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Safestore Holdings plc SAFE claims an excellent start to the financial year, with a strong first quarter performance, continuing the trading momentum seen in the second half of 2018 in both the UK and Paris markets. Group revenue from the 1st November to the 31st January rose by 6.% at constant exchange rates and on a like by like basis by 6.4%. Paris led the way on a like or like basis with a rise of 7.3% compared to 6.1% for the UK. Revenue for the quarter in Paris grew by 8.3 % following the opening of the new store in Poissy in summer 2018.
easyJet PLC EZJ confirms that it is in discussions with Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and Delta Air Lines about forming a consortium to explore options for the future operations of Alitalia. In the words of the song there is no certainty at this stage that any transaction will proceed and easyJet will provide a further update in due course, if and when appropriate.
Money Supermarket.com Group PLC MONY made great progress in its Reinvent strategy in 2018 with profit after tax for the year to 31st December up by 11% and the ordinary dividend up by 6%. A good trading performance saw revenues up 8% and In 2019 it is intended to return an additional £40m to shareholders.
AVEVA Group plc AVV delivered low double-digit revenue growth in the first nine months of the financial year, following the pattern set in the first half. Software sales grew at a faster rate compared to services, resulting in a modest improvement in gross margins. Operating margins also improved, although some additional costs were incurred due to a better than expected sales performance.
Ashmore Group plc ASHM Profit before tax at £93.0 million, fell by 6% during the half year to the 31st December. The company described it as a respectable operating performance in the first half followed by a positive start to 2019. The investment performance remained strong and out performed by 30% over one year. Revenue growth of 13% was driven by 18% increase in net management fee income.
Morrisons W. Sprmkts MRW If you do not know how to sell a pack of frozen peas, then you should not be on the board of a chain of supermarkets. Britains high streets are riddled with major retail outlets which are in a state of collapse and its Boards are littered with bankers, accountants and management experts with not a grocer amongst them. At Morrisons however the legacy of “our Ken” lives on and the company is leading the big guns of British retailing a pretty dance. Whilst they cry over their shelves of unsold peach and ratatouille consomme, Morrisons just get on with the job of selling goods which its customers want to buy in stores which they want to visit.
The result, Morrisons has just enjoyed its fourth consecutive Christmas of like for like sales growth. Total sales for for the nine weeks to 6 January rose by 4%. Customer satisfaction increased significantly and the price of its basket of key Christmas items remained the same as last year.
Greene King plc GNK is another company which got its festive hat perched at the right angle, as like for like sales over the last two weeks of Xmas and the New Year leapt by 10.9% compared to a rise of only 3.2% over the first 36 weeks of the financial year. It is accepted that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit may still have an impact on consumer confidence and spending during the year, but the company is confident of the outlook for the full year.
Safestore Holdings plc SAFE has announced its fifth consecutive year of double-digit earnings per share and dividend growth. Revenue for the year to the 31st October rose by 10.4% or 5.2% on a like for like basis and underlying EBITDA by 6.5%.The dividend has been increased from 14p to 16.2p per share, a rise of 16.1%. The company says that the start to its current financial year has been encouraging.
SIG plc SHI faced challenging market conditions and lower trading revenues in the second half of the year, particularly in December. Group like-for-like revenues were down 2.3% over the full year, with the UK and Ireland being particularly badly hit with a like for like fall of 5.7%.
Morrison W. MRW has by modern retail and high street standards had a bumper Christmas with group like for like sales up by 2.8% or 3% including fuel. Sales over Christmas and New Year were particularly strong with group like for like sales over the 6 weeks to 7th January up by 3.7%. Morrisons puts its success down to various factors including being more competitive, being more friendly to its shoppers and having more tills open and shorter queues. It will be interesting to see whether other major supermarkets have also shared in an unexpectedly better festive season or whether Morrisons has come out tops.
Persimmon plc PSN provides an update for the year to the 31st December which indicates that the housing boom has continued to moderate compared to the glory days of years gone by but growth is still there aplenty. Revenue for the year rose by 9%, legal completions by 6% and the increase in the average selling price was limited to 3%. Pre tax profits for the year are expected to be modestly ahead of market consensus.
