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Rolls Royce Holdings plc RR. is confident that Trent 7000 production and delivery volumes will increase significantly to meet customer commitment in 2019s. Growth in strong large engine flying hours reported in the first half has also continued into the second half of the year. Rolls is however forced to admit that the number of aircraft on the ground remains at a high level. It has had to placate its customers by sincerely regretting the disruption that this has caused them. Sad also to see the management of Rolls allowing a company which was once the pride of British engineering, to damage its own reputation to such an extent. A fall of 10% in large engine deliveries since the March estimate is expected for 2018 and blamed by management on early stage production ramp-up challenges on the new Trent 7000 engine – challenges which that self same management was incapable of dealing with – ramp up challenges indeed.
J Sainsbury plc SBRY and Asda Group Ltd will today seek a Judicial Review of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Phase Two investigation into their proposed merger. The current timetable does not apparantly give the Parties sufficient time, with it being Xmas time. Nor does it take account of the fact that it has suddenly been realised that the real aim of the merger is to improve range, quality and customer service, while lowering prices and reducing the cost of living for millions of UK households. Well isn’t that kind of them, especially at Xmas. Its nothing to do with economics and challenging conditions on the high street. It is just that left on their own, the two companies and their customers would be in a bit of a mess.
British Am. Tobacco BATS updates that the business continues to perform well and is exceeding its high single figure constant currency adjusted diluted EPS growth target – you may pause here to take breath and try and analyse what that sentence actually means. Further good news, they would have you believe, is that full year adjusted EPS growth is expected to be impacted by a currency translation headwind, of around 6% for FY18, at current exchange rates. .Some big executives never learn – if you can only talk nonsense, shut up and let somebody else make a fool of themselves.
Marshalls plc MSLH expects to exceed full year expectations. Better second half revenue growth, will lead to revenue for the 11 months ended 30 November rising by 14 per cent.
Superdry plc SDRY Interim results for the 26 weeks to the 27 October reflected a difficult trading period forcing the company to intensify its comprehensive transformation programme. The blame is firmly placed on the weather which was too warm in November and so far, into December as well. Reliance on cold weather related products continues and a lack of innovation in some of its core categories is also blamed, as sales have remained under pressure. This has resulted in an adverse profit impact of around £11m in November and similar damage is expected in December if trading conditions (i.e. the weather) does not improve. Blame is also allocated to the changing shape of consumer behaviour in the peak trading period, the impact of wider economic and political uncertainty and, even before the wrong sort of weather has arrived, further uncertainty in terms of the outlook for it. Now there’s a management which knows how to keep itself warm and superdry.
Rank Group RNK the year to the 30th June was a year of decline and disappointment which for some reason has left the Board full of confidence. The results are in line with the Boards expectations but only expectations which had been revised during the year. For Grosvenor Casinos the year was a challenging one but Mecca’s performance by contrast beat expectations. Profit before tax and earnings per share for the year both fell by 6.3% although on a statutory basis the fall in profit was much steeper at 41.4%. A company-wide transformation programme is only in its development phase but the new Chief Executive says he is moving quickly to identify the key priorities. The disappointment has not been allowed to spread to the final dividend which contrary to the other statistics is to be increased by 2.1%.
Marshalls plc MSLH produced strong revenue growth in the 6 months to the end of June and the interim dividend is to be increased by 18%. Revenue and profit before tax both rose by 12%, basic earnings per share by 10% and EBITDA by 13%. In June and July, however growth became even stronger with revenue rising by 21%.
Kingfisher KGF updates that second quarter group like for like sales to the end of July rose by 1.6% and on a reported basis by 3.4%. The Chief Executive claims that the company is now on track to deliver its strategic milestones for the third year in a row, helped by good recoveries at both B&Q and Screwfix. For once the UK & Ireland is not the laggard with screwfis sales rising by 11.8%, still someway behind Germany with a rise of 26.6%
Filtronic plc FTC experienced another year of strong demand for its products. For the year to the end of May profit before tax rose from 1.2m to 2.2m and basic earnings per share from 0.59p to 1.51p per share after sales revenue rose from £24m. to £35.4m. Two major contracts were secured during the course of the year and the company was also approved as a vendor by a major US mobile network operator.
Tribal Group TRB has completed the first phase of the turnaround started in 2016 and for the half year to the 30th June, despite a small fall in revenue, earnings per share rose by 76% and and statutory profit after tax by 83%. Market share has been gained in its core markets.
Kingfisher KGF has no problem finding excuses for its second quarter performance and even includes continued disruptions across the businesses without bothering to enlighten us as to what those may be and whether they are due to management decisions or external forces which management has been unable to cope with. Seasonal swings in both first and second quarters get their share of the blame but there is no let up in the outlook for the second half of the year about which the company remains cautious. However all may be well in the end because the company is on track to deliver its strategic milestones for year 2 of its transformation, which reading between the lines may be the real cause of the poor performance.
