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Ian Pollard – Persimmon – Strong Growth As Sales Decline

NEXT plc NXT first quarter trading to the 27th April was saved only  by online sales which rose by 11% and are forecast to continue to grow at the same rate for the remainder of the year. Full price retail sales for the quarter fell by 3.6%. The picture for the remainder of the year is even bleaker with the forecast decline more than doubling to 8.6%. Group profit before tax for the year to January 2020 is expected to show a fall of 1.1%

Persimmon plc PSN  Claims that since the start of the year the new build housing market has proved resilient with high levels of employment, and low interest rates, freely available and attractive mortgages, continuing to support consumer confidence. The Group’s current forward sales position is described as being strong with total forward sales revenue, taken to date in 2019, of £2,698 million down from £2,798 million in 2018. Most companies take the view that a rise in sales is a better test of performance.

Rank Group plc RNK experienced flat like-for-like revenue for the quarter ended 31 March 2019, with total revenue up 1%. The poor start to the year with declines of 6% at Grosvenor and Mecca, improving to 0% and !% respectively and leaving group revenue for quarter 3 level, up from a 5% fall in the first quarter.

IWG plc IWG Growth remained strong during the quarter to the 31st March with Group revenue increasing  by 10.6% at constant currency rates. The improvement was  driven by double digit revenue growth in the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA. France, Germany and Spain, also contributed very strongly.

Redhall Group plc RHL the Board anticipates that the full year trading performance for the Group will be materially below its previous expectations. . These were based on the group winning a number of  new contracts, which would deliver a strong trading performance in the second half of the year but delays in the award of a number of these projects and a reduction, in the value of Jordan Manufacturing’s contract for a major nuclear infrastructure programme have impacted those expectations. The groups pipeline of opportunities remains strong and the Board anticipates that it will be able to deliver steady growth into 2020.

Sainsbury J. plc SBRY announces underlying profits up 7.8 per cent, ahead of target and final dividend up 11.3% making a total increase for the year of 7.8 per cent.

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Ian Pollard – Gloom & Despondency As UK plc Whinges About Its Own Incompetence

Mulberry Group plc MUL Revenue in the year to 31st March rose by 1% and retail sales by 3%. On the international front sales were good with a rise of 20% but the UK was flat and has gone even flatter since the year end with a drop of 9% and leading to a 7% fall in like for like goup retail sales for the 10 weeks to the 2nd June. Mulberry tries to put a brave face on the dismal news but can a fall of 9% in UK like for like retail sales over10 weeks  be passed off as  significant progress. New subsidiaries have been opened in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan but that has not been able to offset the lame excuse of a fall in UK footfall. Mulberry has a problem ad it seems to be getting worse.

Redhall Group plc RHL Despite a strongly growing order book, a strong tender pipeline and major contract awards in nuclear new build Redhalls first half performance has been impacted by programe delays. An adjusted operating profit of £0.2m has been turned into an operating loss of £1.9m. and a net cash position of £0.1m has been turned into debt of £4.5m Never mind, it has a transformation strategy underway.

Dewhurst plc DWHT did not have  good first half. Sales and profits fell and group revenue declined by 5%. Profit before tax was down by 4% and operating profit collapsed by 19%. The strength of sterling had a 5% negative impact – presumably they must have found a part of the UK which had a different exchange rate to he rest of the country.. The interim dividend remains unchanged at 3.5p. per share. The business climate is seen as being reasonably positive, except of course for the UK., so presumably there my be a good chance of them getting a positive impact from the continuing fall of the pound.

Eckoh ECK at least brings some cheer into what is otherwise a gloomy day for UK plc. A strong performance in the US saw revenue there rise by 16% for the year to the 31st March and the UK order book grew strongly in the second half. Profit before tax increased by 61% and the final dividend is being increased from 0.48p to 0.55p, a rise of 15%. It is good to see that there some companies with management whose eye is on the ball and is not content to just sit back and whinge about the results of its own incompetence.

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Walker Greenbank Hikes Interim Dividend by 25.5%

Walker Greenbank WGB benefited from three factors which helped sales to increase by 29% in the half year to the 31st July, enabling the interim dividend to be increased by 25.5%. The first was a strong contribution from Clarke & Clarke, acquired in October 2016 and which produced sales of £10.3m out of a total of £54 million. The second was a 17.9% increase in licensing income and the third was a strong export performance which helped to offset a weaker UK. Despite this, statutory operating profit fell by some 10% due to acquisition costs but underlying operating profit rose by 52.8% and adjusted earnings per share  by 39.4%.

Gooch & Housego GHH ended its financial year on the 30th September with a record order book, up by 29% in constant currency terms and on a like for like basis. Strong demand was seen throughout the year in the industrial and telecommunications sectors. About a third of the company’s business now relates to Aerospace and Defence.

Image Scan Holdings IGE has had such a busy September that the update given at the end of August is already out of date. Completion of orders which were due for delivery later in the year has been accelerated as has factory acceptance of other orders. The result is that sales for the year to 30th September are now expected to be £5 million compared to August’s estimate of £4.5million whilst profit before tax is expected to be well up at £450,000 as against August’s estimate of £250,000. The year end order book is also said to be strong.

Lightwave RF plc. LWRF  anticipates that revenue for the year to 30th September will have more than doubled from 2016’s £1.44m  Gross margins are also expected to have materially increased from last years 32.5%. Even so losses before tax  are expected to be broadly in line with the £0.84m. loss for 2016

Redhall Group RHL expects results for the year to 30th September will now be materially below expectations due to client delays, especially relating to work on Hinckley Point C. The delays are not anticipated to continue and a strong performance is expected for 2018.

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Carillon New Orders Weaken In Second Half

Carillon CLLN A full year trading update shows strong revenue growth and increased operating profits for 2016 and net borrowings down from the half year level. Margins in support services have also been strong. Despite this the new order intake slowed in the second half and current expectations are that the total value of new and probable orders will have fallen.

Numis Group NUM In a year where stock market performance was mixed, Numis produced the highest revenue in the the history of the group with a rise of 15% to £112m.. Profit before tax rose by 25% and earnings per share by 21%. At the year end in September cash balances and net assets both stood at record levels and the total edividend for the year is to be increased by 4%

Stagecoach Group SGC is increasing its interim dividend by 8.6% to 3.8p and says it is pleased with its performance in the midst of political and economic uncertainty. Statutory profit before tax for the half year to 29th October showed a very tiny fall from 90.8m to 89.5m but growth prospects for public transport in the UK and North America look good.

Redhall Group RHL saw its manufacturing order book rise by 109% in the year to the end of September and last years operating loss of £0.7m was turned into an operating profit of £0.9m. With a major reduction in losses from £12.2m to £1.7m the company’s turnaround prospects remain on track. No dividend is recommended.

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