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Sainsbury’s Lesson in Retailing

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.

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Apple Declares War On Imagination Technology.

Imagination Technology IMG. Apple has served notice on IMG that in 15 months to 2 years time it will stop using IMGs intellectual property in its new products, be they phones, tablets, i pods or watches. This means that IMG will not then be eligible for royalty payments from Apple under the present agreement. Apple is IMG’s largest customer and has been using IMG’s intellectual property for many years. Now it looks like war with only the lawyers licking their lips at the prospect.

Apple insists that it has been working on its own separate, independent graphics designs. IMG has asked Apple to produce evidence that these will not infringe IMG’s patents, confidential information and intellectual property rights. Apple, being Apple, has ignored the request. Does the invasion of Poland draw nigh?

Reckitt Benckiser RB. has come to the conclusion that French’s Foods is such a fantastic performer with great brands, great people and a history of out performance that it it is going to launch a strategic review of food  so that it can decided what to do with this “great food business” i.e. French’s. Well if its such a good performer and its people are so great, there should only be one answer and a management which was even only slightly clued up would know what that answer was without wasting time on strategic reviews. Simple  – replace themselves with the management of French Foods, start a strategic review of their own present performance  and ascertain why French’s does so well by comparison.

Obviously a strategic review keeps group management busy and out of harms way but in the end management is supposed to manage.

Iofina IOF Problems with a partner over brine supplies have proved to be a blessing in disguise. Alternative sources of supply have been investigated, as a result of which IOF expects to be able to increase iodine production above end 2016 levels and to reduce overall production costs.

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easyJet Feeling The Competition

easyJet EZJ is beginning to feel the heat of competition now that it has priced itself out of the budget airline market. November passenger statistics showed some growth but only by a comparatively small 2.9%, the comparison of course being with Ryanair. Load factor actually fell by 0.6% to 91.3% leaving it trailing way behind Ryanair’s  95% and not only did load factor fall in November it also fell by on 0.5% a rolling 12 month basis.

Imagination Technologies IMG has completed its restructuring programme on time enabling it to return to profitability for the 6 months to the end of October.  Annual cost savings of £27.5m have been acheived and half year like for like revenue grew by 6% as a result of the strong dollar which however caused a loss of £5.2m to be incurred on dollar denominated debt. The strong dollar is expected to continue to help the company’s trading performance. dollar is expected.

Dewhurst DWHT currency movements were the main factor in the changes in Dewhursts results for the year to the end of September. Profit before tax fell by 4.4% which the board finds disappointing after last years performance but 2016 was a volatile year with a very weak first quarter followed by a much stronger second half recovery. The final dividend is proposed to be increased by 1p to 8p plus a 3p special dividend.

RWS Holdings RWS delivered record revenue and profits, ahead of market expectations for the year to the end of September. Sales rose by 28% and adjusted profit before tax and earnings per share by 35%. Useful gains were made from currency movements after the referendum. The final dividend is to be increased by 15% to 4.5%. Trading in the first two months of the new year is described as having been very strong.

OMGplc OMG is to increase its final dividend for the year to the end of September, by 54% after a rise in adjusted profit before tax from £4.9m to £5.6m and growth in revenue from £25.7 to £29.5m. In the past two years over £16m has been returned to shareholders and the target now is to double group profit and triple like for like revenue by 2021.

Imagination Technologies (IMG) – Another ‘impacted’ company

Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) is prepared to admit to a disappointing first half but seems reluctant to go further despite the fact that last years adjusted half term profit of £5m has been transformed into a thumping loss of £7.3m. and the reported loss has doubled to £20m. But you must understand that this is not the fault of the board.  It is because the company has been (yes – that dreaded word again) impacted both in royalty revenue and in a ramp down of customer’s legacy chip. Somewhere someone in the company will know what a customers legacy chip is.

The profit warning appears last of the 7 items in the company’s half year overview – no point in giving it too much prominence and it admits that adjusted operating profit for the year to 30th April next will be below previous expectations.

I still wonder why companies are never impacted by anything favourable. Well I dont really – it is so that the CEO and the board can take full credit for success and blame the bad times on impacts for which they hope not to be held responsible.

Despite its problems the company has a pipeline of size and quality, with the added benefit of a backlog  and fundamental medium term demand drivers remain strong.  I am sure that will impress them in Barnsley where they still speak something like English.

As for the poor shareholders they have been impacted by a fall in the share price from 226p to 163p in just a month and it has gone down another 8p so far this morning.

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