Updates from Halfords, Pennon Group and SVG Capital

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Halfords, Pennon Group, SVG Capital
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Halfords, Pennon Group, SVG Capital

The FTSE 100 swept past the 7,000 mark for the first time ever on Friday, ending the day at 7,022.5 - a 60-point gain, up 0.86% overall. Anglo American, CRH and Glencore led the charge, up 5.2%, 5% and 4.7% with support too from Fresnillo and BHP Billiton. However there was a share shock for Persimmon investors, tumbling more than 5% to 1689p.

There was shares gusto across the water with the Dow Jones up almost 1% to 18,127.6, a 168-point climb - Nike shares climbed 3.7% - thanks to better corporate earnings and oil price improvement.

We start the week with water utility operator Pennon Group. Pennon claims it will continue its dividend policy of year-on-year growth of 4% above RPI inflation to 2019/20, a policy for ten consecutive years (2010-2020) of 4% dividend growth for shareholders it says.

Overall 2014/15 underlying earnings for waste arm Viridor are expected to exceed last year. Earnings from operational Energy Recovery Facilities are expected to more than offset declines in landfill and recycling Pennon says.

"South West Water," it says, "continues its track record of efficiency and outperformance with robust operational delivery, high standards of customer service and strong financial performance."

Next, full year numbers from SVG Capital. The NAV per share growth climbs 14% to 588p with a 10% total return in the 13 months; in constant currencies the portfolio generated a total return of 17% SVG claims.

Post-2012 investments now account for 24% of the investment portfolio with weighted average earnings and revenue growth of 12% and 10% respectively it says.

"The period [also] marked," says boss Lynn Fordham, "a record year for distributions with £330 million of proceeds received from the portfolio. Against this we have paid £177 million of calls as the transition to post-2012 investments gathers pace."

We end with a new boss for Halfords. Jill McDonald - currently CEO, McDonalds UK & President, North West Division, Europe - will take the reins from 11 May from Matt Davies who heads for Tesco. She joined McDonald's in 2006 as Chief Marketing Officer UK & Northern Europe.

Halfords new boss has had stints at Colgate Palmolive in brand management; she joined BA in 1990 where she held a number of marketing roles in the UK and Hong Kong, rising to Head of Global Marketing in 2004.

"Halfords," says says, "has already made significant progress in delivering its service-led growth strategy and I look forward to joining such a strong team to continue to build on that success."

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