...as we have had a couple more updates from holdings in the portfolio. First up today we have had an Interim management statement for the 15 weeks to 11 October 2015 from Rank Group (RNK) which looks very good on the face of it. They have reported an 8% increase in like-for-like revenues for the period with total revenues increasing by 7%.
This seems to have been driven by 12% growth in total and LFL in the Grosvenor Casinos division. Mecca Bingo was ahead too but only by 1% total and 3% LFL. They say the growth in the Casinos division was driven by on line and London Casinos which augurs well for the roll out of their enhanced digital offering in Q1 2016. The growth in Mecca Bingo was apparently more balanced between venues and digital.
Steady as she goes here then as the full year revenue growth is forecast to be 8% and they seem broadly in line with that so far. Indeed on the outlook the Company said that the the Group's businesses continue to make progress in line with management's expectations and it remains confident in the Group's prospects for the year. Seems like a strong hold on a fullish looking 17x with a 2.4% yield and a CIS of 97 & a Stockopedia Rank of 96 - Bingo.
So it seems we are becoming a nation of gamblers as well as a nation of shop keepers, although personally I've never been in a Casino, apart from the Stock Market! Any way talking of shop keepers that brings me onto the other stock which reported today - the retailer W.H Smiths (SMWH). They reported full year results for the year to 31st August 2015. These are a bit of a conundrum because if you were starting out in business today you probably would not create it and it has been one of the most heavily shorted stocks in the UK market, although this is now at about 7% of the shares outstanding. Despite this as you can see from the chart at the end the shares continue to progress steadily.
As for the results these seem to be in line with forecasts with another 12 to 13% growth in the eps and dividends. This has again been driven by the travel business which saw 9% total revenue growth and 4% LFL. This helped to offset the on going decline in the high street stores which saw revenues decline by 4% in total and 3% LFL. They do however remain highly cash generative with £109m of free cash flow which has helped to fund the 13% increase in the dividend and another £50m share buy back programme. The high street stores also edge profits up on the back of more cost cutting.
So overall it seems like more of the same with shrinking high street stores delivering profits and cash flow on the back of on going cost cutting which helps to fund expansion in the travel business which benefits more from its captive audiences.
One has to wonder how much longer the cost cutting can go on and with recent publicity about retailers keeping VAT at airports and over charging at hospitals whether there could be regulatory intervention at some point on the travel side? Aside from that they shares also look fullish value on around 16.6x with a 2.8% yield for the year to August 2016. Despite this they still score well with a CIS of 98 and a Stockopedia Rank of 91, so on that basis they are likely to remain in the portfolio.
Finally in the portfolio I note that Maintel (MAI) has achieved the 800p level that I hoped they might achieve (where they now look over bought) when I reviewed their results.