Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
There’s a business update out from Taylor Wimpey [LON:TW] this morning, noting that the company is now well into its restart program, with all employees now back from furlough. The majority of sales centres have reopened on an appointment only basis but sales for the 22 weeks to May 31st have understandably taken a hit. 2,455 completions were made, against 4,052 a year earlier, although sales are now increasing. Despite this, the UK order book for the same period is up around 10% from a year earlier and cancellation rates remain low. If the housing market is supposed to be a barometer of the wider economy, then news like this certainly gives some cause for optimism.
Full year results from Stobart Group [LON:STOB] are out this morning, covering the period to February 29th. Revenues rose by 16% and underlying EBITDA by almost 50%, but losses jumped higher off the back of significant impairments and set-up costs. The company’s focus on aviation hasn’t played out well in the COVID-19 crisis either, with the business having already taken a blow from the collapse of FlyBe and now being forced into a £120m liquidity raise through a combination of a rights issue and bank financing. The company is also hopeful that its energy from waste division will be well positioned as the recovery starts.
The sustainable waste management company Biffa [LON:BIFF] has today published results for the year to March 27th. The company had a good year with revenues up 7% and underlying profits up almost 11%. That was however for a period largely before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, and since then the business has undertaken a series of cash preservation strategies, including the suspension of final dividend payments. The company is reserved when it comes to the speed of any recovery, but is confident that there’s more than sufficient liquidity headroom and that the program of strategic growth will resume in due course.
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