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Paul Hickman
13 December 2018 · 2 min read

Sports Direct (SPD); acquisition of house of Fraser starts to show results

Total revenue was up 4.5% to £1,792m, despite a flat picture in UK Sports Retail

The enormity of Sports Direct’s House of Fraser acquisition starts to show through in its results. The 59 stores acquired on 10 August were only included in the first half for 11 weeks, but in that time posted an EBITDA loss of £31.5m, dragging down Sports Direct’s underlying interim pre-tax profit to £64.4m, a 27% decline. That was despite the success of the rest of the business, which grew its EBITDA by 15.5% to £180.3m.

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Sparks Team
13 December 2018 · 3 min read

Serco Group (SRP); underlying trading profit to grow 30-40% in 2018

Outlook for 2019 is in line with market expectations

Serco Group provided an update on its financial performance for 2018 and outlook for 2019. Underlying trading profit for 2018 is likely to grow 30-40%,  in line with guidance that was revised upwards in late September. Closing net debt is expected to be lower than previously expected, at around £200m, with leverage improving to 1.2-1.3x.

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Sparks Team
13 December 2018 · 2 min read

OnTheMarket (OTMP); reports on listing agreements with over 12,000 agent branches

The offering of short-term introductory trials has largely contributed to growth in agency branch base

As of 12 December, OnTheMarket has signed listing agreements with UK estate and letting agents with more than 12,000 branches. It has added over 6,500 branches since admission to AIM in February.

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Sparks Team
13 December 2018 · 2 min read

Nanoco Group (NANO); is confident it will meet the board’s expectations for FY19

Nanoco has been focussing on enhancing the performance of its materials

Nanoco Group will hold its AGM today at its headquarters in Manchester. With respect to the group’s trading performance for the first four months of the financial year ending 31 July 2019, the Runcorn facility expansion remains on track to be completed by the current calendar year-end.

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Sparks Team
13 December 2018 · 2 min read

WANdisco (WAND); secures $3m cloud contract with major US health insurer

The contract is for an initial three-year subscription period

WANdisco announced that it has secured a cloud contract, valued at $3m, with a major US health insurer. The client will deploy the company’s patented Big Data and Cloud product—WANdisco Fusion—for on-premise and hybrid cloud use.

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Paul Hickman
12 December 2018

Superdry (SDRY); hit by hot weather and weak consumer demand

The interim results confirm the difficult first half described in the November trading statement, with brand revenue up 6.4%, but group revenue up only 3.1%.

There seems to be no let-up in Superdry’s difficulties, caused by a mismatch of its range to the weather. In the first half, its retail division estate was hit by hot weather as well as weak consumer demand, with a 67% drop in operating profit driving interim pre-tax profit down 49% to £12.9m. And unseasonably warm weather has continued through November and into December, its biggest trading months, with a profit impact of around £11m for November.

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12 December 2018 · 3 min read

Brexit on pause as UK PM challenged

ECJ Article 50 decision means UK Parliament is in control of its destiny

After letters from at least 48 MPs, the UK Conservative party will now hold a confidence vote in its leader later today. If the incumbent UK PM May fails to secure a majority of Tory MPs, a leadership contest will be triggered. The postponement of the Parliamentary vote on May’s Withdrawal Agreement and subsequent day of flying around Europe meeting heads of state, yet appearing to achieve little but photo opportunities has forced the matter to a head. Regardless of the outcome of the confidence vote, the Brexit process is at stalemate with the UK Parliament unable to ratify the only agreement the EU is prepared to offer to date.

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Sparks Team
12 December 2018

Cohort (CHRT); reveal revenue down to £39.5m from £44.0m in 2017

Net funds were £4.7m down from £5.7m in 2017

In its result for the half year ended October 2018, Cohort reported a lower revenue owing to delivery slippage and order delays. Adjusted operating profit and adjusted EPS were £1.0m and 1.99p (2017: £3.3m; 5.80p), respectively. Interim dividend per share rose 12% to 2.85p from 2.55p.

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Sparks Team
12 December 2018

Bigblu Broadband (BBB); reports strong trading update for full year ended 30 November 2018

The company meets expectations with strong revenue growth and targets double-digit organic revenue growth in 2019

Bigblu reports revenue increased by c. 25% to c. £55m (FY17: £44m), while recurring revenue increased c. 27% to c. £51m, representing 94% of total revenue for the year ended 30 November 2018. Underlying EBITDA was up c. 45% at £6.8m (FY17: £4.7m). The like-for-like organic revenue growth on a constant currency basis stood at 7%, while net debt was c. £14m as of 30 November 2018 (FY17: £13.1m). The customer base grew to c. 113K (FY17: 100K).

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Sparks Team
12 December 2018

Standard Life Private Equity Trust (SLPE); posts NAV total return of +13.3% in FY18

Discount to NAV increased to 19.7% from 12.3% in 2017 on a year-on-year basis

Standard Life Private Equity Trust announced annual results for the year ended 30 September 2018. During this period, NAV produced a total return of 13.3% and its share price delivered a total return of 5.8%. For comparison, the MSCI Europe Index total return was 3.2%. The NAV per ordinary share grew 10.4% during this period to 430.2p.

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