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Ian Pollard – Royal Mail #RMG impacted by poor service

Royal Mail RMG Letter revenue in the 3 months to the 24th June fell 7%  but GLS continued to perform strongly, with volumes up 10% and revenue up 11%. The Quality of Service performance has been so bad and has impacted the company to such an extent that on the 1st June Ofcom commenced an investigation into it for the 2017-18 financial year. The outlook for addressed letter volume is not good and the expected decline of between 4-6% per annum may be exceeded and in GLS margins may be impacted by continuing labour market pressures. One brighter area was parcels where revenue rose 6% and volume 7%.

Talk Talk Communication Group TALK delivered strong customer and Headline revenue growth in the first quarter to the 30th June as momentum continued. Performance and demand in the various divisions is described as being strong or solid. Taking into account the ongoing cost reduction programme,this is expected to produce annual EBITDA growth of 15%.

Dairy Crest Group DCG  updates that sales of its four key brands in the 3 months to the 30th June were 6% higher than last year. The two largest brands, Cathedral City and Clover, continued to outperform with revenue growth of 10%. This was true generally for spreads which continued to go from strength to strength, whilst the butter market remains challenging. The full year outlook remains unchanged.

Galliford Try GFRD expects to report strong pre-exceptional results, after a strong underlying performance for the year to the 30th June. At Linden Homes the  average private sales price, rose 4% to  £367,000.and a further significant improvement in margins is expected. A total of 3,442 units were completed, up from 2017’s 3,296 units.

Clinigen Group CLIN has performed strongly in the year to the 30th June, with reported revenue rising by 26%. Commercial medicines had an excellent year. It is anticipated that results will be in line with market expectations and that in the coming year there will be further growth across all parts of the business.

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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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Talk Talk “On-Net Adds Flat” & Other Tripe

Talk Talk Telecom TALK wins today’s prize for gibberish with a claim that on-net adds flat. RGU growth + 148k . Quarterly churn ( presumably from the dairy division) is the lowest ever at 1.3%  and the company is now a trusted value champion. Presumably it was previously either untrusted or not a champion. When will these people who run some of Britains best known companies wake up to how much damage they do to themselves and their companies with this sort of tripe. ( at least for those of us from the North of England who recognise a good piece of tripe when we see one.)

As for the understandable bit of the preliminary results, TALK enjoyed a strong bounce back in quarter 4 and there are strong opportunities for growth across all products. Corporate revenue for the year to 31st March fell back by 2.9% whilst Data revenue rose by 40%. Statutory profit before tax fell from £32m to £14m because of exceptionals and earnings per share plummeted from 7.8p to a miserly 0.2p. Obviously after a bit of a nightmare year the shareholders have to be persuaded not to ask too many questions and the dividend is being increased by 15%.

ITV plc ITV has made a good start to the year with external revenue up by 14% and ITV Studios revenue surging by 44% in the first quarter to the end of March. Viewing share was up by 3% and good group profit growth is expected for the first half.


Stobart Group STOB appears to have turned the corner in the year to the end of February, with a rise of 98% in underlying profit before tax and last years loss of £9.4m having been turned into a profit of £10m on a like for like basis. Basic earnings per share have nearly doubled from 2.6p to 5p and like for like revenue has risen by 8.6%. All five divisions produced improved profitability. The final dividend is held at 4p.

Southend airport which is still  misleadingly named as London Southend airport was named by Which as Britain’s best airport.

Supergroup SGP enjoyed robust trading during its 4th quarter, helping full year group sales to rise by 21% and retail sales by 24.5%. Wholesale revenue was up by 13.7% for the full year but the strength of the second half was sown with a rise of 19.6%

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TipTV Soapbox, with Nick ‘Moose’ Batsford, Zak Mir & Alan Green

TipTV Soapbox, with Nick ‘Moose’ Batsford, Zak Mir & Alan Green. Stocks discussed include Vodafone (VOD), Kingfisher (KGF), TalkTalk (TALK), Dixons Carphone (DC.) & Crest Nicholson (CRST).

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