imagination Technologies. And if Apple is wrong on that, it won’t matter a jot by then. The damage will have been done and were Apple not a completely scrupulous and honest company, it would probably be able to pick up the bits and pieces and buy them for next to nothing. Meanwhile Imagination continues preliminary discussions with potential bidders for the whole Group.
600 Group plc SIXH now conducts over 60% of its activities in the US with only 12% of group sales being made to the EU in the year to the 1st April. Profits for the year rose by 79% and earnings per share by 50%. Current order books at the year end were 29% up in industrial lasers and 50% in machine tools compared to the same time last year.
Johnson Services Group JSG has traded very well during the half year to the 30th June and expects that results will be slightly ahead of management expectations.