Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Friday 24 January 2020

24th January 2020

In the news

  • China extends travel ban in attempt to halt coronavirus outbreak
  • UK's competition regulator to investigate proposed merger between Just Eat and
  • Rolls-Royce plans to build up to 15 'mini' nuclear reactors in the UK by the end of the decade

Politics today

  • National Audit Office report into HS2 progress

Stock market moves

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Marston's PLC Trading Update
  • Total managed and franchise like-for-like sales growth for the period increased 1.0%, reflecting continued growth in drinks sales offset by weaker food sales.
  • Trading over the Christmas fortnight was strong, with like-for-like sales growth of 4.5%, compensating for more subdued trading in the first three weeks of December as a consequence of poor weather.
  • Costs have generally been in line with the guidance provided at the preliminary results in November.  However, the recently announced 6.2% increase in the National Minimum Wage from April is higher than anticipated, and will increase second half year costs by a further c. £2-3m.
  • Ralph Findlay, CEO, said: “Marston’s has delivered a creditable performance in a challenging market.  Trading in the key Christmas fortnight was good and has remained solid since which is encouraging.  Our balanced pub portfolio enables us to perform well in the context of current market dynamics and our market-leading Beer Company has continued to increase market share in both the on and the off trade in the period.  We are making excellent progress on our debt reduction strategy, well ahead of the original 2023 target. Looking forward, greater clarity on the political agenda should positively impact consumer confidence.  Overall the economic environment for the consumer looks encouraging with low unemployment and healthy wage growth providing us with increasing confidence that the market will grow in 2020.”
Virgin Money UK PLC Board Succession Plan
  • The Company announces that, in line with the Board Succession Plan and good corporate governance practice, Jim Pettigrew plans to retire as Chairman by September 2021 when he will have served 9 years on the Board.
  • The Board has therefore initiated a search process to allow time to identify his successor and enable an orderly handover.