Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Publishers Pearson [LON:PSON] have issued full year results this morning and the claim of a simpler, more efficient company after its rationalisation program is played out in the numbers. Sales are down by 6% but the adjusted operating profit has risen. Dividends are being increased by around 5% too although sustaining the profitability drive may be a big ask, given the early forecasts for 2020 profits are expected to show further notable contraction.
Hornby [LON:HRN] has announced that it will undertake a £15m equity placing today to help shore up the company’s balance sheet, upgrade development plans and expand digital marketing operations. Shares are being offered at last night’s closing price and with this being the fourth time the company has tapped the market for capital in under five years, the investor reaction to dilution will be worth watching.
Property developer Hammerson [LON:HMSO] has this morning announced the disposal of a seven unit retail park portfolio. The company will benefit from proceeds of £395m, taking the total of disposals for the business since the start of 2019 to £975m. This is part of Hammerson’s ongoing shift – which started in summer 2018 – to exit the retail parks business, instead focusing on more premium sites which it expects to generate better income stability and higher levels of growth. Hammerson also owns the prime Bicester Village retail site, a popular destination for Asian tourists visiting the UK. Full year results due on Tuesday will be under scrutiny to see what impact the Coronavirus is having on trade here.
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