Wednesday to bring news from house builders as Bellway reports interims

Big tobacco will also be making an appearance in the form of a trading update from Imperial Brands

House builder
The mid-cap housebuilder is expecting first-half revenue to rise to almost £1.5bn

As Brexit uncertainties have been taken their toll on the UK economy and consumer sentiment, the housing market has pretty much stagnated, although builders of new homes have continued to put in solid performance helped by a demand squeeze and government incentives for first-time buyers.

In a trading update last month, Bellway PLC (LON:BWY) said it had started the second half in a solid position but remained “cautious given the uncertainty regarding the UK’s forthcoming exit from the EU and the extent to which this will affect wider customer confidence”.

The mid-cap housebuilder, which posts its interim results on Wednesday, said then that it expects first-half revenue to rise to almost £1.5bn, up from £1.3bn last year after completing 5% more homes and achieving a 6.5% increase in the average selling price.

For the first half, UBS expects Bellway to report an operating profit of £320mln at a margin of 21.6%, down 60 basis points, along with pre-tax profit of £316mln and an interim dividend of 50p.

“We expect sales rates to have remained robust from the trading update in Feb-18 when weekly reservations were up by 3%,” the Swiss bank said.

With some of the first-half numbers already known, investors will be looking out for Bellway’s guidance for the full year.

Regulation impact, next gen products key for Imperial Brands

These are interesting times for the tobacco sector with efforts by the industry to move towards next generation products such as e-cigarettes facing extra regulation and restrictions in the US from the FDA.

In a second-quarter trading update, due on Wednesday, investors in Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB) investors will be looking for more details on the expected impact of the proposed changes, even though many do not come into force for two years.

The market will also be interested in any update on expected revenues from the FTSE 100-listed firm’s next generation smoking products, previously given as £250mln-£1.5bn by 2020.
A further 10% rise in the all-important dividend is also pencilled in for this year.

Churchill China fired up ahead of finals

Stoke-on-Trent pottery maker Churchill China PLC (LON:CHH) is likely to have some energy when it releases its finals on Wednesday after upgrading its performance forecasts on the back of a strong finish to 2018.

In early January, the firm said its operating performance for the year would be ahead of market estimates thanks to strong revenue growth in its export markets and an improved second-half performance for its UK segment.

Significant announcements expected for Wednesday March 27:

Trading updates: Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB)

Interims: Bellway PLC (LON:BWY)

Finals: Churchill China PLC (LON:CHH), Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP), Hilton Food Group PLC (LON:HFG), Inspired Energy plc (LON:INSE), M&C Saatchi Plc (LON:SAA), RHI Magnesita NV (LON:RHIM), Summitt Therapeutics PLC (LON:SUMM)

Economic data: CBI monthly distributive trades survey; US balance of trade

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