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Ian Pollard – HSBC Profits Up 31%

HSBC Holdings plc  HSBA saw first quarter profits rise by 31% from $4.8bn in the first quarter of 2018 to $6.2bn this year following strong growth in Asia and a 7% rise in revenue compared to the previous year. Cuts in costs  also helped with operating expenses down by 12% during the first quarter, whilst earnings per share rose 40% to 21 cents. The bank said its most challenging priority was to achieve a turnround in the US”.

Smurfitt Kappa Group plc SKG has delivered a very strong start to the year with first quarter EBITDA up by 25% year-on-year. first quarter organic corrugated volume growth in Europe was 2%  and 3% in the Americas as the company built on its established strengths of customer-focused innovation, an integrated operating model and its ever expanding geographic reach, which was extended during the quarter with acquisitions in Bulgaria and Serbia.

Ultra Electronics Holdings ULE will report at todays AGM that further positive developments in its order book is producing positive early results and The Board is confident that 2019 will be a year of good underlying progress.

Numis Corporation NUM has seen its first half performance impacted by a challenging market backdrop.   Investment Banking revenues for the 6 months to the 31st March were 24% lower than last years first half but 3% higher than the second half. Equities revenue fell 28%,profit before tax was down by 63.6% and earnings per share by 65.8%. The first half saw a significant slowdown in UK deal activity and investors maintained a cautious approach toward the UK market. Management laid the blame mainly on the fact it operated in a cyclical industry in which financial performance will always be influenced to a certain extent by market conditions. In other words, its not our fault and there’s not much we can do about.

Rambler Metals & Mining plc RMM  announces a banner year for operations in several areas, with record throughput for the  year to the end of December 31, 2018. which saw 364,176 tonnes of ore processed from the Ming Mine. This was the second consecutive year in which the Company set a new throughput record.

Intercontinental Hotels Group IHG  has delivered strong first quarter results against strong results in the previous year, Good growth was achieved in the US which  out performed the industry  and continued market share gains were made in China. 12,000 rooms were opened in the quarter, the highest first quarter  openings in a decade, including the 400th hotel in Greater China.

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Ian Pollard – Intercontinental #IHG; Year Of Excellent Progress, Divi Up 10%

Intercontinental Hotels Grp IHG presents a jargon riddled preliminary report for the year to the 31st December which makes for difficult reading, not  made any easier by giving its readers a choice between Segment results and Group results. which excludes exceptional items, except for basic earnings per share. Group results show a 6% rise in revenue, operating profit down by 7% and basic earnings per share down by 34%. The total dividend is to be increased by 10% after what the CEO describes as a year of excellent progress, which delivered a strong set of financial results.

Greggs plc GRG updates that it has made an exceptionally strong start to 2019 with total sales up 14.1% for the seven weeks to 16 February after a strong finish to 2018. Credit goes in the main to the exceptional sales performance  following the January launch of its vegan-friendly sausage roll which apparantly received extensive publicity for some reason. At least it made a change from Brexit headlines.The Board now anticipates that 2019 full year underlying profit before tax  is likely to be ahead of previous expectations.

First Group plc FGP Delivers a winter update which recognises that overall conditions in its markets remain uncertain, and poor weather retains the potential to affect its performance. Reported Group revenue growth for the year to date comes in at 13.7% supporting an unchanged outlook for the full year. Greyhound continues to face a difficult trading environment in some markets.A disappointing operating performance for passengers is recognised at First Rail. This resulted in like-for-like passenger revenue growth slowing  to 4.2%. and is blamed on significant infrastructure challenges.

Spectris plc SXS produced a 2018 performance which was slightly ahead of expectations and on a statutory basis delivered good LFL sales growth of 5% during the year to the 31st December.Profit before tax rose by 22%, basic earnings per share by 20% and the dividend is to be increased by 8%. The new Chief Executive says that Group would benefit from becoming a more focused and simplified business.

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Ian Pollard – Safestyle #SFE lifts veil of secrecy

Safestyle UK plc SFE The Board has rushed out a clarification of yesterdays rather surprising announcement about its trading prospects and admits that it is considering arrangements with key stakeholders in NIAMAC Developments Ltd which could benefit Safestyle’s business and accelerate its recovery.

Interco. Hotels Group plc IHG delivered a good third quarter with the best performance for signings and openings in a decade. Nineteen thousand rooms were opened in the quarter, a year on year rise of 70%. Net system size rose 5.1% year on year to 826k rooms.$500m will be returned to shareholders via a special dividend with share consolidation to be paid in Q1 2019, subject to shareholder approval. This will bring the total returns to shareholders  to $13.5bn since 2003.

Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc DPH updates prior to its AGM today that the first quarter produced continued year on year above market growth. The Board is confident that for the current financial year, it will continue to out-perform  the markets in which it operates.

Intu Properties plc INTU confirms that on 11 October 2018 it received an indicative proposal of 205 pence per share in cash, subject to an adjustment for dividends. The proposal came from a consortium comprising the Peel Group, the Olayan Group and Brookfield Property Group. On the 17th October the proposal was revised upwards to to 215 p. per share.

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Ian Pollard – Intercontinental Hotels #IHG strong first half

Interco.Hotels Grp IHG produced a strong first half performance across all regions with underlying operating profit up 8% and underlying EPS up 25%. The interim dividend is increased by 10%. Hotel demand in the US is strong but momentum is led by Greater China, where double digit growth has been achieved in both RevPAR and net system size, as well as record signings. 9,000 rooms were opened during the half year to the 30th June, more than two thirds of them being covered by the Holiday Inn brand.

Meggitt plc MGGT claims to have produced strong first half trading, with orders up by 24% and revenue by 9%. However on a statutory basis, pprofit before tax fell by 39% and basic earnings per share by 40%. On an underlying basis the figures looked a bit more healthy but growth was still in negative territory on most measures. The interim dividend is being increased by 5%

Intertek Group plc ITRK is increasing its interim dividend by 35% in line with its new dividend policy and after claiming it is on  track on its ‘good to great’ journey. If it is, then perhaps it needs a new transport manager. Revenue fell by 1.8%, organic revenue by 2.3% at actual rates although operating profit and diluted earnings per share both managed tiny rises of 0.8% and 0.9% respectively. At constant rates profit before tax looked somewhat healthier with a rise of 7.5% but on a statutory basis it fell back down to 3%.

Dominos Pizza Grp DOM admits that its 8% rise in the interim dividend is justified by its confidence in the future rather than by its actual half year results, which on a statutory basis saw profit before tax fall by 9.7% and basic earnings per share by 6.5%. Group sales however grew by a healthy 12.8% leading to a rise in underlying profit before tax of 2.5% and 6.8% in basic earnings per share. UK like for like system sales in the six months to the 1st July rose by 8.3% and  22 new UK stores, were opened. For the full year profit before tax is expected to be in line.

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Intercontinental Hotels – Strong On Jargon, Rev Par And Growing Rooms

Intercontinental Hotel Grp. IHG delivers a jargon laden third quarter update indicating that it is very pleased with itself. Net rooms grew at 4.1%, the strongest since 2010 and it is accelerating brand growth around the world. Rev Par 2.3% in the quarter and  2.2% for the year to date.Europe was particularly strong with rises of 7.1% and 6.6% respectively, slightly behind Greater China which led the way, whilst for once the US lagged. The financial position of the company is robust.

DX (Group) plc DX admits it has gone through a particularly challenging time and turned last years profit of £11.5m into a reported loss before tax of of £82.3m. for the year to the 30th June. Exceptional items of £80.7m. included everything but the kitchen sink, from goodwill impairment of £72.4m to provisions for property delapidations, professional costs and senior management departures. Adjusted earnings per share or the year collapsed to 0.1p from last years 4.9p. Now the company is focused on its operational and financial under performance, new business has risen by 20%, major new contracts have been signed and a new leadership team has been appointed. So investors who believe in bottom fishing, get your hook, line and sinkers out and see what you can catch.

Octagonal plc OCT is extremely pleased with its record revenue and profits for the six months to the 30th September, during which revenue grew by 17.5% and net profit by 40%. The pleasure is added to by the fact that  the second quarter is usually impacted by reduced summer trading and revenue negative currency movements had an impact on revenue.

Ascent Resources AST expects that the long awaited process of the re certification by the Croation authorities of the export pipeline, which will allow export production to commence, is now awaited. An exchange of signatures can now be expected within a short time frame.

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Bellway On Crest Of A Wave – But Is That A Safe Place To Be

Bellway BWY is riding on the crest of a wave, with favorable market conditions, the continued availability of cost effective mortgage finance and of  the voters friend, Help to Buy. Revenue for the year to the 31st July is expected to have risen by 13%, volume growth in completions by 10% and at the end of the year the forward order book was 16% higher than a year ago. It seems ludicrous that the poorer the country gets, the more its currency collapses and the more its services , from health and education to police, show signs of following suit, the brighter the prospects become for the housing industry.

