The Week Ahead: InterConti and M&C put on variety show


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The Independent Online


Announcing a key update after the market has closed isn't the best way to win fans in the City. The Siberian oil explorer Ruspetro did just that in January.

Today, investors were supposed to be voting at its EGM to approve its bond issue. But the oil group had to pull the planned $350m (£225m) issue and has postponed the sale. The money was supposed to pay back a loan from Sberbank, and a loan from shareholder Limolines Transport was going to be converted into new shares. The small-cap explorer, which counts Vladimir Putin's ex-deputy chief of staff Kirill Androsov and the chairman of Oleg Deripaska's EuroSibEnergo, Andrey Likhachev, as backers who own just less than 30 per cent, said it will "consider recommencing the offering at a later date".

Shareholders are worried about the refinancing issue, as are analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who reduced their outlook. They still rate the stock a buy with a 136p price target but say the "production delivery is crucial to any potential refinancing". Investors and analysts will have to wait until March 18 for its 2012 results.

Results/Updates: Sareum Holdings, LHR Airports, Pinnacle Technologies.


The City will be checking in on hotel companies this week. Today it is InterContinental Hotels results, with Millennium & Copthorne on Friday. Liberum Capital's scribblers think the sale of InterContinental's New York Barclay and London Park Lane hotels will bring in $830m this year. The sale of the Big Apple asset has been a little slow but London's chances are better and Liberum thinks that now it has returned $9.5bn to shareholders since 2003, these hotel sales could trigger further share buybacks in the second half this year. They rate the hotel giant a buy and reckon the stock is cheaper compared to US rivals.

Results/Updates: AZ Electronic Materials, Brammer, Drax, InterContinental Hotels.


Poor old builders' merchant Travis Perkins has been ignored by the market, Liberum's Charlie Campbell reckons. Mr Campbell likes its de-geared balance sheet, its new finance director Tony Buffin and the fact the housing market looks like it has picked up. He rates the shares 1,280p, and says full recovery could take the shares to 1,800p. He reckons it will "benefit from recovering UK housing transactions" and its update on Wednesday to show signs of the beginning of this recovery.

Results/Updates: BHP Billiton, Centaur Media, Galliford Try, Mucklow, Rathbone Brothers, Rexam, RSA Insurance, Spectris, STV, Travis Perkins.


Sports Direct's Mike Ashley is one of those characters who always makes the headlines. He denied he is still in talks for a stake in department store House of Fraser but he is certainly still on the expansion trail to add to his house of brands that include Dunlop, Slazenger, Lonsdale and Firetrap. Ashley, pictured, is said to be looking at urban fashion brand Gio Goi. But on Thursday shareholders hope he has kept up the group's double-digit sales growth when the group updates on trading. Numis' Andrew Wade describes Sports Direct as the "clear market-leading operation", and the group is successfully expanding overseas. Its half-year earnings came in at £163m, so it is on track for the £270m full-year target and should meet its bonus scheme targets. But Mr Wade rates the stock a hold, with a price target of 380p, as it already trades on 17 times April 2014 earnings.

Results/Updates: Ashmore, BAE Systems, CSR, Filtrona, Go-Ahead Group, Informa, Kingfisher, Ladbrokes, Lancashire, Mondi, New World Resources, Premier Foods, RM, Sports Direct.


Analysts at Panmure Gordon think Millennium & Copthorne will report weak Singapore and London revenues, and rate the stock a sell with a target of 353p. Panmure thinks it will start the refurbishment of its London hotel estate with up to £80m spent on the Millennium Knightsbridge. But the challenging trading environment and weak pound will not have helped. Panmure forecasts 2012 pre-tax profit to come in at £151.6m.

Results/Updates: Millennium & Copthorne.