Updates from Severn Trent, RSA Insurance and Booker Group
In Asia overnight, the Nikkei climbed +0.3% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng sank -0.6%, not helped by a decline from HSBC Holdings.
We commence with Severn Trent, and low single digit revenue growth anticipated for the full year. Operating profit is likely to be impacted by investment in Operating Services, offsetting some underlying growth.
Customer prices in Severn Trent Water increased 5.2% (including inflation) from 1 April 2012. Consumption across measured income base declined year on year in the period, in line with expectations the company said.
Severn continues to forecast a bad debt level around 2.2% of turnover for the full year; operating expenditure continues to be in line with expectations for the year it says.
Next, an interim from RSA Insurance. Following the wettest June on record in the UK, RSA says net losses across the Group's UK Household, Motor and Commercial Property portfolios is estimated to come in at around £40m.
Current expectations are that the impact of the continued rainfall experienced to date in July will be around £10m, it says. "In addition, the net loss to the Group in relation to the two earthquakes in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy in May is estimated to be around £35m."
RSA continues, it claims, to deliver a strong underwriting performance across its diversified portfolio. "However, reflecting the impact of the above events and assuming a more normal level of weather losses in the second half, the combined operating ratio for the full year 2012 is now expected to be better than 96%."
Finally, food and drink wholesaler Booker Group says non-tobacco sales rose 3.9% (3.8% on a like for like basis) whilst tobacco sales fell 1.7%. Tobacco has been adversely impacted by the phasing of duty mark up versus a year ago it says.
Total sales in the 12 weeks to 22 June 2012 rose 1.7% on the same period last year (1.7% on a like-for-like basis). "After a good start, we anticipate that Booker Group is on course to meet expectations for the year ending 29 March 2013."
Booker Group continues to make progress, says chief exec Charles Wilson. "Our plans to focus, drive and broaden the business remain on track. We are pleased to have the team at Makro UK as part of Booker Group. Together we look forward to improving choice, prices and service for all our catering, retailing and small business customers in the UK."