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First Group plc FGP The year to the 31st March saw adjusted operating profit fall by 10% on a constant currency basis and a statutory loss before tax reflected in part, the onerous provisions of the contracts on Trans Pennine rail franchises, carefully omitting to mention that these onerous provisions were not forced on the company, it actually volunteered for them. The CEO departs from the company today. Revenue at constant currency rose by 14% during the year but the statutory loss before tax more than doubled from 152.6m. to 326.9m. and earnings per share tumbled from 9.3p per share to a loss of 24.6p. At Greyhound like for like revenue fell by 0.7% as it failed to meet the competition of ultra low cost airlines. Admissions are also made that Great Western and South Western have operational challenges to overcome. Taken all in all a bit of a second class performance all round.
Johnson Matthey JMATT The year to the 31st March was a year of significant progress with sales on an underlying basis and excluding precious metals, rising by 8% and profit before tax by 1%. It is proposed to increase the final dividend by 7%. Mid to high single digit growth in operational performance is expected in the current year, with the second half being stronger than the first.
Card Factory plc CARD provides an update on first quarter trading to the 30th April and “tough trading environment” gets three mentions in a comparatively short release. The first is to headline the tough trading environment, the second is to stress that it did not prevent a solid seasonal performance and group like for like sales only fell by 0.4% which is regarded as a robust performance. Nor was it so tough that it prevented anticipation to return further cash to shareholders, towards the end of the current year.
Brady plc BRY The executive chairman claims to be delighted to be able to report that the company has failed to exceed its management expectations during the first four months of the year and announces that he regards that as substantial progress.
Severn Trent SVT updates that for the period from the 1st October to the 7th February it has abandoned the use of English and will;
- hit AMP6 outperformance cap
- earn at least 50m in customer ODI out performance payments across waste and water
- work hard on SIM scores
- have sector leading scores in CCW’s annual survey
- create strong out performance opportunities
- underpin the future growth in RCV which customers expect
And to make sure that nobody will understand a word of this complete and utter rubbish
- AMP7 Ofwat has announced its PR19 Final Methodology
- Rumours abound that STSRs are to be held for senior executives (secret training sessions in rubbish)
Smurfitt Kappa group SKG After revenue rises of 5% for the full year to the 31st December and 7% for quarter 4 , EBITDA for the year rose to record levels at 1,240,000 Euro. Despite that full year profit before tax fell by 12% and basic earnings per share by 6%. Fourth quarter figures were much better with basic earnings per share up by 19% and profit before tax by 4%. Results in the Americas came in below expectations after being impacted by bad weather and increased fibre costs. Europe produced a strong fourth quarter performance with high levels of demand. 2018 has so far shown a continuation of the good levels of demand in Europe and signs of improvement in the Americas.
Johnson Matthey JMAT will receive a £30m one off non cash benefit from the lowering of US Corporation Tax rates. But it will take a one off £50m. hit from the no fault settlement of a law suit in which it looks like the lawyers came out the winners. The 50m will be excluded from current years profits.
Redrow RDW is increasing its interim dividend by 50% as it continues to make hay whilst the housebuilding boom continues apace.Revenue for the six months to the 31st December rose by 20%, profit before tax by26% and earnings per share by 27%. The interim dividend goes up from 6p per share to 9p. The sales market is described robust, the second half started with a record order book. The increase in the average selling price appears to have become a closely gaurded secret.
Barclays BARC – Reports a 13% increase in half-year PBT to £2,341m reflecting materially lower non-core losses of £647m (H116: £1,904m), while core PBT fell 25% to £2,988m impacted by PPI charges of £700m (H116: £400m). EPS came in at 11.8p, while tangible NAV fell to 284p (Dec 2016: 290p) as profit from continuing operations was offset by decreases across reserves.
BT Group BT.A – Q1 revenues rose 1% and underlying revenues rose 0.2%. Adj EBITDA fell 2% due to increased pension costs, business rates, sport programme rights and investment in customer experience. CEO Gavin Patterson said he is “confident in the outlook for our Company.”
