Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Pets at Home
Pets at Home [LON:PETS] is the latest retailer to report it will repay the government for the business rates relief. At just £28.9m, this is a mere fraction of the payments seen from the supermarket giants. The company notes that it has incurred COVID-specific costs of £35m so these will no longer be offset by the relief, but the business has performed well through lockdown.
Associated British Foods
There’s a brief trading update out from Associated British Foods [LON:ABF] this morning ahead of its AGM. Lost sales over the Autumn period are set to be £430m, but the company also notes the strong performance of its US operation, including two new openings and expects to expand its footprint across the Atlantic. New venues across mainland Europe also continue to be added, with the company’s 50th Spanish store having opened today. Sales and profits at Primark are set to be higher in the current financial year than they were for the previous period. Its AB Sugar division is also expected to deliver higher profits thanks to the performance of its South African unit, although crop disease means UK sugar production is set to be down by over 50%.
Interim results from builders Berkeley Group [LON:BKG] covering the period to October 31st have been released today. Although pre-tax profits are 15% lower, the company remains on track to return £280m of cash to shareholders across the year through a combination of share buy backs and dividends. The company notes it has a cash position of £954m, forward sales of £1.94 billion and future gross margins in its land holdings of £6.65 billion.
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