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Alan Green discusses Marks & Spencer #MKS, Severn Trent #SVT, Avacta #AVCT & CVS Group #CVSG on the UK Investor Magazine podcast

Alan Green discusses Marks & Spencer #MKS, Severn Trent #SVT, Avacta #AVCT & CVS Group #CVSG with Jonathan Roy on the UK Investor Magazine podcast

Ian Pollard – Severn Trent #SVT now looking after its customers.

Severn Trent plc SVT is pleased with the recognition it has received for its continued strong performance in the eyes if its customers.in the period from the 1st October to the 6th February. Performance incentives will be more aligned to the things the  customers care about most. and from the companiy’s point of view will provide the opportunity for it to receive further out performance payments in 2019/20

Barratt Developments plc BDEV is increasing its interim dividend by 11.65% after delivering a strong operational and financial performance for the half year to the 31st December. Revenue rose by 7.2%, profit  before tax by 19.1% and basic earnings per share by 20.7%. Total forward sales as at the third February are up by 7.3%

Grainger plc GRI updates that its resilient growth strategy has delivered a strong performance during the first four months of the year to the end of January  3.7% Overall like-for-like rental growth of 3.7% has been achieved in the year to date. Residential sales for the period performed in line with the previous year and  prices were robust. 

Redrow plc RDW produced another record first half in the six months to the 31st December, with another 111m cash return promised to shareholders.   Group revenue rose 9% to a first half record as did pre-tax profits up by 5%. Legal completions increased by 12%. During the run up to Christmas the market was subdued but sales over the last three weeks have bounced-back. Steve Morgan who founded Redrow nearl45 years ago is to step down as Chairman next month and will be replaced by John Tutte

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Ian Pollard – Severn Trent Abandons English

Severn Trent SVT updates that for the period from the 1st October to the 7th February it has abandoned the use of English and will;

  • hit AMP6 outperformance cap
  • earn at least 50m in customer ODI out performance payments across waste and water
  • work hard on SIM scores
  • have sector leading scores in CCW’s annual survey
  • create strong out performance opportunities
  • underpin the future growth in RCV which customers expect

And to make sure that nobody will understand a word of this complete and utter rubbish

  • AMP7 Ofwat has announced its PR19 Final Methodology
  • Rumours abound that STSRs  are to be held for senior executives (secret training sessions in rubbish)

Smurfitt Kappa group SKG After revenue rises of 5% for  the full year to the 31st December and 7% for quarter 4 , EBITDA for the year rose to record levels at 1,240,000 Euro. Despite that full year profit before tax fell by 12% and basic earnings per share by 6%. Fourth quarter figures were much better with basic earnings per share up by 19% and profit before tax by 4%. Results in the Americas came in below expectations after being impacted by bad weather and increased fibre costs. Europe produced a strong fourth quarter performance with high levels of demand.  2018 has so far shown a continuation of the good levels of demand in Europe and signs of improvement in the Americas.

Johnson Matthey JMAT will receive a £30m one off non cash benefit from the lowering of US Corporation Tax rates. But it will take a one off £50m. hit from the no fault settlement of a law suit in which it looks  like the lawyers came out the winners. The 50m will be excluded from current years profits.

Redrow RDW is increasing its interim dividend by 50% as it continues to make hay whilst the housebuilding boom continues apace.Revenue for the six months to the 31st December rose by 20%, profit before tax by26% and earnings per share by 27%. The interim dividend goes up from 6p per share to 9p. The sales market is described robust, the second half started with a record order book. The increase in the average selling price appears to have become a closely gaurded secret.

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Ian Pollard – Majestic Wine Celebrates With a 33.3% Dividend Hike

Majestic Wine plc WINE Moved into profit in the half year to the 2nd October and the interim dividend is to be increased by 33.3% to 2p. The Chief Executive says he is now ready step on the gas and accelerate growth with a team which has worked like demons and made him “dead proud” of every one of them. After breaking even in the first half, momentum continued through into the second half producing a profit of 6.8m.On a statutory basis last years loss of 4.4m was turned into a profit before tax of 3.3m. Sales rose by 5.7%

Centrica CNA admits  that it is not only disappointed with its performance but also with the delivery of that performance. The usual excuses are trotted out the main one being that trading conditions have been highly competitive which is really an admission that it is not managed well enough to beat the competition. Then of course there is the weather which is blamed for being warmer in the UK than Centrica expected. The UK is now only expected to break even, on top of which there is downward pressure in North America.

Severn Trent plc SVT Ongoing momentum is reflected in the results for the half year to the 30th September which saw a reduction of 48% in sewer floodings, which appears to illustrate after all these years of privatised utilities, just how bad they had allowed their infrastructure to become. The latest policy craze is now “customer first” which begs the question as to where in the pecking order have customers been for the last 25 years or so? As for the statistics, half year turnover rose by 3.7%, reported profit before interest and tax fell by 0.2% by and like for like reported basic earnings per share were down by 20.2%, in response to all of which the interim dividend in the true spirit of customer first, was increased by 6.2%

Cineworld CINE delivered revenue growth of 10.6%  between the 1st January and 19th November, spurred on by the expansion and refurbishment programme. The Rest of the World led the way with a 24.6% rise in retail revenue (13.3% on a  constant currency basis). Dunkirk took pride of place as the highest grossing film in the second half and for the rest of the year we have old favourites to look forward to with another Star Wars epic and Paddington 2.

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Severn Trent Drowns In Jargon

Severn Trent SVT  is so mired in jargon that it has started creating new  words which are so obscure and meaningless that it has had to add a little dictionary at the end of today’s update. What is wrong with plain English ? Even HMCR now uses it to good effect. Is it beyond the wit and intelligence of Severn Trents senior management to do the same.

Can they not really do better than ODI outperformances, totex efficiencies, business plans for AMP7 and methodology consultations for PR19. In fact  senior management seems so besotted with this nonsense that it had difficulty in finding anything about which it could update us.

Drax Group DRX managed to turn last years interim profit before tax of £184m into a thumping loss of £83m, and saw underlying earnings per share collapse from 4.2p to 2.2p. so not surprisingly management is taking action. Firstly it is claiming that this transformation is due to the maintenance of operational excellence across the group. Secondly it is more than doubling dividends for the 6 months to the 30th June from last years 2.1p per share to 4.9p. To be fair the figures do include unrealised losses of £65m due to foreign exchange hedging – so that’s alright init ?? Just as a sideline net debt surged from £85m  to £372m. Never mind, that dividend increase should ensure that jobs are safe.

RPC Group RPC will announce at todays AGM that the current share price of the company significantly undervalues its performance to date  and its future prospects. Revenues for the quarter to 30th June have been well ahead of the same period last year and have also exceeded management expectations. An inaugural share buy back program of up to £100m. is to be launched.

Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ has produced a record first quarter performance with profits rising by 50% to a record £58m, as passenger numbers rose by 25%. There is however some caution expressed about prospects for the second half of the year.


Cello Group CLL enjoyed a good first half with strong overall and like for like growth from Cello Health in the 6 months to 30th June. Expectations are that full year results will also be strong.


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Severn Trent Pleased to Escape North America

Severn Trent plc SVT Not every company admits to being pleased at having to announce the sale of part of its business especially if that business is a strong one but Severn Trent is an exception as it announces the sale of its North American business. Even more strange the Chief Eexecutive admits that under Severn Trent’s management the North American business would not have been able to grow and flourish as it will under new management. Do I detect a great cheer from Severn Trents long suffering users, that at last the message may have begun to get home.

SuperGroup plc SGP enjoyed a super year for the 12 months to the 29th April with like for like retail sales growing by 12.7% and revenue up by 27.4%. Underlying profit before tax rose by 18.4% and the full year ordinary dividend is to be increased by 20.7% to 28p. For 2018 underlying profit before tax is expected to be in line with market expectations.

Trakm8 Holdings TRAK with new orders up by 37% on a year ago, shareholders may have something to look forward to after a dismal year to the end of March which saw profit before tax plummet by 77%, basic earnings per share by 66% and the disappearance of the final dividend. As is usual in these circumstances management seeks refuge and comfort in jargon, with strong new contract and extensions momentum and pipeline and opportunity. Back on planet earth revenues in the first two months of of the new financial year are up 10% on the first two months of last year. The Executive Chairman is confident of achieving a much improved performance in the current year

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Severn Trent Admits To Love Affair With Customers.