B&Q’s seasonal performance in the UK was down 11%, whilst weaker sales in France added to the gloom. Like for like sales during the quarter to 31st July were down 1.9% at constant currency rates. UK & Ireland saw a fall of 1% but B&Q itself was down 4.7%. In France the fall was 3.8% but Russia led the way with drop of 10.1%. Poland on the other hand showed what could be done with a rise of 4% but perhaps that is due to all these Polish plumbers and joiners who had set up in the UK and then decided to return home to Poland for a better life.
Be that as it may this is yet another major UK company which found the need to transform itself and then discovered that the cure was as bad as the illness. Next year should be the year which will tell us whether it has all been worthwhile and whether, in the end, the cure worked.
Rank Group plc enjoyed strong growth in digital which rose by 63% during the year to the end of June but the first half proved to be challenging for the company and despite strong growth in the second half, group like for like revenue grew by only 1%, and actually fell by 1% in the UK. Adjusted earnings per share and profit before tax rose by 4% and 2% respectively. Shareholders are compensated with a rise of 12% in the dividend.
Marshalls MSLH Results for the half year to the 30th June saw both profit before tax and basic earnings per share, rise by 16%, with EBITDA up by 13%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 17%. The company believes that its innovative product range and strong market position will continue to support further growth.
Compass Group CPG received a big helping hand from the weakness of sterling which added an extra 15% to revenue, operating profit and earnings per share for the first half year to 31st March. The result is that the company can afford to celebrate with a proposal to pay a special dividend of £1bn, as well as raising the interim dividend by another 5.7%. Well done sterling.
Revenue for the half year rose by 20.3% but on an organic basis this was reduced to a more realistic figure of 3.6%, North America leading the way with a rise of 7% and the board remains excited about the long term prospects of the company. Let us hope that sterling does not wipe the smile off their faces by reverting to a more realistic valuation.
Barratt Developments BDEV is firing on all cylinders and expects house completions for the year to the end of June will be the highest for nine years. It displays no signs of the ills which have begun to afflict some of its competitors and appears to be going from strnegth to strength. Profits are expected to be at the top end of current analysts estimates. Total forward sales as at the 7th May were at record levels after a rise of 12.7%. Market conditions remain good and attractive mortgage finance is widely available. Private average selling prices have shown upward momentum, as the company euphemistically puts it and the net cash position at the year end will be ahead of expectations at £600m.
ITV PLC ITV saw total revenue fall by 1% in the quarter to the end of March whilst total external revenue was down by 3% and family NAR fell by 6% over the 4 months to the end of April, with a forecast ofr further declines of 8% in May and 15-20% in June, making a total first half decline of 9%. One good sign among the statistics was a rise of 4% in viewing share for the quarter and guidance for the full year remains unchanged.
Marshalls MSLH. Group revenue rose by 6% compared to last year, in the 4 months to the 30th April, whilst sales in the domestic end market increased by 13%. Order books are at their highest ever and the board is becoming increasingly encourage about the groups overall performance for the current year.
Photo-me International PHTM is raising its interim dividend by 20% after first half results to the 31st October came in ahead of the board’s expectations. Strong growth saw revenue up by 19.2% (4% on a constant currency basis) and pretax profits by 20.2% ( 4.3% on a constant currency basis). The board now expects that full year profits will significantly exceed current market expectations.
Brainjuicer BJU Gross and pre tax profit will both be above current market forecasts following strong second half market trading. The company is changing its financial year end from the 31st December to 31st March but unaudited results will still be published for the current year to 31st December.
Marshalls MSLH The first five months of the second half have produced strong trading in the domestic end market with a rise in revenue of 15%. Order intake and revenue continue to be robust.
Plant Impact PIM Trading in the first quarter has been strong and the company is particularly excited by the success of Veritas, the company’s main soybean crop enhancement product which has accounted for most of the sales.
If ever there was a cyclical share it is Marshalls MSLH which is like a bell weather for the housing and construction industries. Whilst it could easily slump as building recessions loomed, there were times when it looked as if it would never reap the benefits of the building booms. 2015 however was so good that it enabled Marshall’s to follow the lead of the house builders and impose price increases ahead of cost inflation.
Last years interim results and Decembers trading update gave strong indications that 2015 was turning out to be a good year and so it has proved. A strong last quarter and a robust order intake enabled the Board to revise its expectations upwards and it has lived up to that with a 57% rise in profit before tax on revenue up by 8% and basic earnings per share rising by 41% for the year to the end of December.
Shareholders get their rewards with the final dividend being increased by 19% plus a supplementary dividend of 2p also being recommended. With a 13% increase in the interim dividend, total dividends for 2015 have risen by 50% from 6p to 9p., a tidy jump which is a bit more rewarding than stashing your money away in some stodgy Swiss bank.
Over the last five years, despite swings and roundabouts and one two hairy moments, shareholders have done well. Starting at 80p in mid 2012 they had risen to 257p by March last year and 370p by September before collapsing just as quickly and perhaps surprisingy, back down to 265p exactly a month ago. That fall was quickly reversed and at close of business yesterday they had broken through 300p and have now moved up a further 10p this morning.
So all in all, a a rise from 80p to 310p in under four years is a fairly acceptable return.