News & Tips: Sainsbury, BT Group, Barratt Developments, Amara Mining, Britvic, AG Barr, Tullow Oil, Quindell Portfolio, Centamin, Fastnet Oil & Gas & more

Equities are having an off day today and The Trader Dominic Picarda remains wary given that for the past 14 weeks we have seen a number of false dawns as the FTSE100 has traded within a 5 per cent range.


Sainsbury (SBRY) appears to be winning the battle of the supermarkets at the moment after posting a 31st consecutive quarter of improving sales metrics, a stark comparison to last week’s weak update from Morrison (MRW). Sainsbury’s half year sales rose by 4 per cent and underlying pre-tax profits were 5.4 per cent better at £373m. We keep our buy recommendation.

Telecoms giant BT Group (BT.A) wants to add to its business services capabilities with the acquisition of Tikit Group (TIK), which provides electronic filing software primarily to the legal profession. The deal values Tikit at £64.2m or 416p a share, more than double where we tipped the company back in 2010. We also have BT as a buy.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments (BDEV) is performing bang in line with its peers who have reported over the past weeks with reservations up marginally and selling prices looking solid. Private forward sales are up 21 per cent on last year. Buy.

Sell (MONY) has announced solid third quarter trading with revenues and earnings up by 11 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

Finsbury Food Group (FIF) says trading has remained steady with bread and ‘free from’ product sales making up for a small decline in cakes. The business is also raising £3.9m from investors to invest in its operations. Buy.

Oil services business Amec (AMEC) has maintained its order book at £3.6bn and is trading in line with expectations. The company has now completed £300m of a £400m buyback. We keep our buy recommendation.

Marine services business James Fisher (FSJ) continues to trade strongly, with third quarter revenues up by 14 per cent over last year. Buy.

African gold miner Amara Mining (AMA), formerly known as Cluff Gold, has updated on a good third quarter performance which sets the company up to deliver 53,000-57,000 ounces in the full year at a cash cost of less than $1,000 an ounce. We keep our buy rating.

Storage specialist Safestore (SAFE) is performing resiliently despite tough economic conditions. Revenues grew by 4 per cent in sterling terms in the year to September. Buy.

Buy recommendation Tribal Group (TRB) says trading remains in line with expectations and its order book remains solid at £175m.


Drinks businesses Britvic (BVIC) and AG Barr (BAG) have announced the terms of their agreed merger which will see Britvic shareholders own two thirds of the combined business – to be named Barr Britvic Soft Drinks.

Tullow Oil (TLW) has reported good operating progress at its Jubilee field in Ghana which it now expects to exit the year producing 90,000 barrels of oil per day, with more improvements to come next year.

WH Smith (SMWH) saw total group like for like sales slip by 4 per cent in the opening 10 weeks of its financial year.

Great Portland Estates (GPOR) has announced a proposed placing of 31.25m shares which will boost the company’s coffers to a total £400m for investment in its portfolio. Half year results showed a 4 per cent uplift in valuation.

SIG’s (SHI) chief executive Chris Davies will leave in March, to be replaced by Wilkinson Hardware Stores boss Stuart Mitchell. Meanwhile SIG announced that overall trading has remained flat in tough end markets.

Electricals retailer Darty (DRTY) has had a tough time of it as its core French market deteriorated over the first half of the year. Total group like for like sales were down 1.7 per cent in local currency.


EMED Mining (EMED) has announced a $50m fundraising with a customer who will take some of the production of the Rio Tinto copper mine in Spain in return.

Quindell Portfolio (QPP) has raised a further £20m from an institutional investor to bolster the £26.5m raised only very recently. The company now has £80m to play with as it attempts to win a series of significant contracts.

Egyptian gold miner Centamin (CEY) has announced record quarterly earnings despite a 10 per cent dip in production quarter on quarter. The company says it remains on target for 250,000 ounces production for the full year.

Fastnet Oil & Gas (FAST) has been awarded a licensing option in the North Celtic Sea, farmed in to the Shanagarry licensing option and appointed Paul Griffiths as managing director.


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