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Companies roundup: Burberry dives & a WW2 tourist attraction

by Staff

Burberry (BRBY), BAE Systems (BA.), John Wood Group (WG.) and Vistry (VTY)

Shares in Burberry (BRBY) fell by 8 per cent in this morning’s trading after the brand issued a profit warning amid persistently weak luxury demand. 

In a brief statement, the group said it expects adjusted operating profit for the year to the end of March to be in the range of £410mn to £460mn. At its interim results in November, management predicted full-year profits would come in at the lower end of a £552mn to £668mn range. 

Nearly all of Europe’s listed luxury fashion groups, including sector leader LVMH (FR:MC), have voiced concerns about falling demand from consumers in recent months. JJ

Read more: Finding value in luxury stocks

WW2 tourist attraction looks to float

Investors mourning the departure of Merlin Entertainments in 2019 will soon be able to back a far more speculative new tourist attraction based on refitting tunnels under High Holborn in the capital. London Tunnels Plc will list this month as the company gears up to apply for a permit to turn the Kingsway Exchange Tunnels into a “cultural, beautifully designed, multi-sensory, digital experience across the world of the arts, nature and sciences”. The site will also likely be pitched along the lines of the Churchill War Rooms given its use as offices for the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. 

“This unique set of tunnels, owned by a British company, built by the British government, for the defence of Britain, that can further enhance London’s reputation as a leading tourist destination, should be listed in London,” said chief executive Angus Murray, an Australian banker. London Tunnels will list initially at 200p a share, giving it a market capitalisation of £123mn. It raised £10mn recently, but management hopes to bring in another £30mn post-admission. Prospective investors are invited to visit the tunnels before putting their money into them. AH

John Wood beats profit guidance

Shares in John Wood Group (WG.) crept up on early trading after the engineering group confirmed that cash profits came in “slightly ahead” of previous guidance at $420mn-$425mn (£329-£333mn), an increase of roughly 9 per cent. Operating cash flows also impressed, coming in at around $210 million, against a $66mn outflow in the prior year. 

However, the group said that net debt excluding leases was higher than expected at $680mn due to currency and remittance effects. Net debt including leases represented 26 per cent of shareholder funds at the June half-year, equivalent to 2-times cash profits. The good news is that orders were up 4 per cent to $6.1bn, providing revenue visibility and underpinning growth expectations for 2024. MR

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