The Week Ahead: Rentokil's new chief set to make gloomy debut

Click to follow
The Independent Online

This dire performance - which has led to takeover speculation - is hardly Mr Flynn's fault as he has been at the helm of the group for just four months. But if he survives Gerry Robinson's expected approach, investors will want to see him implement some radical reforms at Rentokil.

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein is among those not expecting much from the latest figures or the accompanying statement. The German broker said last week: "Overall, we anticipate no real improvement in performance in recent months."

Dresdner also has a warning for potential bidders for Rentokil. It says cashflows at the group are too weak to be tempting and it does not believe that any significant disposals are on the horizon at the company either.

TODAY: Results: Full year - None. Interims - Keller Group.

TOMORROW: Results: Full year - None. Interims - Bodycote; Intec Telecom Systems; James Fisher & Sons; Persimmon; WIN.

WEDNESDAY: BHP Billiton is unique in having exposure to both the oil and gas industry and to mining. Given that prices for commodities such as iron ore and coking coal are soaring, and that the oil price is close to an all-time high, there is no doubt that BHP will post a very impressive set of full year results.

Williams de Broe expects to see net earnings jump to $6.2bn at the company from $3.5bn. Although BHP shares have soared 30 per cent since May, the broker believes they have much further to rise because they remain on a relatively conservative rating. Williams de Broe calculates that BHP stock trades at just 12 times next year's earnings.

Results: Full year - BHP Billiton; Brambles Industries. Interims - Fayrewood; Henderson Group; IQE.

THURSDAY: Can the success that Ulf Henriksson has had turning around Invensys's Process Systems division be replicated across the group? That is the main question facing shareholders at the engineering conglomerate presently.

Invensys's first quarter results should show some improvement in the company's overall performance. Cashflow will be boosted by the fact that the company does not have to make any major interest payments in the quarter. Meanwhile, given the generally healthy economic conditions, the group is tipped to report a rise in order intake. JP Morgan hopes to see Invensys deliver an operating profit of £32m for the quarter.

These are good times for Hilton Group and its interim results should reflect this. Although the terrorist attacks on London last month will have negatively affected profits at its hotels in the capital, the rest of its hotels should have had a good first half.

Things have also been going well at Ladbrokes. The fixed odds betting terminals at the bookmaker are now generating serious amounts of cash while its online poker offering is thought to be performing well in Europe.

Hilton is forecast to deliver a first half pre-tax profit of £197m, up from £190m a year earlier.

Corus issued a fairly detailed trading statement at its annual meeting in June so the steelmaker's interim results are unlikely to contain much to surprise investors. The market expects Corus to announce a pre-tax profit of £420m, up from £163m last year. Comments from management regarding the outlook for the second half of the year will be key to the performance of the shares in the wake of the figures.

Corus has promised to pay a modest interim dividend. Brokers expect a pay-out of around 0.5p a share.

Results: Full year - None. Interims - Corus; Invensys; Davis Service; Hilton Group; John Laing; Rentokil Initial; Rexam; Slough Estates.

FRIDAY: Last week, both Deutsche Bank and Cazenove were heard urging their clients to buy into WPP ahead of its interims. The duo are convinced that the group's growth credentials are very much intact and tipped the results statement to be an upbeat affair.

A recent trading statement from the advertising giant indicated that the group is on course to deliver underlying sales growth of 6 per cent for the first half. WPP is enjoying a particularly good time of it in emerging markets such as Latin America and Asia, although traditional markets such as the US are also doing well.

The City expects WPP to announce a rise of around 20 per cent in first half pre-tax profits to £282m.

Results: Full year - None. Interims - WPP.