M&S, British Land and SSE dominate mid-week results diary

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Wednesday will bring results from a number of prominent firms in the FTSE 350, with the most famous among these being high street giant Marks & Spencer.

Aside from M&S, results are also due from landlord British Land and energy group SSE, while investors may also be keeping an eye on announcements from other companies such as banknote printer De La Rue and product testing firm Intertek.

These aren’t just results, these are M&S results

High street stalwart Marks & Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS) is due to report its final results on Wednesday as it continues to tackle an overhaul of its business.

Investors will be hoping the company’s online sales have managed to support the firm during the disruption caused by the pandemic, as well as how the firm expects its current year to pan out as lockdown restrictions ease across the UK.

Food will also be in focus as investors eye the fruits of the company’s delivery joint venture with Ocado, as well as any broader commentary about how the company views the future of the high street and its strategy to respond to the shifting retail landscape.

Hope but not much glory for British Land

It goes without saying that property companies have had a torrid time during the pandemic and that Wednesday’s results from British Land Company PLC (LOM:BLND) will be grim.

The consensus forecast is for full-year earnings per share on the industry-standard EPRA basis will fall by 36% to 21p from a year earlier, as the company makes provisions for lower rent collections.

The EPRA net tangible assets valuation is expected to fall by 17% to 21p, reflecting lower property prices in the retail and office sectors.

UBS will be on the lookout for news of acquisitions.

“British Land has recently purchased retail parks, and has entered in the logistics asset class with the purchase of an urban logistics warehouse in Enfield. We will be interested to hear the commentary around further logistics acquisitions, and any further capital recycling given the £1.3bn of capital activity from 1 April 2020 to 14 April 2021,” UBS said.

“Valuations: [are] always a focus, but it will be particularly interesting to see how the retail portfolio fares, given British Land’s higher exposure to retail parks, where declines have slowed and some buying interest has stepped it,” the Swiss bank said.

Also on UBS’s wish list is an update on Canada Water, and urban logistics development opportunities, such as Meadowhall and Teesside.

SSE eyes greener pastures from renewables switch

Shares in power company SSE PLC (LON:SSE) are up 5% since the start of last year and roughly flat over the past five years, as the group has steadily moved into cleaner energy sources (a third of its output at last count was from hydro and wind) while also selling its retail energy business and other ‘non-core’ assets.

Its income attractions, with a dividend policy to increase its annual payout by the rate of retail price index, have supported the shares.

Shareholder distributions are partly being funded by asset sales, with two energy-to-waste projects raising almost £1bn in cash in November and other deals in the pipeline to take this up to £2bn by the autumn.

As well as returning cash to investors, SSE is working on a £7.5bn investment programme as it aims to treble its renewable energy output by 2030, with projects including the massive Dogger Bank offshore wind farm.

Wednesday’s full-year results should see a £200mln profit hit from the coronavirus but the company said, if weather patterns were to be normal, it would expect to report full-year adjusted earnings of 85p-90p per share and recommend a total dividend of 80p per share.

With inflation being the elephant in the room for markets of late, analysts at Citigroup said SSE looked the best-placed of the UK utilities at it has the least inflation-linked debt.

Significant announcements for Wednesday May 26:

Trading announcements: Intertek Group PLC (LON:ITRK)

Finals: Marks & Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS), SSE PLC (LON:SSE), British Land Co PLC (LON:BLND), De La Rue PLC (LON:DLAR), Biffa PLC (LON:BIFF), Mediclinic International Plc (LON:MDC), ASA International Group PLC (LON:ASAI)

Interims: Oxford Metrics PLC (LON:OMG), Auction Technology Group PLC (LON:ATG)

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