Updates from Michael Page, Bovis Homes and Betfair
Filed under: Investing
Eurozone and US jobs pessimism seeped across all markets on Friday. The FTSE 100 ended -30 points lower at 5,662 with the biggest losers being CRH, down -5.19% and Evraz, down -4.50%.
The grim mood continue in Asia today with the Nikkei down -1.1% and the Hang Seng dropping -1.4%.
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We start with a trading update from recruiter Michael Page. Group Q2 gross profits have come in at £138m (or £144.3m at constant rates of exchange), 1.6% above Q1 2012 and 6.6% below Q2 2011. Group H1 gross profit are £273.9m, 0.4% below H1 2011.
"Despite tough market conditions throughout the second quarter of 2012," the company said, "the Group delivered a 4% increase in gross profit compared to the first quarter. Against last year, gross profit was down 2% against a tough comparator, with Q2 2011 having been our second highest quarter on record, with a growth rate of 32%."
Page anticipates a "challenging third quarter" as its enter the seasonally quieter summer period in Continental Europe and the UK. Half and full year operating profit from trading activities should be broadly in line with current market estimates it says.
Next, Bovis Homes. For the six months ended 30 June 2012, the Group completed 944 homes, compared to 801 homes in the same period in 2011, an increase of 18%. The Group's average sales price increased by 1% year on year to £164,400.
Market prices are considered to have remained unchanged during the year to date says Bovis. The Group expects to report a housing gross margin for the half year of circa 21% (H1 2011: 20.1%). Reflecting the challenging economic background, "home buyers are taking longer to make their purchase decision and continue to face a challenging mortgage process," says Bovis.
"The compound positive effect of greater volume," says Bovis, "increasing average sales price and improving housing profit margin provides good visibility that, based on current market conditions continuing, return on capital employed can be improved in 2012 to a rate approaching 7.5% (2011: 5%)."
Finally, Betfair is watching closely the decision of the Cypriot Parliament on Friday to introduce gaming legislation restricting products that operators offer in Cyprus. Product restrictions include online casino and poker. Betfair believes the legislation, in certain areas, is inconsistent with European Union law.
In FY12 Core Betfair generated approximately 4% of revenue from Cyprus; this revenue made a contribution of £9 million before costs.
"Betfair is working," says the company, "with advisors to understand the potential implications on its business and will be taking all necessary steps to reduce the impact on profitability through both legal action and cost management."