Updates from Meggitt and Serco


The FTSE 100 managed to stay in positive territory yesterday inching 5.8 points to 6,492. ARM Holdings was the biggest riser, up 3.4% to 1027p. J Sainsbury's managed to repeat its dismal performance on Tuesday and slide -3.5% yesterday to 365.1p.

The Dow Jones though leapt +1.84% to 16,167, despite the Fed's words on snipping its tapering program.

We start with an $18m contract win for Meggitt from the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Meggitt claims the award follows several recent international deals totaling over $40m involving simulators for the Italian Ministry of Defence, Kuwait Police and the Singapore Armed Forces.

"These awards," says Ron Vadas, President, Meggitt Training Systems, "are testament to the broad appeal beyond the United States of our industry-leading training products. In particular, Meggitt Training Systems is meeting with great success upgrading legacy virtual systems."

Jefferies recently hiked its target price on the stock to 550p; Meggitt shares currently sell for 503p though they did hit more than 570p at the end of October.

Next, a pre-close statement from Serco. Free cash flow for 2013 is anticipated to be lower than 2012 reflecting incremental working capital investment in BPO activities it says and lower dividends from joint ventures; there may also be an impact related to operational pressures of recent months.

There has been considerable concern on the company's central Government contracts, worth more than £1.2bn a year following overcharging allegations on criminal tagging. Serco recently lost a £450m deal to take on three Yorkshire prisons.

Serco admits an impact from Government audits and reviews, other one-off costs and accounting charges are now estimated at up to £19m (previously £15m).

We end with a brief trading statement from engineering specialist Keller Group for the financial year ending 31 December 2013, to be announced at the start of March. The North American business has performed well recently though the Middle East and Africa has been more mixed.

The value of its like-for-like order book at the end of October was slightly up on the year before; Keller - it build the foundations for the East London Olympic site - has also been boosted by strong numbers on completed major projects with solid margins.

"There has been no significant change in market and trading conditions since the release of the Interim Management Statement on 19 November 2013. The Board therefore expects that the full year results will be in line with current market expectations."