Updates from Whitbread and Oxford Instruments

The FTSE 100 was down 16 points yesterday to 6,530, a -0.25% drop. BG Group was the biggest faller, by some margin, down -5.07% to 1217p on Egyptian political and social instability concerns. Tate & Lyle fell -3.41% to 779.50p.

However the Dow Jones, again, re-took the 15,000 threshold, rising 140 points to 15,063. Its biggest gain in two months. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
We start with a trading update from the UK hotel and restaurant giant, Whitbread. There's total sales growth of 10.8% for the 11 weeks to 15th August and like-for-like sales growth of +2.1%. Premier Inn has grown total sales by +12.1%, like-for-like sales up +2.9%.

There's especially strong Premier Inn growth in London, where total sales were up +17.7%, the company claims. But its restaurant business saw a like-for like sales decline of -0.1%. Costa saw total sales climb +20.8% with UK like-for-like sales growth of +5.7%.

"We are on track," says chief exec Andy Harrison, "with our annual plan and our ambitious five year growth milestones. Combined with our emphasis on returns, this growth should continue to create substantial shareholder value."

Next, an interim from Oxford Instruments. Growth in the order intake rate in Industrial Products and third party Service is encouraging the company claims, but slowness in R&D markets in the Western economies means the year is likely to be more second half weighted.

Average monthly orders in its Nanotechnology Tools sector are ahead of last year in Asia but are behind in North America and Europe as government agencies examine their R&D budgets, it adds.

"The Industrial Products sector has seen growth in average monthly orders over the previous year in Asia and Europe as global economies begin to recover. North America," the company continues, "is still down on the prior year but the trend is improving."

Finally, emerging markets asset manager Ashmore Group releases numbers for the year ending 30 June: assets under management climbs to US$77.4 billion, an increase of 22% while 92% of assets under management outperformed the benchmarks over the three year period and 96% over one year, it claims.

Total net revenues increase +7% to £355.5 million, FY2011/12 (£333.3 million). Net management fees climb +4% to £311.2 million while performance fees climb to £33.4 million (FY2011/12: £25.4 million).

"These results," says chief exec Mark Coombs, "demonstrate Ashmore's substantial achievements during the year in delivering outperformance for our clients across the full range of investment themes, as well as the investment in distribution and our operating platform returning record gross subscriptions over the period."

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