WINNERS & LOSERS SUMMARY: Bunzl Down On Slow Revenue Growth

LONDON (Alliance News) - The following stocks are the leading risers and fallers within the main ...

Alliance News 17 April, 2019 | 10:49AM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - The following stocks are the leading risers and fallers within the main London indices on Wednesday.
DS Smith, up 2.5%. The corrugated and plastic packaging maker said it sold two packaging businesses in north western France and Portugal to International Paper for EUR63 million.The two disposals fulfill the FTSE 100 company's commitments to the European Commission in relation to the clearance of its acquisition of Papeles y Cartones de Europa, known as Europac, which completed in January. "I am delighted that we are on track to meet our commitment to the European Commission with both an attractive price and a good home for the businesses in International Paper," DS Smith Chief Executive Miles Roberts said.
Bunzl, down 9.2%. The distribution group said underlying revenue growth slowed over the first quarter as a result of mixed macroeconomic and market conditions. The company said first-quarter revenue increased 4% at actual exchange rates. At constant exchange rates revenue, adjusted for the impact of the number of trading days in the quarter, rose by 2.5%. However, the rate of revenue growth slowed down during the quarter, the company said, due to "mixed macroeconomic and market conditions" across the countries in which the group operates. In particular, Bunzl's business in its key North America market experienced "slower underlying growth of approximately 1%" due to lower sales to customers in the grocery and retail sectors. "The fact that underlying revenue growth during its first quarter seems to have slowed in all markets is a major alarm bell. The big question is whether life is getting to get even tougher in its second quarter," said AJ Bell's Russ Mould.

Rio Tinto, down 3.5%. Investec downgraded the Anglo-Australian miner to Hold from Buy. On Tuesday, Rio Tinto reported a 14% decline in iron ore shipments for the first quarter of 2019 due to weather disruptions by Tropical Cyclone Veronica in March and a fire at Cape Lambert A in January. The mining giant also lowered its 2019 outlook for Pilbara shipments.

BHP Group, down 3.3%. The Anglo-Australian miner reduced its annual iron ore production guidance after a cyclone affected its operations, as it reported third quarter production results. For the nine months ended March, iron ore production remained flat at 175 million tonnes. Copper production fell 3% to 1.25 million tonnes. Petroleum production was unchanged at 92 million barrel of oil equivalent. In coal, metallurgical coal and energy coal production both remained unchanged at 31 million tonnes and 20 million tonnes, respectively. BHP reduced its iron ore guidance for 2019 to between 235 million tonnes and 239 million tonnes from between 241 and 250 million tonnes previously. This was after the firm was forced to reduce output forecast following disruption caused by Cyclone Veronica in March. In financial 2018, iron ore production was 238.4 million tonnes.

SEGRO, down 1.5%. The warehouse property investor said new headline rent in its first quarter was down from 2018 due to a reduction in new pre-lets. Headline rent is defined as the annualised gross passing rent receivable after rent-free periods expire. The company secured GBP21.2 million of new headline rent in the period from January 1 to March 31, representing a 22% decline from its GBP27.3 million of new headline rent in the first quarter of 2018. Rent roll growth was strong, multiplying to GBP6.0 million from GBP500,000 but the company secured new pre-lets of only GBP11.1 million versus GBP23.3 million the year prior. This GBP11.1 million figure was still above the three-year quarterly average run rate of GBP7 million, however. SEGRO's vacancy rate fell to 4.4% on March 31 from 5.2% on December 31, resulting from lettings of existing and recently completed speculative space, as well as disposals and low take-backs.
Mediclinic International, up 9.8%. The private hospital group said it expects a rise in revenue on acquisitions and continued expansion. For the year ended March, Mediclinic expects to record 2.0% growth in reported revenue and a 3.5% drop in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. In financial 2018, Ebitda stood at GBP515 million on revenue of GBP2.87 billion. On a constant currency basis, revenue is expected to grow 3.5% and Ebitda down around 1.5%. "We executed against our growth strategy with investments across the continuum of care in all regions. We opened Mediclinic Parkview Hospital in Dubai and several day case clinics in Switzerland and Southern Africa, and successfully integrated new investments across the group," Chief Executive Ronnie van der Merwe said.

Countryside Properties, 7.0%. The housebuilder said it is on track to deliver annual results in line with views after a solid first-half performance. Private average selling prices reduced 4% to GBP377,000 from GBP392,000, due to an increased contribution from the company's regional businesses, Countryside explained. By division, the company's Partnership unit continued to "grow strongly over the period", with a 61% increase in completions to 1,889 homes supported by the acquisition of Westleigh. However, completions in the Housebuilding division were flat year-on-year at 473 homes. Looking ahead, the company said its order book is strong, up 49% on the previous year at GBP1.03 billion from GBP696.5 million.
Hunting, down 2.5%. The oilfield services firm said profit and revenue in the first quarter of 2019 were consistent with the fourth quarter of 2018, although offshore focused operations in the US suffered a "slow and challenging" market. Hunting has reported underlying earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortization of approximately USD35.0 million, an increase of 7.0% from around USD32.7 the year before. "The first quarter of 2019 saw a continuation of the level of revenue and profit reported in the fourth quarter with our US onshore completions focused businesses remaining busy, however, offshore focused operations continue to face slow and challenging markets, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea," said Hunting.
Enteq Upstream, up 22%. The oilfield services equipment supplier guided for earnings for its recently ended financial year to be ahead of management expectations. For the year to the end of March, underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation are set to be above management expectations, due to new business in North America, and growth in International sales. In addition, revenue for the year is forecast to be USD10 million, a 54% increase from USD6.5 million reported the year before. Enteq's cash balance as at March 31 was USD11.9 million compared to USD15.5 million the sale date the prior year, reflecting investments made in the rental fleet, engineering projects and product development.
Carclo, down 31%. The plastics maker said that higher costs and lower revenue will result in annual profit below expectations. The company, which manufactures fine tolerance injection moulded plastic parts, said it expects annual profit for the year ended March 31 to fall below the board's expectations due to higher than expected cost of scrap, freight and production labour. The company attributed the higher costs to an "unprecedented number of new programmes" in an unstable manufacturing environment. Furthermore, Carclo generated lower development and tooling revenue, as fewer new contracts were awarded during the year, impacting profitability.
By Arvind Bhunjun;

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Smith (DS) PLC 326.30 GBX 1.30 -
Hunting PLC 152.50 GBX -6.61 -
Bunzl PLC 1,815.00 GBX 0.47
Enteq Upstream PLC 11.75 GBX 3.52 -
Segro PLC 830.40 GBX 0.97 -
Mediclinic International PLC 261.80 GBX -2.82 -
Countryside Properties PLC 271.60 GBX -1.88 -
Rio Tinto PLC 4,262.50 GBX 1.22
Carclo PLC 5.25 GBX -7.89 -
BHP Group PLC 1,550.00 GBX 0.36

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