These three companies all released updates today so the question is: should we be buying their shares on the back of this news?
Time Out (LSE: TMO) released its first trading update today after its initial public offering in June. The company raised £90m to pay down debt and invest in growing its e-commerce and digital advertising operations. Today’s update was encouraging: year-on-year group revenue was up 16% and digital revenue grew by 33%. The company has started life well on the London market and the share price is flat since admission to it. An encouraging element has been the relentless buying of shares by institutions. Invesco added to its initial stake and now holds over 11.5% of the shares in issue. Britain’s most loved fund manager has also been buying and Neil Woodford owns over 15% of the company through his Woodford Investment fund. This to me is a seal of approval for the stock and should give investors confidence.
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Cameroon-focused Victoria Oil & Gas (LSE: VOG) updated the market today on its operations in the second quarter of this year. The numbers look quite encouraging, production is up to 13.04 mmscf/d which led to revenue for the quarter of $12.5m. Importantly the next two phases of pipeline should be commissioned by the end of 2016 and it will be able to feed an additional 12 customers who have already signed gas sales agreements.
CEO Ahmet Dik said: “We now look forward to expanding our supply capability to the next level to meet the on-going strong demand for gas we are experiencing in Douala.” Things are beginning to look better for the company after many years of slow movement. I look forward to the next set of results but I’ll be sitting on the sidelines until then.
Croda International (LSE: CRDA) also released interim results today. At constant currencies, sales were up 2.1% and adjusted profit before tax up 6.3% to £144.6m. These numbers are impressive and to add to this, currency movements have boosted profits significantly. In fact, the pre-tax figure was boosted by £4m, which is a nice surprise for shareholders. Croda’s management has reacted to this by increasing the dividend by 5.6% even after investing over £50m into capital investments in the last six months.
But while these results are good, there were references to “subdued demand in the first half of 2016,” which is slightly worrying. It places much more emphasis on cutting costs and if demand for Croda’s products is subdued for a year or two, then the share price may fall.
Steve Foots, Croda’s CEO, said: “The group is on track to deliver our expectations for the full year, in constant currency terms, while Sterling weakness will benefit our reported results.” And that should be encouraging for shareholders because further Sterling weakness will boost revenue and profits beyond expectations.