Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Associated British Foods
There’s a Q3 update out from Associated British Foods [LON:ABF] this morning, covering the period to 20th June. Few surprises here, with grocery sales up 9% as consumers ate at home and retail – its Primark brand – seeing a 75% slump. In terms of full year outlook, adjusted operating profit for Primark is expected to be in the £300-£350m range, down from £913m a year earlier. That said, after a turbulent Q3, the expectation is that the business will return to being cash generative in the final quarter, helped by a faster than expected reopening of the Primark estate.
Mitchells & Butlers
Half year results from pub and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers [LON:MAB] are out this morning, covering the period to April 11th. That fell into the lockdown period so no surprise that revenues took a hit with the interim operating profit of £140m a year ago tipping to a £51m loss. Like for like sales growth was 0.9% ahead in the period before lockdown. Given the uncertainty that hangs over consumer behaviour as the UK economy reopens, the company is declining to offer any forward guidance.
Wizz Air [LON:WIZZ], Eastern Europe’s largest low cost airline and maybe a slightly controversial recipient of the Bank of England’s CCFF low cost loan for UK companies, has reported traffic figures for June this morning. This was one of the first European airlines to resume flights so the numbers probably aren’t representative of the sector but may offer some guidance as the industry slowly comes back on stream. Passenger figures were down 86% year on year, whilst the load factor fell from 95% to 52%. On a rolling 12 month period, the situation was less pronounced, with passenger count down 16% and load factors off a mere 1.1%. Total CO2 emissions have also fallen by 75% compared with June ‘19, although with far fewer seats being filled on each plane, the per passenger output jumped almost 65%.
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