Costain and Grafton to give Wednesday’s agenda an “under construction” feel


Company results on Wednesday have a bit of a building and construction them.

The last time we heard from Costain PLC, Costain, the infrastructure company, it was trading profitably with good cash generation.

That brief update was back in the middle of last month, so it’s unlikely a lot will have changed though there will be a lot more flesh on the bones.

When it reports interims on Wednesday, analysts will be looking at the size of the order book, which had slipped slightly to GBP4bn at the end of June, down from GBP4.2bn a year earlier. Of that GBP4bn, around GBP1.2bn was secured for 2021.

Another focus, reckons broker Peel Hunt, will be the Peterborough & Huntingdon (P&H) contract, amid an ongoing legal tussle with National Grid (LSE:NG.) (LSE:NG.), with Costain recording a GBP49.3mln charge to the income statement in its interim results a year ago and believing it “has a strong entitlement” to suffer no further cash outflow.

Also reporting is building materials distributor and DIY retailer, Grafton PLC.

The July trading update saw the company upgrade operating profit for the year to GBP240mln but the statement was not without the odd niggle, such as a shortage of bulk cement, which is hampering contrcution activity, as well as shortages of other raw materials.

The company’s GBP520mln sale of its UK merchanting business, Plumbase, is set to go through early next year leaving it with the scope to make further acquisitions.

Significant announcements expected

Finals: Clipper Logistics PLC (LSE:CLG, FRA:3UC) (LSE:CLG, FRA:3UC)

Interims: Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LSE:APF, TSX:APY, OTC:AGPIF, FRA:HGR) (LSE:APF, TSX:APY, OTC:AGPIF, FRA:HGR), Costain Group (LSE:COST) (LSE:COST) PLC, Grafton Group PLC (ISE:GFTU)

Economic data: US crude oil inventories


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