Shares in Trinity are up sharply, Keller Group’s are largely flat, while Fox Marble’s share price has plummeted. What’s happened, and why?
Shares in newspaper group Trinity Mirror rose by 8% to 143p this morning, after Trinity said that adjusted pre-tax profits fell by just 2.5% to £47m during the first half of 2015, despite an 8.7% fall in underlying revenue.
The problem is that income from printed newspaper advertising continues to fall. Fast-rising digital advertising readership is not generating enough revenue to offset the decline in print sales.
As a result, Trinity has now choice but to continually cut costs in an effort to keep the business going. The firm’s success at this strategy means that Trinity moved from having net debt of £19.3m at the end of 2014 to net cash of £23.9m at the end of June.
However, Trinity shares trade on just 4.2 times 2015 forecast earnings. This is because the market does not believe that the firm’s earnings are sustainable. I agree. Trinity’s £300m pension deficit, is also a concern, as its needs would rank above those of shareholders if the firm had financial problems.
Given the yield is only 3.4%, I cannot see any reason to buy Trinity shares.
First-half revenues were down by 5% to £755.8m at ground engineering group Keller. Despite this, operating profit rose by 4% to £37.7m, thanks to improved profit margins in North America and EMEA, Keller’s two biggest regions.
The firm does a lot of work for the oil and mining industries and is suffering in this area, especially in Canada, where oil sands investment has collapsed in the face of low oil prices.
However, Keller’s customer base is quite diverse, and the group’s overall order book rose by 5% during the first half of 2015. Full-year results are expected to be in-line with expectations, putting Keller shares on a 2015 forecast P/E of 12.3 and a prospective yield of 2.6%.
In my view, Keller shares could be a good buy if the share price dips below 1,000p.
Fox Marble Holdings
One of today’s biggest opening fallers was small-cap marble supplier Fox Marble Holdings. The firm’s shares fell by around 20% to 17.5p this morning, after Fox issued a profit warning.
Fox Marble says that because of a fire at a factory, which was due to supply new equipment to the firm’s factory, revenues will be lower than expected this year. First-half revenues were also below expectations due to delays accessing a new quarry, although today’s update suggests the firm may be able to make up for this shortfall during the second half.
The company’s order book stood at €2.8m, of which €1.4m is expected to be delivered in 2015. Fox Marble also reported a cash balance of €5.6m at the end of June. This looks reasonable and I estimate that it should be enough for the next 6-12 months, or longer if sales improve.
In my view, if you believe in the investment case for Fox Marble, then today’s fall could be a buying opportunity. The shares are now back down to levels last seen in April, before the last year’s results triggered a surge up above 20p.
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Roland Head has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.