Standard Life SL s increasing its interim dividend by 8.2% to 7p per share after a strong half year performancew which produced a rise of 6% in half year operating profit before tax and a 5% rise in fee based revenue. The merger with Aberdeen is due to be completed on the 14th August and this it is expected will open the next chapter of the the company’s transformation.

Intercontinental Hotels Group IHG enjoyed a good first half to the year and passed the landmark of over 1 million pipeline rooms – just amazing how pipeline has become such a buzz word in the world of industry and commerce, unless, of course, you happen to be in the business of manufacturing pipelines. Operating profit rose by 8% on revenue up by a rather meagre 2% but the interim dividend is upped by 10%. The group continues to focus on  high quality brand growth and has opened 95 hotels with over 11,000 rooms, whilst removing 63.

Paddy Power Betfair PPB Management takes full credit for the efficiencies and investments which have seen strong results for the six months to 30th June and a 25% increase in the interim dividend. Half year operating profit rose by 22%, EBITDA by 21% and earnings per share by 23%. The figures were also helped just a little bit by the fact that Cheltenham was far more favourable this year than last, as well as by the provision of better odds and more generous offers.



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Boom Time For London Hotels

Intl. Con. Airlines IAG saw first quarter profit after tax fall by 74% as passenger revenue declined by 4.2% and total revenue by 2.8%. But this did not stop it being a record breaking first quarter if you decide to select operating profit before exceptionals as your measure That comes in at £170m. compared to £155m last year and creates the new first quarter record.

Interco Hotels Grp IHG For once London led the way with first quarter Rev PAR growing by 12% compared to a meagre 1.9% for the US and 2.7% for the group as a whole, which is regarded as a good start to the year. The quarter produced growth in both rates and occupancy leading to a year on year  net system size growth of 3.4%. Confidence is expressed in the outlook for the full year.

Smith & Nephew SN. First quarter revenue grew by 3% with a good performance from Emerging Markets which returned to double digit growth, with China leading the way at 14%. Knee implants in particular did well which is not surprising when US figures show that some 50% of  knee replacement operations in the US are unnecessary. For the full year, underlying revenue growth of between 3 and 4% is expected.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels MLC reflected very much the trading performance of its big brother above with growth in both rates and occupancy for the quarter to the 31st March. Profit before tax however, fell by 27.8% despite a rise in RevPAR of 4.6% and London steaming ahead with a rise of 14.5% as the lower pound boosted tourism in the capital. Also the US performance was less than impressive and has raised such concerns that the management structure is being reviewed.

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Trakm8 Chairmans’ Frustration Comes Too Late

Trakm8 Holdings TRAK Route Monkey is in a trend to move to SaaS revenues. Once you get extreme jargon like that in a company’s trading update you know it has been having a fairly bad time and Trakm8 is no exception. It witters on about its pipelines and how strong they are as if nobody is aware that company’s only start talking about pipelines when things have got bad. In good or even normal times, they are referred to as orders and order books but in bad times the company wants to pretend it is a big oil major so it begins to warble on about pipelines.

The Executive Chairman claims to be frustrated because the company is having to substantially reduce its expectations for this year, despite having such a “strong pipeline”. Looking at the list of woes which the company has produced, it is surprising that his frustrations have only surfaced now just before the year end on the 31st March.

Firstly the growth of installed base units has been lower than expected. Then new revenues are being delayed, some into the next financial year. Short term revenue and cash generation are being suppressed. A reduction in contract manufacturing for third parties has led to a specific revenue loss of £2.5m. The adjusted operating profit for the year will be significantly below that of 2016 and will impact both indebtedness and cash flow. Annualised overheads are being reduced by £1.5m to try and reduce the damage.

The signs were all there at half time when profit before tax for the 6 months to 30th September collapsed by 90%

Interco, Hotels Group IHG is increasing the total dividend for the year to the end of December by 11%, after a rise of 4.6% in revenue, 9.5% in underlying operating profit and 23.1% in adjusted earnings per share. The Chief executive claims that the results demonstrate the strong operational performance of the Group and its long term strategy. At the same time the fundamentals for the hospitality industry remain compelling, he adds.

Lighthouse Group LGT saw profit before tax surge by 119% to £1.9m for the year to 31st December and the final dividend is to be raised from 16p per share to 18p. EBITDA rose by 37%. Revenue rose slightly by 2% but operating costs were kept in check falling by 7%. That plus an increase in the annualised average revenue  per advisor led to the substantial increase in earnings.

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