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Laura Ashley – A Great British Brand Name Is Not enough

Image result for laura ashley logoAshley (Laura) ALY Blames demanding trading conditions for having to warn that full year net profit before tax will fall below market expectations. Like for like retail sales in the 6 months to the end of December fell by 3.5% and profit before tax fell from £11m. to £7.8m.  As a sign of the times online trading held steady. Whilst management tries to take comfort from some positives which it claims to see, it can no longer live off the fact that it was once a great British brand name. The world has moved on since then. The question is whether the Board can do the same.

Image result for avation plc logoAvation AVAP enjoyed a 51% rise in profit before tax  for the half year to the end of December, after a rise of 43% in lease revenue. Profit after tax was even better with a 65% rise and earnings per share were up by 46%. At the year end the fleet consisted of 40 aircraft with an average age of 2.8 years compared to 5.2 years at the end of 2015 reflecting the acquisition of new aircraft. The remaining lease time had risen to 7.8 years compared to 2015’s 5.7 years. More new aircraft will be added to the fleet in 2017. The share price has risen by 50% since the end of August and now stands at 199p.

Image result for huntsworth plc logoHuntsworth HNT expects results for the year to the end of December will be ahead of management consensus, following good 4th quarter trading, strong growth at Huntsworth Health and continuing favourable exchange rates.

Image result for drax group logoDrax Group DRX is cutting its full year dividend by some 50% from 5.7p to 2.5p after a fall of 54% in underlying earnings per share for the year to 31st December. EBITDA declined by 17%. Drax  has now achieved 65% renewable energy power generation, which it claims is a good performance in a challenging commodity environment.

Image result for trifast logo

Trifast TRI After a strong 3rd quarter performance, the return of growth to its business in Asia and foreign exchange tailwinds, the Board now expects that full year results will be ahead of expectations. The Board also feels that the company is strong enough to meet head on, any impact from Brexit and global political and macro economic factors. So there is a rare statement of strength and determination from one UK company which appears, unlike many, to have no intention of failing to cope with challenging circumstances.

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