Langton Capital – 2016-03-30 – JDW, Tasty, PPHE Hotels, new openings & other:
A Day in the Life:
Langton is away from the office this week. There will be no Daily Wrap and A Day in the Life will be back on Monday.
PUB, RESTAURANT & DRINKS PRODUCER NEWS:
• JD Wetherspoon Thursday bought back another 35k shares for cancellation. It has now cancelled some 2.1m shares at a total cost of £13.8m this calendar year. The group has paid an average price of 669p.
• In addition, JD Wetherspoon yesterday bought back another 346,500 shares at 697p each.
• Tasty reports FY numbers. Sales +20% at £35.8m, PBT +20% at £3.1m, 12 new restaurants opened in year.
• Tasty FY: Says co has ‘2 sites under construction and a number of other sites at various stages of completion and negotiation’
• Tasty FY: says ‘the Group delivered another good performance in 2015, with an improvement in operating profit margin and a 20% increase in pre-tax profits.’ It adds re current trading that ‘since the year end trading has been broadly in line with expectations.’
• Tasty announces the appointment of Timothy Cundy as the Company’s Finance Director with immediate effect.
• Darwin & Wallace is to open an Australian-inspired bar restaurant in a former Chiswick fire station next month. Big Hospitality quotes MD Mel Marriott as saying ‘we are incredibly excited to be bringing our modern vision of the local pub to the heart of Chiswick, one of my favourite London spots.’ She adds ‘our ambitions at Darwin & Wallace are to work with the best artisans of design, food and drink and No 197 Chiswick Fire Station will be no exception.’ Darwin & Wallace plans to open its 5ths site, in the Battersea Power Station development, early next year.
• West Berkshire Brewery has launched a £1.5m crowdfunding campaign which values the company at £7m, after two years of ‘ballistic’ growth.
• Moorhouse’s Brewery managing director David Grant has resigned.
• A study into sugar taxes from the IEA finds that people are already becoming healthier and that ensuring people exercise would be more effective at tackling obesity.
• PPHE Hotels announces that it has refinanced the Park Plaza Victoria London, securing a new £87m facility. The loan will bear a fixed interest rate of 3.41% per annum. CEO Boris Ivesha reports ‘as previously announced, the Board is keen to take advantage of current favourable market conditions and we are delighted to have secured the refinance of Park Plaza Victoria London.’ He adds ‘the new facility enables us to invest further in this well-established and well-performing hotel and our experienced management will continue on optimising its performance, growing its market share and delivering great customer service.’
• Monarch has denied it is for sale despite reports that owners Greybull Capital are looking for a buyer.
• Belgium’s Brussels Airways has put airport shutdown costs at as much as €5m a day in the wake of last week’s attacks. Brussels airport began trying out on Tuesday a make-shift check-in area that could allow a limited restart of passenger flights. Belgium’s regional airports in Antwerp and Liege offer only limited short-haul capacity as an alternative.
FINANCE & MARKETS:
• Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen has said the Fed should ‘proceed cautiously’ before raising interest rates amid global headwinds.
• The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee warns that the outlook for financial stability has deteriorated since November. The ‘most significant’ domestic risks to financial stability are related to the UK’s membership of the EU, which could contribute to a period of ‘heightened and prolonged uncertainty.’
• Buy-to-let landlords should face new limits on the amount they can borrow, according to the BoE, which wants to reduce renting to landlords by 20% in the next three years.
• UK markets broadly unchanged yesterday. Europe up, US better and Far East up in Weds trade
• Oil down a little at around $39.40 per barrel
Retail Roundup from Nick Bubb:
Easter Watch: The High Street footfall figures for the long weekend from Springboard were weak, with the stormy weather getting the blame, although Online trading was said to be strong. Interestingly, the BDO High Street Sales Tracker for w/e Sunday March 27th reported that their Online sales were only 2% up, whilst a 4.8% hit to Store LFL Fashion sales pulled overall Store LFL sales down by 1.5% (despite good Homewares and Lifestyle sales). The John Lewis sales figures for last week, w/e March 26th, should be out this morning and are likely to make brighter reading, given the weighting of Electricals sales in their mix and good Online momentum, but we will need to see the early Easter distortions drop out of the comps to judge the real trends.
Next Share Buyback Watch: We flagged yesterday that after the shock 15% plunge in the Next share price on Thursday, it would be interesting to see whether the share price rallied after the long Easter break and whether Next had the courage to go back into the market to buy their own shares. Well, the indomitable “Mr Share Buyback Man”, refreshed after the long weekend, did his best to stop the rot, picking up a short £5m worth of stock (c88,500 shares at an average price of £56.42), but the bears still won the day, with the shares drifting off by 0.4% to 5635p, despite a rally in the rest of the sector…
Today’s Press and News: After the long Easter weekend, news was a bit thin on the ground yesterday, with the only real Retail story the news that Sports Direct has, bizarrely, upped its stake in the Findel home shopping business to just under 30% (even though the Kitbag football shirt business has been sold…), as highlighted by the FT, although there have been a few snippets about the improved results from the Foyles bookshop chain. The main headlines today are about the likely closure of the Port Talbot steelworks…
News Flow This Week: The big two events coming up on the horizon are the Marks & Spencer Q4 update next week on April 7th and the Tesco finals on April 13th, but this week is very quiet, after Easter, with just the monthly GFK Consumer Confidence survey tomorrow morning to look forward to. Nick Bubb – firstname.lastname@example.org