Stock market week: Chisholm going for a high as he plays his last number for BSkyB

The results season starts to run into its summer barren season next week with only a handful of blue chip companies reporting.

But as City folk head for the sun, British Sky Broadcasting should provide some excitement for those left in the Square Mile when it reports its full-year statement on Friday.

The results, brought forward by a week, will be the swansong numbers of departing chief executive Sam Chisholm.

The redoubtable Murdoch executive, dubbed "the bruiser of the box" by the media, announced in June that he was due to step down at the end of the year due to ill health. However, some industry analysts expect Mr Chisholm to be out of the company by September.

The square-framed New Zealander, renowned for his no-nonsense management style, is credited with doing more than most to drive BSkyB from potentially fatal losses to a powerhouse. He would obviously love to go out on a high and it is understood the figures will be better than most City expectations.

Though analysts are forecasting profits in the range of pounds 300-pounds 312m, it is understood the operating figures could be inflated by around pounds 13m.

This is a result of the inclusion of part of the pounds 75m pre-payment for programmes provided to British Digital Broadcasting, the digital television consortium.

BSkyB was forced to pull out of the consortium and was paid compensation. The operating figure is expected to be around pounds 360m, which represents an impressive 18 per cent like for like increase year on year.

The headline figure will be around pounds 305m though the broker forecasts range from a low of around pounds 290m to a high of pounds 312m. The comparable figure last year was pounds 257m.

This will please the City as the results will be presented against the backdrop of a poor year for the company.

The share price has underperformed the market by a thumping 42 per cent since October 1996.

The shares have collapsed from nearly 700p last November to just 473p in a period when the FTSE has soared to record levels.

Though the shares have still outperformed the market by 14 per cent since the float, this still represents a torrid year for the media giant which has become used to sweeping all before it.

While the results will show that the business has continued to grow, that growth has slowed substantially as the year progressed. Some brokers, including NatWest Securities are concerned that the group faces a challenging period as it invests heavily in the new digital era as the analogue business slows down.

Analysts say that BSkyB's valuation depends entirely on the success of the digital launch in the spring of next year.

Though it seems as though the media giant has a stranglehold on the ownership rights of the digital era, this could be weakened by the proliferation of distribution platforms around the world.

BSkyB may have to gain more control over the distribution of its programming in cable to ensure that its vice-like grip is maintained.

Some brokers are therefore advising that with a coming period of increased risk, the share price picture may remain fuzzy until the digital issues are resolved.

Other companies reporting next week take in the insurance, industrial conglomerate and leisure sectors.

Of the industrial groups, BOC is the largest due to report, though they are only third-quarter figures.

The gases group, not normally one to make headlines, has been much in the news recently after it put its Ohmeda Healthcare business up for sale.

The price tag is expected to be around pounds 1bn with Zeneca, Smiths Industries and a host of overseas companies all interested. The market will be hoping for news on the disposal.

The third-quarter figures are thought to be broadly flat compared with the same period last year.

Pre-tax profits are expected to come in at pounds 112m an increase of just 2 per cent. Underlying volume growth in gases is expected to have continued in single-digit figures aided by new plant brought on stream in the US.

But though the underlying business in gases is strong it is thought that this will be overshadowed by currency movements.

Also chipping in with third-quarter figures will be Hanson, the one-time giant conglomerate which announced a four-way split last year.

The remaining Hanson business has streamlined itself down to four legs after the disposal of its electricals business.

However some say the four legs may soon become three if, as some brokers say, potential suitors are asked to cast their acquisitive gaze across the Grove crane operation.

Though figures are for the third quarter, the City's focus will be on the six-month trading period of the "new" Hanson which is reverting to a December year-end.

High industry stock levels will hamper London Brick but Cornerstone, the US aggregates business should help the group to a six month operating figure of around pounds 121m and pounds 155m for the nine months.

In insurance, both General Accident and Sedgewick are reporting interim figures this week.

At GA, the results will look strong compared with other composites. That reflects the benefits of the Provident Mutual acquisition and a below- average exposure to the weaker currencies in Europe.

Operating profits for the six months to June are forecast to be 29 per cent ahead of last year at pounds 250m. The main engines of growth have been a sharp fall in the underwriting loss and the benefits of the Provident Mutual deal.

At Sedgewick, some brokers have been surprised that the group's US quote has had little effect on the share price which has been in the doldrums for some time. Weak premium rates remain a feature and profit forecasts are for a 7 per cent fall in profits to just under pounds 60m, though some forecasts are as high as pounds 66m.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss