Finance

The week ahead in business and finance

Ocado will be scrutinised after it emerged an activist investor was taking a stake

Ocado will be scrutinised after it emerged an activist investor was taking a stake CREDIT:PA

Monday July 3

Full-year  results from the fashion retailer SuperGroup, owner of the Superdry brand, will arrive with little fanfare today after the company rushed out the headline figures last Thursday because of a “random theft from an employee”.

SuperGroup said that an “external party may have had sight” of the company’s performance figures and that the full release has been brought forward to today.  Much of the share price reaction will already be priced in after the rush release, but investors will want to pick over the company’s international performance, which could offset difficult domestic market conditions.

Investec analyst Kate Calvert said there were “no surprises” in the FTSE 250 company’s results, with profits before tax in line with expectations. She said profits this year have been held back by one-off investments.

Full-year results: SuperGroup, The 600 Group, Plastics Capital, Mercia Technology

AGM: Aseana Properties, Landore Resources, Polemos

Economics: UK PMI manufacturing

Tuesday July 4

Imagination Technologies, its share price decimated by Apple’s announcement in April that it will part ways with the Hertfordshire-based company, will release its full-year results amid speculation that it is about to be the focus of a fierce bidding war between tech giants. Apple, which said it will soon design its own microchips in place of Imagination’s, accounted for approximately 50pc of the company’s revenue. Imagination will still supply Apple for a further two years. Its share price has, however, dropping by almost 40pc this year.

The company put itself up for sale earlier this month. Just a week later it announced that it had initiated a formal sale process and was in discussions with several interested parties. Before the results, Liberum analyst Janardan Menon said that the sale of the whole company, including three separate intellectual properties, “will unlock value”. Mr Menon included Intel, Qualcomm and even former bedfellow Apple on the long list of potential bidders.

Full-year results: Solid State, Imagination Technologies, Trakm8 Holdings

Interim results: St Modwen Properties Trading statement J Sainsbury, Staffline AGM Veltyco Group, Distil

Economics: Markit/CIPS UK construction

Wednesday July 5

Extra scrutiny will be put on Ocado Group’s interim results on Wednesday, the first since the Richard Bernstein-led activist investor Crystal Amber revealed its 0.5pc stake in the online grocer earlier this month. Investors have been longing for the company to secure a deal that will take the brand international, and Crystal Amber, which is one of Britain’s leading homegrown activist funds, is likely to demand a shake-up at Ocado, which it has criticised for its dealings with the City.

Ocado is also facing rising competition in the food delivery industry, and speculation that it could be taken over by Amazon has mounted since the technology giant announced a £10.7bn deal to acquire Whole Foods. For now, Ocado is trying to seize the initiative in the online grocery delivery market, becoming last week the first to begin trials with a self-driving delivery truck.

Interim results Ocado Trading statement Booker, McCarthy & Stone, Persimmon, SIG AGM Booker, Challenger Acquisitions, Dods, J Sainsbury, Windar Photonics

Economics BRC shop price index, New car registrations, Markit/CIPS UK services

Thursday July 6

The update from Bovis Homes will mark Greg Fitzgerald’s first as chief executive after being parachuted in to help the troubled housebuilder in April. It has been a tough year for the FTSE 250 constituent after fending off takeover bids from rivals Galliford Try and Redrow and being embarrassed in a scandal in which it offered buyers £3,000 if they moved into homes before they were finished , in order to hit sales targets.

Peel Hunt said it would be too early for Mr Fitzgerald, the former chief executive of Galliford Try, to give details on his plans for the business but added that it will give him the opportunity to “talk optimistically about the potential for improvement”. Mr Fitzgerald came out of retirement in April to help.

Trading statement Bovis Homes, Ferrexpo, Great Portland Estates

AGM C&C, Chaarat Gold, Elektron Technology, Great Portland Estates, McKay Securities, Pennon, Quantum Pharma

Friday July 7

The focus of Dunelm’s trading update will continue to be the company’s efforts to integrate Worldstores into the brand. Dunelm acquired the struggling e-tailer last November as part of its push to boost its furniture division and head off rising competition in the homeware market.

Dunelm told investors in February that a weaker market and supply chain problems had hit profits by 26pc, causing its shares to plummet. However, broker Peel Hunt believes that growth in online sales should help Friday’s figures, even with the underlying market remaining “difficult”.

The broker said that the furnishings manufacturer’s update will benefit from the timing of Easter but that shares “are unlikely to make progress until confidence in the outlook and integration process firms up”.

Trading update: Dunelm Group

AGM: Great Portland Estates, AVEVA Group

Economics: Halifax house price index (UK), Balance of trade (UK), Industrial production (UK), Manufacturing production (UK), Unemployment rate (US), Industrial production (GER)

[“Source-telegraph”]

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Loknath Das

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