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Ian Pollard: TUI Benefits From Hot European Summer

TUI AG TUI updates that the year to the 30th September will be the fourth consecutive year of double digit growth in underlying EBITA and unlike Thomas Cook it claims to have benefited from the sustained period of hot weather in Northern Europe which produced further growth  The only impact of the hot weather was that it prevented TUI from outperforming. Cook must have suffered from a different form of hot weather.

Zoo Digital Group plc ZOO expects to report revenues in the first half of the financial year at least 17% higher than last year.and is confident that the second half will be strong.

Clinigen Group CLIN is increasing its final dividend for the year to the 30th June by 12% after a jump in profit before tax from £14.1m to £35.9m. Revenue increased by 26%, adjusted EBITDA by 17% and adjusted earnings per share by 10%. Another year of good progress is expected for 2018 – 19

DCC plc DCC expects that after strong first half growth, group operating profit for the six months to the 30th September will be well ahead of last year.

Mitchells & Butlers MAB updates that sales have strengthened since the last update on 2nd August. In the 8 weeks to 22 September like-for-like sales grew by 2.2% following the period of sustained hot weather and the World Cup . 7 new sites have been opened and 232 conversions and remodels completed in the financial year to date.  Total sales have increased by 0.5% in the year to date.

Saga plc SAGA Profit before tax for the six months to the 31st July rose by 3.2 % as the results benefited from lower operating expenes. At the same time customer numbers rose back to the level of the first half of 2017, helped by a rise of 19% in Motor & Home New Business. The interim dividend remains unchanged at 3p per share.

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Ian Pollard – Saga Blames Profits Fall On Cost Savings

Saga plc SAGA In its preliminary results for the year to 3st January Saga comes out with the statement that the fall of 7.6% in like for like profit before tax is due (inter alia) to cost savings. No wonder the CEO admits that it has been a challenging few months for the company with the share price under pressure. Like for like earnings per share fell by a similar amount, down 7.8%. As a sign of what could be done, there was strong growth in travel with a rise of 36.9% The full year dividend is to be increased by 5.9% to 9p per share but just imagine where it might have been without those cost savings.

WH Smith plc SMWH claims it delivered a good performance in the half year to the 28th February with the interim dividend increased by 10% as senior management celebrates falls of 1% in profit before tax, diluted earnings per share and profit from trading operations, not to mention a 6% drop in High Street trading profit. In fact the only growth came from the travel division which once more saved the day with a 5% rise in trading profit. The CEO is confident in the outcome for the full year. Shareholders can only hope that it will not be as “strong” as the first half.

Dunelm DNLM The new Chief Executive says has become increasingly excited since he joined the company in February but that may soon wear off once he has to deal with the reality of keeping store sales rising.In the quarter to the 31st March like for like online sales rose by 35.7% and store sales by 1.2%, a sign of the times if ever there was one. Total group sales for the quarter rose by 5.1% but gross margins were down by 15bps although they are expected to improve in quarter 4. No new stores at all are to be opened in the second half which is perhaps an even greater sign of the times.

Hays plc HAS Total net fees for the three months to the 31st March grew by 9% as the world, with the exception of the UK, prospered.  Again the figures reveal the plight of the UK economy where net fees fell by 2% compared for exmple to Germany which had a record quarter with a rise of 19%. Twenty of the company’s 33 markets achieved double digit growth which makes the UK look sick indeed.

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Ian Pollard – Mulberry Strategy Fails To Impress

Mulberry MUL claims it is delivering on its strategy, in which case it should perhaps get a new one. Retail sales for the half year to the 30 September rose by 2% but on a like for like basis they fell by 1% with both UK and International retail sales sliding. Demand from London tourists was said to be strong but the UK as a whole was uncertain. The loss before tax at £0.5m. was almost identical to last years £0.6m. The long term objective is said to be to grow Mulberry as a luxury global brand. That is what most people always thought it was. The lack of growth and mundane performance cast doubts

Saga plc SAGA as soon as one sees that a company has been reduced to using those two dreaded words “impacted” and “headwinds” you know that there’s trouble at mill and Saga is no exception. With only between 1 and 2% growth in underlying profit before tax expected for the current year to 31st January 2018, the growth forecast for next year is that underlying profit before tax will be down by about 5% despite strong trading in travel which will be outweighed by challenging trading conditions in insurance broking and the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

Easy Hotel plc EZH  The year to 30th September was a year of strong progress with a 39% rise in revenue and 48.3% in adjusted EBITDA.  The costs of an expanding development programme or “pipeline” as those with a preference for jargon, would call it, resulted in a 21.1% drop in profit before tax and 50% in earnings per share. The dividend remains unchanged at0.33p per share.

Oxford Metrics OMG is delighted with its strong performance in the year to 30th September and the final dividend is to be increased by 20% to 1.2p per share after adjusted profit before tax came in ahead of market expectations following the planned investment in Yotta.. Like for like group revenue was up by 10% or 7% on a constant currency basis.

1PM PLC OPM updates that revenue for the half year to the 30th November will show a 73% rise and profit before tax will increase by 70%. The strong trading momentum has continued and is consistent with market expectations for the full year to the end of May.

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Iofina Benefits From Increased Production And Rising Prices

Iofina IOF reached a number of significant operation and financial milestones during the six months to the 30th June and is now optimistic about the remainder of the year. Production during the half year exceeded expectations and spot iodine prices have risen by 25% since the start of the year, after earlier weakness which led to a fall in revenue of 18%. EBITDA has more than tripled from US$0.2m to $0.7m and the group is increasingly positive about future profitability

Saga plc SAGA pre tax profit before tax for the six months to 31st July fell by 6.3% and the interim dividend is increased by 11.1%. Saga would prefer that you concentrate on underlying profit before tax which grew by 5.5%, enabling it to claim four consecutive years of growth. Growth in travel was strong with travel profits rising by 63%.

Smiths Group SMIN claims that it is well positioned to return to growth but not just yet and the likely starting date is given as 2018. For the year to 31st July the dividend is being increased by a cautious 3% after full year revenue rose by 11%, pre tax profit by 17% and like for like basic earnings per share by 15%. Problems  such as unspecified market challenges in the John Crane subsidiary and new product delays in Smiths medical impacted the years outcome.

Windar Photonics WPHO which developed and produces wind sensors for wind turbines saw first half turnover rise by 62% exceeding that for the whole of 2016 which was a challenging year. At the same time operating costs fell by 47%, resulting in the net loss for the six months to 30th June falling from last years E1.8m to 0.8m and the EBITDA loss falling by 74%. Further growth is expected in the second half.

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Majestic Wine -Testing Before Learning

Majestic Wine WINE  appears to have been so mismanaged that it has been forced to issue an update, warning that it will not even achieve its modest target of 1% sales growth for the current year. EBIT for the year to 3rd April 2017 will be £2m.less than market expectations as a result of the first half having been more challenging than expected. Sales growth is flat and gross margins % is down by 200 basis points. That dreaded event, an internal review, is said to be underway.

Naked Wines in the US will move back back into loss as a result of new initiatives which did not work and which are having to be abandoned. The company claims that test and learn in a market the size of the US, is expensive but most companies would learn, at least something first and test later. Majestic however did the opposite and then management wonders why it has got the company into a pickle. Perhaps there should be an internal review at a higher level.

Diageo DGE has started 2017 well and performance will be stronger than last year claims the company, with key drivers being scotch, US spirits and India.

SAGA plc SAGA Everything about Saga’s first half has been robust, especially the interim dividend which is being raised by  a robust 23%. Travel has put in a robust trading performance, the operational performance has been robust, as has the financial performance. Hopefully the CEO will be given a robust lesson in how to vary his adjectives a bit, next time round. Profit before tax rose by 8.5% for the six months to 31st July and like for like basic earnings per share were up by 8.2%. All this was achieved despite a competitive environment and the company is on track to meet its full year targets.

32Red TTR is raising its interim dividend by 18% for the half year to 30th June after profit before tax modestly surged by 2,630% following a 63% rise in total net gaming revenue. Both revenue and EBITDA rose to record levels, with strong growth across the business and its brands. Growth has continued into the second half and on a like for like basis it is up by 4%.

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Rio Tinto – The First Green Shoots of a Mining Recovery ?

Rio Tinto RIO The first green shoots of a recovery in mining may have been seen in RIO’s first quarter with iron ore shipments up by 11% and global iron ore production up by 13% on a year ago.  Bauxite production also rose by 6% and aluminium by 10%.  Mined copper was down 2% on the first quarter of 2015 but up by 27% on quarter 4, whilst at Oyu Tolgoi production rose by 71% on a year ago.

Associated British Foods ABF produced a 115% rise in profit before tax in the 24 weeks to the 27th February, whilst basic earnings per share rose by 150%, despite only 3% growth in group revenue. And this time it was not all down to Primark. Progress was seen in all the groups businesses with an improved performance at Sugar, profits well ahead in Ingredients, improved profit margins at Grocery & Agriculture and Primark of course continuing its expansion. Even the challenges of currency movements appear to have been beaten off and the interim dividend is to be increased by 3%.

SAGA plc SAGA Robust growth for the year to the end of January has enabled Saga to increase its full year dividend by 75%. Profit before tax was up by 54% and basic earnings per share by 54.4%

Aveva Group AVV expects group revenue and adjusted profits before tax to be broadly in line for the year to 31st March but the results have been impacted by the weakness of the US$ in March.

Utilitywise UTW Is increasing its interim dividend by 29% after further strong growth saw revenue up by 36% in the half year to the end of January and adjusted pre tax profits by 17%. With new customers growing by 33%, the company claims it holds an unrivalled market position.

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