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Ian Pollard – Games Workshop Group #GAW – “Truly” Surplus Cash & Not “Truly” Surplus Cash

Games Workshop Group GAW updates that at the end of the six months to the 2nd December, it has a lot of cash which is truly surplus, presumably as opposed to cash which is not “truly” surplus. . The company can not find anything else to do with it so it is giving it to the shareholders, well at least a sum equal to 30p. per share.The results are in line with expectations for the year to 2nd June so the largesse must have been in the planning all along. Indeed it admits that this is in line with the Company’s policy of how to distribute truly surplus cash, as opposed to non “truly’ surplus cash.

Associated British Foods ABF The unheard of has happened and Primark has had to admit that in November trading was challenging and the retail market was tough. However improved margins helped to save the day, and expectations for Primarks profits to increase, remain unchanged. The problems at AB sugar continue and profits will be significantly lower, reflecting the full year effect of EU sugar prices.

CH Bailey plc BLEY saw group revenue fall by 4% in the 6 months to the 30th September but profit was up by 43% and EBITDA by 18%. The UK engineering business, is continuing to grow, with revenues up by 10% and the order book for the second half of the year looking solid.

James Halstead plc JHD  is aware that there is much speculation on the future trading relationship of the UK with Europe but maintains that it is a global trading company and the Board is confident of growth albeit mindful of potential short term issues. Both turnover and profits for the first five months are ahead of last year..

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Ian Pollard – easy Hotel trading strongly

easy Hotel plc EZH Strong trading experienced in the previous year has continued through the year to the end of September. The groups owned hotels have significantly outperformed both the competition and the wider OK hotel market. Franchised hotel have also traded strongly especially in continental Europe.In 2018 four new owned hotels will be opened adding a total of 517 rooms, whilst new franchised hotels due to be opened will add a further 798 rooms.

Sopheon plc SPE The board now expects revenue for the year to he 31st December will be comfortably ahead of market expectations whilst EBITDA and pre tax profits should be significantly ahead.This follows two substantial deals in the final quarter leading to an increase from 49 to 59 in licences for the year as a whole.

James Halstead plc JHD Turnover for the half year to the 31st December rose by 5% to record levels after strong December trading in the UK, Germany and Australia

 

Utilitywise UTW Trading in the company’s shares will be temporarily suspended at 7-30 this morning as it will not be able to publish its annual audited accounts by the end of this month. The delay is due to the amount of work involved in its new revenue recognition policy and the suspension will be lifted as soon as it is able to publish its results.

Telit Communications TCM has received expressions of interest from numerous parties with regard to the proposed sale of its automotive division and due diligence is now being undertaken. There is no intention of selling any other divisions or activities.

Defenx DFX confirms that revenues for the year to 31st December will be materially below those of the previous year resulting a significant loss for 2017. The appointment of a new CEO in November has resulted in progress being made in solving the company’s problems but difficulties remain in collecting in trade debts and collections have been limited during the last three months.

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New Records For James Halstead

James Halstead plc JHD The year to the 30th June again produced record turnover and profits and saw the final dividend increased to record levels with a rise of 8.8%. Revenue rose by 6.5%, profit before tax by 2.5% and earnings per share by 3.5%, achieved despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit and tougher than normal trading conditions.

Stanley Gibbons SGI survived another difficult year with turnover falling by 28%. The adjusted loss before tax for the year to 31st March rose from £4.9m to £11.1m.and net asset value fell by a further 48%. Trading has continued to be difficult since the last update on the 9th May.

Ashley House ASH Preliminary results are so full of pipeline references that it sounds more like an oil and gas company, than a rather unsuccessful property company specialising in health and community care. The lack of success is of course the governments fault and apparantly nothing to do with the management or the Board. The best claim it can make for the year to the 30th April is that it remained profitable but only just. Revenue fell by 10% and adjusted profit before tax slumped from £1,160,000 to £53,000. On an unadjusted basis the figures were £67,000 compared to £241,000.

Angling Direct plc ANG confirms that the conversion of fishing from a hobby, to big business is proceeding apace  with the announcement that it has acquired the entire issued share capital of Fosters Fishing Limited for  £3.0 million payable in cash. Angling is the largest specialist fishing tackle and equipment retailer in the UK. Fosters on the other hand which trades from a 17,000 sq ft superstore some 3.5 miles from the centre of Birmingham,  is one of the largest fishing tackle retailers in Europe and has been in business for over 30 years. It appears that the Fosters who have built the business up are not really required any more by the new management, with Mark Foster remaining for only a few weeks to help the hand over and Richard Foster reduced to working part time in the business.

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Will Italy Do A Trump

Italy this weekend, hold the future of the Euro in its hands. Sundays referendum will show whether Italy is prepared to do a Trump and turn its back on its political establishment, whilst at the same time shaking the EU to its foundations. Massive support for Beppe Grillo the Clown Prince of Italian politics and leader of the Five Star movement could lead to the collapse of Italian Banks  and a Euro crisis  of huge proportions.  Italian voters appear to be in no mood for half measures.

