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EasyJet aims for steady landing, Melrose looking to improve

Storage company Big Yellow is also releasing half-year results, with analysts wondering if reduced activity around the Brexit date will have knocked the company again

easyJet plc -

Later in the evening, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will go head-to-head in the ITV party leaders debate, but in the early hours investors will be debating the merits of a smattering of company announcements.

Budget airline easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ) was confident its full-year profit will land at the higher end of its guidance when it put out a trading update last month.

With costs rising 12% on last year, the FTSE 250-listed firm's annual profit before tax is expected to touch down between £420mln and £430mln.

That would represent a 25%-27% decline from the £578mln PBT a year ago but in the upper half of the £400mln-£440mln target issued by the airline's management, above the £417mln analyst consensus.

Investors will mostly be looking for an update on the 2020 outlook, which was missing from the group's last update.

There will also be interest in any progress in the airline’s “self-help initiatives” to help offset rising costs, as well as any more detail on the 18 new airport slots the company purchased earlier this month that were left vacant by the collapse of Thomas Cook.

Melrose making tracks

Meanwhile, Melrose Industries PLC (LON:MRO) will provide an update on their latest and biggest ever project, the turnaround of engineer GKN after gaining control via a hostile takeover a year and a half ago.

In the first half of 2019 GKN’s three main divisions were said to be on track to meet targets, with adjusted and statutory revenues both doubling.

Referring to the group's 'buy, improve, sell' maxim, Melrose chairman Justin Dowley said the results showed “the initial fruits of the 'improve' stage of Melrose's ownership”.

The Aerospace arm was accelerating in the first six months of the year, with organic revenue growth of 7%, which offset headwinds affecting the automotive sector and thus also dragging the group's Driveline business’s revenue down 7%.

Although broker Peel Hunt said quarterly updates are traditionally low key affairs for the company, market sentiment is being driven higher by the "very robust" auto profit margin of 7.6% despite the revenue decline of 7% and the better than expected strength of the balance sheet, where 2.3x leverage at the half year.

"If these trends have continued through Q3, then the stock can kick on...The catalyst for the next stage of the re-rating is a disposal, which would take the leverage debate off the table and generate a cash return to investors."

Big Yellow surprise?

Peel Hunt also took a look at Big Yellow Group PLC (LON:BYG), with the share price performance of the self-storage operators continuing unabated around 30% this year.

“Big Yellow experienced a period of reduced activity around the last Brexit date and it will interesting to see whether the same occurred in the run up to 31 October,” the broker said.

Peel analysts think forward-looking returns are slowing and yet still the storage companies trade on “the highest respective P/E multiples we've seen for a number of years”.

With half-year results due on Tuesday, the analysts said the first-quarter trading showed revenue broadly in line with forecasts “and we aren't expecting any surprises”.

Tuesday 19 November

Finals: easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ)

InterimsAO World PLC (LON:AO.), Big Yellow Group PLC (LON:BYG), CML Microsystems Plc (LON:CML), Halma PLC (LON:HLMA), Homeserve PLC (LON:HSV), Palace Capital (LON:PCA), Scapa Group PLC (LON:SCPA), SRT Marine Systems PLC (LON:SRT), Telecom Plus PLC (LON:TEP), Trifast PLC (LON:TRI)

Trading statements: Melrose Industries PLC (LON:MRO), Equiniti Group PLC (LON:EQN), Keller Group PLC (LON:KLR), Polypipe Group PLC (LON:PLP)

Economic announcements: US housing data 

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