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Whitbread Worries – Costa Goes Ex Growth

WHITBREAD WTB claims good all round growth for the 53 weeks to the 3rd March and is raising its final dividend by 10% but somehow the excitement and the buzz at Premier Inns and Costa seems to have disappeared. Underlying profit  growth at Costa slumped to15.8% from 28% for the first half. On a like for like basis Costa sales rose by only 2.9% compared to 4.4% at half time and 3% for the group as a whole, figures which show that Costa is no longer the great engine of growth as in previous years and has clearly fallen or been knocked off its perch.

Basic earnings per share for the group rose by 5.3% and profit by 5.8%.  Net debt nearly doubled  to £909 million compared to the previous years £583m.

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO BATS saw momentum continuing and market share rising during the 3 months to the end of March. Revenue rose by 7.5% and cigarette volume by 3.6% or 2.4% on a like for like basis. The trading environment was challenging because of the impact of adverse exchange rates.  A bit strange that from a company which trades all over the world.

BP plc. BP. expects robust demand plus weak supply growth will lead oil markets to be more in balance by the end of the year i.e. the market will continue to be manipulated by the producers to keep the price over $40 per barrel.First quarter underlying replacement cost profit came in at $532m compared to $2.6 billion for the first quarter of 2015. Cost reductions have saved BP $4.4billion over the past two years.

Trakm8 Holdings TRAK announces a proposed maiden dividend of 2p for the year to the end of March after strong trading saw revenue up by 44% or 28% on a like for like basis. Orders rose by 29% and net debt fell to just under £1 million. The shares have opened 25p up following the good news.

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