Today I am running the rule over three end-of-week newsmakers.
Defence play Ultra Electronics (LSE: ULE) soothed investor nerves in Friday trading after announcing a solid uptick in client activity.
While trading has been in line with management expectations during the quarter, the London business advised that “order intake for quarter one has been strong.” The order book has swelled to £833.5m as of the start of April, Ultra Electronics advised, up from £753.8m at the beginning of 2016.
This is great news considering that £100m worth of orders at Ultra Electronics had slipped into this year and beyond — broker Edison notes that “the first quarter improvement would tend to suggest that at least some of these have been recovered alongside significant elements of new intake.”
Indeed, the Greenford firm has also inked lucrative contracts with the Royal Navy and fellow defence giant Raytheon during the past couple of weeks alone.
The City expects earnings at Ultra Electronics to tick 5% higher in 2016, and a further 6% rise is predicted for next year. I believe that subsequent P/E ratings of 13.7 times and 12.9 times represent a decent level to latch onto the firm as market conditions seem to be improving.
Failing to ignite
Boiler builder Flowgroup (LSE: FLOW) has not fared as well in end-of-week trading, however, the stock recently dealing 12% lower from Thursday’s close. The business announced today that revenues galloped 21% higher during 2015, to £40.4m. But this could not prevent operating losses widening to £17.1m from £10m in 2014.
Flowgroup said that the adverse result reflected “increased investment in staffing levels and infrastructure in preparation for further growth across the business.” However, the engineer was also hampered by a delayed launch for its Flow boiler following a European Court of Justice ruling on energy-saving products, a move that could see VAT on the device increased to 20% from 5% from 2017.
Flowgroup completed first commercial installations of the product in April at the 5% rate, and believes that boiler sales and installations should continue to benefit from a reduced tax rate.
But of course this is not a certainty, and Flowgroup could see uptake of its cutting-edge tech slump should VAT charges soar. Such a scenario could see losses extended beyond 2017, as City forecasts currently suggest.
Shares in fossil fuel play Eland Oil & Gas (LSE: ELA) have continued to trade below recent five-month peaks in Friday’s session.
The company has announced plans to raise $15m through a book-build placing to accelerate the development of its assets in Nigeria. As well as funding the re-entry, completion and production of its Gbetiokun-1 well, Eland will also use the funds to build a supplementary export route for production. The remainder will be used for working capital purposes, Eland advised.
Positive testing results at the field have helped propel Eland’s share price in recent weeks, and the business hopes to produce 7,800 barrels of oil per day when production commences. Maiden oil is pencilled in for the second half of 2016.
The City expects Eland to bounce back into the black this year, and record earnings of 13 US cents per share. This projection leaves the firm dealing on a P/E rating of 3.1 times.
For some, this ultra-low reading may make the business an irresistible value pick. But I believe the uncertainty related to oil drilling — not to mention the wider supply imbalance hanging over the oil price — still makes Eland a risk too far at the present time.
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Royston Wild 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.