We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk

Business Analysis & Features

The Week Ahead: Cranswick fattens as pigs start to pay


Even a strict vegetarian couldn't argue with the succulent balance sheet at the pork producer Cranswick. The group has been spending money on expansion but has kept a close check on its cash, and analysts think its full-year results today will be appetising reading. Nicola Mallard at Investec rates it a buy with a 1,180p price target, and says it "looks set to maintain its impressive long-term growth record with a solid set of results". It has returned to the pig-rearing industry after snapping up East Anglian Pigs this year ,which has strengthened the supply chain. Ms Mallard says that "despite the rearing industry challenges" the business has been consistently profitable and "should be accretive to earnings" this year. She is predicting profit before tax of £48.3m, around 7.5 per cent higher than last year's.

Results/Updates: Afren, BTG, Cranswick, E2V Technologies, ITE, Mitie.


Burberry's results may end up being all about the make-up rather than the clothes and handbags. The luxury goods retailer is expected to report second-half earnings of £243m, leading to a 2013 full-year profit of £415m. But there is a difference of opinion among analysts as to the profitability of bringing its beauty and fragrance business in-house, with the consensus figure for 2014 full-year operating profit guidance at £25m while UBS's Fred Speirs expects just £14m. Burberry is likely to update on the progress and growth prospects for the beauty business but for now, Mr Speirs rates the British brand neutral with a 1,350p price target ahead of the results.

Results/Updates: Bloomsbury Publishing, Burberry, Big Yellow, Darty, Greencore, GW Pharmaceuticals, Hibu, Homeserve, Marks & Spencer, Paragon, Telecom Plus, Vectura, Vertu Motors, Vodafone, Zytronic.


Just like the tonic water it sells, Britvic's results on Wednesday are expected to be mixed. The bad weather across its markets, but specifically in the UK, will have affected its ability to maintain market share, and Canaccord Genuity's experts think UK sales could be down by mid-single digits. The outcome of the proposed merger with AG Barr is still uncertain and Canaccord expects the Competition Commission to make its judgement on the deal by the end of May or early June. Canaccord forecast sales to be marginally ahead of last year's £641m, but lower marketing costs and better gross margins should see profit before tax up around 16 per cent to £29.5m. They rate the stock a hold with a 380p price target.

Results/Updates: Britvic, Cable & Wireless, FirstGroup, Future, Great Portland Estates, Hogg Robinson, Intermediate Capital, Shaftesbury, SSE, Innovation, UK Mail.


From fizzy pop to beer – it is SABMiller's turn on Thursday to update the market on its full-year results. The world's second-largest brewer has a tough battle to turn around its Australian Foster's acquisition as its beer volumes sink. It is also managing a joint venture deal with Efes in Russia/Ukraine and it has to contend with a tough outlook for Europe. Analysts at Liberum Capital, who have been bearish on the brewer for some time, rate the group a sell as the "premium to peers" is not justified by the company's operating performance. Earnings for the second half are expected at $3.3bn (£2.2bn).

Results/Updates: Aveva, Booker, Dairy Crest, Daily Mail and General Trust, Electrocomponents, F&C Capital Income Investment Trust, Halfords, Keller, Investec, Local Shopping REIT, Mitchells & Butlers, Mothercare, Paypoint, Pennon, Quintain, Qinetiq, SABMiller, Smiths, United Utilities, Young's & Co, Wentworth Resources.


Suits you sir, scribblers at WH Ireland reckon. The suits supplier Moss Bros is an "interesting turnaround play", WH Ireland's brokers believe. It has a strong cash position and its store refurbishment programme has been going well. There is still a chance it will return cash to shareholders and WH Ireland rates it a buy with an 85p price target.

Results/Updates: Close Brothers, Moss Bros.

Economics Diary


Office for National Statistics house prices, inflation figures including the consumer price index, retail price index, UK producer prices


Minutes from last Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee meeting, Public finance data including public sector net borrowing requirement, CBI Industrial Trends survey. US Fed minutes


GDP figures for first quarter (second estimate), retail sales, US flash manufacturing purchasing managers' index, US new home sales survey and US unemployment claims data


British Bankers' Association mortgage approvals, US unemployment claims, US housing starts and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, US durable goods orders.