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Ian Pollard Victoria Plc (VCP) Politely Invites Shareholders To Take A Walk

Victoria plc VCP decided to take advantage of difficult market conditions to  pursue market share. The Board now recognises this impacted earnings this year and has unsettled some shareholders. It believes however that the strategy is in the best long-term interests of the Group and its shareholders and appears in effect to have told the shareholders to take a walk and has continued with the strategy. The  Board believes markets are down 6-8% in the UK and Australia and flat in Europe but the Group has continued to grow overall like-for-like revenues and gained meaningful market share. The Group expects that the current-year to March 2019 EBITDA is likely to be £95m-£97 million a rise of nearly 50% over the year to March 2018 and the Group’s 2019 underlying pre-tax profits are expected to be around around 35-39% higher than 2018.

Reckitt Benckiser Gp plc  RB  claims that 2018 was a year of good financial progress, achieved in an environment of challenging market conditions. Pro-forma and LFL growth  came in at 3%. plus 2% from volume and +1% from price / mix.The final dividend is being being increased to 100.2p, a rise of  3% and like for like net growth is targeted at 3.4% for 2019. The CEO says that the company is well positioned for long term, sustainable growth. 

Angling Direct plc ANG expects to report revenue of £42.0 million,an increase of 38.9% for the 12 months to the 31st January compared to the same period in the previous year.In store sales showed an increase of 50% overall or 6.2% on a like for like basis. whilst online sales grew by 30.3%. International sales surged by 98% to £4.66m and now account for 20.9% of the Group’s online sales. with shipments going to 49 different countries, this success has delighted the board. The business has also now been structured in readiness for Brexit

Xpediator plc XPD confirms that it  has achieved its growth objectives and recorded significant increases in sales and profits for the twelve months to 31 December 2018. Total revenues increased by 54% Import Services Logistics and Anglia Forwarding, both of which were acquired during 2018, contributed an additional  18% in revenue and added over 400 new customers. The Company’s Brexit team has been working closely with leading transport associations and port authorities to plan ahead. and will be able to support both exporters and importers post Brexit.

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Reckitt Benckiser – Admits Incapable Of Growth

Reckitt Benckiser RB Rarely has a board been so isolated from reality that it shows not the slightest comprehension of the fear which its own chosen headlines for its third quarter update, could instill in shareholders. Those headlines speak of a continuing challenging environment and then worse still, an admission that the company needs reorganising for growth. So what exactly have the directors and senior management been doing recently to earn their remuneration. How can they have let things get so out of hand that they are forced to admit that the company is so badly organised it is incapable of growth.

Net revenue both for the quarter and for the year to date both fell by 1%. The best it could manage was growth in only one category out of four and that was a lowly 1% in hygiene,  It was a soft quarter bemoans the CEO whose best expectations are for a flat like for like target for the full year, whilst at the same time claiming  to be excited about the prospects for the company.

BHP Billiton BHP updates that its first quarter performance leaves it on track for 7% volume growth in the current financial year but the figures are somewhat patchy. Petroleum and gas production declined compared to the same quarter last year, as did iron ore and coal. Copper was the only bright spot with a rise of 14%. However there are four major projects under development one of which involves investment of $2.5 billion.

Softcat SCT announces another very strong year with double digit growth in both gross and operating profit. Revenue for the year to 31st July rose by 23.8% and operating profit by 18.9%. The final dividend is to be increased by 69.4% and a special dividend of 13.5p per share, down 15% on last year, is also to be paid, making a total dividend increase for the year of 15%. The company has now produced 48 consecutive quarters of top and bottom line year on years growth.

Eckoh ECK has been trading strongly in the UK during the half year to the 30th September, whilst in the US where it only entered the market in 2014 it also appears to be going from strength to strength, having won a total of 30 contracts since then. Good progress is being made in converting its contracts pipeline into orders and new contracts awarded in the first half,  have equaled those awarded in the whole of the last financial. year

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Germany Creating Its Own Economic Stalingrad

The utter contempt which German car manufacturers have shown for generally accepted business standards and for its customers wordwide are a clear sign of a new mood in Germany. The falsifying of emission tests is one of the largest criminal frauds which has ever been perpetrated and the companies involved, VW, Porsche, Audi etc. could not care less. Only the US is big enough to dare to challenge the might of the German car industry and even it is treading comparatively lightly, at least so far. Compare the treatment of the Westminster Three, bankers who were arrested in the UK and extradited to the US,  where they were subjected to the full rigours of the US criminal system for a fraud which paled into insignificance compared to that perpetrated by the German car industry, a huge conspiracy to defraud car owners and ensure that the worlds atmosphere  did not get cleaned up as it should have been.

