The Week Ahead: Carphone struggles with broadband demand

It has now been a month since Charles Dunstone put the cat among the pigeons by offering a "free" broadband service to anyone willing to sign up to Carphone Warehouse's "TalkTalk" service. Since then, anecdotal evidence suggests that it has not all been plain sailing, with potential customers reporting technical difficulties in signing up and insufficient numbers of trained staff unable to cope with demand.

That in itself is perhaps not a bad sign, and Carphone Warehouse clearly has some first mover advantage. However, competition for home broadband delivery is likely to get very hot. BSkyB is poised to enter the market this year, France Telecom's Orange announced its own offering last Thursday and BT Group is continuing to perform better than most industry observers expected.

Consensus forecasts from analysts suggest Carphone Warehouse will report pre-tax profits in the region of £135m after recent guidance issued by the company. However, the real news is going to be how the free broadband offering is progressing. The broker Williams de Broë believes there could be some nasty shocks for investors and has a "sell" recommendation on the shares. It points to slowing retail sales and heavy reliance on BT Group unbundling of the local loop.

TODAY: Providing high-end information technology to the US government, among others, may not put consultancy group Detica high on many ethical investors' buy lists, but that has not stopped the company's share price from going through the roof in the past three-and-a-half years. Consensus forecasts are for pre-tax profits of £10.9m, putting the shares on a racy 35.8 times forward earnings. The company will need to avoid any shocks if it is to justify that sort of rating.

Results: Full year - Chloride Group; Detica Group; E2V Technologies; Glotel, Uniq. First half - Sumus.

TOMORROW: Telecom Plus has given its shareholders a roller-coaster ride over the past five years. The stock performed miracles during the market downturn, peaking at more than 400p per share in early 2004. Since then, there has been one piece of bad news after another and the shares now languish at less than 25 per cent of their highest value, during a period when the broader market has rallied strongly.

Some traders believe that the bad news is not over, and there are believed to be plenty of short sellers in the market. Analysts expect a pre-tax loss of a little less than £1m.

Expect to see good results from the property group Helical Bar, in line with the rest of the sector. Most of its larger rivals have already reported strong growth in net asset value, and most are preparing to convert to Real Estate Investment Trust status.

It would be a shock if Helical Bar did not follow suit on both counts, but having seen the conversion costs Slough Estates has estimated (£72m), some traders believe it may be uneconomical for smaller property stocks to convert.

Results: Full year - Carphone Warehouse; Christian Salvesen; Focus Solutions; Hampson Industries; Helical Bar; Intelek; Intermediate Capital; RPC Group; Severn Trent; Synergy Healthcare; Telecom Plus; Volex Group. First half - Dawson Holdings; Future; Victrex.

WEDNESDAY: Northumbrian Water follows closely on Severn Trent's heels, but the shares look to be up with events, having more than doubled in the last three years. The Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan, one of the world's biggest private equity investors, owns 25 per cent of the company, which has given investors hope that Northumbrian might become a bid target. But with the shares trading on an expensive forward multiple of 14.7 times prospective earnings, any bidder would be looking at a significant premium for a regulated utility business. Consensus forecasts are for pre-tax profits of £103m.

Results: Full year - Chapel-thorpe; Danka Business Solutions; GB Group; Genus; Northumbrian Water; Protherics. First half - Gooch & Housego; Theratese.

THURSDAY: Shares in the engineering group FKI have been boosted in recent sessions by rumours that management is poised to make an offer to take the company private. Long-term performance of the stock has been poor, but a recent trading statement confirmed that results would be in line with expectations. Analysts are looking for pre-tax profits of about £74.2m, but with £500m of long term debt already on the balance sheet a leveraged buyout looks like a long shot.

Results: Full year - FKI Group; Halfords Group; Indago Petroleum; Intechnology; Scapa Group; VP; Wagon; Whitehead Mann; Wincanton.

FRIDAY: Results: Full year - Fuller Smith & Turner; Internet Business; Signet Group.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power