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Ian Pollard – AA lifted by potholes & exceptional weather

AA plc AA claims it is well positioned to return to growth from 2019 and that a revenue rise .of 2% reflects a solid performance especially in what it  calls “roadside.”.  The real reason for roadsides strength was exceptional weather conditions  for which even the AA dare not claim credit, as it benefited from extreme cold and snow in February and March to the hottest summer in recent memory. The severe winter created a pothole ‘epidemic’ and led to a 15 year high in the number of breakdowns it serviced. Despite the support of the weather gods, profit before tax for the six month to the 31st July collapsed by 65% and basic earnings per share by 64%, a financial performance which the company claims was in line with expectations.Hopefully management will be able  ensure that 2019 return to growth, actually happens, irrespective of the weather.

SSP Group SSPG updates that for the period from the 1st July to the 30th September like for like sales continuing at the same level as in quarter three. Full year like for like sales grwoth is expected to be unchanged at between 2% and 3%.

PZ Cussons PZC updates that Europe and Asia are continuing to perform well, whilst improvement in Africa will largely be dependent on the macro environment in Nigeria during the remainder of the year. The UK Washing and Bathing Division is enjoying good growth in its three main brands.

Futura Medical FUM has made excellent progress in the six months to the 30th June, at least according the CEO, as last years first half net loss of £1.6 grew to 1.95m. The first patient dosing of MED2002 the company’s breakthrough erectyle disfunction gel, is expected next month in the first Phase 3 trial in Europe. The company is excited about this No comment is made about the patient’s state of mind. aa 

Boohoo Group plc BOO produced another strong performance in the six months to the 31st August and delivered record sales and profits. Sales jumped by 50%, profit before tax rose by 22% and adjusted EBITDA by 43%. Sales growth of at least 25% per annum is forecast for the medium term. For the full year to the 28th February 2019 revenue growth is expected to be 38% to 43%, up from previous guidance of 35% to 40%.

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Ian Pollard – Mitchells & Butler – Reports Results on a Snow Adjusted Basis

Mitchells & Butler MAB tries to claim a strong performance for the half year to the 14th April but is reduced in the process to having to adjust its growth figures by calculating the impact of snow. Thus  like for like sales growth of 1.6% becomes 2.5% on a snow adjusted basis. In the end it decides to give up the pretence  and restore its credibility by admitting that underlying profitability remained flat, which is in itself perhaps something of an exaggeration with reported profit before tax down from £75m to £69m. It is a pity when management has to admit that it can not tell the difference between flatness and a fall. Basic earnings per share came in at 13p as against 13.7p

SSP Group SSPG reports another strong performance for the half year to the 31st March, with underlying  profit before tax rising  by 40.3% and earnings per share by 33.3%. Like for like sales increased by 2.8%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 50% to 4.8p per share.

Burberry Group BRBY saw 2018 as a year of transition which would leave the company ready to start its transformation.  Like for like sales for the year to the 31st March grew by 3%, together with growth in both profit and cash flow. Revenue for the year fell by 1% both on a reported basis and and at constant exchange rates. Adjusted operating profit was up by 2% on a reported basis and by 5% at constant exchange rates and adjusted diluted earnings per share was up by 6% and 10% respectively. The final dividend is being increased by 6% from 38.9p per share to 41.3p. The outlook for 2019 includes a proposed share buy back of 150m.

Coats Group plc COA is now undergoing a transformation which will accelerate its transition from the industrial age to the digital age. In the first four months of the year it has seen robust growth of 4% in its core thread business and double digit growth continued in Performance Materials with a rise of 19%. Group sales were up  5% at constant exchange rates with a strong performance from the industrial business with growth of 6%.

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