The recovery of Punch Taverns, the pubs group that was almost brought down by its huge debt mountain during the credit crunch, is a long drawn-out process and Thursday's interim results are likely to focus on the familiar twin themes of declining like-for-like (LFL) sales and the pubs disposal programme.
In the 12 weeks to March 3rd, Punch reported a LFL year-on-year income decline of 2.9% in its core estate - the pubs it hopes to keep hold of - while the 'up for sale' pubs in aggregate saw LFL sales down 10.2%. Any improvement in those trends would be seen as cause for a drink.
The group remains on track to dispose of 400-500 pubs for the full-year following 214 pub disposals in the first half of its current financial year for £62m, which broker Panmure Gordon notes is slightly ahead of book value.
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On the economic front, UK trade figures are out at 9:30. Barclays Capital expects the trade deficit to widen to £7.8bn, wich is slightly more pessimistic than the consensus forecast of £7.7bn.
INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Casdon plc, London Finance & Investment Group, Wilmington Group
QUARTERLY PAYMENT DATE
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Balance of Trade (US) (13:30)
Bloomberg Consumer Confidence (US) (14:45)
Continuing Claims (US) (13:30)
ECB Report (EU) (09:00)
Industrial Production (EU) (10:00)
Initial Jobless Claims (US) (13:30)
Producer Price Index (US) (13:30)
Elektron Technology, Escher Group Holdings, JD Sports Fashion, Networkers International
Fidelity European Values, Mam Funds
Galliford Try, Hays, XP Power Ltd. (DI)
SPECIAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Baronsmead VCT 5, BP, Primary Health Properties, Smith & Nephew
UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
UK Trade (09:30)
FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
FINAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Sagicor Financial Corp.
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