Companies roundup: Retailers underwhelm and Centamin beats guidance

March 16, 2023

Shares in Burford Capital (BUR) fell by 13 per cent on Thursday morning, after the litigation funder warned that the value of its legal cases might have “materially" changed following a probe by the US markets watchdog.

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Deliveroo blames market conditions as growth slows

Deliveroo (ROO) chief executive Will Shu pointed to “difficult market conditions” as growth slowed at the online food delivery company.

Gross transaction value rose by 9 per cent to £6.8bn for the year to 31 December 2022, but this compared to a 67 per cent increase in the key metric in the previous year. Revenues were up 14 per cent to £2bn, and pre-tax losses improved from £282mn in 2021 to £231mn this time around. The shares fell by over 2 per cent in early trading. CA

Gym Group shares tumble after costs warning

Gym Group (GYM) shares plunged by over 20 per cent after the company warned in its annual results that revenue increases this year would be “broadly offset” by higher costs, with management expecting a £10mn increase in energy bills compared to 2022. For the year to 31 December 2022, revenues were up by 63 per cent to £173mn but the company revealed a statutory pre-tax loss of £19mn, an improvement from the negative £44mn posted in 2021 but not a result to fill investors with glee. CA

Home Reit seeks to extend takeover deadline

Beleaguered homeless accommodation landlord Home Reit (HOME) has said it wants to extend the deadline for takeover offers as it also considers submissions for a new investment adviser. This morning, the company said that takeover discussions with Bluestar – the group which investors had raised concerns about over its prior connections with Home Reit’s investment adviser Alvarium – were ongoing.

The news comes after yesterday afternoon Home said it was considering options for a new investment adviser. Investors’ Chronicle understands that RM Funds is one possible candidate. Reacting to the decision to seek a new investment adviser, law firm Harcus Parker, which is mounting a legal challenge against Home Reit over claims it misled investors, said the move “bypasses the question of accountability as to the viability and execution of the existing policy by those who were responsible”. ML

Empiric scores well in 2022 results

Student accommodation developer Empiric Student Property (ESP) had about as good a 2022 as a real estate investment trust (Reit) could ask for.

While many of its peers swung to losses thanks to valuation hits from the higher interest rate environment, Empiric’s pre-tax profit more than doubled in its results for the previous calendar year. Not just because its net asset value ticked up 8 per cent but because its gross profit – its revenue minus cost of sales but before valuation changes are taken into account – soared 48.9 per cent. ML


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