Chez Gerard branches out: The Investment Column
The company, which floated in 1994, is undergoing a busy expansion phase which showed in half-year figures to December that disappointed the market with a small fall in pre-tax profits from pounds 1.35m to pounds 1.31m thanks to longer than expected, and more expensive than hoped for, refurbishment programmes at two restaurants. Earnings per share slipped from 5.2p to 5.1p, although the fall didn't prevent a rise in the well covered dividend from 0.9p to 1.0p.
The company warned at the last annual meeting that profits would be hit for about pounds 200,000 by the over-runs on the refurbishments. In fact the damage was closer to pounds 300,000, and the shares slipped 6p to 256.5p. Arguably it would have been possible to avoid putting 25 per cent of the chain effectively hors de combat for nearly half a year, but at least the sites are now up and running and the disruption is out of the way.
The rest of the business performed well in the half with like-for-like sales up more than 7 per cent as the capital's foodie boom continued. With 24 million visitors to London expected to spend pounds 7.5bn this year, a quarter of it on food, trading should remain strong.
Whether that justifies the premium rating the shares trade on is a moot point. On the basis of full-year profits of pounds 3.32m this year and just over pounds 4m next time, the shares stand on a prospective price/earnings ratio of 20, falling to 16. The shares have moved sideways for a year or so and that's unlikely to change.
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Mother of newborn Baby No 59 trapped in sewer pipe told Chinese police she 'heard crying' when she raised alarm
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
AirAsia QZ8501: Black box reveals warning alarms 'screamed' before crash, as more bodies recovered from near fuselage of jet
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...