THE mooted £1.4 billion merger of Cumbernauld’s AG Barr, maker of Irn-Bru, and much bigger rival Britvic will overshadow the Scottish group’s interim results today.
AG Barr, which also makes Tizer and Rubicon, is forecast by Numis Securities to post a slight 2 per cent dip in pre-tax profits to £15.8 million for the six months to 31 July.
The group is expected to have been hit by the poor summer weather, which included the wettest June since 1766 and the coldest June since 1991. However, the market will be mainly interested in the progress of its ongoing merger talks with Britvic, one of whose best-known products is Tango and which makes Pepsi under licence.
When the pair unveiled the talks earlier this month, they said that a merger would create one of the biggest soft drinks companies in Europe.
Under the deal on the table, Britvic shareholders would own 63 per cent of the new entity, with AG Barr investors holding the remainder.
Barr revealed earlier this summer that profit margins were under pressure due to a changing sales mix, but that half-time turnover has risen to about £130m from £124m.
The appetite of Britons for holidays abroad will be shown this week when travel giants Thomas Cook and TUI Travel post trading updates.
Thomas Cook and Thomson Holidays parent TUI will reveal if the boost seen from the miserable early summer weather continued when the rain finally eased off and as the UK celebrated the Olympics.
TUI, which updates the market on Thursday, unveiled an improving situation in summer bookings from the UK as of 29 July, down 5 per cent against the 6 per cent decline reported in April.
Thomas Cook, which updates on Friday, said in August that its summer programme was 88 per cent sold after a buoyant July for bookings, although cumulative bookings in the UK were still down 1 per cent on 2011.
The group was recently forced to turn to its banks for an additional £200m of loans and reported an underlying operating loss of £26.5m in the three months to 30 June.
Compass, the world’s biggest catering firm, will reveal further tough trading in Europe in Thursday’s update.
The company, which serves an estimated four billion meals a year, is forecast by brokers at Numis to report organic revenue growth of 5.2 per cent for the full year.
Pawnbrokers including Albemarle & Bond, which publishes annual results tomorrow, have signalled a slowdown in the recent high street “gold rush”.
While Albemarle warned in June that profits would grow at a lower than expected rate this year, Canaccord Genuity expects the group to post a 1.4 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profit of £21.3 million.
Interim results on Friday from East Kilbride-based five-a-side football operator Goals Soccer Centres follow its failure to secure backing for a £73m takeover by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Goals said earlier this month that pre-tax profits were expected to rise by at least £500,000 this year and beyond after it successfully challenged the taxman’s decision to charge VAT on league block bookings.
A relatively quiet six months for natural disasters should help specialist insurance market Lloyd’s of London back into the black on Wednesday.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west