The UKs place as a laughing stock in world affairs is well illustrated by the fact that it is about the only major country where  the Germans are  refusing  to offer any compensation whatsoever to UK owners who were tricked into buying what they thought were clean cars. The UK is being singled out because it has become too weak and irrelevant to matter and they Germans know they can get away with it.

Such  disregard for the laws of countries in which Germany trades indicates the emergence of a new arrogance and this is not the only example.

One of the worst features of this new and dangerous mood in Germany, is its huge and utterly illegal trade surplus, which in the end will destroy the Eurozone and with it the EU as we know it. Eurozone rules prohibit a budget deficit in excess of 3% of GDP and similarly they also prohibit a trade surplus in excess of 3%. The 3% limits are there for good economic reasons – to exceed them creates an imbalance in the worlds or Europes economies. The German surplus has been inexorably rising towards a huge 10% and it adamantly refuses to do anything about it. Obviously compliance with EU laws is not, once again, something which the Germans are very keen on. They would much prefer, as they have done for years, to scream and rail against tiny Greece for its budget deficits which have now happily been turned into a small surplus and blame the Greeks for causing the imbalance which threatens the Euro. That is much like blaming a rowing boat for sinking the Titanic.

Germany is in effect waging economic warfare, tanks and the jackboot have become outdated. Countries can be devastated  by economic means and Germany has shown that it has every intention of continuing to amass its massive and illegal surpluses. There is only one hope and that is the German education system. Germans are still brought up to be disciplined and  follow orders. They can not imagine that they are on the road to creating an economic Stalingrad. This time it will not be a blind failure to realise that you need winter uniforms to survive in temperatures of -40C which will cause havoc. This time it will be the sudden realisation that their illegal surpluses have brought about the collapse of their own economy because suddenly there will not be enough  money left outside Germany for people to buy its exports. Its illegal surpluses will destroy its own export markets. Germany has again forgotten basic principles, -this time, that one countries budget surplus is another countries budget deficit.

In corporate news:

AstraZeneca AZN says its Lynparza ovarian cancer drug developed with Merck & Co has received additional and broad approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Astra Chief Medical Officer Sean Bohen said: “Today’s approvals validate more than 10 years of dedicated research behind Lynparza, the world’s first PARP inhibitor, which now provides oncologists with the greater flexibility for use in terms of treatment settings.”

Reckitt Benckiser Group RB. has completed the sale of its food business for $4.2 billion. The net proceeds will be used to reduce debt.

Renewables Infrastructure Group TRIG produced a robust operational and financial performance for the half year to the 30th June, with profit before tax up from 19.2m to 31.3m and earnings per share rising from 2.6p to 3.5p. The company remains on track to deliver dividends of 6.4p per share for the full year.

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Reckitt Benckiser Expects Challenges & Headwinds; Dividend Increased

Reckitt Benckiser RB is increasing its final dividend from 88.7p to 95p making a 10% rise for the year but it has been forced to delve deep into the jargon drawer to try and explain its patchy geographical performance in 2016. Full year like for like net revenue did rise by 3% and in quarter four it surged by 19% but almost all of  that was due to currency movements, rather than the efforts of management. At constant exchange rates Q4 like for like revenue growth was a mere one per cent. What saved the day for RB was   expansion in margins which it claims was excellent.

At constant exchange rates full year reported operating profit for 2016 fell by 3%, reported net income was down by 5% and reported diluted earnings per share rose by 6%

It looks like 2017 will contain more disappointment for RB, despite it having exciting innovations stored in its pipeline. It expects to be buffeted by persistent continuing headwinds and in the first half it fears that macro conditions will  be challenging.

Greene King GNK enjoyed strong Xmas trading with the three Xmas weeks seeing sales rise by 4.5%, led by London which was particularly strong. Like for like sales over the 40 weeks to date were up by 1.6%. So far this year the company has sold 59 pubs and acquired 11 new establishments but expects it will be forced to sell a further 50-60 before the year end.

Amur Minerals AMC reports a material and substantial increase in its Mineral Resource Estimate to over 100 million tonnes for the four large deposits in its Kun Mani licence area. A nickel equivalent grade of 1.03% is equal to a total of 1.04 million tonnes of nickel, worth a huge US$10.5billion based on prices as at 1st February.

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