Updates from Bunzl, William Hill and Rank Group

The FTSE 100 finished six points ahead yesterday, finishing at 5,917 - a seven month high. The biggest riser was International Consolidated Airlines Group.

The Dow Jones finished a smidge down last night at 13,548 points while, today, Asian stocks inched slightly ahead with the Nikkei finishing +0.22% up at 9,002 points.
We start with an interim from outsourcer Bunzl. Overall trading, it says, has been consistent with expectations from half year results in August. Group revenue is up 5% for the third quarter and 6% year to date including positive impact from acquisitions.

However there's moderation in underlying revenue growth rate to 2% for the third quarter, particularly in North America "where comparatives are challenging due to the strong performance in 2011, and also an increased negative impact from exchange translation of between 2% and 3% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year," said the company.

In Continental Europe the combination of slightly improved underlying revenue growth compared to the first half of 2012 and the impact of acquisitions have led to strong revenue growth, but with a decline in operating margins added Bunzl.

Next, FTSE 250 player William Hill. Group Operating profit climbs 26% in the last quarter, 17% higher year to date while online operating profit climbs 42%; retail operating profit was 8% higher. Group net revenue expanded 9%, or 10% higher year to date.

William Hill claims retail net revenue growth of 3% - 4% up year to date - while online net revenue grew 18%. Mobile was 27% of Sportsbook turnover and averaged £10.7m of weekly Sportsbook turnover in Q3.

"The Olympics and Paralympics," says betting boss Ralph Topping, "captured the public's attention but appear to have reduced customer visits in Retail. However, there were compensating factors, particularly the strong margin growth across all channels. We've had a good performance in football, including a strong Euro 2012 in July. It's also pleasing to see signs of improvement in horse racing margin trends."

Lastly, a quarterly update from Rank Group: there's 4% revenue growth for the 15 weeks to 14 October, 5% up on a like-for-like basis. This performance was driven principally by strong trading in Mecca's digital channel and Grosvenor Casinos (venues and digital) Rank says.

The Grosvenor Casinos venues business grew revenue by 7% on a like-for-like basis with a 13% growth in spend per visits, more than offsetting a 5% drop in customer visits. Revenue growth came mainly from a higher than usual win margin in London, driven by major player activity.

"While the outlook for the UK consumer is expected to remain challenging," the company said, "Rank has maintained its strong financial position, possesses market-leading brands with multi-channel distribution and has a clear strategy for sustained long-term growth."

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