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Three Quick Facts: Ryanair, Hammerson and United Carpets



There’s a first quarter update from Ryanair out today and it shows a 20% fall in profits after tax. Michael O’Leary is quick to point out that this is in line with previous guidance, in a bid to avoid any suggestion that this is a profit warning, but the lack of visibility over how the second half of the year will map out could be a cause for concern. Lower fares and higher fuel prices are two factors which weighed on the numbers – both of these can be reversed if market conditions dictate. However the third factor was rising pilot pay, forced to prevent attrition to competitor airlines in what is an increasingly competitive market. This isn’t going away quickly and with cabin crew now threatening industrial action, will staff cost keep rising?


Hammerson has a note out this morning, advising that it has completed the sale of two retail parks. One is in Fife, the other Bristol, for a total of £164 million. This means the company has so far raised £300m in cash from disposals since the start of the year, and on the basis the two parks were sold for 10% less than the book value posted at the end of 2017, it’s difficult not to be thinking the company is bracing itself for uncertain economic times  ahead.

United Carpets

United Carpets is the UK’s third largest chain of flooring specialists and has published preliminary results for the year today. The retail sector as a whole may be struggling, but does this offer a rare glimmer of optimism, with sales up 3.2%? Possibly not – profits are flat, so that means margins are falling, whilst this reporting period runs to the end of March and the company diligently points out that sales since then have been down on a year ago. Hot weather and world cup fever are highlighted as having been key drivers.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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