Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Thursday 17 September 2020

17th September 2020

In the news

  • Fed fleshes out new monetary policy — to mixed reviews
  • Johnson backs down in row over internal market bill
  • Snowflake doubles in first trades after largest-ever software IPO
  • Richard Branson to raise $400m for Spac

Politics today

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock will this morning announce new restrictions for 2 million people across the north east of England after it became the latest area to see a spike in coronavirus cases.
  • Boris Johnson will unveil a “winter rescue package” of £546 million to fight the virus in care homes.
  • Confirmed COVID-free Labour leader Keir Starmer arrives in Scottish capital Edinburgh later today, in his first visit north of the border since becoming leader.

Stock market moves

  • In Europe, the FTSE 100 opened down 1.2% and the STOXX 600 opened down 1.2%.
  • China’s CSI 300 of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-traded stocks dropped 0.8% on Thursday and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.7% . Japan’s Topix benchmark shed 0.4% while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 and South Korea’s Kospi index were both down about 1 per cent.
  • On Wednesday, Wall Street’s S&P 500 slid 0.5% and the technology focused Nasdaq Composite lost 1.3 per cent following a rocky session.
  • Futures tipped the S&P 500 to fall 1.1 per cent when US markets open later on Thursday, while London’s FTSE 100 was on track to drop 0.6%.

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Next PLC Half-year Report
  • Total sales down 34% to £1,356.8m (H1 2019: £2,08.8m).
  • PBT down 97% to £9m (H1 2019: £320m).
  • EPS down to 11.8p (H1 2019: 199.5p).
  • Simon Wolfson, CEO, said: “The Company’s sales performance through the pandemic has been more resilient than we expected.  The scale of our Online business (in the UK and overseas), the breadth of our product offer, and the fact that much of our store portfolio is located out of town, have served to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic on trade. The Company’s finances are in good shape.  We have reduced our stock levels and costs as the pandemic progressed.  We have also generated cash flow from: (1) our customer credit book and (2) the sale of some assets.  These actions, along with the fact that the business went into the pandemic with healthy net margins and low capital requirements, mean that we are likely to go into next year with significantly less net debt than we had at the start of the year.”
Hilton Food Group PLC Interim Results
  • Revenue up 38.6% to £1,264.2m (H1 2019: £912.1m).
  • Adjusted operating profit up 17.9% to £31.5m (H1 2019: £26.7m).
  • Adjusted basic EPS up 13.6% to 25.9p (H1 2019: 22.8p).
  • Executive Chairman Robert Watson OBE, said: “Hilton continues to invest in new facilities in Belgium and New Zealand which, together with the further development of our fish and vegetarian categories will ensure future growth. As with all businesses there remain uncertainties concerning the full impact of Covid-19 including potential recessionary risks but our wide geographical spread and the fact we serve the food retail sector make us believe we are well placed to meet any future challenges. Our financial position remains strong and we continue to explore opportunities to invest and grow the business both domestically and in overseas markets with both new and existing customers. Our full year results are expected to be in line with the Board’s expectations.”
Playtech PLC Half-year Report
  • Revenue down 23% to €564.0m (H1 2019: €727.8m).
  • Adjusted profit down 44% to €162.3m (H1 2019: €192.9m).
  • Adjusted diluted EPS down 28% to 14.4 cents (H1 2019: 22.7 cents).
  • Mor Weizer, CEO, commented: “As well as increasing our work with existing tier one licensees and adding more than 50 new brands to our SaaS model, we have also continued to execute our expansion into strategically important markets such as the US with our first launch in New Jersey and further structured agreements in Latin America. The scale of our technology and the breadth of our product offering mean Playtech can capture commercial opportunities in the fast-growing US and Latin America markets outside the remit of traditional B2B suppliers and we are investing in accelerating this strategy.”
Oxford Biomedica PLC Interim Results
  • Revenue increased by 6% to £34.0m (H1 2019: £32.1m).
  • Operating EBITDA loss and operating loss were £0.4m and £5.8m respectively (H1 2019 losses of £1.4m and £6.1m respectively).
  • Cash at 30 June 2020 was £50.6m (31 December 2019: £16.2m), which included proceeds from the placing earlier in June.
  • John Dawson, CEO, said: “The first six months of the year, continuing into the second half of 2020, have probably been the busiest I have known in my time at Oxford Biomedica, set against the backdrop of one of the most unusual times in our working history. I am incredibly proud of all of the team for truly excelling in these challenging times. Oxford Biomedica’s position as a world leading Lentiviral vector company continues to grow and since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only have we signed seven partner/collaboration agreements including a major new agreement with Juno Therapeutics, but we have also grown the underlying bioprocessing and commercial development revenues by 24% and signed two agreements with AstraZeneca for manufacture of their potential COVID-19 vaccine.”
IG Group Holdings PLC First Quarter Revenue Update
  • The Company performed strongly throughout the first quarter, delivering net trading revenue of £209m, 62% higher than the same period in the prior year (Q1 FY20: £129.1m).
  • Performance was driven by a combination of continued high levels of trading activity from existing clients and growth in the active client base, with 201,500 total active clients, up 50% on the prior year (Q1 FY20: 134,100); 134,800 clients traded OTC leveraged products in the quarter (Q1 FY20: 92,300).
  • New client acquisition remained strong as a result of continued demand and improved marketing effectiveness across multiple channels, with 34,600 new clients placing a first trade in the quarter, 129% higher than the prior year, with 23,500 of these representing new OTC leveraged clients.
Trainline PLC Q2 Trading Statement
  • Group net ticket sales in the second quarter stepped up to £280m – equivalent to 30% of the same period in the prior year – as operating conditions began to recover.
  • UK Consumer net ticket sales of £154m was 30% of the equivalent prior year period – compared to Q2 industry passenger volumes at 24% – and improved over the quarter to 46% in August.
  • UK Trainline for Business (UK T4B) net ticket sales of £21m was 7% of the equivalent prior year period, up from 1% in Q1, and improved over the quarter to 15% in August.
  • International net ticket sales of £105m was 74% of the equivalent prior year period, up from 10% in Q1, and at the end of the quarter in August was at 78%.