Wm Morrison Supermarkets and STV in the spotlight on Thursday


Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LSE:MRW) (LSE:MRW), whose half-year results are due Thursday, potentially might be one of the shortest promotions to the FTSE 100 ever.

The grocer’s re-entry to the big league was confirmed two days ago, but rather like the numbers on Thursday is a sideshow to the bid battle underway between US private equity concerns.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) is in pole position with its latest bid the highest so far and worth 285p per share or GBP7bn in total, but there is still time for rival bidder Fortress to come back again or even for someone else to enter the fray.

Morrison’s management has seemed keen to accept anything over 250p, so the results are likely to be a plain vanilla affair but at least should give some insight into what the bidders are buying and where it can go in future.

The online channels are growing fast while wholesale is becoming more important as e-commerce demands grow.

Morrisons also own its stores and a reminder of what they are worth in the balance sheet might also prod one of the bidders to go higher.

Switching on for STV’s interims

STV Group Plc (LSE:STVG) will broadcast its interim results on Thursday and analysts reckon it will be a pleasant watch for investors.

The release comes after an encouraging pre-close update that flagged strong trading and significant operational progress.

The TV channel later announced the STV Player’s biggest ever content partnership, adding 1,200 hours of quality drama and factual content over the next 12 months, and the divestment of its non-core external lottery management company.

The market will expect news on these dynamics and an update on current trading and expectations for the remainder of this year.

“We regard STV as a very well-managed, entrepreneurial business with strong momentum, clear potential to both build on its dominant position in commercial TV broadcasting in Scotland as advertising spend recovers and deliver transformational growth across its digital and production operations, and a firm commitment to sustainability, diversity, and inclusion,” commented house broker Shore Capital.

“We forecast 12% year-on-year EPS growth during 2021 (driven by a combination of top-line growth and margin expansion) and three-year adjusted EPS and DPS growth of 39% and 64%, respectively, accompanied by robust cash generation – potentially delivering a net cash position by end 2023/ providing firepower to fund content production acquisitions and investments.”

Thursday 9 September

Interims: Cairn Homes plc (LSE:CRN), Destiny Pharma PLC (AIM:DEST), Energean PLC (LSE:ENOG), Jadestone Energy PLC (AIM:JSE), Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, Spire Healthcare Plc, STV Group Plc

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to knock 1.09 point off the index: Croda International PLC (LSE:CRDA) (LSE:CRDA), Avast PLC (LSE:AVST) (LSE:AVST), Polymetal International PLC (LSE:POLY) (LSE:POLY), CRH plc

Economic data: US initial jobless claims


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