During the previous session, MSM surged 8.81% to close at R155.00 per share after it issued its results for the 53 weeks ended 31 December 2017. For the 53 weeks, total sales increased to R93.7b, 2.7% higher than the 52 weeks ended 25 December 2017. Furthermore, group operating profit came in 4.8% higher at R2.8b, while headline earnings increased by 14% to R1.5b. On a per share basis, headline earnings came in 14.6% higher at 694.1 cents. However, when restating information for the 52 week comparable period, revenues grew by only 1%, while comparable store sales declined by 0.8%. The board declared a final dividend of 271 cents.
On Wednesday, AIP added 2.75% to close at R70.90 per share after it released its results for the six months ended 31 December 2017. Revenues increased by 7% to R3.2b during the period, up from R2.98b previously, while gross profits grew by 13% to R1.21b. Furthermore, trading profit came in 25% higher at R428m, resulting in a 33% increase in headline earnings from continuing operations to R320m. On a per share basis, this equated to headline earnings of 192.6 cents, up from 144.9 cents a year ago. The board declared a dividend of 86 cents per share, an improvement of 37% over the past year.
In what turned out to be a busy day of corporate releases, AECI also issued a trading statement for the year ended 31 December 2017 on Monday. In it, the group advised shareholders that it currently expects earnings per share to come in at between 880 cents and 910 cents, representing an increase of between 20% and 24% compared to the 735 cents reported a year ago. Headline earnings per share are set to grow by between 15% and 19%, to between 940 cents and 975 cents, up from 818 cents in the previous corresponding period. The group’s results for the period are set to be released on or around the 27th of February 2018.
On Friday, Coca-Cola added 0.45% as it moved to close at $44.98 per share, helped along by the release of better-than-expected results. Revenues for the period came in at $7.51b, beating estimates of $7.37b. However, it must be noted that net revenues declined by 20% during the quarter, with the slump mainly due to headwinds from its efforts to refranchise its bottling operations. Organic sales, however, which excludes the aforementioned efforts, increased by 6%. Overall, adjusted earnings per share for the quarter stood at 39 cents, marginally higher than forecasts of 38 cents. This excluded a $3.6b one-time charge relating to changes in the US tax code.
On Thursday, Nestlé released its latest results, with the group’s shares dropping 2.1% in response. Total sales for the period came in at 89.8b Swiss francs, or $96.9b, 0.4% higher than that reported previously and in-line with estimates. However, organic growth, which excludes the effects of currency changes, acquisitions and divestments, stood at 2.4% during 2017. This was slightly lower than expectations of a 2.6% increase and was also down from the 3.2% recorded previously. Overall, net profit for the period declined by 16% to 7.2b Swiss francs, or $7.76b, much lower than estimates of 9.63b Swiss francs. This poor performance was partly due to a goodwill impairment in its skin health unit.
The rand strengthened sharply against the dollar yesterday, buoyed by increasing pressure on President Jacob Zuma to resign. After a previous close of R11.962/$ on Tuesday, the local currency was at R11.936/$ at 07:50. From there, the rand firmed throughout the session, supported by reports the ANC would back an EFF-sponsored motion of no confidence on Thursday if President Zuma did not resign. The rand trimmed some of its gains following an interview with President Zuma, but recovered as the session progressed. Finally, at just before 23:00 last night, Jacob Zuma resigned as the President of South Africa. In response, the rand moved to and is currently stable at R11.73/$ this morning.
On Tuesday, PepsiCo ended marginally higher, up 0.19% at $112.14 per share, helped along by the release of better-than-expected quarterly results. During the fourth quarter, the group saw revenues come in at $19.53b, slightly higher than estimates of $19.39b and mostly unchanged compared to that reported a year ago. Overall, PepsiCo recorded a net loss of $710m, or 50 cents per share, sharply lower than earnings of $1.40b, or 97 cents per share, a year ago. Earnings were negatively affected by a $2.50b one-off charge related to changes in the US tax code. On an adjusted basis, the group saw earnings come in at $1.31 per share, surpassing analysts’ forecasts of $1.30 per share.
On Monday, Heineken shed 2.03%, or €1.7, as it moved to settle at €82.14 per share following the release of its latest results. During 2017, the Amsterdam-listed company recorded a 5.3% increase in revenues to €21.89b, up from €20.79b in 2016. The uptick was mainly due to a 3% increase in consolidated beer volumes, helped along by growth in all regions. Furthermore, Heineken’s operating profit before exceptional items and amortisation came in at €3.76b, up from €3.54b previously. The world’s second largest brewer by sales, recorded a net profit of €1.94b, or $2.28b, sharply higher than the €1.43b reported in the previous corresponding period.
During the previous session, PFG issued a trading update for the three months ended 31 December 2017. During the period, total volumes increased by 5.2%, which helped Pioneer gain market share, while group turnover declined by 2.4%. The drop was mainly due to sales price deflation in soft commodities. Overall, the group confirmed that its improved sales volume performance and the normalisation of raw material cost positions should support higher first half margins and profits compared to the previous corresponding period. However, it is expected that the improvements will be partially offset by the underperformance in the wheaten value chain as well as price promotional related margin pressure.
On Thursday, Nvidia shed 4.93%, or $11.28 per share, to close at $217.52 during the regular session. Its shares, however, surged as much as 14% in after-market trade following the release of better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter. Revenues for the period came in at $2.91b, 34% higher than that reported a year ago and easily beating analysts’ estimates of $2.69b. This strong performance comes after the group exceeded forecasts in four out of its five markets. Adjusted earnings surged to $1.78 per share, sharply higher than estimates of $1.17 per share.