Updates from Experian and Imperial Tobacco

Portuguese debt worries rankle markets


Most markets fell on Thursday on more European bank debt concern with the FTSE 100 taking a 45-point drop. Hargreaves Lansdown and Ashtead Group bore the brunt of the unease, slipping 4.41% (to 1128p) and 3.88% (to (878.50p) respectively. BA owner IAG also fell further, down 2.44% to 331p.

On the other hand Burberry investors were cheered by a new quarterly update: shares climbed 3.17% to 1464p. The Dow Jones though lost 0.42%, slipping 70.5 points to 16,915.

We commence with a - challenging - quarterly update from Experian. At constant exchange rates, total revenue growth for UK and Ireland was 6% and organic revenue growth was 5%. Total revenue growth for EMEA/Asia Pacific was 4%; US growth came in at 5%.

Experian claims they faced a number of one-off headwinds, including a subdued trading environment in Brazil during the World Cup and brand transition issues with its North American Consumer Services.

"While we continue to expect growth in the first half to be constrained by the one-off headwinds," says Experian, "we expect a return to more normal levels of organic revenue growth as the second half of the year progresses."

Next, Imperial Tobacco has responded to rumours it may bid for Lorillard and Reynolds American. Imperial confirms it is in discussions with both to evaluate assets and brands owned by the two operators.

"The USA remains one of the world's largest and most profitable cigarette markets. Imperial," it says, "would proceed with an acquisition only if its terms met strict transaction criteria."

Imperial owns Gauloises and Davidoff. It's thought any deal - which could be worth close to £3bn - could include Reynolds brands such as Salem and Kool. Reynolds is 42% owned by British American Tobacco.

Lastly, Moneysupermarket.comGroup claims half year revenues are expected to be in the region of £122m approximately 9% ahead of the same period last year; adjusted EBITDA is 9% ahead, in line with the Board's expectations.

Trading growth in the second quarter was a little stronger than the first quarter. As at 30 June 2014 the Group had net debt of £21.0m.

The company had its Add rating reiterated by Westhouse Securities in a report issued yesterday.

Imperial Tobacco