Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Friday 28 September 2018

28th September 2018

What really matters... COVID-19

The DAX and CAC have both opened higher this morning, while the FTSE is expected to open flat.

Asian markets saw strong overnight performance following gains on Wall Street.

Stock market moves

In other news

  • The CMA will investigate a complaint by Citizens Advice that consumers are being penalised by £4bn a year for loyalty
  • Boris Johnson urges Theresa May to shelve her Brexit "backstop" agreement with the EU
  • Top schools call for end to unconditional university offers

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

easyJet PLC Trading Update
  • Total revenue per seat (excluding Tegel) increased by 6.5%.
  • easyJet announces that it expects to deliver headline profit before tax of £570-£580m, the upper half of guidance.
  • Expected total loss for Berlin Tegel operations of c. £160m.
  • John Lundgren, CEO, said: “easyJet expects to deliver a strong performance in both Q4 and the full year, driven by better-than-expected growth in passenger and ancillary revenues, as well as reduced losses at our Tegel operation. We now expect our headline profits for the year to be between £570m and £580m, at the top half of our guidance range. This has been achieved despite higher costs caused by disruption due to third party industrial action and severe weather. However, we have benefited from a number of one-off events in 2018, including the bankruptcies of Monarch and Air Berlin, as well as Ryanair cancellations.”
RSA Insurance Group PLC Trading Update
  • Group net written premiums for Q3 up 4% versus the prior year.
  • The UK & London market business made an underwriting loss of c. £70m.
  • Stephen Hester, CEO, said: “RSA’s international businesses performed well in Q3, making strong progress against our best-in-class ambitions. However, our UK and ‘London market’ business reported an underwriting loss which is disappointing. Actions to improve in the UK are well underway and we are determined to restore satisfactory performance whilst continuing our progress internationally.”
United Utilities Group PLC Trading Update
  • Group revenue is expected to be higher than the first half of 2017/18.
  • The company said that current trading was in line with expectations.
Serco Group PLC* Update on 2018 Financial Performance
  • Trading in the first few months of the year has been better than expected.
  • Revenue is expected to be approximately £2.8bn and profits between £90m and £95m.
Grainger PLC Trading Update
  • Overall like-for-like rental growth of 4% (September 2017: 3.7%).
  • Residential sales achieved at 1.3% above vacant possession value.
  • Helen Gordon, CEO, commented: “The remainder of our pipeline projects are all on track to deliver on plan, on time and within budget. Our investment and development teams continue to focus on securing new, compelling investment opportunities in our target locations across the country, and to this end we have good visibility over a further £287m of investment opportunities which are in the advanced stages of the planning process or legal negotiations and further opportunities under consideration. Overall, we are very pleased with the pace of strategic progress and we look forward to generating further momentum in the coming financial year.”
Shaftesbury PLC Trading Update
  • Shaftesbury reports robust trading and footfall across its portfolio over the summer.
  • Leasing progress made at a number of larger schemes: Central Cross 76% let or under offer, 57 Broadwick Street fully let.
  • Brian Bickell, CEO, said: “Despite well-publicised uncertainties affecting business confidence nationally, London’s West End economy continues to be resilient. Trading across our restaurants, cafés, bars and shops has been robust over the summer months. In particular, our food and beverage occupiers have benefited from good footfall in our locations and the attraction of a wide variety of carefully-curated, innovative casual dining choices.”
3i Infrastructure PLC Trading Update
  • Commitment to invest €220m in Tampnet AS.
  • Total income and non-income cash of £132m.
  • The company remains on track to deliver its dividend target of 8.65p per share.
  • Richard Laing, Chairman, said: “I am delighted with the Company’s progress in the first half of the year. We remain on track to deliver a full year dividend of 8.65 pence per share, 10% higher than last year.”
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels PLC Directorate Change
  • Jennifer Fox has stepped down from her role as Group CEO of M&C, effective close of play 27 September 2018.
  • The Board has made the decision that Tan Kian Seng, former interim Group CEO, will resume this role.
Tritax Big Box REIT PLC Acquisition
  • Tritax announces that the company has exchanged contracts for the forward funded development of a new logistics centre at Haydock, St Helens for a maximum commitment of £68.7m.
  • Colin Godfrey, Partner, said: “We worked very closely with the Customer and Bericote to deliver this off-market pre-let development, which provides the Company with further exposure to a market leading occupier. Once operational, the building will represent one of the most advanced sortation buildings in the UK on a site with very low site cover, whilst further diversifying the Company’s portfolio by geography in an established logistics hub with strong labour supply.”