Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
SSP [LON:SSPG], the operators of branded catering concessions at many travel hubs, have published six month results today. With this period running to March 31st, it avoids all but the first couple of weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown, with revenues off by a modest 2.7%. The company notes that it has sufficient liquidity to manage its way through a prolonged crisis here and that actions have been taken to conserve capital. A reopening is now underway, but the question has to be just how protracted any recovery in passenger numbers will be. The company has also this morning announced a rights issue, giving existing investors the opportunity to reinvest dividends which become payable tomorrow, although this is limited to £26m – the same as the dividend payout. A parallel offer is also running with PrimaryBid.com, but the modest numbers here suggests that this is a political move to nullify the dividend rather than a desperate bid for cash.
Final results from Wizz Air [LON:WIZZ], the London-listed, Eastern European low-cost airline, for the period to March 31st have been published today. Again this misses the bulk of the COVID-19 shut down, allowing the company to report a 16% increase in passenger numbers and a 19% increase in revenues. The company notes that it has a very healthy balance sheet to help it weather the current exceptional circumstances although adds that it is too early to provide a detailed outlook for the year ahead. Critically however the company notes that it intends to increase the number of seats available by 9% in the current financial year – an ambitious move as competitors talk about the health crisis having an impact that will last for a considerable time.
Angling Direct [LON:ANG] has published full year results today. Niche retail had been faring relatively well and this seems to be no exception, with the company having added 10 new stores in the year to January 31st. Group sales were up 27% and margins held above 30%, although EBITDA slipped int negative territory. In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown, the online channel was also given a meaningful boost. There’s little in the way of an outlook, although stores will be reopening from June 15th and by its very nature, angling lends itself well to the theme of social isolation.
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