Friday 24 November 2017

Ferry operator to kick off week of crucial results

Irish Ferries
Irish Ferries Newsdesk Newsdesk

Another week, another batch of company results. Results season is thrilling sometimes, when a big deal is announced, or a company unexpectedly issues a profit warning and the share price tumbles (business hacks love a bit of bad news).

Most of the time, though, results season involves a bunch of stock exchange announcements being dumped on the wire at 7am that contain little news or drama.

But this week promises interesting results from interesting companies from today onwards.

Irish Continental Group (ICG) - the owner of Irish Ferries - is first up this morning with its full-year results for 2015.

ICG had a very strong first half of 2015, with pre-tax profits rocketing more than 450pc to €14.9m.

Considering H1 is traditionally the weaker half of the year for ICG, the market is expecting a strong conclusion to 2016, with the company's shares up nearly 10pc since February 25.

Paddy Power Betfair presents its first set of results as one entity on Tuesday, while Grafton Group will also update the market on how things went for it in 2015.

Davy Stockbrokers, at least, are very bullish on Grafton's prospects. The owner of Woodie's DIY and Heaton Buckley building merchants, among many other brands, will have been boosted by the weakening of sterling, among other factors. Indeed, Davy analysts believe Grafton "represents the most attractive cyclical recovery story across our UK building distribution and DIY universe".

For the regular investor, Permanent TSB still holds an interest, albeit a morbid one at this stage, given the loss of value ordinary shareholders experienced once the property bubble collapsed.

Permanent TSB has always had the longest road to recovery of the surviving Irish banks, and there is little to indicate that this view will change with the firm's 2016 results, when they are published on Wednesday.

At its half-year report, Permanent TSB boss Jeremy Masding warned that what the bank called "congestion" in the UK market may hurt its ability to sell off what is left of its British home loans portfolio, which has a par value of around £2.4bn (€3.1bn).

That, combined with the ongoing regulatory burden Permanent TSB faces, will probably more than offset any underlying improvement we see with the bank. PTSB has a ways to go yet.

Irish Independent

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