The Mail 11/07/19 - Vox Markets | Vox Markets

The Mail 11/07/19

Barratt Developments (BDEV) said it ‘brushed aside’ Brexit concerns as profit for the year will come in ahead of expectations and hit a new record high of around £910million. The housebuilder said it built more homes last year and it had made ‘good progress’ in exiting central London to focus on ‘the strong growth opportunities’ in outer London. The FTSE 100 listed company said it completed some 430 extra homes in the year to the end of June, for a total of 17,111 homes, excluding joint ventures – the highest in 11 years. But average house selling prices fell by 5% to £312,000, which the company blamed on changes to the mix of homes sold. Chief executive David Thomas said they had ‘brushed aside’ concerns about Brexit uncertainty hampering the new-build market.’Whilst there remains some economic and political uncertainty, the group is in a strong position.’

Superdry (SDRY) has revealed it slumped to a loss last year and said sales this financial year will continue to fall in what it described as a ‘year of reset’. Publishing its delayed final results for the year to the end of April, the fashion chain said it made a loss before tax of £85.4million, compared to £65.3million profit the previous year. That’s because of a large £130million writedown to account for poorly performing shops. Underlying pre-tax profit more than halved to £41.9million. Founder Julian Dunkerton, who jumped back into the helm in April after campaigning for six months to reinstall himself, admitted the issues in the business would not be resolved ‘overnight’.

Recruitment firm Pagegroup (PAGE) said Brexit-related uncertainty and a general global slowdown is hitting candidate and client confidence, forcing it to downgrade its profit expectations for 2019. ‘It is clear that macro-economic conditions in a number of our regions are becoming more challenging, and, as such, we currently expect 2019 operating profit to be towards the lower end of the range of current market forecasts,’ chief financial officer Kelvin Stagg said. The recruiter now expects operating profit for the year to come in at the lower end of the £156.5million to £168million range. PageGroup, which has offices around the world and helps hire executives and clerical staff, said the UK, France and Greater China saw ‘more challenging conditions’, although there was still strong growth in the US.

Biotech firm Redx Pharma (REDX) rocketed after agreeing to sell a cancer treatment programme to US group Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Cheshire-based Redx will receive £3.5million initially, but the deal has a tiered structure which means it could make as much as £163million in future as Jazz develops the product. The therapy tackles ‘mutant’ tumours that do not respond to common treatments, and has not yet been tested on humans.

Micro Focus International (MCRO) was one of the biggest blue-chip fallers, shedding another 233p, to 1753p, after it warned on Tuesday that its revenue would fall this year. It has flagged difficulties digesting the software division of Hewlett Packard, which it bought in a disastrous 2017 deal.

 

BT Group (BT.A) shares dropped after its chairman, Jan du Plessis, reiterated his threat to cut its dividend to fund fibre broadband. The telecoms giant kept its payout steady at 15.4p per share in its last financial year, and has pledged to match it in the year to March 2020 as well. But du Plessis said if funding to provide fibre to 15m homes by the mid-2020s cannot be raised from existing cash reserves, cost savings or debt, then the dividend could face the axe.

Philip Day has moved a step closer to being able to take the struggling womenswear chain Bonmarche Holdings (BON) private. Day, best known as the owner of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, snapped up a 12% stake in Bonmarche from Artemis Investment Management. This means he now owns 83%, tipping him above the 75% threshold needed to remove it from the stock market.

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Mentioned in this post

BDEV
Barratt Developments
BON
Bonmarche Holdings
BT.A
BT Group
MCRO
Micro Focus International
PAGE
Pagegroup
REDX
Redx Pharma
SDRY
Superdry