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EARNINGS: James Latham half-year profit declines but ups dividend

30th Nov 2023 14:26

(Alliance News) - The following is a round-up of earning and trading updates by London-listed companies, issued on Thursday and not separately reported by Alliance News:

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abrdn Equity Income Trust PLC - London-based trust investing in UK-quoted companies - Net asset value falls 5.2% to 314.6 pence per share as at September 30, from 331.8p a year prior. NAV total return swings to positive 1.8% in the financial year ended September 30, from negative 7.6% a year prior, but vastly underperforming against The FTSE All-Share Index, which delivers a total return of nearly 14%. Ups dividend by 0.4% to 22.80p per share from 22.70p a year ago. Looking ahead, Chair Sarika Patel expects challenges to persist "well into 2024," citing the Office for Budget Responsibility last week downgrading it forecast growth of the UK economy to 0.7% for 2024 from 1.8% back in March. However, she positively notes signs of continuous falling inflation in the UK.

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CT UK High Income Trust PLC - Edinburgh, Scotland-based investment trust - Net asset value declines 4.4% to 85.98p as at September 30, from 89.97p at March 31. NAV total return for the six months to September 30 is negative 1.4%, improved from negative 12% a year ago. However, underperforms against its benchmark, the FTSE All-Share index, which has a return of positive 1.4%. Notes impact from interest rate rises in the UK, despite some mortgages having been protected by fixed-rate deals. Looking ahead, says financial 2024 dividend will be at least 5.51p, unchanged from financial 2023. Chair Andrew Watkins positively notes signs that interest rates increases have peaked.

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Henderson Far East Income Ltd - Asia Pacific-focused investor - Net asset value declines 21% to 222.12p per share as at August 31 from 281.11p a year prior. NAV total return swings to negative 13% for the year ended August 31 from positive 1.9% a year prior, and underperforms against the FTSE All-World Asia Pacific ex Japan index, which returns negative 7.2%. Increases dividend for financial 2023 by 1.7% to 24.20p per share from 23.80p a year prior. Looking ahead, Chair Ronald Gould says: "The economic fundamentals of the Asia Pacific region remain attractive and will look increasingly so when compared to the slowing performance of western markets. As our portfolio re-captures its capital growth and with our commitment to the company's progressive dividend policy, we look forward to reporting more satisfactory results in the future."

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James Latham PLC - Hertfordshire-based distributor of timber, panels and decorative surfaces - Pretax profit falls to GBP16.4 million in the six months to September 30 from GBP23.7 million a year prior. Revenue declines 10% to GBP190.9 million from GBP212.8 million. Declares interim dividend of 7.75p, up 6.9% from 7.25p a year ago. Notes "quiet" market in continental Europe. Looking ahead, the company says: "There remain significant cost pressures on all our manufacturers, so we expect any further price weakness to be limited." Further, Chair Nick Latham expects results for financial 2024 ending on March 31 to be in line with market expectations.

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Scholium Group PLC - London-based rare books, arts and collectables - Pretax profit contracts to GBP43,000 in half-year to September 30 from GBP194,000 a year ago, as revenue falls 14% to GBP3.8 million from GBP4.5 million. Administrative expenses largely flat. In its outlook, Scholium says: "The group continues to focus on its two profitable businesses, rare books and modern prints, having discontinued the distraction of stamps and Scholium trading and is looking to continue the profitable performance of the recent twenty-four months into the second half of the current financial year. Looking forward, the group is viewing its trading for the second half of the year with cautious optimism."

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StreaksAI PLC - London-based provider of artificial intelligence-based conversational technologies - Reports first half-year results since starting trading in January as a standard listing on the London Stock Exchange, back then as Streaks Gaming PLC. Reports pretax loss of GBP925,000 in the six months to August 31, and compares it to a loss of GBP3.4 million in financial 2023 that ended on February 28. The loss for both periods is down to administrative costs. Notes that net cash as at Monday was GBP710,000, down 31% from GBP1.0 million at August 31. Looking ahead, says current trading remains in line with its own expectations, adding that it eyes expansion in the AI sector.

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By Tom Budszus, Alliance News slot editor

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