Safestore Holdings SAFE is increasing its final dividend by 21.4% to 9.8p per share for the year to 31st October after a strong operational performance coupled with a combination of both organic and acquisitive growth. Group revenue for the year rose by 12.6% or 3.3% on a like for like basis at constant exchange rates. Strong potential growth for the new year is seen in the integration of Allied Self Storage and in the development of three new sites.
Tasty plc TAST claims that 2018 is expected to produce further deterioration in the difficult trading environment facing the restaurant sector. Progress has been made in the disposal of four under performing sites and two further sites are now under offer.
Dechra Pharma plc DPH enjoyed strong trading during he half year to the 31st December with group revenue up by 10% at constant exchange rates or 11.5% at actual rates.
600 Group SIXH 60% of group activities are now in the US giving the company considerable protection against any damaging consequences from Brexit. Only 13% of group sales go to Europe and the company is now concentrating on building up its presence in South East Asia.The year to 2nd April was not a good one with profit before tax nosediving from £3.68m. to £1.01m and earnings per share more than halving from from 2.66p to 1.26p. Machine tools is a challenging market and the company did well to show a 3% rise in revenue and it is contuing to implement structural changes.
Hays plc HAS claims an excellent financial performance for the year to 30th June, with like for like net fee growth of 7%, producing an 11% rise in profit before tax and a 14% rise in earnings per share. The final dividend is to be increased by 5%. Both earnings and cash were ahead of market expectations, although on net fee growth the UK and Ireland lagged behind the rest of the world. The broad geographical spread of the company’s activities saw more than 22 countries producing growth in excess of 10%.
Safestore Hldgs SAFE saw its strong trading performance continue during quarter 3. to the Like for like revenue to 31st July rose by 6.6% at constant exchange rates, the UK being particularly strong with a rise of 7.5%. Closing occupancy rates were up by 2.6% and again the UK put in a strong performance. The weakness of sterling helped results from the Paris operation. Pricing during the quarter was robust with the average rate up 0.6%. Tax adjusted earnings were ahead of current market expectations.
Vertu Motors VTU Expects that full year results will show robust trading with profitability ahead of last year and revenue and profitability both reaching record levels. There is however the odd cloud or two looming on the horizon in that new retail vehicle registrations have been weak since April and the company expects this to continue.New vehicle orders for September are reflecting the changed situation.
Mulberry Group MUL blossomed again in 2015 with profit before tax for the year to 31st March more than tripled from £1.9m. to £6.2m. Like for like retail sales rose by 8% and earnings per share nearly doubled from 2.3p to 4.5p. Digital sales rose by 19% to £21.3m. and now account for 14% of group sales. The dividend remains unchanged at 5p per share.
The improvement has continued in the first 11 weeks of the current year with total sales to 11th June up by 9% and by 4% on a like for like basis, evidence the company says, of the strong foundation it has built for future growth and of its investment in omni channel infrastructure which displays an alarming lack of knowledge of the proper use of jargon.
Safestore Holdngs SAFE celebrates a 21.1% fall in statutory profits before tax and a 23.6% decline in statutory earnings per share as “another strong six months of progress”, in fact so strong that the celebrations include increasing the interim dividend by 20% to 3.6p. per share for the half year to 30th April. True on the positive side, like for like revenue did rise by 10% and occupancy was up by 2 points to a lowly 70.9%, but that still left 30% empty. However that is not the disaster it may seem to the uninitiated, it is cause for even more celebrations as it represents an opportunity for the company rather than a failure, in fact so good an opportunity that it is to add to it, another 217,000 sq.ft.
Atkins (WS) ATK has cause to celebrate its strong performance which led to a 22% rise in profit before tax for the year to 31st. March. Revenue for the year rose by 6% and the dividend is being increased by 8.2%. It also acheived its target of an 8% rise in operating margins. Both the UK and Europe showed signs of improvement.
Referendum Inanities – Mark Carney’s sudden loss of memory
As the dreaded day draws near we shall comment from time to time on the inanities of politicians and other public figures who tie themselves in knots as they seek to escape from the logical consequences of the ill advised pronouncements which so many of them, seem intent on making.
Today is the turn of the Governor of The Bank of England who denies having made known his views about the referendum. Is it an early sign of alzheimers that he can no longer remember last month’s warning that there could be “a short term economic shock leading to a “technical recession”, which would be six months of negative economic growth” if the UK did leave the EU.