Updates from Diageo and Centrica


A small 10-point tick for the FTSE 100 on Tuesday, ending at 6,570.95, up +0.16% overall. GKN was the day's biggest Board riser, up +6.54% to 348.50p while ITV was close behind, up +6.30% to 167p. Barclays however was the biggest tumbler, down -5.74% to 291p.

Overnight, the Nikkei 225 slips -0.85% to 13,752 but Chinese stocks climb.

We commence with preliminary numbers from Johnnie Walker maker Diageo. Pre-tax profits for the year up to 30 June climb slightly to £3.123bn compared to £3.121bn a year ago. Earnings per share are up to 98.7p compared to 77.4p last year, with a final dividend recommended of 29.30 pence per share, a +9% jump.

Organic net sales climb +5%, just under the group's medium term target of +6%. However there's strong double digit pace, more broadly, from emerging markets. Price increases in each region, says Diageo has returned a "significant expansion" in operating margin.

"The breadth of our good performance," says boss Ivan Menezes, "is reflected in the strength of the cash flow, in our double digit eps growth and a recommended 9% increase in the final dividend. This year we have again made a strong business stronger and we remain on track to deliver our medium term guidance."

Next, a half-yearly update from Centrica, and a climb in profits, helped by a dismal cold winter. The British Gas residential arm saw profits climb +3% to £356m, up from £345m a year ago. The full year British Gas residential operating profit is expected to be broadly in line with 2012.

Bear in mind Centrica saw residential gas consumption increase by close to +20% during the first four months 2013 from the bitter weather - just after it hiked prices by +6% the month before (December).

Meanwhile the Centrica interim dividend climbs +6% to 4.92p per share. Centrica's North American subsidiary is snapping up the Energy Marketing unit of Hess for £500m. Hess is the US oil company where Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw spent two decades.

Finally, six month numbers from Moneysupermarket.com. Group revenue increased +10% to £112.3m (2012: £102.2m) with adjusted EBITDA rising by +29% to £39.9m (2012: £31.0m). The gross margin improves to 77.2% (2012: 71.7%), benefitting from the acquisition of MoneySavingExpert.com last September.

Revenues were ahead of the first half of 2012 in Insurance, Travel and Home Services - but conditions in Money are described as "challenging". Direct-to-site revenues increased +74% in the first half of 2013 from +66% in the first half of 2012.

"Revenue in July is flat year on year against a strong July last year when the new advertising campaign was launched," says the company. "This year's new campaign launches in August. The Board remains confident in the long term prospects underpinned by the continued structural growth opportunities in the price comparison marketplace."