Updates from Stobart, Berendsen and RBS
Global economy gloom prevailed across Asia today with the Japanese Nikkei dropping -1.09% while the Hang Seng sank -1.14%.
A quiet day for corporate numbers. We hit the road with Stobart and a pre-close update. The majority of the transport business has progressed well, it says. The restructuring of the chilled business alongside bad summer weather was reflected in retail sales however.
"This has resulted in some losses for the chilled fleet but the current restructuring will result in a more robust and streamlined business for the future," says the company. With its Air division, passenger numbers with easyJet and Aer Lingus continue to grow. London Southend Airport serviced around 250,000 passengers in the quarter to the end of July 2012 claims Stobart.
Its Biomass Division has received significant new enquiries and contractual negotiations have been accelerated. Longer term, Stobart continues to pursue its stated strategic direction and remains confident "it will achieve its strategic plan and deliver significant shareholder value as planned."
Next, work-wear operator Berendsen, and better profits. Pre-tax profits for the first half of 2012 climb to almost £40m from £30.4m last year though revenues slip to £488.2m compared to £495.9m. Pre-tax operating profits rises 6% to £65m. Earnings per share are upped to 17.1p from 12.9p.
The change to a new business lines management structure has been executed well, says the company, with the new management teams been in place from the start of 2012. Initiatives to increase revenue growth plus increase returns on invested capital are largely embedded within the business lines, it says.
"The board," says chairman Iain Ferguson, "expects first half trading trends to continue for the balance of 2012, resulting in good year on year progress in line with our expectations."
Lastly, there is concern RBS could be hit with Libor fines bigger than fines Barclays had to pay out. The Telegraph reports that Labour MP John Mann has accused the Government of not coming clean over RBS' possible financial exposure on the issue.
"There is an obvious Government advantage in allowing Barclays to take the full flak and letting RBS sneak in later," Mann says.
Mann wants the Chancellor to reveal the extent by which RBS might have been involved in Libor rigging.