Companies

Lindt predicts bumper sales

choc
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Swiss choccy maker Lindt & Spruengli predicted sales growth of 5-7% in 2019, based on a rosier outlook in the US.

A push for healthier diets in the west has kept the lid on sales for most chocolatiers, but Lindt has been pushing fancier products.

First-half net profit rose 2.4% to 88.1 million Swiss francs, or £72m.

'The signs are promising at GSK'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Glaxo Smith Kline sign
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Ahead of Glaxo Smith Kline's results tomorrow, Trinity Delta analyst, Mick Cooper, has said "the signs are promising" at the pharmaceutical giant.

Emma Walmsley took over as chief executive two years ago and she has led a major shakeup at the company, getting rid of around 40% of its top management.

Mr Cooper said the company had made some mistakes before Ms Walmsley took over.

"The company made the wrong bets, it positioned itself for a world without blockbuster [drugs], incorrectly," he said.

He said it was "absolutely crucial" for pharmaceutical firms to get research and development right because getting it wrong can "destroy future growth".

However, he warned that it would take a long time to see a return on investment because it takes about 12 years to get a product through the development process.

UBS profits exceed expectations

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Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS, posted a better-than-expected second quarter profit of $1.4bn (£1.1bn).

The bank's wealth management division and its investment banking segment delivered a smaller proportion of that profit than in the past. However, that was offset by growth in its investment consultancy business.

"In the second quarter we achieved the highest second-quarter net profit since 2010 and an improvement on an already strong second-quarter 2018," Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said in a statement.

Santander profits dip

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Profits at Spanish banking group Santander fell by 18% in the second quarter as the cost of redundancy payments ate into profits.

Nevertheless, the bank's profits were better than expected at €1.4bn (£1.2bn).

“The results for the first half of the year reflect the start of a multi-year investment in our strategic transformation programme," the bank's boss, Nathan Bostock, said.

“These are uncertain times, and our profitability has been impacted by a fall in income due to the highly competitive UK mortgage market."

Fevertree shares dive

Fevertree shares are down over 8% after that update, to about £21 each. They were nearing £40 last September.

For most companies, a 7% rise in cash profits would have investors singing. The problem for Fevertree is good numbers aren’t necessarily good enough, with high hopes for exponential growth mixed into a fairly lofty valuation. Today’s disappointment stems from the group’s admission it’s simply become too big a fish in the relatively small UK pond, and sales growth is duly tempering in response.

Sophie Lund-YatesEquity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown

Ryanair drops after Credit Suisse downgrade

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Ryanair fell 1.5% after Credit Suisse downgraded it to "underperform", which is analyst-speak for "sell". Short-haul routes are under pressure compared to juicier transatlantic prices, analysts said.

Joules beats the downturn

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Joules

Countryside-inspired clothing brand Joules avoided a wider downturn in British retail to deliver revenues of £218m for the year, up £32m on last year.

Profits before tax increased by almost a fifth to hit £16m as the fashion firm celebrates its 30th anniversary.

"Brand longevity can be a concern for lifestyle players, but these results are testament to Joules’ distinctive design handwriting that gives it an edge over its competitors, such as Fat Face and Boden," Emily Salter, an analyst at GlobalData, said.

She said the brand's "Britishness" would give it significant opportunities for international growth.

Profits hit at PZ Cussons

PZ Cussons' Carex soap
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Consumer goods maker PZ Cussons has reported a sharp fall in profits after the company wrote down the value of two of its brands.

PZ has written off £24.8m against its Nigerian Nutricima drinks brand and its Australian business five:am, which makes yoghurt and granola.

Pre-tax profits for the year to 31 May fell 37.5% to £37m, while revenues dropped 6.8% to £689.4m.

"The group's results for the year were mixed," said PZ chair Caroline Silver.

"A combination of solid performances in Europe and the Americas, with strong growth in the Beauty business unit and Asia Pacific, compared with very disappointing results in Africa."