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Weak New Car Sales Cast A Cloud

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.

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Company news: Celebrations of a Sort…

  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.

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