A BUSY period for company results goes on this week with interim figures from Standard Life, Balfour Beatty and Cineworld.
Edinburgh-based life assurance and pensions group Standard Life will report a resilient performance in the UK tomorrow as it benefits from an ageing population and new pensions legislation.
The City has pencilled in an expected 6 per cent increase in half-time UK profits to £92 million for Standard, which is one of the UK’s biggest corporate pensions providers, with a market share of 19 per cent.
Analysts say the resilient performance is being partly driven by its do-it-yourself-style self-invested personal pension (Sipp) products. They say Standard is also being helped by lower commission costs as more independent financial advisers (IFAs) switch to fee-charging ahead of the forthcoming overhaul of retail distribution rules at the end of 2012.
Overall, however, Standard Life is expected to report a 3 per cent fall in underlying profits to £254m, caused by a weak performance in its Canadian arm, which is forecast to see profits shrink 17 per cent to £85m.
But this will be partly offset by rapid growth in emerging markets such as China, which should help the international division grow profits by more than a third. Assets under administration are expected to have risen 2 per cent to £204.2 billion, but new sales are believed to have fallen 9 per cent to £10.2bn.
Construction group Balfour Beatty is expected to buck the trend of recent gloomy announcements from the sector by posting stronger profits and an increased dividend on Wednesday.
The City believes Balfour, whose recent projects include the Olympic Park Aquatics Centre and Crossrail in London, will unveil an 8 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £149m for the six months to 29 June.
The company is expected to say it is optimistic on its prospects, citing the government’s recent announcement that it will underwrite up to £40bn of new construction projects. In addition, it is thought Balfour will benefit from plans by electricity regulator Ofgem to spend £22bn by 2021.
The UK’s largest cinema operator Cineworld is set to reel out continuing under-pressure box office admissions on Thursday.
Cineworld, which has more than 800 screens, reported a drop in admissions for the first six months of 2012, but it was able to boost revenues by hiking prices. This is expected to have helped lift pre-tax profits 10 per cent to £13.6m for the six months to 30 June, but it is expected to reveal lacklustre trading for July.
Whilst the timing of the Olympics has hit the business, Cineworld will benefit from a strong second-half roster including the latest James Bond film Skyfall and fantasy film The Hobbit.
A resurgent new car market is expected to have driven record half-year sales at car dealership Lookers on Wednesday.
The group, which owns Taggarts in Scotland, told the City in a May update that it had an excellent first quarter of 2012, with new car sales up 6 per cent and used car volumes ahead 11 per cent.
Panmure Gordon analyst Mike Allen thinks revenues will have risen 2.5 per cent to £1bn, with profits up 3.5 per cent to £23.5m.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South