Updates from Persimmon and Ladbrokes

The FTSE 100 continued to climb yesterday, up almost 28 points to 6,865.8. Bunzl was the day's biggest climber, up +6.8% to 1585p. Vodafone investors are shortly be hit by a wall of money, following its 45% sale stake in Verizon Wireless with around £51bn coming their way - though future income worries rise.

The Dow Jones finished 0.64% up, more than 103 points higher, at 16,207. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Housebuilder Persimmon figures first. Final numbers, boosted by Help-to-Buy, for 2013 see underlying profit before tax up by 49% to £330m (2012: £222m). Full year revenues rise 21% to £2.1bn (2012: £1.7bn)

Persimmon's operating margin increases 16.0%. Legal completions increased by 16% to 11,528 (2012: 9,903) and average selling price increased 4% to £181,861 (2012: £175,640). The housebuilder claims a return on average capital employed increase of 44% to 17.6% (2012: 12.2%).

"The early weeks of the spring selling season have been encouraging, with our weekly private sales rate per site being 22% ahead of last year for the first eight weeks," says chairman Nicholas Wrigley. "We anticipate a further year of encouraging sales growth in 2014."

Next, prelim numbers for Ladbrokes for 2013. Group net revenue slips 0.6% while group operating profit comes in a £138.3 million - that's 32.9% down. Underlying earnings per share falls heavily, 36.4% lower to 11.7p.

The full year dividend is maintained at 8.9p (2012: 8.9p). Ladbrokes claims full year exceptional costs of £51.6 million are largely driven by transition costs to Playtech products and business restructuring plus impairment of shop licences.

"H1 is about delivery and H2 is about growth," says chief exec Richard Glynn. "Our immediate focus is on the completion of our remaining platform, product and capability upgrades, notably single wallet and CRM, which will begin to deliver tangible benefits from the World Cup onwards."

Lastly, prelim numbers for 2013 from personal care and ingredients player, Croda International. Adjusted operating profit climbs 3.7% to £264.6m while operating profit is up 3.3% to £263.3m. Profit before tax climbs 5% to £250.1m.

Croda claims sales growth of 10.8% in new and protected products supported a record return on sales in Consumer Care (32.2%) and Performance Technologies (16.3%). Profits were flat in Industrial Chemicals.

"The current year," says chairman Martin Flower, "has started in line with our expectations, global trends are unpredictable and our forward visibility remains limited. Currency translation is expected to have an adverse impact on profit growth in 2014."

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