City round-up: James Halstead; musicMagpie; Kelso
James Halstead, the Manchester-based flooring specialist, is on course to achieving full year market expectations and beating its half year comparatives.
The firm is holding its 108th annual general meeting at noon today, and chairman, Anthony Wild, will tell shareholders: “In the first five months trading of the current financial year I can report that, whilst our major markets face strong competition, we are seeing improved output and profits which are materially ahead of the comparatives.
“We are confident of achieving full year market expectations of improved bottom line results and exceeding the half year comparatives, as well as extending our track record of increased dividends.
“In addition, cash levels are also materially ahead of prior year comparatives for the five months. I and the board remain positive about the medium term prospects for the group as a whole.”
The meeting is expected to approve a final dividend of 5.75p per ordinary share, which is another record dividend, and marks the 47th year of increases.
Adrian Kearsey, an analyst with investment bank Panmure Gordon, reiterated his Buy call on the company’s stock this morning, saying: “James Halstead has delivered a robust AGM statement.
“Momentum from 2H23 has been maintained, with decent demand across its major markets. Meanwhile, cash levels are ahead of comparative levels supporting James Halstead record dividend distribution.
“Given the healthy performance we reiterate our BUY recommendation and 320p target price.”
Potential takeover target, musicMagpie, the Stockport specialist in recycling and re-selling electronic devices, has announced the departure of Alison Littley as non-executive director.
She will depart the company on December 31, 2023.
Chairman, Martin Hellawell, said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to sincerely thank Alison for the important contribution that she has made to musicMagpie.
“The group has benefited significantly from her guidance and experience since its IPO in April 2021, and we wish her all the very best for the future.”
The business, headed by founder Steve Oliver, revealed on November 20 that it was in possible takeover talks with BT and private equity investor Auerlius Group, but they have since decided not to pursue further negotiations.
However, musicMagpie said it continues to seek potential buyers and remains in an offer period.
Its shares closed at 14.90p per share yesterday, above the 52-week low of 14p and significantly short of its 46p per share 52-week high.
Angus Monro, a former director of THG has followed Matthew Moulding and taken a stake in activist investor Kelso.
Yesterday TheBusinessDesk.com reported that Moulding had taken an audacious stake in Kelso, a cash shell founded to maximise value in underperforming quoted businesses.
Monro crossed the 3% investment threshold yesterday, requiring Kelso to issue a notification to the market. He stepped down from the THG board in 2020, having been at Moulding’s side since 2010, but holds no current directorships in any companies.