The Week Ahead: Sir Stelios's shadow is still hanging over easyJet
Monday 15 November 2010
It was easyJet's 15th birthday last week, but when the budget airline releases its final results tomorrow, it will be its chief executive Carolyn McCall's plans for the future that investors will be focusing on. Ms McCall, who joined the company in July from Guardian Media Group, is set to outline the outcome of her strategic review.
One headache that has already been resolved is the recent row with easyJet's founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. At one point, it seemed as if the firm would have to change its iconic, if not particularly attractive, branding, but a deal has now been struck between the two parties.
Still, brokers remain cautious. "Even though Sir Stelios and easyJet now both promise 'mutuality of respect' following the recent resolution of the 'brand' dispute, differences between Sir Stelios and the board over dividend/growth strategy have yet to be resolved," said Numis's analyst Wyn Ellis. He added: "Sir Stelios... has been campaigning for zero-capacity growth and for dividend payments to commence. We do not believe that this is what institutional holders necessarily want, nor do we believe that it maximises shareholder value."
UBS's analyst Jarrod Castle is expecting the airline to post revenues for 2010 of £2.947bn, slightly below forecasts, "due to better-than-expected revenues from passengers partly offset by anticipated weaker-than-expected ancillary revenues". He also believes that pre-tax profits will be £156m, £4m ahead of expectations.
Times have been tough for the housebuilders recently, but that hasn't stopped Deutsche Bank making positive noises about Persimmon, which unveils its interim management statement today. The broker has the company as a "buy" recommendation, and says that it anticipates "robust margin improvement at Persimmon to 2013, driven by strong operational leverage and heavily written-down land costs". Its analyst Glynis Johnson believes that there should be some strong revenue data amid the numbers, and she predicts that Persimmon will restate its full-year guidance of revenue to see a 10 per cent rise year-on-year.
Results/Updates: Amlin, Beazley, Cranswick, e2v Technologies, Interserve, Lonmin, Majestic Wine, Persimmon, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Segro, Workspace Group.
Nomura's analysts may be expecting "strong" results from Burberry when it releases its first-half numbers tomorrow, but the broker says that "most of [the] good news is now factored in the price". Still, there is always the possibility, the broker says, of a share rise coming from further M&A talk, with it being previously linked to LVMH and PPR, among others.
Results/Updates: British Land, Burberry, Cable & Wireless, easyJet, Enterprise Inns, Hyder Consulting, ITV, John Menzies, Oxford Instruments, Premier Oil, Rexam, TalkTalk.
Noting recent upbeat updates from peers DMGT and Euromoney, analyst Johnathan Barrett from Singer Capital Markets believes that the positive trends in the B2B market will continue to be seen in Informa's interim management statement, out on Wednesday. Mr Barrett feels the publisher could beat expectations, noting the firm's "conservative guidance", and he is "confident of a successful science journal subscription renewal season".
Results/Updates: Centrica, Chemring, Experian, ICAP, Informa, Mothercare, Morgan Crucible, SIG, Speedy Hire, United Drug.
Halfords' interim results are set to be released on Thursday, and with sales data and pre-tax profit guidance revealed last month, Charles Stanley feels that "the focus of attention... will be on operating margins, outlook comments and guidance". Its analyst Sam Hart notes that its share price has dropped severely thanks to damaging sales trends, and says that although concerns of this "should not be dismissed... we think these are more than discounted in the current shares price".
Results/Updates: Capita Group, Chaucer Holdings, Close Brothers Group, Derwent London, Halfords, Intertek, Investec, London Stock Exchange, Melrose, National Grid, Norcros, Qinetiq, Reed Elsevier, Ricardo, SABMiller, UK Mail Group.
The pub group Fuller Smith & Turner releases its interim results on Friday, and Numis's analyst Douglas Jack is expecting its price to rise in the aftermath. "We view Fullers as the highest-quality pub operator, worthy of its premium rating," said Mr Jack, who is bullish on the results.
Results/Updates: Chaucer Holdings, Chesnara, Serco, Fuller Smith & Turner, Rotork.
Rightmove house price data; US retail sales.
Department for Communities and Local Government house price figures; CPI data; RPI data.
Release of Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee minutes; unemployment figures; average earnings data.
Public finances data; public sector net borrowing figures; retail sales data.
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