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United Utilities Grp UU updates before its full years results are announced on the 23rd May that Group revenue is expected to be higher than last year, largely reflecting allowed regulatory revenue changes. and underlying operating profit for 2018/19 is also expected to be higher than 2017/18. Costs arising from the exceptional period of dry weather in the summer of 2018 are expected to have impacted reported operating profit but.It is intended to exclude these costs from the underlying profit measures. Amazing what accountants can get away with these days. Never mind those costs Charles, just put them down to dry weather. In January Ofwat published the results of its annual company monitoring which measures the quality and transparency of company reporting and the level of trust and confidence that customers and other stakeholders can place in it. United Utilities is delighted to claim that it has achieved the highest category available.
Crest Nicholson Hldngs CRST announces for its AGM that as noted previously the business has faced challenges from lower customer demand in higher price areas, with ongoing political and macro-economic uncertainty. This is likely to continue as political uncertainty becomes more prevalent. Sales rates are however consistent with previous guidance and forward sales are encouraging, with over 50% of our open market sales for the year, already secured.
A.G.Barr plc BAG is increasing its final dividend for the year to the 26th January by 7% having delivered what the Chief Executive regards as another strong performance. Revenue has grown by 8% and 5.6% respectively over the past two years, markets are robust and the company continues to see continued growth opportunities.Basic earnings per share fell by 2.3% and profit before tax rose by 2,5% A significant increase in volume share was obtained within the total UK soft drinks market.
United Utilities UU must have decided to make its half year report as obscure and meaningless as possible. Thus it is full of PR19S, ODIs, RCV Gearing and the latest craze, System Thinking. What it wont do because presumably it would make the figures for the 6 months to the end of September too easy to understand, is tell you the percentages by which mundane things like revenue and profit in all its various guises have risen. That is a fairly easy task for even the most junior office boy in most head offices – but perhaps I should not run the risk of being regarded as sexist when of course I should have said “junior person”. So you can have your profits four ways – underlying, reported, underlying after tax and reported after tax but what you are definately not allowed to see are the figures on a statutory basis. The figure all show reasonable increases and the interim dividend is going up from 12.95p to13.24p per share. What that rise means in percentage terms is however a closely gaurded secret, known only to that junior person at head office who is the only member of senior management with the System Thinking skills able to work it out.
Thomas Cook Group TCG has woken up to the fact that it is a “good thing” to claim to have a customer focused strategy. Not before time, some may say, after the traumas of recent years. How serious they are about it remain to be seen but having discovered that it can lead to profitable growth, there may be a fair chance that they will give it a go.
Their table of figures is not all that easy to understand but I think I have got it after the third reading. Profit after tax for the year to the 30th Spetember has risen from 1 to 12 which is clearly shown as a difference of 11 which in the last colomn becomes a like for like rise of 7 on a constant currency basis. If you would like to know what the 7 means you are invited to proceed to page 12 – clearly this must be part of the new customer focused strategy. Underlying earnings per share is understandable with a rise from 8.1p to 9.3p and there is an explanation that like for like group revenue on a constant currency basis has risen by 9%. The recommended dividend is 0.6p per share but we are not enlightened as to whether that is a rise or a fall on last year. Perhaps I should go back to page 12 to find out. And before I forget, cutting complexity is one way in which they intend to produce further growth. Some chance.
Countryside Properties CSP shows how it should be done. Simple. On an adjusted basis earnings per share rose by 71% in the year to the end of September, revenue was up by 32%, completion by 28% and operating profit by 34%. It was an excellent and record year and perhaps one of the most significant statistics (which will be very unwelcome to the competition) is that they reduced the average selling price by 8% which most housebuilders would regard as a criminal offence.
Finsbury Foods FIF announces that the UK retail food market hass moved from a deflatioary to an inflationary environment and thus helped to take the load off managements shoulders which is now finding it easier to run a bakery profitably. UK sales have risen by 5% whilst European sales are down by 3% despite all those fancy baguettes, brioches and black unsliced.
