Premarket London: Pearson Revenue Flat, CFO Departs; Whitbread Sales Dip

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© Reuters. © Reuters. – Here is a summary from the most important regulatory news releases from the London Stock Exchange ahead of the UK market open on Thursday 16 January. Please refresh for updates for UK market news from the LSE’s RNS on individual UK shares from , and .

  • Primark owners Associated British Foods (LON:) said revenue for the 16 weeks to Jan. 4 was up 4% on the previous year and its outlook remained unchanged.
  • Thanks to three new stores in Europe and an expansion in existing stores, sales for the final quarter were up 4.5% for the group’s Primark business. Primark intends to open its first stores in several eastarn European countries in 2020.
  • Revenues from ABF’s sugar business increased by 7% in 2019 due to an increase in sugar prices and better quality beet crop.
  • Recruitment specialist Hays (LON:) said it expects first-half operating profit to fall around 20% to 100 million pounds due to difficult trading conditions in key markets.
  • Revenue for its fiscal second quarter ending in December fell 4% on the year on a like-for-like basis, as French strikes, Australian bushfires and the U.K. general election and uncertainty over the direction of Brexit all weighed on hiring.
  • Net fees from Germany also fell 9% on the year, as “increased client cost controls and reduced overall business confidence across multiple sectors.”
  • “Overall, we expect near-term macro conditions to remain difficult,” CEO Alastair Cox said.
  • Publishers Pearson (LON:) said growth for 2019 was flat as a result of a drop in its U.S. business. It also said CFO Coram Williams (NYSE:) is to leave the company for a comparable role in Europe. Williams will be succeeded by Deputy Chief Financial Officer Sally Johnson, who has been with the company since 2000.
  • Revenue in U.S. educational courseware, which makes up almost a quarter of the business, fell by almost 12%. The company saw modest growth in digital revenue but a continued decline in print.
  • A 350 million pounds share buyback will begin on Thursday as a result of revenue from selling its 675 million pound stake in Penguin Random House. Pearson also made annual savings of 335 million pounds in 2019.
  • Growth, excluding U.S. educational coursework, was up 4%.
  • C&C Group, the company behind cider brands Magners and Bulmers, as well as Tennent’s beer, said its chief executive Stephen Glancey is to retire. He’ll step down with immediate effect and will leave the company at the end of February.
  • The company has not yet begun a search for his successor.
  • C&C reassured that trading through the year-end had been in line with its expectations and that it still expects per share earnings growth of over 10% for the full fiscal year.
  • Premier Inn owner Whitbread (LON:) said sales growth increased 1% in the third quarter, thanks to growth in Germany and its wider brand, which includes Beefeater and Brewers Fayre.
  • The group expects in-line results for the current fiscal year.
  • The company cited Brexit uncertainty as reason for a drop in U.K. like-for-like sales, which fell by 1.3%. It has a cautious outlook for hotel demand in 2020.
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