Updates from BAE Systems, Ladbrokes and Smith & Nephew
Filed under: Investing
Slightly improved earnings saw the Nikkei inch up +0.1% overnight but the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite Index saw falls ahead of lending news from the ECB.
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We start first with BAE Systems and a 3% profits lurch for the first half of the year. Earnings have come in 10% lower at £8.3bn. Part of the problem is a key contract delay from Saudi Arabia. But the interim dividend increases 4% to 7.8p per share.
In the US, the approval of the Department of Defence Fiscal Year 2012 budget in December 2011 resulted, says BAE, in less disruption to the award of defence contracts compared with last year. Order intake in the first half of 2012 in markets outside the US and UK increased to £4.3bn (2011 £1.6bn).
The outlook for defence spending in the UK has also stabilised says BAE. "The Group welcomed the UK government's confirmation, as part of the PR12 planning round, that the defence budgets were now in balance with the equipment plan."
Better news for Ladbrokes: pre-tax profits climb almost 50%. The good news is needed given that Ladbrokes recently sacked its digital strategy director following a profits warning from its IT division (William Hill recently announced strong online operating profits).
Overall group operating profits have climbed 11% to £106.9 million pounds for the first half of the year with underlying earnings per share rising +25.3% to 9.4p.
"We remain committed," says Ladbrokes boss Richard Glynn, "to our Digital strategy of building a more competitive offer through a combination of ongoing investments to enhance our marketing, product and technology."
Finally, medical tech player Smith & Nephew. Revenues for the last quarter climb to $1,029 million, up 2% on an underlying basis. Trading profit pushes higher to $234 million, up 6% on an underlying basis. Good news for investors: the Board is hiking the interim dividend payment by 50% to 9.9 cents per share.
"Smith & Nephew completed," the company said, "a good first half as we continued to generate top-line growth and delivered an improved trading profit margin. We have consistently delivered revenue and earnings growth and strong cash generation in the challenging markets of the last few years."