Updates from Betfair, Berkeley and Wood Group

More anxiety tugged at markets yesterday with the FTSE 100 slipping almost 31 points to 5,493. By far the biggest faller was Barclays, with shares plunging more than -15% on the Libor scandal.

Overnight, Asian shares finished the week in buoyant mood, premised on Eurozone deal hope: the Hang Seng leapt 1.9% while the Nikkei moved 1.4% higher.
We start with prelim numbers from Betfair. It claims revenue growth of 10% in H2 results with full year revenue climbing 6% to £349.5 million. Core adjusted EBITDA risess 15% to £92.1 million while Group underlying earnings per share leap 21% to 41.1 pence per share. The Final dividend is up 19% to 7 pence per share to give a full year dividend of 10.2 pence per share.

Additionally Betfair claims mobile use is driving growth with 44 million bets (up 122%) and £22.7 million of revenue (up 97%) supported by technology re-architecture and data centre consolidation completion allowing focus on new products.

"We have delivered double-digit net gaming revenue growth in Core Betfair in each of the last three quarters," says Stephen Morana, Betfair's interim chief exec, "and a healthy increase in profits. We have also started to deliver on our strategic objectives, including the launch of important new products that will drive future growth."

Next, full year results from property player Berkeley Group. Pre-tax profits leap almost 58% to £214.8 million with a pre-tax return on equity rising from 15.3% to 21.2%. Operating margin before exceptional items rise 0.5% to 18.8% (2011: 18.3%). Basic earnings per share lifts 67.8% to 121.0 pence (2011: 72.1 pence).

"I am delighted to report a strong performance again this year," says chairman Tony Pidgley. "Basic earnings per share have increased by 67.8%, our balance sheet remains strong and forward sales stand at over £1 billion."

Berkeley has put in place a ten-year framework to return £13 per share by September 2021, "passed with the support of shareholders," says Pidgley, "and has been laying the foundations to ensure that we retain a strong, sustainable business which can endure well beyond this period."

Lastly, a trading update from oil and gas player John Wood. Its Engineering division continues to perform well it says, delivering revenue growth and margin improvement which is expected to result in full year EBITA up by 30% on 2011.

In terms of its Production Services Network, Wood expects improved performance over 2011. "In the UK, we are seeing good activity levels on our long term operations & maintenance contracts, including those with BP, Shell, Talisman and TAQA," it says.

Its balance sheet remains strong it claims while the Group has delivered "good growth in the year to date and remains confident of achieving full year performance in line with expectations."

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