Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Diverse Range of Firms Are Reporting Results This Week

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Diverse Range of Firms Are Reporting Results This Week

Article excerpt

Byline: By Phil Waller And David Winning

Companies in areas ranging from security and transport to industrial gases and dairy products get their moment in the limelight this week.

Security group Securicor, a specialist in transporting prisoners and cash around the UK, is expected to turn in a 24pc increase in half yearly pre-tax profits to pounds 32m today.

Securicor, which is merging with its Danish rival Group 4 Falck in a deal that will hand it a 42.5pc stake in the newly enlarged company, said in February that its organic revenue growth was about 5pc.

Attention is also likely to focus on the group's cash flow, with the City wanting to see a fundamental improvement before re-rating the company.

Rail and bus company FirstGroup is expected to report a 2.1pc fall in full year profits to pounds 147.2m on Wednesday, according to one broker.

A drop-off in rail profits, largely due to a pounds 10m rise in the costs of bidding for rail franchises, is thought to be responsible for the fall.

However, the group is expected to say its North American school bus arm saw growth during the year, while the contribution from its UK bus operations remained flat.

Another broker said it did not expect First to win either of the two franchises for which decisions are imminent, including Scotrail and Northern - currently run by Arriva.

However, the broker said it did not rule out the possibility of a surprise on those deals and said the group was likely to win its bid for Great Western, which First already runs.

Adverse fluctuations in exchange rates and the weak dollar are tipped to offset benefits from improved underlying industrial demand across all business groups at industrial gases company BOC.

The group, which reports interims on Thursday, is expected to announce pre-tax profits of about pounds 117m against pounds 95.9m last time.

Analysts predict BOC will report solid performances from its process gas solutions and industrial and special products businesses, given the improved demand and cost-cutting measures.

The group's BOC Edwards subsidiary should also have gained from improvements in the electronics and semiconductor industries. …

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