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Ian Pollard – Intertek #ITRK Dividend Rises 39%

Intertek Group ITRK is going from strength to strength, with consistent progress on strategy and performance leading to a 39.1% increase in the full year dividend. In 1918 revenue grew by 3.7% on a like for like basis at constant currency rates,. profit before tax was up  by 8.3% and diluted earnings per share by 7.7%. Good organic revenue growth at constant currency is expected  in 2019.

Ashtead Group AHT delivered a strong quarter in the 3 months to the 31st January. Underlying profit before tax and earnings per share rose by 18% and 34% respectively. whilst revenue was up by 19%.  As a result, for the nine months to date  revenue and underlying pre tax profit both increased by 18% at constant exchange rates.

Direct Line Insurance DLG delivered a strong set of results for the year to the 31st December driven by what it describes as its resilient business model which it claims, performed well in a highly competitive market. A final dividend of 14.0p, is announced, an increase of 2.9% on last year plus a special dividend of 8.3p.

Ibstock Brick plc IBST claims that the year to the 31st December was a busy year of development with profit before tax rising by 19.1% on revenue up by 7.9%. Statutory earnings per share rose by 17.5% but the final dividend remains unchanged at 6.5p making the 2018 full year dividend 9.5 pence per share compared to 9.1 pence per share for 2017.  Market fundamentals remain encouraging for the medium term, says the CEO

Netcall plc NET has seen strong sales momentum continue into the second half with order inflow significantly ahead of the same period last year.  Profit before tax for the six months to the 31st December leapt by 49% on revenue up by 6%. Revenues for the full year are expected  to be more weighted toward the second half, as Cloud services growth accelerates.

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Ian Pollard – Thomas Cook Suspends Dividend

Thomas Cook Group TCG updates on its expected results for the year to the end of September and at first it looks like a mixed bag until you get to the important bits, the main one of which is that the full year dividend is being suspended. On top of that it has been impacted in the lates market where the UK was particularly disappointing. the prolonged period of hot weather in the key summer trading period is blamed for a larger-than-anticipated decline in gross margins, whereas other tour operators welcomed it as being good for business. Perhaps this is indicative of the quality of Cooks management..The final result is expected to be around £30 million lower than it had previously hoped for

Intertek Group plc ITRK is going from strength to strength with organic revenue growth accelerating during the first 10 months of the year. In the first half group revenue rose by 3.4% whilst in the quarter from July to October growth increased to 4.5%. Generally growth in different divisions is described as varying from robust to strong.

Greggs plc GRG Total sales rose by 9.0% in the nine weeks to 24 November and full year 2018 profit before tax is expected  to be at least £86 million.The improved trading performance reported in the third quarter trading update  strengthened further in October and November. Like-for-like sales sales in the nine week to the 24th November are ahead of expectations.

Pennon Group plc PNN delivered a strong performance in the first six month to the 30th September, with profit before tax up by 8.7% and EBITDA by 8.1%. Good news for the consumer is that South West waters  average bills are lower than they were 9 years ago, with further falls to come over the next seven years.

Renew plc RNWH trumpets another set of excellent results for the year to the 30th September, with profit  before tax down by 25.8% and adjusted earnings per share by 4.6%. As is  perfectly normal in these circumstances the dividend is to be hiked by 11%.  I wonder also why year end net debt has risen so sharply to £21.4m. from a net cash position of £3.9m at the end of last year. Perhaps it is due to that excellent set of results.or the 0.8% fall in group revenue.

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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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Ian Pollard – McCarthy & Stone MCS supported by large price increases

McCarthy & Stone plc MCS Despite trading in January and February having remained resilient MCS can not avoid sounding a bit worried in today’s update and is relying on trading being weighted towards the second half to help it recover from the first half where it had to rely for support on  a large increase of 14% in the average selling price. . Its problem appears to be that even with such a whopping increase in average prices, it only managed to increase first half revenue by less than 1%, up from £238m. to £240m.. Basic maths would indicate that without the price rises, first half revenue could have fallen. It also admits that first half operating profit is likely to be in the order of about 12% of current market expectations for the full year. A further sign of the need for caution is that first half planning applications slumped from 34 to 21. Net debt for the full year is expected to have doubled from £30m. to  £76m.One healthier sign is that the forward order book is up by 16% but of real concern is the impact which the proposed changes to ground rents will have on the company which is taking on the government in an attempt to ease that impact.

Just Eat plc JE. produced  an excellent performance in 2017 with revenue rising by 30% on an organic basis. Despite that the company still made a statutory loss of £76m. despite 10.5m. active customers purchasing  £1.9 billion pounds worth of food. International revenue rose by 75% and now amounts to 44% of the total. EBITDA rose by 42% and basic earnings per share by 38%. For 2018 EBITDA is expected to rise  to between £165m  and 185m.

Intertek Group plc ITRK is increasing its final dividend from 43p to 47.8p per share making a total increase of 14.3% or 2017. Adjusted profit before tax rose by 9.5% and diluted earnings per share by 10.4% at constant exchange rates.

Ashtead Group plc AHT continued to perform well in the third quarter to the end of January, with strong growth in each of its markets. Over the first nine months, profit before tax rose by18% on a statutory basis and by 24% on an underlying basis. Revenue increased by 20% and earnings per share by 130% on a statutory basis.

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Victoria Oil & Gas Turns A Loss As Gas Sales Surge

Victoria Oil & Gas VOG claims that its preliminary results for the year to 31st December show excellent progress, led by an outstanding 24% rise in gas sales from $21.4m to $ to 32.8m. The year was particularly successful at the operating level with EBITDA at $13.1m compared to the previous years $8.5m. whilst the net loss of $31.1m. compared to a $1.6m profit in the previous year, which covered only the 7 months to 31st May 2015.  The loss does not apparently merit an adjective to describe it and is blamed mainly on write downs and provisions for a land claim at Logbaba

Informa plc INF remains on track for a fourth consecutive year of growth in revenue, earnings and cashflow. Most divisions are experiencing good growth and trading and continued improvements have been achieved in performance and delivery for the first four months of the year.

The Restaurant Group RTN Like for like sales for the 20 weeks to the 21st May fell by 1.8% and total sales by 1.5% which is at least better than 2016’s decline of over 3%. The current year is described as a transitional year and it certainly needs to be with last year having produced a sizeable loss after 2015’s profit of £86.8m. The outlook for the remainder of the year does not look too promising with growth in passenger numbers and cinema admissions expected to moderate.

Intertek Group ITRK is on track to meet its 2017 targets with refenue for the first four months of the year up by 14.2% at actual rates or 1.8% at constant rates. Organic growth of 0.9% is described as solid and exciting growth opportunities which the company is uniquely positioned to seize, have been identified.

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