Torotrak (TRK.L), the Lancashire-based transmission
technology company, has reported its first profit. The one-time
favourite of retail investors during last decade's technology
boom announced that full year pre-tax profits were at 197,000
pounds for the year to the end of March 2010, compared with the
loss reported last year of 1.98 million pounds. However, shares
fell by 2.5 pence to 23 pence, after Torotrak said that its
operating cashflow had turned negative due to a recognition of
pre-paid licence fees in last year's revenues.
BUYER SOUGHT FOR BEER THAT BRITAIN FORGOT
Bass Ale, at one time Britain's most popular beer, has been
put up for sale for between ten million pounds and 15 million
pounds. Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR), the world's biggest
brewer, is said to be interested in selling the majority of its
British beer brands. The Bass brand, currently brewed under
contract by Marston's, a rival brewer, has witnessed a lack of
marketing investment and failing consumer demand. Possible
suitors including Marston's, Wells & Young's, Molson Coors and
C&C Group are understood to have ruled themselves out.
NEED TO KNOW: VICTREX
Victrex (VCTX.L), the plastics company, reported a threefold
increase in first-half pre-tax profits. It also raised its
interim dividend to 6.4 pence, an increase of 23 percent. The
figures were boosted by a sales increase in its PEEK polymer
product that is used in car parts, aircraft components and
surgical instruments, and the overall economic recovery.
NEED TO KNOW: ALPHAMERIC
Alphameric Solutions, the provider of technology systems for
the betting industry, has appointed Richard McGuire as a
non-executive director. McGuire is closely associated with
billionaire trader Joe Lewis, who has a 29.9 percent stake in
Alphameric. Lewis also has minority stakes in Ladbrokes,
Probability and Betdaq.
NEED TO KNOW: INTERIOR SERVICES GROUP
Interior Services Group ISG.L, the construction and
management services provider, announced that its retail sector
order book had increased by 40 percent compared with last year.
ISG said that by April the retail sector order book was up to
172 million pounds. Lloyds Banking Group has re-hired ISG to
remodel its retail and commercial office property portfolio.
NEED TO KNOW: RENEW HOLDINGS
Renew Holdings (RNWH.L), the engineering and construction
services group that formerly traded as YJ Lovell, announced a 30
percent decline in full year profits to 1.6 million pounds. The
group blamed a 20 percent fall in revenue to 138 million pounds
but pointed out that the business was debt-free and could report
a 43 percent increase in its order book when compared with the
same time last year.
C&C Group (GCC.I) (buy)
De La Rue (DLAR.L) (there is better value elsewhere)
The Daily Telegraph
SPECULATION ENDS AS RTL FINALLY PUTS CHANNEL FIVE UP FOR
RTL, the parent company of UK free-to-air broadcaster
channel Five, is set to formally seek bids for a sale of Five.
RTL is thought to have recruited a team to formulate what one
insider called a "tender process" for Five's sale. Thomas Rabe,
the chief finance officer of RTL's majority owner Bertelsmann,
labelled Five's business model "not sustainable" in March 2009,
sparking speculation that Five would be sold.
KCOM PROFIT TURNAROUND AFTER RADICAL RESTRUCTURING
KCom (KCOM.L), the telecoms company, has posted pre-tax
profits of 19.2 million pounds in the year to March 31, compared
to a loss of 111 million pounds a year earlier. Bill Halbert,
executive chairman, said: "We are ahead of all expectations,
despite a 13 percent decline in revenue." Halbert also said the
company, which cut 150 jobs as part of a major restructuring,
was currently fighting for big nationwide contracts against BT
Global Services and Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Shares in KCom
increased 2.5 pence to close at 44.75 pence.
VODAFONE FACES BILL OF ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN INDIA
Vodafone (VOD.L), the mobile network operator, could face a
bill of around one billion dollars at Vodafone Essar, its
majority-owned Indian operator, after a tribunal refused to
intervene in a dispute between mobile phone operators and the
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India regarding proposals to
charge retrospective fees for 2G mobile spectrum frequencies.
The TRAI has insisted that firms pay a one-off fee for 2G radio
spectrum with high bandwidth which was won several years ago
based on 3G spectrum price. Last week saw Vodafone Essar
spending 1.74 billion pounds on 3G licences in India.
DYSON AT PUNCH IN SEPTEMBER
Ian Dyson, finance director of retailer Marks & Spencer,
will join Punch Taverns (PUB.L), the pub and bar operator, as
chief executive on September 6. Dyson will replace Giles
Thorley, who will step down once an "orderly handover" has been
completed, according to a Punch statement made on Tuesday.
Dyson, who resigned from M&S two days after Marc Bolland began
his tenure as chief executive, is also the retailer's chief
HSBC Infrastructure Fund (buy)
CVS Group (CVSG.L) (buy)
STANCHART OFFERING OFF TO SLOW START
Standard Chartered's (STAN.L) Indian share sale was about
five percent subscribed on its first day. The bank's efforts to
raise up to 404 million pounds and raise its profile in its
second largest market is expected to pick up as institutional
investors tend to place their bids near the end of the issue.
Stock exchange figures show most bids have been at the low end
of the 100-115 rupee a share price band. The bank is selling 240
million shares through Indian Depository Receipts with
book-building set to close on Friday. Analysts said demand from
retail investors was unlikely to be heavy due to the crisis in
global stock markets.
Homeserve (HSV.L) (hold)
Torotrak (TRK.L) (avoid)
BSS BTSM.L (buy)
ASDA LOSES MARKET SHARE WHILE WAITROSE GAINS
Asda (WMT.N), the supermarket group, saw its share of the
market fall for the fifth consecutive month. Its growth was 2.5
percent in a market that was up 3.3 percent in the 12 weeks to
May 16. Like-for-like sales were down 0.3 percent in the first
three months of the year, the first fall in sales since 2006.
Tesco's share was 30.6 percent, growing in-line with the market,
while Sainsbury's and Morrisons registered growth of 4.4 percent
and six percent respectively. Waitrose continued to impress with
its market share up to 4.1 percent from 3.8 percent a year ago.
Its sales growth was 12.5 percent.
Prepared for Reuters by Durrants