skip to Main Content
Home » UK Shares » Companies Reporting » Companies Reporting: Imperial Brands, Royal Mail, National Grid, Experian

Companies Reporting: Imperial Brands, Royal Mail, National Grid, Experian


Here’s our regular look at the FTSE 350 and a selection of other companies reporting from 16 to 20 May.

  • Imperial Brands should give an update on next-gen product progress
  • The market expects a strong performance at Experian
  • We’ll be looking for progress on Royal Mail’s negotiations with the union over staff cuts
  • National Grid should outline how its electric-heavy business plans to meet ballooning demand

Imperial Brands, Half Year Results, Tuesday 17 May

Matt Britzman, Equity Analyst “As we enter the second year of Imperial Brands’ 5-year strategy plan, focus remains on improving market share in the group’s core markets – the US, UK, Spain, Germany and Australia – which account for around 70% of profits. Trends seen last year seem to be continuing, growth in US, UK and Spain is progressing, but Germany and Australia remain tough cookies to crack.

Half-year performance is expected to be impacted by a return to normal purchasing patterns in Europe, offsetting growth elsewhere. Revenue’s expected to come in flat, with operating profit up a couple of percent. Eyes will be on Next Generation Product (NGP) losses as they’re expected to narrow. Progress here is important given the transition away from traditional tobacco products is key for future growth. We’ve been told to expect an update on next steps – last we heard, trials of Pulze heated tobacco in Greece and the Czech Republic were promising as was performance from blu vapour in the US.

Negotiations for the transfer of the group’s Russian assets are ongoing, with operations in Russia and Ukraine being suspended at the start of March. Together they represent about 0.5% of operating profit so there shouldn’t be a major impact on trading performance.”

Experian, Full Year Results, Wednesday 18 May

Steve Clayton, HL Select Fund Manager

“Experian reports its results for the year on Wednesday. The market expects a strong performance, given the high levels of growth already reported for the first three quarters. So earnings growth of around 20% is likely to be taken as something of a given. More important will be what the company has to say about the outlook and whether the rising level of interest rates is starting to impact on activity. If lenders are reducing their appetite for new business, Experian will need to show that it has other levers it can pull to keep sales moving forward. The stock has been out of favour in recent months with investors fretting about a potential slowdown in growth as interest rates rise and consumer incomes come under pressure.”

National Grid, Full Year Results, Thursday 19 May

Laura Hoy, Equity Analyst

“National Grid is at a turning point as the transition toward renewable energy increases demand on its networks. How NG plans to rise up and meet the growing wave of new connection applications is where our attention will be focussed. The group’s spate of acquisitions and disposals mean its portfolio is weighted toward electric now, and that’s paying off as inflation’s expected to boost profits beyond guidance. But it’s bound by regulatory oversight, and that will dictate how much of that pay-off will go toward building out a more capable grid. This push to invest more will come alongside pressure to reduce customers’ bills as the cost-of-living squeeze continues to bite.

The other big factor to watch is how the group’s disposals are progressing. To buy Western Power Distribution, National Grid took on short-term bridge loans. These are to be paid off through the sale of the group’s gas business. While things appear to be on track so far, we’d like further confirmation that the sale is still set to complete in the next few months, particularly as rising interest rates make loans like this one much riskier to have on the books.”

Royal Mail, Full Year Results, Thursday 19 May

Laura Hoy, Equity Analyst

“Royal Mail’s in a tricky position heading into its results. The group’s been delivering on an impressive turnaround that’s seen a shift toward automation and efficiency, which was only helped along by the pandemic. Now that those tailwinds have dissipated, much of the transition involves cutting costs, and Royal Mail’s biggest cost is its massive network of employees. The group’s aiming to cut 700 management positions, which should save RMG £40m per year. But with rumours circulating that the union’s unhappy, we wonder if progress has been made. Not to mention the mounting pressure on employers around the country to implement pay increases to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Commentary around this issue is where markets will be focused, but there are other key factors to watch. We’d like to see that the group’s on track with its planned automation investments and that spending isn’t getting out of hand. Management forecast “well over £400m” of investment costs at the half year. With inflation driving up construction costs, we’re keen to know exactly what that means. We’ll also have an eye on parcel volumes, which have come down somewhat from pandemic highs. They appear to be rebasing at a higher level, though, a trend we’d like to see solidified at the full year results.”

Close Brothers, Q3 Trading Statement, Friday 20 May

Steve Clayton, HL Select Fund Manager

“Close Brothers last trading update triggered a sell-off in the stock that has left them trading at their lows for the year. Weaker levels of trading at the Winterflood market making division seemed to be the prompt for weakness, but investors should have been expecting a slow-down after the meme-stock trading frenzy of a year previously. So now expectations look to have been rebased and if the group can report continuing growth in the core banking and asset management divisions, perhaps the market will give a warmer reception to Close Brothers this time.”

FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and selected other companies scheduled to report

Diploma Half Year Results
Finsbury Growth & Income Trust Half Year Results
Greggs Q1 Trading Statement
Britvic Half Year Results
C&C Group Full Year Results
DCC Full Year Results
Imperial Brands Half Year Results
Land Securities Group Full Year Results
TI Fluid Systems Q1 Trading Statement
Tritax EuroBox Half Year Results
Vodafone Group Full Year Results
Assura Full Year Results
British Land Company Full Year Results
Burberry Group Full Year Results
Experian Full Year Results
Future Half Year Results
Ninety One Full Year Results
Premier Foods Q4 Results
TBC Bank Group Q1 Results
Countryside Partnerships Half Year Results
Easyjet Half Year Results
Essentra Q1 Trading Statement
Euromoney Institutional Investor Half Year Results
Fever Tree Trading Statement
Great Portland Estates Full Year Results
Investec Full Year Results
National Grid Full Year Results
QinetiQ Group Q4 Results
Royal Mail Full Year Results
Tyman Trading Statement
Watches of Switzerland Group Q4 Trading Statement
Young & Co’s Brewery Full Year Results
Close Brothers Group Q3 Trading Statement

This article is brought to you in association with Hargreaves Lansdown. All opinions expressed in this article are from the analysts and do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Armchair Trader.

Like this article? Sign up to our free newsletter.

This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

The Armchair Trader's 'How to' Guides

Stocks in Focus

We think these smaller companies represent significant growth stories. Read our in-depth reports.

Thanks to our Partners

Our partners are established, regulated businesses and we are grateful for their support.

FP Markets
Back To Top