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FTSE 350 Look Ahead: British American Tobacco, SSP, And More

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Look ahead to FTSE 350 & other companies reporting from 7 to 11 June 

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Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

  • British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BATS) will tell us how guidance is holding up as we reopen
  • Slow return to travel a drag on recovery for Ritazza and Upper Crust owner SSP Group PLC (LON:SSPG)
  • We’ll find out how much slack the online business has managed to pick up at Industria de Diseno Textil SA (BME:ITX)
  • Recovery likely to rev up at Auto Trader Group PLC (LON:AUTO) as used car prices rise
  • Ted Baker plc (LON:TED)'s results will reveal whether the firm can execute on its strategy shift.

British American Tobacco, Half Year Trading Update, Tuesday 8 June

Steve Clayton, Manager of the HL Select Funds

“A half-year trading update from British American Tobacco (BATS) should not produce too many surprises. Perhaps the group will feel more confident in guiding towards expected performance in its core USA market and there could be further news on the development of its New Categories division. But don’t expect much comment on big but sensitive issues like additional regulation in the USA, including menthol bans, where lobbying will surely be intense behind the scenes. Price increases and mix shifts should leave the group able to project another year of earnings growth, before currency effects. BATS announced its dividends schedule back in February, and the next quarterly payment of 53.9p is due to be paid in August.”

SSP, Half Year Results, Wednesday 9 June

Susannah Streeter, Senior Investment and Markets Analyst

‘’It’s been a difficult climb back up from reaching an abyss early on in the pandemic, for the contract foodservice company, SSP. It operates catering outlets, under its brands like Ritazza and Upper Crust, and runs concessions for Burger King and Starbucks at 180 airports and 300 railway stations around the world. It relies on the travelling public to pick up snacks and treats on journeys, so when the virus hit, and stay at home orders were enforced, sales nosedived as once bustling airports and railway stations became deserted. SSP has battened down the hatches by radically cutting costs, furloughing 22 thousand staff and raising £475m through a rights issue to shore up its finances.  Its share price recovered a little as vaccine roll outs picked up but fresh lockdowns during the first part of the year didn’t see much improvement in its fortunes. Although much uncertainty still hangs over the sector, it hasn’t stopped management making expansion plans for the future, indicating they were ready to cherry pick sites abandoned by smaller rivals. Choosing the right locations will be key given the working from home trend shows no sign of fully reversing and footfall across rail and air networks is likely to stay subdued.’’

Inditex, First Quarter Results, Wednesday 9 June

Sophie Lund-Yates, Equity Analyst

“As a bricks and mortar retail giant, the Zara owner had a very tough 2020. Full year net sales fell over 24%, and cash profits (EBITDA) fell almost twice as hard. But we know first quarter sales got off to a good start, as spring/summer collections were being well received. That means the picture should be improved at next week’s first quarter results, although things won’t be perfect because some of the store estate will still be closed. The group is buoyed by a very strong online business – online sales rose 77% last year and made up a substantial part of all sales. We expect this trend to have continued. Inditex trades on a price to earnings ratio of 29.0 -18% above the ten-year average, which means there’s pressure to perform. With lockdowns unwinding, the market’s looking for good first quarter innings. Analysts currently expect revenue of €4.9bn, which would be a 48.6% improvement.”

Auto Trader, Full Year Results, Thursday 10 June

Susannah Streeter, Senior Investment and Markets Analyst

“The third lockdown is likely to have seen the recovery at AutoTrader stall, as car retailers were forced to close their showrooms. The groups decision to extend its offer to make its advertising packages free again is likely to have put revenues back into reverse, but this is unlikely to mean a total write-off. The group had a well-greased liquidity position and a very flexible cost base meant that it would have been able to easily move gears to ride out the bumps in the road. High demand for models and short supply have seen used car prices shoot up since dealerships re-opened which also bodes well for the coming months. The computer chip shortage could also mean buyers who don’t want to stay on a long waiting list for a new car, will opt for a premium used model instead.’’

Ted Baker, Full Year Results, Thursday 10 June

Laura Hoy, Equity Analyst

“We already know Ted Baker struggled last year. Analysts expect it to report an operating loss of £65.2m, with revenue at approximately half of normal levels. The pandemic magnified Ted’s weakness as an already-struggling bricks-and-mortar retailer, especially because of its reliance on occasion-wear.  But with lockdowns firmly in the rear-view mirror, Ted’s update on current trading will prove whether the group’s strategy shift is enough to breathe new life into the business.

Top of mind will be how online sales are doing. The pandemic only accelerated a seismic shift toward online shopping, one that Ted was fairly unprepared for. But the level of success of the newly launched digital platform will offer an insight into how turnaround efforts are doing. We’d like to see online sales making up reasonable chunk of sales, even as lockdowns unwind.

Another key measure of Ted’s turnaround efforts will be inventory management. The group has been bogged down by piles of unsold inventory, which had to be discounted, and in-turn weighed on margins. At the year-end, the group expects to have fully transitioned to a leaner model with product lifecycles slashed by a third.”

FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and selected other companies scheduled to report next week

Sirius Real Estate Ltd Full Year Results
British American Tobacco* Half Year Trading Update
Intermediate Capital Group Full Year Results
Oxford Instruments Full Year Results
Paragon Banking Group Half Year Results
Inditex* First Quarter Results
SSP Half Year Results
Auto Trader Group* Full Year Results
CMC Markets Full Year Results
Halma Full Year Results
JLEN Environmental Assets Group Full Year Results
Mitie Group Full Year Results
Ted Baker* Full Year Results

*Events on which we will be writing research

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