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Card Factory Pressured By Having To Pay A Living Wage

Card Factory CARD produced sales growth of 6.7% in the 9 months to the 31st October fuelled by the opening of 38 net new stores, bringing the UK total to 903 and with more to come during the final quarter. The strong first half sales performance has continued into quarter 3 but profits will be impacted for the rest of the year by foreign exchange pressures and by having to pay a living wage to its employees!   Not many companies are so brazen or clueless  as to admit that paying a living wage is a problem. Presumably back to Victorian times and the problem may be solved – but how many could then afford to buy cards and how many card shops were there festooning the high streets. If the country saw widespread wage reductions to help companies cope with so called pressures, the Card Factory could be closing shops, not opening new ones.

Barratt Developments BDEV Updates in advance of today’s AGM that it has made a strong start to the new financial year with forward sales up 8.4% between the 1st July and the 12th November, helped by good market conditions and the wide availability of attractive mortgage finance. 2018 is expected to produce a good operational performance.

Experian EXPN is on course to deliver stronger organic revenue growth as the year progresses and after a first half produced revenue and EBIT growth of 5%. On a statutory basis profit before tax for the six months to the 30th September fell by 7% and basic earnings per share by 15%. The first interim dividend is to be increased by 4%.

Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ announces that it has ordered 146  Airbus A320neo aircraft  worth $17.2bn at current list prices. Deliver is to start in 2022 and will enable Wizzair to extend its market reach beyond Europe and to make further reductions in operating costs.

TalkTalk Telecom TALK is slashing its interim dividend by over 50% after managing to turn last years first half profit of £30m into a statutory loss before tax of £75m this year meaning that it will only be able to pay shareholders 2.5p per share instead of last years 5.29p. Statutory revenue fell from £902. to £856m but the company has now produced its third consecutive quarter of growth, so  things may be on the mend.

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Centamin Sees Strong Growth

Centamin CEY Profit before tax for the year to the end of December  grew strongly from $58,407,000 to $266,829,000, as 2016 became the 7th consecutive year of production growth. Profit sharing with the Egyptian government started in quarter 3 and a final dividend of 13.6 US cents is proposed. Production rose by 26% whilst production costs fell sharply from $713 per oz. to $513 per oz. EBITDA rose by 145% and basic earnings per share by 313%. Centamin is debt free and ends the year with $428 of free assets.

TalkTalkTelecom TALK The new fixed low price plans introduced in October have proved a success and have delivered lower churn and positive net adds, which have continued so far, into quarter 4. Early life churn rates have fallen to less than half historic rates. There has however been a short term impact on group revenue, corporate and off net and on net adds all of which fell. Excuse the jargon. it is theirs not mine. Mobile, fibre and ethernet all rose and there was strong growth in third quarter EBITDA.

A.G. Barr BAG 2016 was a challenging year for the UK soft drinks market and 2017 and no improvement is expected for 2017 which is expected to be another year of uncertain economic conditions. Like for like revenue for the year to 28th January is expected to have risen by 1.5%. The successful introduction of new products and tight cost control helped to stave off the years challenges and it is anticipated that profit expectations for the year will be met.

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