RECKITT BENCKISER, the maker of Finish dishwasher powder and Vanish soap, is likely to promise improved dividends for the first time since the company was created through a giant merger in 1999.
The company is starting to throw off cash now that the integration of Reckitt & Colman with Benckiser has been completed and cost-savings programmes have borne fruit. Bart Brecht, the chief executive, may also signal share buybacks or acquisition ambitions, and he is sure to be asked if he is still in the running to buy SSL International, the British company that makes Durex condoms.
Reckitt had some disappointing news on trading in North America last time out, sparking fears of a consumer slowdown in that market. Overall, though, net income in the first six months of the year is expected to be up from pounds 173m last time to about pounds 200m.
TODAY: The UK's biggest housebuilder, Persimmon, will provide another eagerly awaited snapshot of the housing market. First-half profits have soared, probably by 21 per cent to pounds 142m, and all the signals point to buoyant news on trading in the past few months, both in terms of volume of reservations and prices achieved. The company has successfully swallowed its old rival Beazer and may be ready for another acquisition.
Bunzl, the FTSE 100 company that supplies packaging to supermarkets, is expected to show a small decline on last year's interim profit of pounds 104.2m, partly as a result of disposals, partly due to the decline in the dollar. It has a sideline in the manufacture of cigarette filters, and this business will be examined for evidence that last year's restructuring has successfully reduced costs.
Results: Full year - none scheduled. Interims - Auto Indemnity; Bunzl; Gibbs & Dandy; Imprint Search &; Metal Bulletin; Persimmon; Reckitt Benckiser; Systems Union.
TOMORROW: The engineering group Bodycote International, specialists in heat treatment for strengthening metals and the like, is forecast by Arbuthnot Securities to post interim profits before tax of pounds 19.8m, compared to pounds 21.3m last time.
With a slowdown predicted in Bodycote's automotive, aerospace and power generation markets in the second half, there will need to be good news on cost-cutting if the company is to get a good reception.
Results: Full year - …