Updates from ABF and Balfour Beatty

The FTSE 100 finished eights points down yesterday at 6,504. Burberry Group was the day's biggest winner, up +4.79% at 1509p while miner Fresnillo sank almost -5% to 903p.

Asian stocks climbed strongly overnight, helped by conciliatory words on interest rates from the US Fed. The Hang Seng climbs sharply, up +2.52% to 21,432. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
We commence with an interim from Primark owner, Associated British Foods. Group revenue from continuing operations for the 40 weeks to 22 June 2013 is 9% ahead. Sugar revenues in the last 16 weeks were 15% lower but ingredients' revenues were 5% higher than last year in the quarter.

Primark, it says, delivered "strong revenue growth" in the quarter bringing the year-to-date sales increase to 22% driven by an increase in retail selling space and good like-for-like growth. In the third quarter, like-for-like growth was subdued but there was a marked improvement with the better weather in May and June.

Grocery revenues showed an improvement in the third quarter being 7% ahead of the same period last year. "Twinings Ovaltine maintained its strong growth, particularly in the US where Twinings remains the fastest growing tea brand," says the company.

Next, an interim from engineering support services player, Babcock. Babcock claims the order book remains stable at £12 billion with 80% of the Group's anticipated revenue for the 2013/14 financial year contracted.

The bid pipeline remains stable at £15.5 billion, it claims. "The bids currently being progressed in the pipeline, along with the significant opportunities still being tracked, will be the key drivers of growth over the next few years," it says.

The Group's claimed financial position remains robust and cash generation across the Group has remained strong through the period, Babcock says.

Finally, a trading update from infrastructure support company Balfour Beatty. Markets remain "very challenging" and the company has not seen a material change in trading conditions since its Q1 interim, except for a worsening in the environment for professional services business in Australia.

"At the divisional level," Balfour says, "Professional Services profitability will be adversely impacted by depressed activity in Australia where the environment has continued to deteriorate due to a significant number of project cancellations in the natural resources sector."

In UK Construction, first-half performance has been weak as expected it says; results have been "further impacted by the £50 million profit shortfall announced on 29 April as well as continued weakness in the Mainland European Rail businesses."
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