Langton Capital – 2016-05-25 – GNK Tracker, Sportech, Thomas Cook, EasyHotel & other:
A Day in the Life:
So looking at the calendar I’m left wondering where did May go?
Because, whilst it’s one of my favourite months of the year, the blossom’s out, everything’s fresh and there’s the first hint of summer, it’s also almost over and it feels as though it’s only just begun.
A sign of age, perhaps but, with the football due to start next month, then the tennis and then the Olympics, it’s not as though there aren’t a few things to look forward to.
Anyway, a bit of an admin point. Whilst it’s not sensible to ask people to put their hand up if they’re not here, just a word on un-subscription because, good system though our automated emailer is, it automatically un-subscribes people from time to time and marks them down as wilfully not wanting to receive the email.
And that’s fine, when it represents the recipients’ views but, as the thing unsubscribed me from my own email last week, it’s clear that this can sometimes happen for the wrong (or no) reason. Hence, if you don’t hear from us for a couple of weeks, please drop me a line. You may be wondering where your email is and I may be wondering why you unsubscribed. On to the news:
RECENT WEBSITE ARTICLES:
• Market getting tougher? See here
• Main features London hotels, slowing markets, Restaurant Group etc. Link to index page – here
• Ongoing tweets found – here
PUB, RESTAURANT & DRINKS PRODUCER NEWS:
• GNK reports ‘Year-on-year, spend on Drinking Out is unchanged [in April].’ It suggests that underlying spend strong.
• GNK: Says that ‘over 1/3 of British football fans intend to watch at least one game of the European Championships in a pub this summer’. Says ‘this trend is driven by young fans between the ages of 18 and 24, with 60% of them planning to cheer on their team from a sociable and communal pub setting during the tournament.’ GNK adds ‘this month’s tracker also demonstrates that the value of the pub as a sports venue is based on the great atmosphere that it offers. Over a third of all respondents answered that the atmosphere in the pub was important – more than the pub’s location, the quality of the viewing and even the availability, variety and cost of the food and drinks on offer.’
• Fiona Gunn, Greene King group marketing director reports ‘with such a large proportion of the British population planning to enjoy games in a pub alongside friends, family or colleagues, it is clear that it remains a well-established social venue for Brits. The importance of the pub’s atmosphere highlights that the character of the pub remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds when deciding where they will watch the upcoming games.’ Timings are relatively helpful with the England Wales game, for example, is to be held at 2pm on Thursday, 16 June.
• AB InBev has welcomed the European Commission’s approval in Phase 1 of its merger review process regarding AB and SABMiller. So far, AB InBev has proposed the sale of the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime and their associated businesses in Italy, the Netherlands, UK and internationally (excluding certain US rights) to Asahi, whom the European Commission today approved as a suitable purchaser. SABMiller’s businesses in Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) are also being put up for sale.
• Smashburger has a pipeline of at least five UK sites in Brighton, Glasgow, Bath, Milton Keynes, and the West Midlands. The burger chain aims to open 35 sites in the next few years.
• Enterprise yesterday bought back another 102k shares at c97p
• Premier Foods has announced that it has purchased the 51% of Knighton Foods that it did not already own
• The majority of UK GPs disagree with the UK chief medical officer’s statement that there is ‘no safe level of alcohol consumption’, according to a survey by Camra. Some 60% of the 1,006 doctors asked either ‘somewhat’ or ‘strongly’ disagree with the notion, while 63% added that moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Others are left baffled by the suggestion that the limits should be the same for men (whose calorie, oxygen intake etc. is greater than that for women) should be the same as for women,
• Canadian coffee shop and dining chain, Second Cup, will add another five UK sites to its existing three by the end of Q3 2016. The group are opening on Putney High Street and in Harrow this month.
• Thomas Cook’s Hotels4U brand has launched its bid to reclaim £ millions in VAT from the HMRC. It could recoup the cash that has paid over in VAT over the 10yrs or so if its claim is successful. The claim hinges on the belief that Hotels4U could have been acting as an agent rather than a principal. A Hotels4U barrister comments ‘the majority of this case is very straightforward because it is materially identical to the facts considered by the Supreme Court in Secret Hotels’. If the judgement goes the same way, then more than £14m could be reclaimed.
• David Cameron has warned that leaving the EU would push family holiday costs up by hundreds of pounds, based on a Whitehall report assuming a 12% fall in sterling over two years. The Treasury says this would drive up the cost of accommodation, food, and drink, meaning an eight-night holiday for four people to Europe would rise by £230 while a 14-night stay for four people to the US would become £620 more expensive.
