The Week Ahead: Bwin.party investors in no mood to celebrate

The August bank holiday means it is a shortened week for the City, with Bwin.party among the companies updating the market as it releases its first interim results on Wednesday since the completion of the merger between PartyGaming and Austria's Bwin in March.

Judging by its share price, the tie-up has hardly been welcomed by investors – the online gaming group has dropped by nearly 50 per cent since then. However, UBS believes the update could see it move even lower and the broker's analyst Simon Whittington is predicting a "lacklustre" set of figures.

Bwin.party received a boost in June from the news that one of its biggest rivals, Full Tilt Poker, had had its license suspended, but Mr Whittington – who is expecting total revenues for the first-half of the year of €425m (£375m) – says that although it will have picked up a "significant" amount of users as a result, "the cost of these players is likely to be high".

He instead believes the benefit will be seen over the rest of the year, when the analyst says the synergies from the merger will also begin to show. He predicts, therefore, that the company's "profits should be more second-half weighted than usual".

Panmure Gordon's analysts are slightly more bearish, expecting revenue for the period of €410m, but they still feel its stock deserves a "buy" rating, saying the upcoming €75m share buyback programme – announced back in June – "should act as a positive catalyst for the shares".



Today

Bovis Homes issued a trading update last month, in which it revealed it was on track to meet its targets for the year, so its interim results today are unlikely to contain many surprises. With Deutsche Bank's Glynis Johnson saying all the important figures have already been announced, the analyst will instead be focusing on comments regarding its recent trading as well as how it sees the state of the housing market in 2012. "The contribution of new land to future earnings momentum and to Bovis's ambition for its 100 active sites in 2013 ... should also be a key area of questioning," she adds.

Results/Updates: Afren, Bovis Homes, Computacenter, Lamprell, Perform and Regus.



Tomorrow

Bunzl announces its first-half figures on Wednesday, with JP Morgan Cazenove noting that "typically the stock rallies on the back of reassuring results ... and can then drift in between due to the lack of newsflow".

The broker feels the company's operations in the UK and Ireland hold the greatest risk of disappointing, citing "ongoing sluggish GDP data", but says there is certainly some possibility for its units elsewhere to offset this.

Results/Updates: Bunzl, Bwin.party and JKX Oil & Gas.



Thursday

It has been only a month since Spirit made its debut on the markets after being spun out of Punch Taverns, and today is its first opportunity to update the market as an independent. Spirit consists of Punch's managed pubs as well as more than 500 of its better-performing leased sites – the aim is to turn around 100 of the latter into the former, so any comments on this in its pre-close trading update will be interesting.

As for Spirit's full-year numbers, Shore Capital is expecting a £7m rise in profit-before-tax to £48m, noting that the group already revealed a 5.7 per cent increase in like-for-like sales over the 40 weeks up until the end of May.

Intriguingly, Punch – which has been relegated to the small-cap index – announces its full-year trading update on the same day, prompting some comparisons between the two.

Elsewhere in the leisure sector, Thursday also sees the Restaurant Group unveil its first-half figures. Numis Securities' Douglas Jack is expecting profit-before-tax for the period to climb 4 per cent to £25.4m, saying the company – whose brands include Frankie & Benny's – will have benefited from both a recovery in cinema attendance and a large increase in London airport footfall.

Another updating the market is Go-Ahead with its full-year results. In its pre-close update in June the transport company said it expected to beat expectations with its operating profit for the 12 months. Panmure Gordon's James Cooke believes profits from its bus operations to have increased by more than 10 per cent, while its rail unit will see an even larger jump of 20 per cent. The analyst warns, however, that the outlook statement is likely to be wary "to reflect the uncertain medium-term economic outlook."

Results/Updates: Go-Ahead, Hays, Punch Taverns, Spirit Pub Company and The Restaurant Group.



Friday

Results/Updates: No major companies due to report.

Economics Diary

Today

UK: no significant data due;

Minutes of US Federal Open Market Committee for the Augustdeliberations.



Tomorrow

UK: GfK consumer confidence barometer; US Chicago purchasing managers' index; US crude oil inventories; US factory orders.



Thursday

UK: Manufacturing purchasing managers' index for August; US ISM manufacturing purchasing managers' index; US monthly unemployment claims.



Friday

UK: Construction purchasing managers' index for August; US monthly non-farm payrolls data.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)