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Diageo DGE produced a strong performance in the 6 months to the 31st December. All regions contributed to organic net sales growth of 4.2% although organic volume growth was considerably lower at 1.8%.This was all due to constant and rigorous execution of strategy by management – nothing like self praise when things are claimed to be going well, although a fall of 2% in reported growth is hardly consistent and is not thought worthy of particular mention. Basic earnings per share rose by 36.3% and the interim dividend is to be increased by 5% to 24.9p. As for 2018, that is expected to bring in mid single digit top line growth.
SKY plc SKY The half year to the 31st December produced a strong set of results. Indeed the blurb for the half year outcome is almost such a parrot like repetition of that for Diageo that it takes some convincing that they were not both written by the same script writer. In the case of Diageo the excellent performance was down to “consistent execution of strategy” by management. Now where did I read that before. Like for like revenue rose by 5% and earnings per share by 11%. On a statutory basis operating profit was up by 24% and earnings per share by 39%. 365,000 new customers were signed up and pay as you go buys rose by 8%. .All this was achieved despite a challenging consumer environment. The interim dividend is to be increased by 4% to 13.06 p per share, on top of the previously announced special dividend of 10p per share.Plans for 2018 and beyond are said to be ambitious.
Paypoint PAY claims to have “driven” profitable growth in the UK and in Romania where net revenue rose by 42% most of which was accounted for by the acquisition of Payzone. Where exactly it drove this profitable growth to, is difficult to understand as it included a fall of 4.3% in Group retail Networks, a volume fall of 10.5% in UK bill and generals and a net revenue fall of 6.3% in UK retail services.Nonetheless it did have a good day on the 22nd December, its best trading day of the year where processed transactions rose by 67% on the previous year.
Countryside Props CSP made a strong start to its year with first quarter completions up by 47% helped by a record year end order book and believe it or not, a fall of 11% in its private average selling price. Perhaps somewhere there is a link between those two sets of figures, which no doubt will be studiously avoided by the rest of the British housebuilding industry
Marstons MARS has seen its business transformed in recent years and preliminary results for the year to 30th September produced both revenue and earnings growth which in turn led to profit growth in all segments. Statutory revenue rose by 8%m profit before tax by 24% and earnings per share by 12%. The average profit per pub rose by 2% and the strong brand names in beer continued to outperform the market. The final dividend is to be increased by 0.1p per share making a total increase for the year of 2.7%.
Greene King GNK on the other hand found its first half to be a challenge with revenue for the six months to the 15th October down 1.2%, adjusted profit before tax down by 8% and earnings per share by 8.3%. The statutory figures look much better with profit before tax up by 33.7% and basic earnings per share by 30.5%. Management claims that its actions have led to an improved performance in the second half, which begs the question as to why the didn’t act earlier. There is, they claim, still room to continue to generate significant cost savings, which begs a similar question.
Paypoint plc PAY the half year to the 30th September was busy and exciting for management as it continued to reshape the business, giving the Board the confidence that it had the right strategy. Revenue fell by 4.1% and profit before tax by 1.5% but the ordinary interim dividend has been increased from 15p per share to 15.3p, a rise of 2%. On an ongoing basis revenue rose by 2.3% but profit before tax fell by 3%.
Go Ahead Group GOG updates that everything is in line for the 4 months from 2nd July to the 28th October and is expected to remain that way for the rest of the year. The main highlight of the period is that Aslef members ended their long running dispute.
Daily Mail & General DMGT After a dismal half year the Daily Mail is increasing its interim dividend by 3%, justified no doubt by an 11% fall in both profit before tax and earnings per share for the six months to 31st March. The big impact came from weak print advertising, with no explanation provided as to why. Perhaps the board doesn’t have one and is hoping that shareholders will not bother to ask. Statutory profit before tax did rise by £68m. after some of the family silver was sold off and the Chief Executive is to retire next month after 27 years with the company.
Tate & Lyle TATE claims a solid financial performance and strong project delivery for the year to the end of March, with a five fold rise in profit before tax and almost sixfold in diluted earnings per share. The adjusted results show more modest growth of 5% and 8% respectively but let it not be denied credit for its long awaited success. The total dividend for the year remains unchanged at 28p per share.
Ibstock IBST expects another year of progress after good trading momentum continued during the first four months of 2016. Demand for new housing was robust, even the weather was favourable and a housing recovery in the US got under way. Full year results are due on the 5th August.
Henry Boot BHY has found that trading has been encouraging since the beginning of the year despite some uncertainty caused by the referendum Activity in Land development has been particularly strong.
Paypoint PAY After a fall of 83.6% in profit before tax PAY is raising its ordinary dividend by 10% and making a special payment of 21p following the sales of parts of the business which have been completed. It claims to have been severely impacted to the tune of £72m by the sale of online and the non sale of its mobile payments business, a double whammy if ever there was one. The company is confident that its strategy is correct and appears to have stopped making any more boardroom changes because of the large number of changes already carried out.
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