Updates from Tullow Oil, Thomas Cook and Homeserve

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, tullow oil, homeserve, thomas cook
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, tullow oil, homeserve, thomas cook

An 8-point drop for the FTSE 100 on Tuesday, ending at 6,829.1. The biggest loser was Royal Mail, down almost 5% to 432p, not helped by a new broker downgrade worrying about increased competition and earnings for the former state-owned operation. Miners, generally, also fell hard but better news for M&S, up 4.9% to 498.7p, along with more optimism for Tesco and Morrisons shares, up 3.6% and 3.4% respectively.

Stateside, the Dow Jones accelerated 140 points ahead to 17,868.7 helped by robust numbers from Apple - its market value hitting $700 bn - and Coca-Cola.

We start this morning with full 2014 numbers from Tullow Oil. Revenues are 16% down to $2,213m impacted by severe oil price pressure in the second half of 2014 and gas asset sales in Europe and Asia, plus significant write-offs, impairment charges and a Ugandan loss.

In light of this Tullow has suspended the dividend. With no final payment for 2014 this means the full 2014 dividend is four pence per share. There's a full cost base review and new efficiencies are expected to deliver cash savings of around $500 million in the next three years, it claims.

"We have increased and diversified," says boss Aidan Heavey, "our sources of debt capital, reduced our exploration expenditure, implemented significant cost saving initiatives...These measures will provide us with substantial headroom and liquidity to deliver on our strategy."

Next, Thomas Cook. Like-for-like revenues increased 1.6%, or £24 million, in the last quarter to £1,519 million (Q1 2014: £1,495 million) the travel player says, reflecting progress in New Product and Winter Sun moves.

Underlying EBIT margin for the last 12 months is upped 3.9%; losses from operations were cut 42%, or £53 million, to £73 million (Q1 2014: loss of £126 million) on a like-for-like basis.

"We are particularly pleased," says chief exec Peter Fankhauser, "with the performance of our UK business, which is now achieving its highest underlying EBIT margin since 2009, while at a Group level we have nearly halved our first quarter operating loss."

We end with a visit from Homeserve. For the last quarter, business is trading in line with expectations it says. The UK business continues to make progress with solid marketing and retention performance for the period.

As planned, Homeserve - subject to mixed analyst ratings in the last month - says its performance to date gives confidence that it will achieve its target of 0.3m gross new customers in FY15.

"This marketing performance combined with an expected 82% retention rate means we are on track to close the year with at least 2m customers."

Hodge: Serious Questions Over HSBC Tax Claims
Hodge: Serious Questions Over HSBC Tax Claims

Read more:

Economist - Claim Your Free Issue

Bargain Blue Chips

Free IHT Consultation