Image result for severn trent logoSevern Trent SVT  trumpets  “Customers are at the heart of our business” , which no doubt, after all these years of rejection, must come as something of a surprise to those customers. Strange that it has taken all these years for Severn Trent’s management to wake up to the fact and give it such publicity. However, there does, appear to be an ulterior motive for this new found love affair, as there usually is when a company has to dig deep to find justifications for major increases in its dividends over the next few years. And to be fair to Severn Trent makes no bones about it. Customer delivery and strong operational improvements are its sole justifications for a new dividend policy which is upgraded to growth of at least RPI+4%, which will take the proposed 2017/18 dividend to 86.55 pence.

Group turnover rose by 3.7% for the year to 31st March, basic earnings per share were up by 19.9% or 4.9% on a like for like basis, whilst underlying PBIT was up by 4.3%. None of these figures you will note, gets anywhere near to exceeding RPI by 4%.

Image result for cranswick plc logoCranswick CWK is increasing its final dividend by 19.7% after a year of strong financial and strategic progress. Like for like revenue rose by 12.7% for the year to the end of March whilst adjusted profit before tax and earnings per share rose by17.2% and 17.6% respectively. It made further strong progress in its key export markets, particularly the Far East where revenue rose sharply by 49% and claims it is in excellent shape for the new financial year.

Image result for aveva logoAveva AVV produced a resilient performance in the face of challenging conditions in the year to the end of March. The final dividend is to be increased to 27p per share making an 11% rise for the year. Profit before tax rose by 60%, although on an adjusted basis this was reduced to 7%,  Basic earnings per share were up by 86% or 8% on an adjusted and diluted basis. Recurring revenue rose to 76.9% of total revenue, which on a constant currency basis was down by 3.8%.

Image result for big yellow group logoBig Yellow Group BYG is increasing its final dividend for the year to the end of March by 10%, making a total increase for the year of 11%. Like for like revenue rose by 6% but adjusted profit before tax and basic earnings per share each fell by 11% and 12%. The company excepts to break through the 80% occupancy level during the summer bringing it nearer to its admittedly long term goal of 85%

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Severn Trent Lost For Words

Image result for severn trent logoSevern Trent SVT  Expects net Customer Outcome Delivery Incentive Rewards ODI will be ahead of previous guidance for 2016 -17 and will meet or exceed last years level.  This must be a good thing because it follows a strong operational performance in the three months to 31st December. All fine and good but what does it mean. Presumably  another highly paid executive will have to waste his time issuing an explanatory RNS so that the rest of the world can understand todays.

Image result for ocado logoOcado Group OCDO enjoyed robust trading in its core business during the year to 27th October and was voted best online supermarket for the second consecutive year. A double digit rise in revenue with growth of 14.7% compared favourably to the limited growth shown by the grocery market generally. Profit before tax rose by 21.8% but profit after tax was up by only a smidgeon at 1.7%. Net debt grew by 30% during the year and external net debt rose eight fold to £56m.

Image result for sse logoSSE plc SSE is on target to meets its first financial objective of an increase the full year dividend at least in line with RPI. It experienced volatile market conditions in the third quarter to 31st December and in the first nine months of the year renewable energy output fell 20% below a normal year because of still and dry weather conditions.

Image result for earthport logoEarthport EPO expects revenue to have increased by 35% for the six months to 31st December, following a rise of 80% in transaction numbers and 96% in payment volumes.

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Countrywide blames Brexit for woes

COUNTRYWIDE CWD blames the EU referendum in June for a fall in what it calls transactional activity in the quarter to the end of September. Not a fall in activity you will note, not a fall in transactions but a fall in transactional activity, whatever that is supposed to mean when you translate it into basic English. Transactions for the quarter were significantly below 2015 and for the full year a fall of some 12% is expected with a further decline to come in 2017, in what the company describes as a fst changing market

HORNBY HRN is pleased with progress in the half year to the end of September and does not seem at all bothered by the fact that the second half will produce a significant decline in revenue 

SEVERN TRENT SVT claims to be the most trusted water company and to have the largest reduction in complaints of all water and sewage companies. In addition it claims to be winners in a world of incentivisation. Perhaps it should stick to sewage. Interim turnover to the 30th September rose by 3.9% and reported profit before interest and tax by 0.8%, whilst reported earnings per share surged by 39.7%

PETS AT HOME GROUP PETS is increasing its interim dividend by 25% after what ir describes as robust like for like growth of 2.5%. Perhaps some peoples idea of robustivity is more robust than others. Group revenue for the 28 weeks to 14th October rose by 9.1%. but recent trading has been softer than in the first half.

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