AA Plc AA. Reports a robust H1 for Roadside and Insurance. Trading EBITDA rose 1% to £193m reflecting gains in insurance broking as well as reduced Head Office costs. Chairman John Leach said the Board “is very pleased that Simon Breakwell has agreed to take the role of CEO on a permanent basis”
Animalcare Group ANCR says pre-merger trading for 12 months ended 30th June 2017 was in line with the Board’s and market expectations. Total revenues were up 7.9% at £15.87m, underlying operating profits grew 11.8% to £3.57m. The enlarged group is confident in prospects for growth and expectations for earnings accretion in 2018 and beyond.
Barr (A.G.) BAG says interim revenues grew 8.8% to £136.6m, while PBT fell to £19.4m (2016 : £21.1m) including an exceptional credit of £1.9m. Free cash flow of £20m has resulted in a net cash position of £7.9m (2016 : net debt (£6.6m) and an 5% hike in the interim dividend has been declared. The Company remains on course to meet the FY expectations.
Ebiquity EBQ reports a 5.6% rise in total revenue to £44.6m, and underlying PBT down 21.8% to £6.2m, in line with market expectations and implementation of growth acceleration plan. Underlying operating cashflow conversion increased significantly to 89.2%, while net debt decreased as expected by £1.8m to £26.3m. EBQ remains on track to meet FY expectations.
Netcall NET reports a significant increase in mix of cloud services contracts, with an order book of contracted future minimum revenues up 13% to £17m. Annualised recurring core revenues increased by 8% to £11.8m, while adjusted EBITDA increased 1% to £4.49m. A final dividend of 1.16p is proposed, an increase of 5%.
Thomas Cook TCG publishes a pre-close trading update, and says summer 2017 is closing out as expected, with FY underlying EBIT outlook unchanged. Overall Group bookings remain in line with expectations, up 11% compared to this time last year, with average selling prices up 1%.
Transense Technology TRT reports FY revenues steady at £2m (2016: £2.08m), and pre tax losses from continuing operations of £2.16m (2016: Pre tax profit of £1.59m, adjusted pre tax loss of £1.17m). Executive Chairman David Ford, said: “The forward looking cash flow based on the anticipated level of activity indicates that the Group should have sufficient funds available for the short to medium term”
United Utilities UU. says FY revenue is expected to be just under 3% higher than the first half of last year, reflecting regulatory revenue changes, partly offset by the accounting impact of Water Plus business retail joint venture, which completed on 1 June 2016. Underlying H1 operating profit for 2017/18 is expected to be higher than the first half of 2016/17
United Utilities UU complains that its customers and the area in which they live suffer from high levels of income deprivation ie “a damaging lack of basic material benefits.” I wonder what its customers think to that slur. Shareholders need not fear however, as the company has “innovative facilities for enhanced engagement with its customers” – i.e bad debts are being kept under control.
Gross revenue this year will be slightly lower than last year but it still expects record operating profits. These however will be impacted by reforms and restructuring costs. Now a well managed company can not allow problems like that, amounting to some £16m, to affect its results, so it has decided to ignore them and exclude them from its underlying profit calculations at the end of the year. Those of us who are not accountants, may view that with a certain incredulity
Thomas Cook TCG is closing its winter booking season at similar levels to last year but with average selling prices down 1%. Summer bookings are so far up 10% on last year, led by Greece with a huge surge of 40% and signs of a return taking place to Turkey and Egypt. In the airline sector competition to the Spanish islands is putting downward pressure on prices.
Churchill China CHH is increasing its final dividend by 16% after a strong 2016 performance. Revenue for the year to 31st January rose by 9%, leading to rises of 29% and 30% in basic earnings per share and profit before tax.
Moss Bros MOSB had a successful 2016 with profit before tax for the year to 31st January rising by 20.3% and basic earnings per share by 17%. The final dividend is being increased to 3.98p per share making a total rise of 6.1% for the year. Retail like for like sales in the first seven weeks of the new year are up by 4.3% but like for like hire has collapsed by 14.3% due to an in store offer.
Card Factory CARD boasts of another record year with operating profit down by 3.7% and basic earnings per share and profit before tax both down by 1.1%. The final dividend for the year to 31st January is to be increased by 5% making a total increase for the year of 7.1%.