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Carr’s Group sees agricultural business outweigh engineering problems

10.14am: Industrial group positive on outlook as it restructures

Carr’s Group Plc (LON:CARR) kept all its agricultural stores and manufacturing facilities open despite uncertainty over COVID-19 and Brexit, leading to a resilient performance in its first half year.

Revenues rose by 0.7% but profits adjusted for closure costs and the like rose 8.1% to £10.4mln.

Agriculture put in a strong performance, but engineering was hit by low oil prices and travel restrictions during the half, although its order book is up by 19% since the year end and it is set to improve its results in the second half.

New chief executive Hugh Pelham has been restructuring and simplifying the business.

He said: “Considerable opportunity exists to optimise the current portfolio through a process of standardisation, simplification and seeking synergies between similar businesses. Growth can be achieved through a mixture of geographic expansion, selling all our service lines to our customer base, and acquisition and potential industry consolidation.

“I am confident that the group will continue to deliver a resilient and improving set of results over time.”

The positive outlook has lifted its shares by 7.41% or 10p to 145p.

9.15am: Marketing group benefits from new data products

System1 Group (LON:SYS1) is in the spotlight after a strong second half performance helped mitigate some of the damage of a poor start to the year.

The market research and consultancy group said revenues in the most recent six months rose by 8% compared to a 26% fall in the first half. So full year revenues declined by 11%.

Helped by falling costs, the better sales performance meant an increase in profitability in the second half, with full year profits forecast to rise from £2mln to £2.9mln.

The company is benefiting from new data products including Test Your Ad, which gives customers a comparison of every TV ad in their industry, allowing them to check competitors’ strategies.

It said: “Underlying the recent improvement is the success of Test Your Ad, System1’s first fully automated predictive product set. The transition to automated data well underway: data products represented 15% of sales revenue in the fourth quarter – mainly Test Your Ad – compared with 1% in the first half.  We expect the proportion of data product revenues to increase with the rollout in 2021/22 of Test Your Brand.”

It also plans to restart the share buyback programme which was suspended in 2002 due to uncertainty over the impact of COVID-19 on the business.

On the outlook it said: “System1 is focused on achieving revenue growth over the short and medium term. In pursuit of this goal the company will increase discretionary investment in product development, IT, marketing, and relationships with advertising agencies and advertising platform partners…We plan to remain profitable and to continue to generate cash in the 2021/22 financial year, notwithstanding that we are targeting revenue growth to be at least matched by the rate of cost growth as we prioritise scaling our automated predictive products.”

The update has seen its shares jump 21.21% or 40.3p to 230.3p.

Also heading higher is Air Partners PLC (LON:AIR).

Travel companies may be under pressure thanks to the restrictions of COVID-19 but the private jet company appears to be flying high on the back of them.

Its JetCard programme – where customers can buy private jet flying hours in advance with the ability to change booking details or cancel up to the last minute without penalty – has seen sales rise 54% in the US and 15% in the UK. The deal gives travellers the ability to fly the moment travel restrictions are lifted, but with flexibility in case they need to amend plans.

Chief executive Mark Briffa said: “The US private jet market is one vast, domestic market so it has not been subject to the types of restrictions and national lockdowns that we have seen in the UK and Europe. As a result, the skies have remained open and we have seen sustained private leisure flying from high-net-worth individuals in the region. It is no surprise to see this demand continue, with our new customers from February and March making particularly significant deposits for future travel.

“In a very encouraging sign, this has also been the case in the UK as confidence returns to this market ahead of the anticipated easing of restrictions . The pandemic has really shone a light on the benefits of our JetCard product: for those who are able to reserve private flying hours in advance, it offers unparalleled flexibility and access to a private jet at very short notice. This means it is proving very popular among customers who want to know they can travel easily and safely when lockdown restrictions lift.”

Air Partner’s shares have added 3.5% or 2.5p to 74p.


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