• Holidaymakers have been buying up travel money as they guard against any decline in the value of sterling following the EU referendum. The Post Office saw a 57% uplift in travel money sales last week, and a surge of 215% over the weekend.
• EasyHotel is expecting to add more than 1,000 rooms in the next two years and has upcoming sites in Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool. Permission has also been submitted for hotels in Barcelona and Ipswich, while franchise hotels are being developed in Brussels, Amsterdam and Dubai.
• Asia Pacific hotels reported a 2% rise in occupancy to 70.5% in April, with average daily rate rising 1.5% to $102.34 and revenue per available room up 3.6% to $72.13.
• GfK has reported a 32% drop in the number of British holidaymakers travelling to Turkey, meaning 186,000 travellers are choosing alternative destinations like Spain.
• The Tunisian ambassador to the UK is urging the FCO to relax its travel advice concerning the country. UK tour operators stopped all package holidays to Tunisia last July following the deaths of 31 British citizens in two terrorist attacks.
• CBPE Capital has acquired LGV Capital’s Beverley-based caravan manufacturer ABI.
• Sportech has reported that the HMRC has been refused permission to appeal against the latest ruling (in Sportech’s favour) re VAT reclaim. The group says ‘HMRC now has the option of applying directly to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal and has until 17th June 2016 to make such application.’ It concludes ‘the Group will provide shareholders with any further updates in due course.’
FINANCE & MARKETS:
• The number of Federal Reserve banks pushing the central bank to increase rates on emergency loans rose from two to four in April. The Kansas City and Richmond Federal Reserve banks renewed calls for an increase in the Fed’s lending rate for banks ahead of the central bank’s last policy meeting, and were joined by Cleveland and San Francisco.
• Bank of England governor Mark Carney has defended his comments on the EU referendum debate during the Treasury select committee.
• Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to extend further bailout loans to Greece
• The IFS has said that a Brexit could extend austerity by 2yrs
• The Office for National Statistics said borrowing in April exceeded expectations, coming in at £7.2bn versus forecasts of £6.6bn.
• The number of UK properties sold tumbled 45% between March and April as stamp duty changes came into effect, according to HMRC figures.
• World markets: UK up yesterday & Europe also stronger. US markets up and markets in the Far East up in Weds trade
• Oil breaks through $49 again (third time or so) to trade at around $49.20 per barrel.
Retail Roundup from Nick Bubb:
Marks & Spencer:
News Flow This Week: Tomorrow brings the B&M finals, the Pets At Home finals and the Inchcape Q1 sales update, plus first dealings in the Joules IPO. Nick Bubb – firstname.lastname@example.org
Yester-tweet – Yesterday in a Nutshell: Live Tweets on Website:
Some of yesterday’s tweets:
• Stock Spirits’ shareholders have voted in favour of Western Gate’s proposed new board members, Alberto da Ponte and Randy Pankevicz.
• Here’s something to think about, the market cap of Just Eat is £3.0bn. Forecast revenues this year? £350m.
• London 24hr tube to commence on Central & Victoria lines from 19 Aug. On Piccadilly, Jubilee & Northern lines in the autumn
• ICEAW survey suggests ‘confidence in Service sector and Construction has fallen sharply this quarter into line with the Production sector.’
• Debit cards will overtake cash as the UK’s predominant payment method in five years’ time, according to trade body Payments UK
• EasyHotel reports H1 numbers to end-March. Says system sales +10.4% at £9.66m, total revenues £2.59m (+11.6%).
• EasyHotel says H1 revenues ‘slightly ahead of Board expectations’. Sees ‘like-for-like revenue for owned hotels increased by 8.0%’
• China has become one of UK’s top 10 most valuable inbound markets according to new figures that show 2015 visitor numbers +46%
• IMF reports that Greece’s financial targets are unrealistically high, should be revised down. Not clear what the Germans think about that
• New London mayor Sadiq Khan is said to be backing away from his 50% affordable housing pledge. Moody’s had said it was credit negative
• Evolution unstoppable, debit cards ‘soon to be more important than cash.’ They are already in many demographics
• ICAEW says business confidence down in Q1. Consistent with comments elsewhere. Sooner the Brexit vote is over the better.
• China ‘now in top 10 for inbound UK visitors’. So it should be but, at 46% growth, it’ll move up the rankings quickly.
• Strong inbound Chinese tourist numbers should benefit Thomas Cook given its JV with Fosun. Will be operation later this year
• Strong China inbound. Yet MERL still saying London tough. Maybe crowds veering away from some traditional hotspots? Or just not spending?