Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Speedy Hire [LON:SDY] has published a trading update this morning, which includes a profit upgrade. The company has agreed to exit the Middle East market by disposing of its operations locally to its principal customer in the region, but looking at operations more broadly, trading since September 2020 has been ahead of forecasts, with revenue and utilisations rates both ahead of the previous year. Pre-tax profits for the year to March 31st are as a result expected to be well ahead of expectations.
Keeping with a theme here, full year results from Aggreko [LON:AGK] are out this morning too, with the company noting a strong cash performance and a recovery in the underlying market. A combination of reduced demand as a result of COVID-19 alongside lower oil prices saw the company take a 14% revenue hit. Exceptional items pushed the company to a loss, but the board is confident when it comes to the outlook, proposing a 10p final dividend, adding to the interim 5p per share payment. Despite the widespread macroeconomic uncertainty, the company is confident that its markets are recovering. Perhaps one point of contention is that the company reiterates its ambition to be net zero by 2050. Given its involvement in high profile global events such as powering the Olympics, it’s perhaps a concern that a more aggressive timeline hasn’t been set here…
Full year results from news publishers Reach [LON:RCH] are out today, covering the 52 weeks to December 27th. COVID-19 has taken a toll here with revenues down by almost 15% although the company notes a strong improvement in Q4. Publishing models remain challenging given the competition from free news and other advertising channels but the company is making concerted efforts to build a sustainable model. Many of the metrics suggest that this may be happening, with the restoration of a cash dividend providing further evidence here.
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