They have had enough and they have smelt blood, as they continue to watch their country’s economy destroyed, blighted by the Euro and the intransigence of the Eurozones unelected bureaucrats. Sterling has been rocketing ahead over the last few weeks, much to the chagrin of the EUs bitter and disappointed leaders. Come Monday morning the political establishment not just of Italy but of the whole EU could have received the biggest shock of their political  lives, rejection by a core EU member, home of The Treaty of Rome.

Berkeley Group Holdings BKG  Produced a 33% rise in profit before tax for the half year to 31st October and is increasing its interim dividend by 11%. Earnings per share rose by 35.2% and net cash almost doubled to to £207.9m after dividends and share purchases. Because of increased stamp duty and economic uncertainty arising from the referendum reservations are down 20% on the same time last year. The Chairman disagrees  and claims that market conditions are resilient and forward sales are strong enabling the company to announce a new 5 year target of at least £3billion profit before tax in the five years from 1st May 2016. The present 3 year target of £2 billion pounds over the 3 years to April 2018 is being met. Time alone will tell whether the chairman is correct or whether the company is being impacted by uncertainty and market volatility.

James Halstead JHD is finding trading conditions are challenging and it will be difficult for it to beat the figures for the previous year. Revenue has continued to be below that of last year with the best estimate being that the shortfall could be as large as 4-5%. In particular Halstead has suffered from a shortage of plasticiser, one of its main ingredients, after an explosion at one of BASF; European plants which has led to delays, shortages and rising prices.

IndigoVision Group IND is experiencing a substantial turn round in its second half with revenues up 20% on those of the first half. In addition overheads are materially below last years and the company is now trading profitably after the first half’s losses. The full year to the end of December is now expected to end profitably.

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Stanley Gibbons Comes Unstuck

Stanley Gibbons SGI. Final results for the year to 30th March reveal a horror story of mismanagement with admissions that previous accounting did not accord with applicable accountancy standards. In a buoyant market for collectibles, SGI found trading conditions difficult. The results are not surprising. Turnover was flat and 28% below budget, the final dividend has been abolished and net borrowing soared from £11.7m to £ 20.4m. but since the year end as a new board kicks in, this has already fallen to £18m.Net assets fell by 43%. The loss before tax rose from £1.8m for 2015 to £28.9m

Stanley Gibbons share price has slumped as the company’s fortunes declined. Two years ago it was at a heady 378p., a year ago they were down to 140p and today they stand at a miserable 11.25p

James Halstead plc JHD is raising its final dividend by 8.2% after rises of 3% in profit before tax and 3.7% in earnings per share for the year to 30th June. Exports now represent 67% of business so a positive impact for the current is expected from the decline in sterling, despite the fact that last years fall is claimed to have had an adverse impact on turnover, which fell by 0.5%.

Numis Corporation NUM saw revenue from its core activities  rise 14% during the year to 30th September, reaching record levels of over £100m for the first time. During the second half Numis claims that activity in UK equity markets was impacted by Brexit.

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James Halstead JHD – By Gum, That Were A Real Treat

Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves – Mark Halstead

Halstead – what a name to conjure with, redolent of dark northern industrial cities at a time when British manufacturing bestrode the world and Manchester thrived as a centre of manufacturing excellence. None of this fancy re naming nonsense, No “Group” or “International” added  to make it sound grander.  “Halstead” was grand enough on its own, good enough for the founder and good enough for his successors who have just announced yet another record set of figures for the company’s 100th year, with record turnover and record profit before tax, enabling the final dividend to be increased by 12.3%.

But its not the figures which are important. The importance lies in the philosopy at the heart of this sturdy and steady British company, which brokers have been falling over themselves this week to add to their buy lists.

Mark Halstead the present CEO not only thought the unthinkable – he said it and his words should have brought shame to many a  CEO and board of directors.

Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves and in this, our 100th year, we have broken records for turnover, profit and dividend.” – Mark Halstead CEO.

” it is clear that we are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as difficult problems.” Geoffrey Halstead, Chairman

And on the strength of sterling – “Much has been written about the strength of sterling and the obvious negative effect on exporters but there are large offsetting factors, not least the effect of cheaper input prices of raw materials and we remain positive.” Geoffrey Halstead

How dare Geoffrey Halstead so succinctly destroy the excuse which trip of the tongues of company directors and  executives in an attempt to save their heads from the effects of their own incompetence and mismanagement -the pin striped  wonders who have nowhere left to turn, except to blame the strength of sterling for “impacting” hundreds of our best known companies.

How often do we  hear such basic wisdom and common sense as was this week displayed by the Halsteads ? There isn’t a university degree course in common sense which is perhaps not surprising, so we shall just have to rely on the Halsteads to try and spread the word throughout British boardrooms.

Halstead manufactures and distributes floor coverings worldwide. It has enjoyed 25 years of continuous sales growth. This year, for the sixth successive year, it has been named Manufacturer of the Year for contract floorcoverings.

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