British American Tobacco to provide update in the shadow of vulture fund investor


A trading update tomorrow from British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BATS) may be given an extra spark due to the recent revelation that Kenneth Dart, the secretive billionaire investor, has built up a large stake in the company.

Dart, who made his name with so-called “vulture funds” that buy up government bonds of heavily indebted countries in the expectation of a price uplift following a bond restructuring, has built a 7.06% stake in BAT, whose shares have been drifting pretty much sideways for not far off three years.

The presence of his Spring Mountain Investments fund, which has also taken a smaller stake in rival Imperial Brands, on the register is not likely to be noted by the maker of Pall Mall and Lucky Strike cigarettes, but it may guide management’s actions.

Either way, there will be a significant focus on the company’s core US market, where the prospect of additional regulation and bans on menthol cigarettes is surely causing concern among some shareholders.

BAT is also likely to provide more guidance on the expected performance of the new categories division, where the main brands are Vuse, Velo and Glo.

Meanwhile, any updates on the FTSE 100 company’s dividend are also likely to be eyed closely by income-hungry investors.

Paragon checks its accounts

Before the market’s short ‘coronavirus crisis’ early last year, Paragon Banking Group PLC (LON:PAG) shares had grown more than tenfold from their lows post the global financial crisis of 2008, gaining the specialist lender a band of loyal investors.

These half-year figures may be of interest to investors looking for how this mortgage provider has performed during what was meant to be a ‘mini boom’ in the UK housing market but which has lasted since last summer.

Analysts at UBS are forecasting a pre-tax profit for the six months to March 31 of GBP70.7mln from revenues up around 5% and a flat net interest margin of 2.28%.

Loan loss charges for the period are predicted to come in at GBP14.7mln.

Marking your Card

Will Card Factory PLC (LON:CARD) be getting missives of consultation or congratulations after posts final results on Tuesday?

Neither it seems, quite yet, as the greeting cards retailer posted a short note today to advise that it has pushed back its results that had been due tomorrow until Thursday this week.

Card Factory said last month that sales in stores reopened post-lockdown had topped both expectations and the performance after the previous two lockdowns, with store revenue only “marginally” down compared with the same period in 2019.

Announcements expected on Tuesday June 8:

Trading announcements: British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BATS), Ferguson PLC (LON:FERG)

Finals: OnTheMarket PLC (LON:OTMP), B.P. Marsh & Partners PLC (LON:BPM), Intermediate Capital Group PLC (LON:ICP), TinyBuild Inc (LON:TBLD), VP PLC (LON:VP.), Oxford Instruments PLC (LON:OXIG)

Interims: Driver Group PLC (LON:DRV), Paragon Banking Group PLC (LON:PAG), RWS Holdings PLC (LON:RWS)

Economic data: US trade balance


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