Famous five of business this week (July 19-23)

1.    Biffa Plc (LON: BIFF)

Biffa Plc provides waste management services in the United Kingdom and has operations in the collection and disposal of waste, recycling, and energy generation revealed its first-quarter trading update, which was well ahead of its expectations. The group revenue was up by 10%, which is higher than the Q1FY20, and the company expects full-year adjusted EBIT to be higher by 10%, which is above the current market expectations.

The company has a positive outlook for this year as a result of a faster recovery in the UK economy. However, the company faces some short-term challenges like a national shortage of heavy goods truck drivers and some supply chain issues, which the company said are being managed carefully.

2.    BHP Group Plc (LON: BHP)

Multinational metal and mining company updated about its production output for the year ended 30 June 2021. The company posted robust production at Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) and the mining site of Goonyella. Olympic Dam mine, located in South Australia, reported the maximum annual gold and copper production since its possession by the company in 2005.

During the first half of 2021, BHP successfully achieved the first production at four major projects site, and the company expects to achieve full-year unit cost guidance for its WAIO, Escondida, and Queensland Coal projects.

3.    Next Plc (LON: NXT)

Retailer of clothing and footwear products in the United Kingdom increased its profit guidance for the full year after the company’s full-year sales increased by 18.6% in last eleven weeks to 17 July as compared to the same period of 2019. The full-price sales guidance has been increased from 3% to 6%. After the positive results, the company has decided to repay £29 million business rate relief back to the government.

The possible reason for the strong sales numbers could be the onset of extremely warm weather at the end of May, high consumer savings and pent-up demand for adult clothing after the lockdown easing. The company has increased the full-year profit before tax guidance to £750 million and forecast a cash surplus of £240 million, which the company plans to distribute as special dividends to its shareholders.

4.    Countryside Properties Plc (LON: CSP)

The company that operates in the homebuilding and land redevelopment segment and is a leading mixed-tenure developer in the United Kingdom reported revenue of £287 million in its third-quarter result; the revenue was up by 128% compared to Q3 of 2020 (Q3 2020: £101 million). During the same period, the company delivered 1,096 homes to its customers, and the total forward order book stands at £1.2 billion at the end of June.

The company has significantly improved its debt position, and the current net debt of the company stands at £33.2 million (Q3 2020: £232.1 million). Also, the company is making good progress on the Partnerships strategy and will be holding a capital market event on 8 September 2021 to explains its progress on Partnership’s strategy.

5.    NatWest Group Plc (LON: NWG)

The banking and financial service provider has agreed to sell its assets from its Irish arm Ulster Bank to Permanent TSB. The deal includes 25 branches of Ulster Bank and 7.6 billion euros of gross performing loans as of 31 March 2021. As a part of the transaction, NatWest would be receiving the cash consideration and a minority equity stake in PTSB. The deal is part of the bank’s phased withdrawal from Ireland, which the state-owned lender announced in February this year to cut down the underperforming segment of the bank.

The UK government Investment Limited (UKGI) plans to sell up to 15% of its shares in the NatWest Group over the next 12 months. The UK government owns close to £6.3 billion ordinary shares of the NatWest Bank (equivalent to 54.7% stake) after bailing out the bank during the financial crisis of 2008.