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Ian Pollard – Direct Line #DLG delivers a robust fall in premiums

Direct Line Ins. Group DLG claims to have delivered a robust third quarter performance in a competitive market. Robust in this particular case being defined as a fall of 5.6% in gross written premiums, compared to the same quarter in 2017, Perhaps this is a definition which not many outside the company could bring themselves to agree with.

Wm. Morrison Supermarkets MRW The third quarter to the 4th November saw another period of strong growth, with group like for like sales, excluding petrol, rising by 5.6%. Apart from the second quarter this was well above the growth rate for any quarter since the beginning of 2017.  Including petrol the rise was 6%. Retail like for like sales for the quarter weakened slightly without the impact of favourable weather and the World Cup in the second quarter.

Imperial Brands IMB  Claims strong financial delivery for the year to the 30th September, with revenue and earnings growth and high cash generation. . On a reported basis revenue rose by 0.9% and operating profit by 5.7%. Earnings per share fell by 2.7% but the dividend benefited from a further increase of 10%. The company grits its teeth and claims to be pleased with the progress it is making in creating something better for the world’s smokers despite that meaning a fall of 3.6% in total tobacco volume.

DS Smith plc SMDS updates that it expects return on sales and adjusted operating profit in the half-year to 31st October will be materially ahead of the comparable period. This follows recovery of increased input costs earlier in the year and good volume growth..Good ongoing volume and market share growth is expected for the remainder of the year and the company is quite excited about the prospects for Europac which it is in the process of acquiring and which will lead to further expansion in its Iberian market.

William Hill plc WMH is looking to the US becoming its jewel in what would otherwise begin to look like a somewhat tarnished crown. In the year to date online net revenue rose by 4%, whilst retail net revenue fell by 4%. In the US however existing business revenue surged ahead  by 29% following a Supreme Court decision in May. The company has now built on its market leading position in Nevada, to make rapid progress in other states as they legalise sports betting. It has already become the only company to be taking sports bets in the first five states to have regulated sports betting Its goal is to be in every state.

Purplebricks Group plc PURP has continued to make good progress in the six months ended 31 October 2018 with year-on-year revenue growth of approximately 20%. It has continued to win market share against a challenging market backdrop in the UK., whilst in Canada where it only opened on the 18th July the  business is performing strongly and in line with the company’s high expectations.

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Corporate news review Friday 15th September 2017

Image result for aviva logoAviva AV. has completed the sale of its 50% shareholding in life insurance and pension joint ventures Unicorp Vida and Caja España Vida, as well as its retail life insurance business Aviva Vida y Pensiones, to Santalucía. Total consideration of the transaction is €475m (£424m).

Image result for avon rubber logoAvon Rubber AVON issues a pre-close trading update ahead of its year end close on 30 Sept 2017. Trading in the second half has been good across the Group and Avon expects FY adjusted PBT to be in line with current market expectations, with continuing strong cash generation.

Image result for Edenville Energy logoEdenville Energy EDL reports interims. CEO Rufus Short said: “The first half of 2017 was an extremely busy and transformational period for the Company. Having raised funds in February to start production, we have been able to rapidly put in place the required infrastructure and are seeing strong demand for our coal.”The remainder of 2017 is expected to be equally busy and we look forward to providing updates as matters progress.”.

Image result for Purplebricks Group logoPurplebricks Group PURP announces that it is formally launching its business in the US later today. In line with the region by region rollout successfully adopted for entry in the UK and Australian markets, the US launch will commence in Los Angeles, before extending across the state of California and other targeted key states thereafter.

Image result for jd wetherspoon logoWetherspoon (JD) JDW publishes FY results, revealing LfL sales up 4%, revenues up 4.1% at £1.66bn, and PBT up 27.6% at £102.8m. EPS rocketed 43.3% to 69.2p and the group maintained its FY dividend at 12.0p. Since the year end, Wetherspoon’s LfL sales have continued to be encouraging and have increased by 6.1%. CEO Tim Martin believes that comparisons will become more stretching as the year progresses, and sales, which were very strong in the summer holidays, are likely to return to more modest levels.

Will Brussels Ban Referendums

The Italian’s have done it.  They have joined the growing list of countries whose peoples are sick and tired of their political establishments living lives completely divorced from the realities of the ordinary workaday world which most of us inhabit. The referendum has become the stock, shock weapon  for taming the arrogant political elites of the world. The only question now is whether the bureaucrats of Brussels will try to find a way of banning them as being in breach of the Maastricht treaty or any other nonsensical reason they can think up for saving their tax free privileged lives and their dictatorial powers. Perhaps the usual catch all of health and safety would be appropriate.

As we forecast on Friday as a strong possibility, the Euro has fallen sharply this morning to over 1.20 to the pound bringing our currency speedily back to levels which our economic commentators and experts proclaimed would not be seen again for many a year. And this is only the beginning, The Italians now have to face an election with the possibility of Beppe Grillo as the winner.

Filtronic FTC traded strongly in the 6 months to the end of November and expects unaudited first half revenues will have reached £21.6m  almost five times the total of £4.5m for the whole of 2016. The company cautions however that its success is based primarily on sales to one lead customer of its new ultra wide band antenna.

Ryanair RYA November traffic grew by 15% over last year, to 8.8m customers and load factor was up by another 2% to 95%. The airline advised customers to book their flights now for next summer

Purplebricks Group PURP claims to have caused a seismic shift in the UK estate agency market with its fixed fee revolution. Revenue for the 6 months to the end of October rose by 159%, exceeding the total for the whole of 2016. Gross profit for the half year surged from £4.1m to £10.2m and average revenue per customer rose by over 20%.

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Brand CEO Alan Green discusses Purplebricks (PURP) on the VOX Markets podcast

AGTipTVBrand CEO Alan Green discusses Purplebricks (PURP) with Justin Waite on the VOX Markets podcast.

The interview is 13 minutes in. Click here to listen.

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