Langton Capital – 2016-04-25 – McDonald’s, buy-backs, Giraffe, Thomas Cook & other:
A Day in the Life:
So have you ever tried to empty out and clean the cupboard under the stairs and found, some 3hrs to 4hrs later, that you’re outside, surround by junk and memorabilia from the kids’ childhoods when it starts to drizzle?
Because such is life.
You try to do a job, you try to do it right and, just as you’re making a progress – well perhaps sitting in a deckchair with a coffee reading some of you children’s homework from 15yrs ago or you’re looking at old photos – and it starts to rain on you.
Not to say that life starts to pee on you from a great height and yes, worse things have happened – it could be Monday morning, for example – but, nonetheless, you end up shovelling everything back in a heap into a dark cupboard again with a mental note to have a look at it when HM the Queen turns one hundred. On to the news:
PUB, RESTAURANT & DRINKS PRODUCER NEWS:
• McDonald’s Q1. Reports global LfL sales +6.2% ‘which benefited from one additional day due to leap year’
• McDonald’s Q1: Revenues down 1% in reported currency but up 3% in constant currency terms. CEO Steve Easterbrook reports ‘McDonald’s brand and business is built on offering delicious food and beverages through unmatched convenience and compelling value.’ Mr Easterbrook continues ‘the turnaround plan we announced last year is grounded in enhancing these critical customer-driven elements, and I’m pleased to report that our turnaround is taking hold. The ongoing investments we’re making in running great restaurants and delivering what matters most to our customers are beginning to yield sustained positive results. For the quarter, we generated higher sales, revenues and operating income in constant currencies across all business segments.’
• McDonald’s Q1: Operating income +28% (+33% in constant currency terms). Says ‘partly due to comparison against the prior year’s strategic charges of $195 million’.
• McDonald’s Q1: Diluted EPS 123c (+45% on last year and up 51% in constant currency terms)
• McDonald’s says sales growth ‘fuelled by the ongoing popularity of All Day Breakfast and the introduction of McPick, a branded national value platform.’ Group says ‘looking ahead, the U.S. business remains focused on finalizing its long-term value platform, investing in core menu enhancements and simplifying restaurant operations to deliver an outstanding customer experience.’
• McDonald’s Q1: Numbers ‘led by strong performance in the U.K., Australia & Canada’. This because a ‘strong execution of core menu, compelling value and convenience strategies continued to resonate with consumers.’ CEO Easterbrook reports ‘while there is still work to be done, we are on the right path to make even greater progress. I am confident that our continued efforts will deliver meaningful long-term value for all stakeholders into the future.’
• Enterprise Inns Friday bought back another c99k of its own shares. JDW bought back 90,502 at an average price of c690p
• Zizzi has joined a growing list of restaurants in cutting staff perks and benefits as a result of the higher minimum wage.
• BHS is expected to go into administration and could put nearly 8,000 jobs at risk.
• Casual Dining Group is set to compete with Luke Johnson in its bid to buy Tesco-owned restaurant chain Giraffe. Tesco bought Giraffe for £48.6m from Luke Johnson three years ago but the restaurants lost more than £4m in the year to March 2015.
• The Local Government Association is urging restaurants to provide water for customers before being asked, in order to help fight childhood obesity.
• Shawa and Comptoir Libanais operator The Levant Restaurants Group has appointed advisors as it contemplates an IPO, writes MCA. Cenkos Securities are advising the firm, which was established in 2008 by Tony Kitous and is thought to be looking to raise c£12m from the move in order to fund its expansion. The Kayes are rumoured to have agreed to subscribe to c10% of the group’s shares should the listing go ahead.
• BrewDog has raised £19m through its fourth Equity for Punks round, although the figure falls short of its £25m target. The money will go towards expanding its chain of craft beer bars, funding the brewer’s expansion into America, and growing its new Lone Wolf craft spirit range. Co-founder James Watts elaborated: ‘We’ll be ploughing the money raised into expansion across the Atlantic and pioneering new projects here in the UK. We can’t wait to launch Lone Wolf and our sour facility in Ellon, and we have some mega new cathedrals of craft on the way. Our shareholders are the absolute beating heart of our business, launching Equity for Punks was the best decision we ever made. We’ve turned more than 42,000 people into passionate brand ambassadors, and raised enough money to keep the momentum of the craft uprising going in the process. It’s a
• US burger brand Shake Shack has secured a site near Leicester Square, adding to its four existing UK sites in London and Cardiff. Speaking to MCA, CEO Randy Garutti said the group’s UK roll-out will continue ‘at a steady pace’ going forwards.
• Coca-Cola Great Britain (CCGB) has introduced a new sugar-free Coca-Cola called ‘Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’, which will be replace Coca-Cola Zero in stores this summer. The launch is being supported by a £10m multimedia marketing campaign — CCGB’s largest marketing investment in a new product in a decade.
• Amber Taverns has released results for the full year to 31 January 2016, during which turnover rose 21.3% and unit EBITDA grew 24%. The group opened 19 sites and closed one over the year, bringing its estate to 112 trading sites and eight which are undergoing refurbishment. A renegotiation of its credit facility will allow the group to accelerate its growth plans by facilitating further acquisitions.
• The Sunday Times reports that Thomas Cook is considering selling off its Condor airline subsidiary. Lufthansa said to be in on the action
• ONS data indicates that Britain could be set for another impressive year for tourism numbers after a record-breaking February. Spending in the month rose 8% year-on-year to £1.08bn as some 2.25 million people visited the UK, with business trips increasing 12% to an all-time high of 750,000.
• The US hotel industry saw occupancy fall 0.5% to 60.7% in the first quarter of 2016, although a 3.5% increase in average daily rate to $120.92 helped drive RevPAR up 2.7%. Industry supply outpaced demand (+1.5% vs. +1%) for the first time since Q4 of 2009, suggesting that organic growth in the hotel sector might be getting harder to come by.
• Alton Towers owner Merlin has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations over The Smiler accident that left five people seriously injured.
• Private equity firms Apax Partners, Apollo Global Management, Bain Capital, TPG Capital, and Warburg Pincus are all thought to have entered the first round of bidding for Yahoo’s core business. Other suitors include Verizon, Japanese internet services provider Rakuten, and Yellow Pages owner YP.
FINANCE & MARKETS:
• European Central Bank Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny has said the euro-zone needs negative interest rates if it is to avoid sliding into deflation.
• The Bank of England could reduce interest rates below zero, according to Gertjan Vlieghe, although his view remains the minority.
• Eurozone finance ministers have made progress in talks about the bailout programme for Greece, although further work is still needed. The ministers are hopeful that an agreement can be reached in the next few days and are ready to call an extraordinary meeting.
• House prices rose sharply in Q1 in a number of buy-to-let cities reports Hometrack. Given the rationale for buying, prices may edge back in Q2
• World markets: UK & Europe down Friday but US higher. Far East mostly down in Monday trade
• Oil price off a little over the weekend. Now trading around $44.65 per barrel
• Eurozone preliminary report for manufacturing shows drop to 51.5 in April from 51.6 in March