Earnings Updates of Three Diverse Sector FTSE Stocks: HGT, PRU and COST

With thousands of cases being reported till date and the virus spreading to countries across Asia and various other parts of the world, the novel coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the activity in the markets, mainland China and Hong Kong and adversely impacted the economic conditions globally, consequently lower levels of business activities are expected in months to come.

The companies are continuously monitoring the development of the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on market conditions. Given the current economic scenario, the companies are implementing robust business continuity procedures in place to cover all the negative impacts in the area of operations. However, it is not feasible to accurately quantify the potential impact of the outbreak right now, as the spread is getting grimmer every day.

This article talks about recent business performance updates of some stocks from diverse sectors, quoted on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The stocks include HgCapital Trust Plc from the Closed- End Investments sector, Prudential Plc from the Life Insurance sector, Costain Group Plc from the Construction & Materials sector.

HgCapital Trust Plc-Financial highlights 2019

(Source: Annual report, Company's website)

HGT's net asset value increased to 255.1 pence per share at year end (2018: 215.7 pence, adjusted for the share split), an increase on a total return basis of 20.8 per cent over the year. More than 75 per cent of the increase in the value of unrealised investments arose from increases in profits rather than valuation multiples. This impressive result would have been even stronger but for volatility in the value of sterling, which led to a 4 per cent reduction in net asset value. Following the increase in interim dividend from 1.6 pence to 1.8 pence per share, the Board is recommended a final dividend of 3.0 pence, making a total of 4.8 pence per share. The management is also revising the guidance and anticipate total dividends in future years to be not less than 4.8 pence per share. The share price of the company recovered quickly from the market's nervous period in late 2018, reaching a price of 257.5 pence at year-end (2018: 178.5 pence, adjusted for the share split). This represented a total return to shareholders in the year of 47.5 per cent, outperforming the FTSE All-Share Index by 28.3 per cent.

(Source: Annual Report of the Company)

HgCapital Trust Plc

HgCapital Trust Plc (LON: HGT) is an investment trust company which primarily invests in technology and technology-enabled services including media and telecommunication (TMT) companies across Europe with the objective of providing shareholders long term capital gains in excess of the FTSE All-share index by investing in unquoted companies.

HgCapital Trust Plc-Stock price performance

Daily Chart as at Mar-12-20, before the market close (Source: Thomson Reuters)

On 12th March 2020, at the time of writing (before market close, GMT 10:58 AM), HgCapital Trust Plc shares were trading at GBX 230.11. Stock's 52 weeks High and Low is GBX 275.81 /GBX 198.99. Along with an annual dividend yield of 2 per cent, the beta of the company stood at 0.58, reflecting lesser volatility as compared to the benchmark index. The total market capitalisation of the company was recorded at £977.82 million.

 

Prudential plc - FY19 Results (IFRS)

(Source: Company's filings, London Stock Exchange)

The company's Total revenue (net of reinsurance) increased to $93,736 million in the fiscal year 2019 from $35,845 million in the fiscal year 2018. The company's Gross premiums earned stood at $45,064 million in the fiscal year 2019. The company's profit before taxation stood at $2,287 million in the fiscal year 2019 as against $3,557 million in the fiscal year 2018. The company's profit for the year stood at $792 million in the fiscal year 2019 as against $4,023 million in the fiscal year 2018.

Prudential Plc

Prudential PLC (LON: PRU) is a British financial services group that provides long-term savings and protection products, with a focus on three markets, Asia, the US and the UK, to serve more than 25 million customers worldwide. Capital Research & Management Co. (World Investors), Norges Bank Investment Management and Baillie Gifford & Co. are the major institutional investors in the company. (Source: Thomson Reuters).

Prudential Plc-Stock price performance

Daily Chart as at Mar-12-20, before the market close (Source: Thomson Reuters)

On 12th March 2020, at the time of writing (before market close, GMT 11:02 AM), Prudential Plc shares were trading at GBX 958.40. Stock's 52 weeks High and Low is GBX 1,532.78/GBX 1,050.50. Along with an annual dividend yield of 3.39 per cent, the beta of the company stood at 1.22, reflecting slightly higher volatility as compared to the benchmark index. The total market capitalisation of the company was recorded at £27.63 billion.

 

Costain Group Plc - Results for the year ended 31 December 2019

The company's revenue was down to £1,162.9 million for the year 2019 as against £1,489.3 million in 2018 due to the lower level of activity and contracts cancellations. The company's underlying operating profit stood at £17.9 million for the year 2019 as against £52.5 million in 2018. This reduction in operating profit can be attributed to deferred contract starts and contract termination to the tune of £16.0 million.

The company's underlying profit before tax was recorded at £14.6 million in the fiscal year 2019 as against £49.7 million in the fiscal year 2018. The company's underlying basic earnings per share were reported at 13.5 pence in the fiscal year 2019 as against 38.2 pence in the fiscal year 2018. The company's reported loss before taxation was £6.6 million in the fiscal year 2019 as against £40.2 million profit before tax in the fiscal year 2018. The company paid an annual dividend of 3.8 pence per share in 2019.

(Company's filings, London Stock Exchange)

Costain Group Plc

Costain Group Plc (LON: COST) is a United Kingdom-based civil engineering and construction company. The company is more than 150 years old and has been involved with some prestigious projects, namely the Channel tunnel rail link, Trans-Iranian Railways and The Dubai International Airport. The company is headquartered in Maidenhead Berkshire England, and its shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange where they trade with the ticker name COST.

Costain Group Plc-Stock price performance

Daily Chart as at Mar-12-20, before the market close (Source: Thomson Reuters)

On 12th March 2020, at the time of writing (before market close, GMT 11:10 AM), Costain Group Plc shares were trading at GBX 94.7. Stock's 52 weeks High and Low is GBX 370.00 /GBX 104.80. Along with an annual dividend yield of 3.63 per cent, the beta of the company stood at 0.77, reflecting slightly lesser volatility as compared to the benchmark index. The total market capitalisation of the company was recorded at £113.48 million.

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