Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Friday 19 February 2021

19th February 2021

In the news

  • The quick rollout of vaccines has boosted UK consumer confidence to the highest level in almost a year, according to GfK
  • The BioNTech/Pfizer jab has been found to be 85% effective after first dose, according to a new Israeli study
  • IBM is exploring a potential sale of its IBM Watson Health business, which has roughly $1bn in revenue
  • Nasa’s Perseverance rover landed safely on Mars last night
  • New US jobless claims rise to 861,000
  • The US has offered to attend joint talks with Iran on its nuclear programme

Politics today

  • PM Boris Johnson will chair the first top-level meeting of the U.K.’s G7 presidency today
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak will today publish a chat he had with chef Gordon Ramsay about the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector

Stock market moves

  • In Europe, the FTSE 100 opened marginally up and Stoxx 600 opened slightly down.
  • In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.72%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.34%, as weaker oil and gold prices weighed on commodity-linked stocks.
  • In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.38%, the S&P 500 lost 0.44%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.72% on Thursday. Also, Facebook shares dropped 1.5% to $269.39.

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Segro plc Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2020
  • Adjusted pre-tax profit of £296.5m up 10.8% compared with the prior year.
  • Adjusted NAV per share is up 16.3% to 814 pence.
  • Full-year dividend increased by 6.8% to 22.1 pence.
  •  David Sleath,CEO, said: “The pandemic has reinforced the importance of efficient and resilient distribution networks to facilitate the provision of a wide variety of goods and services, leading to increased demand for warehouse space. 2020 saw a record level of investment for SEGRO as we seek to capitalise on these favourable trends, giving us confidence in our ability to drive further growth in rental income, earnings and dividends over the coming years.”
NatWest Group plc Final Results
  • Total income of £10,796m, compared to £14,253m in 2019.
  • Full-year 2020 operating loss of £351m.
  • A final dividend of 3p per share is proposed.
  • Alison Rose, CEO, said: “The past year presented some extraordinary challenges for our customers, colleagues and communities. We provided exceptional levels of support to those who needed it, including the approval of over £14 billion of lending under UK Government schemes, demonstrating that we have truly put Our Purpose at the heart of this business. Being purpose-led isn’t just the right thing to do, it has a powerful commercial imperative and is fundamental to building sustainable value in our business.”
NatWest Group plc Outcome of strategic review into Ulster Bank (ROI)
  • Announced that it has completed its strategic review of Ulster.
  • Despite the significant progress that has been made in recent years, Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland will not be in a position to achieve an acceptable level of sustainable returns over its planning horizon.
  • NWG intends to begin a phased withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland over the coming years that will be managed in an orderly and considered manner. Ulster Bank Limited’s banking business in Northern Ireland is unaffected.
Assura plc Acquisition of Apollo
  • Announced that it has completed the acquisition of primary care developer Apollo Capital Projects Development Limited.
  • As well as expanding the Assura development team to 11 specialist surveyors, the acquisition increases the immediate and extended development pipeline by an initial eight schemes with an estimated total capital expenditure of £50m.
  • Jonathan Murphy, CEO, said: “The acquisition of Apollo will further enhance our sector-leading in-house development capabilities and substantially expand our pipeline, which is already the largest in our history.”
Future plc Trading Update
  • On track to achieve the previously announced £20m synergies.
  • Expects full-year profitability to be materially ahead of current market expectations.
  • Confirmed the acquisition of GoCo Group and Mozo, the latter of which cost AUS$30m.
  • Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO, said: “I am delighted to report yet another period of growth across the Group. Following the integration of TI Media, we continue to make good progress against our strategy to build the leading specialist global media platform that drives intent, powered by technology and insight with scalable, diversified brands.”
TBC Bank Group plc Final Results
  • Profit before tax was GEL 109,695m, compared to 177,337m in 2019.
  • ROE stood at 13.7%, compared to 25.2% in 2019.
  • Basic earnings per share stood at GEL 1.83, compared to 2.92 in 2019.
  • Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, CEO, said: “Conducting business as usual and serving our customers without any disruption via our distribution network was another priority for us. Our market-leading digital channels proved to be essential, enabling our customers to conduct most of their banking transactions remotely. Moreover, our call center worked with increased capacity during the early days of the pandemic in order to address our customers’ concerns in a timely manner. We are delighted that our efforts were acknowledged by our customers and TBC was once again regarded as the best service provider in the country in 2020, based on a customer satisfaction survey conducted by IPM, an independent research company, in December.”
City of London Investment Trust plc Half-year Report
  • NAV of 357.4p, compared to 344p in June 2020.
  • Dividend yield of 2.4%, compared to 5.6% in June 2020.
  • A premium of 3.7%, compared to 1.2% in June 2020.
  • Sir Laurie Magnus, Chairman, said: “City of London’s net asset value total return of 6.9% lagged the FTSE All-Share Index over the six month period. While gearing contributed positively by 0.7%, stock selection was negative by 3.0%. The biggest detracting sector was not holding equity investment instruments, especially Scottish Mortgage, followed by being underweight in travel & leisure, including not holding Flutter Entertainment. The third biggest detracting sector was our above average exposure to gas, water & multi-utilities. In general, some of the portfolio’s more defensive holdings were underperformers, such as Nestlé (food manufacturer), Verizon Communications (US telecommunications operator) and RELX (information provider).”
Pantheon International plc Monthly Performance Update
  • NAV per share increased by +3.3p to 3,094.7p.
  • As of 31 January 2021, private equity assets stood at £1,584m.
  • Made a £1.7m co-investment alongside Parthenon Capital in Oasis Financial.
Tritax EuroBox* Proposed Equity Issue
  • Tritax EuroBox plc announces the proposed issue of new ordinary shares in the company to raise targeted gross proceeds of £173m and a proposed placing programme of further ordinary shares and/or C shares.
  • The issue will be by way of a placing, open offer, offer for subscription and intermediaries for a target issue of 168,000,309 new ordinary shares at an issue price of 103p per new share.
  • The issue price represents a discount of 2.4% to the company’s closing share price of 105.5p on 18 February 2021.
  • The company’s manager, Tritax Management LLP, expects to use the net proceeds of the issue, together with existing resources and debt, to secure the acquisition of a near-term investment pipeline of prime big box logistics assets in Germany and Italy.