The Week Ahead: Thomas Cook and TUI travel with confidence
Monday 11 August 2008
The FTSE 100-listed travel groups Thomas Cook and TUI Travel are due to update the market on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, and, despite concern about the state of consumer spending, analysts anticipate upbeat statements from both.
A recent survey of 200 travel agents by Dresdner Kleinwort found evidence of strong late bookings, less late discounting, upgrading to long haul and all-inclusive packages, and a pick-up in 2009 bookings.
"While such analysis is far from bullet-proof, the thrust of all responses was encouraging despite the macro backdrop," said Dresdner.
Landsbanki is also positive before the updates, anticipating news of strong trading. "We accept that investor attention may be more focused on 2009 but again we are more confident than most..." the broker said, noting that most of the pain will be absorbed by smaller tour operators, that demand should remain more resilient than some anticipate and that while demand may ease, supply should fall further.
"TUI Travel alone estimate that, between 2007 and 2009, they are reducing UK capacity by [around] 750,000 packages, [and] Thomas Cook will be a broadly similar number, giving a total fall of [around] 1.5 million packages against demand which, on highly pessimistic assumptions, could fall by 1.3 million packages," Landsbanki added.
TODAY: Amino Technologies, the Cambridge-based broadband network software and systems group, is due to publish interim results. As analysts at KBC Peel Hunt said in a recent preview note, in its trading update for the period ending in June the company "pre-announced a 'solid operation profit'" for the first half of the year, having moved into profitability in the second half of last year.
Results/Updates: Mapeley, Smurfit Kappa, Workspace and Amino Technologies.
TOMORROW: InterContinental Hotels, the hospitality group behind the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels and resorts, is due to publish interim results. After the company's change of reporting currency, this will be the first set of results in US dollars. Citigroup is anticipating news of $233m in pre-tax profits, ahead of the consensus estimate of $229m.
"Following the recent reduced guidance from US peers, we believe there is downside risk to consensus estimates," the broker said, adding: "That said, we believe this should be largely anticipated by the market."
Results/Updates: Collins Stewart, Maxima Holdings, Thomson Reuters, Weir and InterContinental Hotels.
WEDNESDAY: The services, maintenance and build-ing group Interserve is due to publish first-half results mid-week. UBS forecasts £951.7m in sales, compared with £889.6m in the first half of 2007, with an operating profit of £32.8m, compared with £29.2m last year. Earnings per share are expected to come in at 15.9p, against 15.8p last year. "The company has continued to win contracts across all divisions during the first half of this year," UBS said. "We believe that the order book will be around £6bn for the group, with the most rec-ent win the new PFI project with John Laing for the MoD."
Elsewhere, the broker anticipates a slight increase in the group margin, noting the change in the Equipment Services business, where the investment in South African deports is expected to begin to bear fruit.
Also on Wednesday, the infrastructure group Balfour Beatty is due to publish half-year results. A consensus of 11 analysts anticipates pre-tax profits of £91m. Looking ahead, analysts are positive about the company's prospects. Landsbanki, which recently initiated coverage on Balfour's stock with a "buy" rating, noted that the depth and the global spread of the company's assets were key attractions, "widening growth potential by providing access to markets that move in different cycles".
"Balfour Beatty is very well placed to grow in its chosen markets," the broker said. "While the business is complex, so too are the solutions [the company] provides. We believe the group's core skills, improving visibility and diversity of end-markets add to its investment case.
"With scope to move in to a number of related infrastructure/asset service areas, the future looks bright."
Results/Updates: British Energy, Micro Focus International, Balfour Beatty, Interserve and Thomas Cook.
Thursday: Phoenix IT, the small cap IT services group, is due to publish an interim management statement later this week and Panmure Gordon is anticipating "favourable market commentary".
"It is likely to give a positive view on the ICM acquisition and reaffirm current year synergy savings of £1.7m, with total synergies of £5.5m in the year to 31 March 2009," the broker said.
"We retain our niggling reservations about the outlook for the mid-market Servo division – which is diluting group operating profit margins – but in our view the business continuity and Partner division are both likely to be described as trading in line with management expectations."
Results/Updates: Bellway, Logica, Lincat, Phoenix IT and TUI Travel.
Friday: Results/Updates: None.
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