FTSE 350 Look Ahead: ABF, DS Smith, And Berkeley Group

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Look ahead to FTSE 350, other companies reporting & economic events from 20 – 24 June 2022

  • Associated British Foods plc (LON:ABF) will reveal how resilient Primark shoppers are with prices set to rise.
  • We’ll see if the slowdown in online shopping is being felt for packaging giant DS Smith plc (LON:SMDS).
  • Cost inflation remains in focus for Berkeley Group Holdings PLC (LON:BKG).
  • The UK economy’s latest temperature check will be revealed by the ONS.

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Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Associated British Foods, Q3 Trading Statement, Monday 20 June

Laura Hoy, Equity Analyst

Inflation will be the word of the day when Primark owner Associated British Foods reports. The group’s buoyant half-year sales were back to pre-pandemic levels as stores reopened and shoppers headed out to refresh their wardrobes. The surge in demand fed through to a 92% increase in operating profits—but the good times might not continue if rising costs continue to eat into margins.

Management warned that the group’s cost saving efforts haven’t been able to keep pace with inflation. The result will be margin pressure and price increases across the autumn and winter stock. There are still a few months to see whether Primark’s price-sensitive customers will be receptive to larger price tags. Demand so far this year in the face of the current cost of living crisis will give us an idea of how resilient customers are. At last check, underlying operating margins stretched above 11%, but the big question will be whether that continued to expand in the third quarter.”

DS Smith, Full Year Results, Tuesday 21 June

Sophie Lund-Yates, Equity Analyst

“Cardboard-box maker DS Smith has been handling soaring inflation well. As an essential part of supply chains, it’s been able to pass on higher costs to its customers. Specifically, DS Smith has been partly buoyed by its exposure to e-commerce. Recent figures show the pandemic-induced boom in online shopping is slowing down, so we wonder if this has been felt in DS Smith’s results.

There will also be an eye kept on any news of volumes. There does come a point, even for the most resilient businesses, where price increases can start to eat into demand. DS Smith doesn't quite look to be in this danger zone, but it’s something to monitor.

The classic metrics are still a focus too. The group’s expecting underlying operating profit of £605m - £615m. As things stand, DS Smith is expected to meet this - although of course nothing’s guaranteed.”

Berkeley Group, Full Year Results, Wednesday 22 June

Matt Britzman, Equity Analyst

“Berkeley’s seen sales recover to pre-pandemic levels, with analysts expecting a beat on the group’s own £518m pre-tax profit guidance. Stable footing supported the recent £400m cash purchase of the remaining 50% stake in St William Homes, which was a joint venture with National Grid. That’s expected to help push forward sales, which are an important measure of future demand, up to the £2bn mark.

Having recently signed the government fire safety pledge, Berkely has essentially agreed to fix all cladding issues on buildings over 11m, which largely put the issue to bed. The group hasn’t given any specifics as to how much that could cost, so an estimate could be on the cards.

The other key item to watch for relates to increasing build costs. Berkeley’s London focus and high average selling price means margins have been strong in the past. Previously, normal levels of cancelations and healthy house prices have been offsetting rising costs. So, commentary on operating margins and expected build cost inflation will be watched closely.”

May CPI, ONS, Wednesday 22 June

Susannah Streeter, Senior Investment and Markets Analyst

"Attention will be trained closely on the latest temperature check on the UK economy with key inflation data for May out on Wednesday. The Consumer Prices Index was already running at the red hot rate of 9% in April and is expected to top 10% this year, so investors are anxious to find out how soon it’ll get to double digits and whether there is any sign of an easing off in prices.

Energy costs have been particularly hard to stomach for companies and consumers, but shoppers are also having to deal with eye-watering rises across the board from supermarket prices to the soaring cost of home repairs and improvements. There seems to be little immediate end in sight to the price spiral, despite efforts by the Bank of England to try and depress demand in the economy. The problem is a lot of the price rises we are seeing are imported, driven by high commodity costs unleashed by the invasion of Ukraine and with the war still raging, and supply issues continuing, price pressures are set to remain high for the foreseeable future."


Associated British Foods* Q3 Trading Statement


DS Smith* Full Year Results
Safestore Holdings Half Year Results
Telecom Plus Full Year Results


Berkeley Group Holdings* Full Year Results
Liontrust Asset Management PLC Full Year Results
Micro Focus International Half Year Results


Serco Group Trading Statement


No FTSE 350 reporters

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