Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – 21 September 2018

21st September 2018

What really matters... COVID-19

The FTSE is set to open up. The German DAX opened down and the French CAC opened up.

Markets in Asia were higher on Friday. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was up 1.1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 1.5%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong up 1.2%.

Stock market moves

In other news

  • European leaders reject May's Brexit plan at Salzburg summit
  • Sky takeover battle reaches final stages
  • YouGov poll finds that Labour could regain power supporting a People's Vote on Brexit

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Smiths Group PLC Smiths Group PLC annual results for the year ended 31 July 2018
  • Revenue decreased to £3,213m (2017: £3,280m).
  • Operating profit decreased to £544m (2017: £589m).
  • Dividend increased to 44.55p (2017: 43.25p).
  • Andy Reynolds Smith, CEO, said: “FY2018 marks an important milestone on our journey. We said that this would be the year we returned to growth, and we’ve done that. Our next objective is to deliver continued, sustainable growth, on the way to outperforming our markets. With the exception of Smiths Medical, where the second half was disappointing, we delivered a good performance. As anticipated, our growth rate accelerated in the second half of the year driven by John Crane, Smiths Detection, Smiths Interconnect and Flex-Tek.”
SIG PLC Results for the six months ended 30 June 2018
  • Revenue decreased to £1,381.7m (2017: £1,439.2m).
  • Operating profit increased to £28.2m (2017: loss of £6.8m).
  • Dividend per share unchanged at 1.25p.
  • Meinie Oldersma, CEO, said: “Ten months into our transformation of SIG, progress is well underway and we are starting to see evidence of delivery. Leverage has reduced, return on capital employed has increased and the refocus of our portfolio of businesses through exit or divestment is largely complete. Gross margins are improving in key businesses, operating costs are under control and working capital is beginning to fall. Our senior leadership team is in place, our management capability is improving and better data is beginning to make a difference to the quality of our decision-making.”
Lloyd’s of London Interim Results
  • Pre-tax profits of £0.6bn (2017: £1.2bn).
  • Investment return of 0.3% (2017: 1.5%).
  • Increase in gross written premiums to £19.3bn (2017: £18.9bn).
  • Inga Beale, CEO, said: “These results and return to profit demonstrate the strength of the Lloyd’s market following one of the costliest years for natural catastrophes in the past decade. Whilst these results are welcome, Lloyd’s continues to concentrate on improving the Lloyd’s market’s long-term performance by taking action to address underperforming areas of the market.”
SAGA PLC Directorate Change
  • Appointment of Julie Hopes as Non-Executive Director with effect from 1 October 2018.
  • Bridget McIntyre will retire from the Board of Directors of Saga PLC on 31 October 2018 while continuing in her role as Chair and Non-Executive Director.
  • Patrick O’Sullivan, Chairman, said: “We are delighted that Julie will be joining the Board of Saga. Her extensive insurance experience will be invaluable as we continue to develop this key part of our business. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bridget for her valuable contribution to the PLC Board.”
Moss Bros Group PLC Half Year Results for the 26 weeks ended 28 July 2018
  • Total Group revenue down 3.3% to £64.5m.
  • Adjusted profit before tax down £3.7m to £0.2m.
  • E-commerce like-for-like sales increased 9.5%.
  • Brian Brick, CEO, said: “The first half trading performance was one of the most volatile for many years. We initially saw sales performance recover well following our previously highlighted early season stock shortages, and sales were generally ahead of expectation. This came to an abrupt end when high street footfall dropped dramatically, impacted by the protracted and unplanned period of extremely hot weather and the widespread distraction of England’s success in the World Cup. Although all retailers were impacted in some way, Menswear was specifically impacted negatively by the combination and longevity of these two external factors. The position was exacerbated by the distressed discounting of some competitors, although we have taken the decision to stand firm on pricing where we feel Moss Bros’ product has a strong USP.”