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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness