Accountancy software giant Sage is set to release full-year results against a backdrop of a law-suit against it, brought by Archer Capital, which is suing for damages following the termination of discussions between Sage and Archer relating to the potential purchase of Sage's Australian competitor MYOB.
Unwelcome though that distraction is, Panmure Gordon thinks that Sage will present an upbeat set of figures and will be "able to talk up the success of new product initiatives, notably Sage1 and X3; and, point to progress with its connected services and the resilience in the business model brought about by its 6.3m installed base."
The broker has a sneaking feeling that the figures will be a shade ahead of consensus, which stands at £354.4m for pre-tax profit, up from £319.9m last year. Sales are tipped to climb to £1.47bn from £1.44bn last year. Panmure's own predictions are profit before tax od £381.5m on sales of £1,515.3m.
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Pubs group Marston's is likely to have a grumble about the difficult trading environment, but as recently as early October it said earnings before tax and exceptional items for the full-year were in line with expectations, which should mean the company announcing profit before tax of around £79.8m on sales of £678.8m.
Plastics supplier RPC has seen its share price improve by about 50% over the last year, though it is little changed since it announced at the end of September that adjusted pre-tax profits for the half-year would be ahead of expectations.
Broker Altium Securities says that RPC's status as the last major player standing in the plastic packaging market has enabled it to demonstrate pricing power, and a mixture of cost saving initiatives and acquisitions synergies over the next two or three years "should enable the group to demonstrate margin progress despite the adverse raw material environment."
Panmure Gordon harps on a similar theme. "We believe RPC remains well placed, almost regardless of macro pressures, given cost reductions, synergies from Superfos, and the beneficial effect of falling raw material prices. We remain buyers ahead of the results and our forecasts ahead of consensus by some margin," the broker said.
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