Johnson Matthey JMAT – trading is in line with expectations. Q1 saw low single-digit sales growth at constant rates and double-digit reported sales growth. The restructuring programme announced in June which will deliver £10m cost savings in H2, with a further £15m cost savings in 2018/19.
Gear4music G4M – At today’s AGM the company will report that trading in the financial year to date is in line with Board expectations. Based on the overall performance, the Board is confident of another year of good progress.
International Airlines Group IAG – Results for the six months to June 30, 2017 include Q2 operating profit €805m before exceptional items (2016: €555m), with passenger unit revenue for the quarter up 1.5%, (4% at constant currency). Half year operating profit before exceptional items grew 37.3% to €975m
Rightmove RMV – reports an 11% increase in half-year revenue to £119.5m with underlying operating profit up 11% to £91m. Trading in July has been in line with the strong monthly revenue achieved in the first half of the year. The visibility gives the Board confidence in delivering its expectations for the current year.
First Group FGP claims a significant improvement in operating results for the year to 31st March despite a mixed trading environment and with the benefit of a large helping hand from favourable currency movements. Profit before tax increased by 34.4%, earnings per share by 24% and statutory operating profit by 15.1%. Revenue was up by 8.3% but without the collapse of sterling it would not have been up at all, in fact on a constant currency basis it was down by 0.5% which puts that “significant improvement” into perspective. First Bus and First Rail both faced challenging market conditions, with like for like First Bus revenue falling by 0.6%.
The company claims it is concentrating on the service improvements which its customers tells it they want, which appears to be virtually an admission that management hadn’t a clue what level of service it should be providing until its customers started trying to get the message through.
Johnson Matthey JMAT A stronger second half provided evidence of an improving performance which in turn has enabled the final dividend to be increased by 5%. Profit before tax for the year to the end of March rose by 19%, earnings per share by 21% and revenue by 12%. Revenue at constant exchange rates and on a like for like basis grew by 3% over the year but in the second half that figure doubled to 6%, helped by the company’s world leading science and technology. Growth in Europe was particularly strong. In the current year sales growth is expected to match the 6% of 2017’s second half and beyond 2018 expectations are for deliver of sustained sales growth and margin expansion.
Watkin Jones WJG is increasing its interim dividend by 10% after a strong half year which produced strong profit growth. Adjusted profit before tax and EBITDA each rose by 26.6% for the six months to the 31st March, despite an expected 8.4% fall in revenue.
Fastjet FJET Claims 2015 was a year of change and challenge but contrary to the hopes of some pundits who enjoy making a living out of predicting and helping to create, doom and disaster, it survived. Passenger numbers for the year to the end of December rose by 32% but the load factor for Tanzania fell 6.6% following the woes of the Tanzanian economy.
Year end cash rocketed from $1.4m to $28.9m and like for like revenue was up by 21%, helping to bring the loss for the year down from $58.5m to $16.9m and the loss per share down from 3.38 cents to 0.71 cents. Short term targets include continuing to reduce costs and to match capacity to the reduced demand,
Johnson Matthey JMAT The usual story from a company which has not had a good year and feels that it needs to explain away, if it can, a 22% fall in profit before tax. It does not need much guesswork to expect that a dividend increase is on the way, and it is. As soon as it claims a robust performance and that some markets have been particularly challenging, you can guess the news is not too good and that one way or another the board will be seeking shelter.
So for the year to 31st March Johnson Matthey’s revenue rose by 7%, and the dividend is to be raised by 5%. It suffered from falls in 3 out of its 4 main markets, precious metals being especially hard hit. To be fair improvement is expected for the current year, with strong growth drivers leading the way.
RPC Group RPC is raising its dividend for the year to 31st March by 20% after revenue rose by 34%. The company claims that the year produced good underlying growth and a strong business performance. Like for like net profit before tax was up from 67.1m to 75.6m and adjusted earnings per share rose by 14%.