THE City is expecting Scottish soft drinks maker AG Barr to add some fizz to the markets today by unveiling robust full-year profits.
Cumbernauld-based Barr, maker of Irn-Bru, has expanded beyond its core Scottish customer base in the past couple of years, with England and Wales now chipping in more than half of group sales, and has plans to boost its distribution chain by opening a plant in southern England.
Analysts are keen to hear whether Barr, which also makes Tizer, has identified a site for the plant yet.
Barr is expected to have shrugged off surging input costs, particularly in plastic packaging and steel for its cans, to register record annual sales.
Half-year results from housebuilder Bellway are expected to show a rise in profits and upbeat comments on the key spring selling season tomorrow.
The UK’s fourth biggest housebuilder last month said sales were resilient in the build-up to spring, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year.
Newcastle-based Bellway said showhome visitor levels were up by around 20 per cent since the start of January despite tough comparisons with the previous year, and it will reveal whether the strong trend has continued in recent weeks.
Bellway is expected to report a further jump in profits for the first half of its financial year.
It has already said that completions rose 5 per cent to 2,455 in the six months to 31 January, driven by a 15 per cent rise in private sales. That helped the average selling price rise 8.7 per cent to about £183,000, with further increases expected in its second half.
The City expects the group’s pre-tax profits to rise by a third to around £90 million in the year to the end of July.
Plumbing and heating merchant Wolseley also publishes half year results tomorrow and is expected to have enjoyed the benefit of improved economic performance in the US.
The group suffered a 20 per cent slide in UK profits in the first quarter but its overall performance was propped up by its dominant business in the US, where there has been an encouraging run of positive economic data, including home sales, housebuilder confidence and lower unemployment.
Wolseley said a 10 per cent rise in like-for-like revenues in the US in the period came as its operations took market share from weaker rivals.
Thomson Holidays owner Tui Travel will reveal whether it has made further gains at the expense of its struggling rival Thomas Cook in its half-year update on Thursday.
Europe’s biggest tour operator posted a strong first quarter with summer 2012 bookings flat on the previous year, compared to a 14 per cent decline in the overall market.
The solid performance came as Thomas Cook fought to restore its finances and reputation after racking up bigger first-half losses and being forced to turn to its banks for extra help.
Tui was quick to capitalise on its rival’s woes by publishing its own adverts saying: “Another holiday company may be experiencing turbulence, but we are in really great shape.”
The tour operator’s shares are up more than 40 per cent since a low point in November as analysts favour Tui over its number-two competitor.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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