Stagecoach set to unveil results

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Stagecoach is to report half-year results on Wednesday

Stagecoach is expected to return to profits growth when it reports its half-year results on Wednesday, helped by a strong performance from its UK rail businesses.

Underlying profits are set to increase by 34% to £101.1 million in the six months to 31 October, according to a consensus of analysts’ predictions, following a drop of 24% in the full-year to 30 April.

Stagecoach recently announced that it had seen a 6.5% like-for-like increase in revenues from its rail businesses, which include South West Trains and East Midland Trains, in the first 24 weeks of the year.

Like-for-like sales from Virgin Rail, in which it has a 49% stake, increased by 15.2%, thanks to marketing campaigns, advance ticketing and reduced disruption due to engineering works. Its bus business also grew in the period, with like-for-like sales up 2.3%.

Kesa Electricals, which runs Comet, is on course to build on last year’s recovery when it releases half-year results on Wednesday. The London-based company reported pre-tax losses of £81.8 million in 2009 as the recession doused the demand for electrical items, but the business bounced back the following year with profits of £69.6 million.

Its first quarter continued in this positive trend with turnover at Comet up 6.3%, helped by strong TV sales during the World Cup.

Comet, which operates 251 stores in the UK, could make a small retail profit in the half-year, compared to a loss of £1.2 million in the same period the previous year, according to Nick Bubb, an analyst at Arden Partners. The UK retailer, which made a retail profit of £11.5 million in the year to April, is on an improving trend, having improved its pricing and focused on smaller stores that offer better customer service.

Photo-Me International is likely to unveil a new photo booth by French designer Philippe Starck when it updates the market with half-year results on Thursday.

The booth created by Starck, who starred in the BBC2 series Design For Life, has been trialled in France where it has helped entice more people to have their picture taken than a regular booth, according to analysts at Hardman & Co. The new design will be revealed in the UK on Thursday, along with the company’s latest profits figure.

A bullish trading statement last month revealed that Photo-Me’s performance in the first half-year had exceeded management’s expectations and it was considering upping its dividend payment. Although there is no analysts’ consensus for the half-year, the adjusted pre-tax profits should exceed last year’s total of £11.2 million.

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