Updates from ABF, Bovis and Unite Group

Housebuilder Bovis dividend surges almost 160% meanwhile Primark sales also climb

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savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Bovis, ABF, Unite GroupThe FTSE 100 climbed across the 6,900 barrier on Friday, ending 26 points up at 6,915.2. Glencore and StandardLife were the biggest winners, up 3% and 2.7% (to 292p and 419p). WeirGroup was also up substantially, surging 2.6% to 1911p. Less good news though for BA owner IAG, down 2.3% to 551p, not helped by the stalling progress of its Aer Lingus takeover. Cruise operator Carnival was also down, slipping 2.2% to 2875p.

In the US the Dow Jones help up strongly, helped by a Greek-German deal, climbing almost 155 points to 18,140.4; Boeing was up almsost 3%.

We start this morning with a pre-close update from Primark owner Associated British Foods. Underlying trading remains in line with expectations it says, expecting a marginal dip in adjusted earnings per share for the group for the full year.

Adjusted operating profit for the first half is expected to be lower than last year not helped by sterling strengthening. Good news from Grocery - expected to deliver similar half-year profits to last year; Ingredients and Agriculture make "excellent progress" on the profits front.

Primark sales meanwhile "are expected to be 16% ahead of last year at constant currency driven by an 11% increase in retail selling space and very high sales densities in stores opened during the last year".

We move, next, onto housebuilder Bovis. Full year revenues surge 46% to £809.4m while pre-tax profits climb almost 70% to £133.5m. Basic earnings per share climb 75% to 78.6p. The dividend per share soars 159% to 35p.

Bovis' average sale price climbs 11% from £195,000 to £216,000. The housebuilder claims a strong forward order book for 2015, plus strong growth in land bank sites for the full year.

"The Board is maintaining its guidance on dividends," says boss David Ritchie, "and will be recommending a full year dividend of 35 pence, an increase of 159%. The Board also intends to pay a dividend of at least 35 pence per share in 2015."

Finally, student accomodation Unite Group. It claims earnings of £33.3 million (17.2p per share), up 44% (2013: £23.1 million, 13.6p per share) and 9% overall (2013: £30.6 million, 18p per share).

There's a final dividend of 9p per share (2013: 3.2p), making 11.2p for the full year (2013: 4.8p) and an increased payout ratio of 65% (2013: 35%). There's like-for-like rental growth of 3.3% for the full year (2013: 3.0%), it says.

"We are alert," says chief exec Mark Allan, "to the risks of rising interest rates, development cost inflation and the uncertainty of an impending General Election but are managing the business in a disciplined way and continue to look forward with confidence."


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