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Top Winners And Losers From The Last 30 Days: Ted Baker plc And FirstGroup plc

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

A month can be a long time when looking at the share price of a particular stock.  Here are two companies that have come out of the last 30 days at opposite ends of the profit/loss spectrum…

1. Ted Baker

The share price of Ted Baker (LSE: TED) has advanced by over 20% during the last four weeks or so.  This is in part, perhaps, on the back of an interim trading statement, released on 20 June.

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The British designer brand announced an increase in group revenue of nearly 33%, for the 20-week period from 27 January to 15 June. Retail sales were up nearly 31% in the same period.  The group also seem to be moving forward internationally too, by moving into Asia for the first time.  It opened a store and an outlet in Shanghai, and also a concession in a major department store in Tokyo.  European growth also continued to rise, with expansions to existing concessions in Spain and The Netherlands.

Ray Kelvin, the founder and CEO of the company commented:

“The Group has delivered a very good result across all territories over the start of 2013. We are continuing to invest in developing the Ted Baker brand internationally and have been encouraged by the reaction to the brand and the collections in our new markets. Whilst as ever the outcome for the full year will be dependent on the second half, we remain very confident of our prospects.

2. FirstGroup

In stark contrast, the shares of FirstGroup (LSE: FGP) have fallen by a rather alarming 23% to around 96p.

It hasn’t been a great year for the Scotland-based bus and rail operator, who has seen profits fall nearly 37% since March.  Not only that, the firm has also reportedly struggled to reduce its borrowings.  Most of these were incurred by the £1.9bn acquisition of the US business Laidlaw in 2007.  Its total debts have risen by nearly 8% so far this year.  The real problems lie in the fact that FirstGroup will actually break its banking covenants if its debt reaches 3.5 times its earnings.  It’s now teetering around the 3x mark.

It has also recently been in the news after the CEO waived his bonus for the second year running.  Former London Underground chief Tim O’Toole was entitled to 70% of his current £1m salary after it hit internal targets, but the company has recently had to defend its credit rating by launching a discounted rights issue.   

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> Chris does not own any share mentioned in this article.

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