Pick of the early market news
We begin this morning with full year numbers from accountancy software giant Sage Group. 2011 organic revenues are up 4% to £1,334.1m compared to £1,277.7m this time last year.
Earnings per share have soared 19% to 19.44p with pre-tax profits coming in at £330.8m, an 11% rise. Sage claims 61,000 new paying customers added in the year (2010: 252,000) with "our high quality customer service maintained subscription contract renewal rates at 81%".
"With our strong cash flows, confidence in our business and our focus on shareholder returns, we are evolving our approach to the use of capital, and as part of the process, the Board has rebased the dividend, resulting in a proposed 25% increase for 2011," said chief exec Guy Berruyer.
Drinks maker Britvic says, in its prelim numbers, revenues increased 15.1% to £1.29bn compared to £1.12bn a year ago. The Britvic board is proposing a final dividend per share of 12.6p bringing the full year dividend per share to 17.7p - an increase of 6%.
"Our GB, France and International business units have each produced revenue and volume growth this year, leading to an increase in total group revenue of almost 15%," says Britvic boss Paul Moody. "This performance reflects the strength of our brands and the quality of our innovation programme, as well as the continued focus on revenue management."
Finally, independent pub group Marston's. Despite the tough pub and drinks environment - supermarket competition, the smoking ban, a bruising recession - the group revenues are up 4.8% to £682.2 million (2010: £650.7 million) and underlying profits have expanded to £80.4m, up 9.4%.
Strong operating cashflow of £182.4 million has eased borrowing pressure and the company has a new bank facility of £257.5 million - to May 2016.
"We achieved impressive sales and profit growth in each of our businesses despite the challenging consumer environment," says boss Ralph Findlay. "Our new-build pub-restaurants; the introduction of franchise agreements in around 350 pubs; and increased commercial support to our tenanted and free trade customers are all contributing to the achievement of our key objectives."