Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Coca Cola HBC
Coca Cola HBC [LON:CCH], a growth-focused Consumer Packaged Goods business and strategic bottling partner of The Coca-Cola Company, has today published a Q1 trading update. Although established and developing market segments continue to be affected by COVID-19, the emerging markets are posting some solid growth, which has resulted in sales rising by 6.1% on a like for like basis. Although the health pandemic continues to impact business, the company notes that the shape of its Q1 performance should enable full year targets to now be delivered on an FX-neutral basis.
There’s an update out from National Express [LON:NEX] covering the first four months of the year. Revenues are down 16% from the same period in 2020 but aggressive cost reduction measures mean that operating profits are ahead. There are some interesting facts throughout the release, including how US public transit operations are running at more than 75% of pre-COVID capacity, delivering to around 80% of revenues. Closer to home the picture is rather more stark – having mothballed the UK inter city network, the company is currently running just 13% of pre-COVID mileage, occupancy rates are 85% and that comes out at just 8% of the equivalent 2019 passenger revenues.
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Diageo [LON:DGE] has issued a trading update this morning, noting that it expects operating profits to grow by at least 14% in the current financial year, triggering the start of a return of capital program which will benefit shareholders. This had first been announced in 2019 but COVID saw the scheme delayed – it will now be completed by summer 2024. Owing to listings regulations, the repurchase will take some time to execute.
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