Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Wednesday 13 January 2021

13th January 2021

In the news

  • The WHO's chief scientist has said that global herd immunity from coronavirus is not expected in 2021, despite the roll out of vaccines
  • The US is set to require a negative Covid-19 test from international air passengers
  • Vice-President Mike Pence has ruled out invoking the 25th amendment to remove the US President from office, setting the stage for Democrats to impeach Donald Trump

Politics today

  • House of Lords sits from noon with questions on BAME participation in vaccine trials, the new Covid strain and small business closures
  • Defra Secretary George Eustice will be joined by fellow Defra Minister Zac Goldsmith and Housing Minister Chris Pincher at a Commons environmental audit committee looking at biodiversity and ecosystems

Stock market moves

  • In Europe, the FTSE100 and Stoxx 600 are up in early trading.
  • The Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite have closed down.
  • On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated almost unchanged for the session, not far from record highs.

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. Q4 2020 Trading Update
  • Q4 order growth accelerated to 57%.
  •  The UK sales force has doubled compared with the previous year.
  • Delivery Orders in the UK surged 387% in Q4 of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
  • Management expects that Just Eat’s Delivery Orders only (excluding Marketplace Orders) will soon overtake the total food orders of the UK’s #3 player.
  • For the full year 2020, management expects revenue growth of more than 50% with an adjusted EBITDA margin of approximately 10%, reflecting significant investments in Delivery in the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Jitse Groen, CEO, said: “The fourth quarter of 2020 marks our third consecutive quarter of order growth acceleration…The progress in the UK is particularly exciting; order growth of 58% and we have increased our Delivery Orders nearly five-fold in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.”
Persimmon PLC Trading Statement
  • Total Group revenues decreased to £3.33bn (2019: £3.65bn).
  • New housing revenues decreased to £3.13bn (2019: £3.42bn).
  • The Group’s average selling price increased by c. 7% to c. £230,500, resulting from the 6% higher proportion of new homes delivered to owner occupiers in total sales for the year.
  • The robust performance in the second half of the year, delivering 8,675 new home legal completions, has mitigated some of the impact of the delays caused by the initial Covid-19 lockdown period in the first half.
  • Dean Finch, CEO, said: “Recent events have served to further demonstrate the continuing near term uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we believe that the longer term fundamentals of the UK housing market remain resilient and I am confident Persimmon will continue to deliver superior long term value for all of its stakeholders.”
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited Acquisition of Music Catalogue
  • The Company has acquired a catalogue from one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Queen of Latin Music, Shakira.
  • Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of Shakira’s music publishing rights, including publishing and writer’s share of income, of her entire catalogue comprising 145 songs.
  • Merck Mercuriadis, Founder, said: “It’s wonderful for us to welcome, Shakira, the Queen of Latin Music and much more, to the Hipgnosis family.”
PageGroup PLC Q4 and Full Year 2020 Trading Update
  • Group gross profit of £165.5m, -20.2% (Q3: -31.9%).
  • Strong cash position, net cash of c. £165m (Q3 2020: £152m, Q4 2019: £98m).
  • Fee earner headcount reduced by a net 882 (15%) for the year, with recent joiners or those on performance review leaving, partially offset by the hiring of c. 400 experienced fee earners.
  • Steve Ingham, CEO, said: “We remain confident in our strategy of maintaining our platform and continuing to carefully invest in headcount, as well as continuing to roll-out new technology and innovation. We are the clear leader in many of our markets, with a highly experienced senior management team, which, we believe, positions us well to take advantage of opportunities to grow and improve our business.”
Spectris PLC Post-close trading update
  • LFL sales in the fourth quarter decreased 7%, reflecting a stronger trading performance ahead of management’s expectations, notably in December.
  • As a result, sales for the full year 2020 are expected to be £1,336m, subject to audit, reflecting an 11% decline in LFL sales.
  • Reflecting the stronger than expected sales performance and continued overhead cost control, full year 2020 adjusted operating profit, subject to audit, is now expected to be around the top end of the consensus range of £150-171m.
ASOS PLC Trading Statement
  • Total group revenues up 24% at £1,364.1m (2019: £1,106.0m).
  • Active customer base increased 1.1m to 24.5m; good growth in new customers offsetting impact of existing customers having fewer occasion-led reasons to shop.
  • FY21 capex guidance increased by £20m to around £190m reflecting investment into US automation.
  • Nick Beighton, CEO, commented: “Looking forward, given the uncertainty associated with the virus and the impact on customers’ lives, our cautious outlook for the second half of the year remains unchanged. However, the strength of our performance gives us confidence in our continued progress towards capturing the global opportunity ahead.”
Marshalls PLC Trading Statement
  • Since the Half Year, revenue growth has progressively improved and sales in the most recent months were ahead of the comparative figures for 2019.
  • Group revenue for the year ended 31 December 2020 was £469m (2019: £54m).
  • The construction sector has remained strong during the last six months and the group’s manufacturing network continues to be fully operational and busy.
  • The Board anticipates out-turns for 2020 and 2021 modestly above current expectations.
Big Yellow Group PLC Trading Statement
  • Year to date total revenue increased by 4.0% to £100.5m (2019: £96.6m).
  • Business move-ins in the quarter were up 18% compared to the prior year, with domestic move-ins up 11%.
  • Closing net achieved rent per sq ft was £28.40, an increase of 2.3% from 30 September 2020, and a decrease of 0.1% from the same time last year.
  • As of 12 January, 98.1% of the group’s Q3 revenue has been collected, in line with the prior year.
  • James Gibson, CEO, said: “We remain confident of the longer-term growth prospects of our business; the principal drivers being revenue growth from the existing portfolio and targeted expansion focussed principally in our core area of London and its commuter towns, where new supply remains constrained.”
QinetiQ Group plc Q3 Trading Update
  • The Group has continued to deliver well with continued strong performance through the third quarter.
  • While it remains cautious and alert to the changing COVID-19 environment, it is on-track for its fifth consecutive year of organic growth and it continues to maintain its expectations for the full year.
  • The group expects good organic revenue growth in EMEA Services for the year.
Howden Joinery Group PLC Trading Statement
  • Since the Company’s announcement on 9 December 2020, trading has been stronger than anticipated with good profit and cash performance.
  • As a result, the Company now expects FY2020 profit before tax to be around £185m.
Liontrust Asset Management PLC Trading Statement
  • Net inflows of £792m in the three months ended 31 December 2020 and £2,540m for the nine months ended 31 December 2020.
  • AuMA were £29.4bn as at close of business on 31 December 2020, an increase of 43% over the quarter and 83% since the start of the current financial year.
  • AuMA as at close of business on 11 January 2021 were £30.1bn.
  • John Ions, CEO, said: “The strength of Liontrust’s investment teams, brand and distribution is shown by the fact we generated net inflows of £792m over the last three months of 2020 and £2.5bn since 1 April. Our AuMA has increased to £30.1bn from £16.1bn on 1 April 2020.”
William Hill PLC Trading Statement
  • Total net revenue for Q4 grew 9% year-on-year. Sportsbook staking increased 16%, driven by enhanced products and geographical expansion, whilst gross win margins benefitted from favourable sporting results, driving Group sportsbook net revenue up 20% year-on-year.
  • Total Group net revenue for the year decreased by 16% to £1,324m due to the impact of Covid-19 on live sport and national and regional lockdowns on the group’s retail businesses.
  • Online UK net revenue grew 5% in 2020.
  • Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO, said: ” The offer received for the Group recognises the substantial progress we have made as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead of us.”