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Royal Mail plc RMG finds plenty to highlight in its interim results for the half year to the 23rd September. A rise of 1% in revenue is one of the best. Apart from that, underlying adjusted profit before tax was down 27 per cent and· adjusted basic earnings per share fell by about a third from 20.1% to 13.6 pence. As if that was not bad enough the reasons for this dismal performance, were even worse. Poor productivity performance, lower cost avoidance in the UK and higher than expected cost pressures in GLS, where admittedly there was a ray of sunshine with a 9% rise in revenue. The most amazing thing about this report apart from the surpising rise of 4% in the interim dividend, is that not a single member of senior management or the board had the courage to come out and make a single comment about the results. From the CEO to the Chairman and all the other senior executives, they all appear to have been simultaneously struck dumb.
Bovis Homes Group BVS on the other hand displays no such reticence as the CEO proclaims that the transformation of its customer service and build quality has resulted in a significant improvement in its financial performance since the 1st July. Bovis is fully sold for this year and expects full year profits will be at record levels. As with all housebuilders it has to make obeyance to the government for its generosity to the industry in agreeing to extend its completely unjustifiable Help to Buy Scheme for yet another two years until March 2023.
Young & Cos Brewery YNGA produced another strong performance for the half year to the 1st October, with profit before tax up by 19.5% and basic earnings by share by 19.4%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 6% making it the 22nd consecutive year-on-year interim dividend increase. Summer results were exceptional – average like-for-like sales growth of 5.6% over the past seven years, with this half year producing a revenue rise of 8.8%, helped by the hottest summer on record. Drink sales enjoyed a particularly strong summer with double digit growth of just over 7.4% on a like-for-like basis. Accommodation sales rose by over 18% and EBITDA by 4.7% to record levels. The strong trading has continued in the first six weeks of the second half.
Dart Group DTG Group operating profit for the half year to the 30th September surged by 68% after a 36% revenue rise. Basic earnings per share rose by 56% and the interim dividend is to be increased by 87%. Bouyant demand led to a particularly strong season for the Leisure Travel business although increased losses are to be expected in the second half of the year as further investment is made in additional aircraft and marketing.