Here are three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
#1. Greggs bumper dividend payout
Preliminary results for 2021 have been published by Greggs [LON:GRG] this morning. The company notes sales up 5.3% on 2019 levels and although these are lower on a like-for-like basis, that arguably carries little relevance. The key point to bear in mind here however would be inflation, but again that probably shouldn’t detract from the positives here. Profits are up by 40%, a final dividend of 42p per share is being recommended which will take total payouts for the year to 57p and an additional special dividend of 40p has also been declared. Interestingly however there doesn’t seem to be any reference to furlough cash repayments of almost £100m which the company received.
#2. Robert Walters profits treble as wage inflation boosts performance
Full year numbers from Robert Walters [LON:RWA] were released today, showing revenues up by 3% whilst operating profits have more than trebled. Investors are set to be rewarded with a 15p per share dividend, up from 11p a year ago, recognising both the strength of the jobs market and also the impact of underlying wage inflation. Whilst the company is mindful of the evolving macroeconomic backdrop, it adds that early 2022 trading remains in line with expectations.
#3. Tasty sees casual dining sector facing array of headwinds
Casual dining operator Tasty [LON:TAST] has issued a trading update for the 52 weeks to December 26th. Arguably the best comparator here will be the 2019 numbers, with revenues coming in at 78% despite fewer operating sites and a sharply reduced trading window. Whilst trade was brisk until the Omicron outbreak, this plus the end of lower VAT rates and business rates support are expected to present challenges for the company. The company notes it is renewing its focus on takeaway food sales owing to staffing shortages. Investors may well give this news a rather lukewarm response.