FTSE 350 Look Ahead: boohoo, Ashtead, Whitbread And More

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FTSE 350 Look Ahead: boohoo, Ashtead, Whitbread And More
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Look ahead to FTSE 350 & other companies reporting from 15 to 18 June 

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Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

  • Boohoo Group PLC (LON:BOO) will let us know if the easing of restrictions has dampened online demand
  • Ashtead Group plc (LON:AHT)’s full year results should include an upbeat outlook statement even if a tough start to the current year holds back profits
  • Whitbread plc (LON:WTB) will reveal whether occupancy reached its 55% breakeven target
  • Halfords Group plc (LON:HFD) has been peddling hard to keep up with demand
  • Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) will unveil if it’s continued to take a bigger portion of the supermarket pie

Boohoo, Q1 Trading Statement, Tuesday 15 June

Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst

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“boohoo did very well in peak lockdown, as physical shops closed, and customers clamoured for loungewear and activewear from the online shop. With restrictions slowly easing in some of its key markets during the first quarter, we wonder if revenue growth has slowed at all. We suspect high street footfall is still subdued, so all else being equal, boohoo may well surprise on the upside. Remember there are no guarantees. It will be especially important to see how the US is faring. This region holds the key to future growth for boohoo and, at the full year, US sales rose 63%. boohoo’s spending heavily on expansion at home too, with full year capital expenditure expected to come in between £125m and £175m, as new UK warehouses and expanding existing facilities have been added to the shopping list. It would be good to know if that budget has remained static. Away from the headline numbers we’ll be reading any commentary surrounding the supply chain review very carefully. The group expects to publish its full list of global manufacturers in around three months’ time, and we’d like to see that this timeline remains intact.”

Ashtead, Full Year Results, Tuesday 15 June

Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst

“Equipment rental group Ashtead’s third quarter numbers showed a 3% fall in rental revenues and 15% fall in earnings per share across the current financial year. That’s far better than we had expected, given construction activity ground to a halt at one point and is highly cyclical in any case. But it probably doesn’t justify an 89.4% increase in the share price from pre-pandemic highs. So what is going on? Ashtead has shown itself to be incredibly flexible during the crisis. In the first nine months of the current financial year the group spent £518m on replacing new equipment, less than half of the £1.3bn spent in the same period a year earlier. The ability to trim capital expenditure quickly like this kept cash in the business and resulted in record free cash flow (up 192% to £1.1bn) cutting over a billion pounds from net debt. Construction activity is expected to soar as governments spend big on infrastructure projects over the next few years to get the economy back on track. In that event, Ashtead would enter a period of increased demand for its equipment with a balance sheet in far better condition than before the pandemic. If the outlook statement in next week’s full year results reflects those twin tailwinds, then perhaps the recent share price move will start to look a bit more rational.”

Whitbread, Q1 Trading Statement, Thursday 17 June

Laura Hoy, Equity Analyst

“Summer bookings will be the highlight of Premier Inn owner Whitbread’s results, as the hotel chain prepares for what’s expected to be a staycation summer. Roughly 15% of the group’s hotels are dotted around the UK’s coastline and with travel restrictions causing chaos for holidays abroad those locations should benefit. 55% occupancy is the magic number at which Whitbread says it can break even, so we’ll be looking for overall bookings to exceed that figure.

The pandemic’s not been all doom and gloom though. It’s harder than even to be a hotelier and that’s opened the door for Whitbread to use its size and stability to grow its market share. Last year the group increased its hold on the UK market by 6.9 percentage points— only time will tell if that trend will continue as things loosen up. We’re also keeping an eye on Germany, where the group is pressing forward with its expansion plans despite the pandemic. The German operations are expected to be loss making both this year and next, but we’re keen to hear whether the group’s new hotels are gaining traction.”

Halfords, Full Year Results, Thursday 17 June

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst

“As getting ‘on yer bike’ became a pandemic past time, Halfords peddled hard to keep up with demand from cyclists for new models and accessories. While there may be concerns bike sales might have reached a pandemic peak, revenues from cycling sales continued on an rapid uphill trajectory earlier this year, rising 43% in the 7 weeks to February 19th, indicating a deep seated shift in transport choices. But supply chain issues have held back growth from shifting up to an even higher gear with the company having difficulties getting hold of the right stock. Halfords said it expected full year pre-tax profit to come in at £90m - £100m, after better than anticipated trading in the first half of the final quarter. Despite reduced journeys because of the third lockdown, motoring sales have fallen less than expected, and are likely to tick up again as the country eases out of social distancing measures and more people return to a part time commute. Service-related sales will be an important area to focus on as expanding this part of the business, while shrinking retail, should lead to a lower fixed cost base. With higher than expected profits likely to be announced, a buoyant net cash position is likely, and a healthy dividend could be on the cards.’’

Tesco, Q1 Trading Statement, Friday 18 June

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst

“Tesco unloaded a trolley full of solid results for the year taking a bigger portion of the supermarket pie by scooping up customers from rivals. But despite its strong online presence and upping its delivery capacity as shoppers switched en masse to online ordering, guidance for the coming year was that operating profits were likely to be similar to 2019-2020 levels. That has disappointed investors, who had clearly been hoping for a longer-term boost to the grocery giant’s fortunes given how reliant consumers became on supermarkets over the past year. The increase in operating costs though, brought on by the pandemic, should slide away as more normality returns, which is likely to help the earnings recovery.  Tesco’s experience at helping feed the nation at a time of crisis and its investment in online ordering infrastructure should help it stay resilient in the face of continued uncertainty.’’

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

14-Jun

No FTSE 350 Reporters

15-Jun

Ashtead* Full Year Results
Bellway Trading Statement
boohoo* Q1 Trading Statement
Telecom Plus Full Year Results

16-Jun

Tullow Oil* Q1 Trading Statement

17-Jun

Halfords* Full Year Results
Safestore Half Year Results
Syncona Full Year Results
Whitbread* Q1 Trading Statement

18-Jun

Tesco* Q1 Trading Statement

*Events on which we will be writing research


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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of ValueWalk.com, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)valuewalk.com - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver

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