Companies reporting w/c 2 November

We give our thoughts on what to expect from companies announcing results week commencing 2 November 2020.


Associated British Foods Plc: Q4 2020 Earnings Release

It is only a few weeks since ABF provided their last trading update, so there should be few surprises in these full year results. The main points of interest will be any news on dividends and any guidance on expectations for sales in the new financial year. In September, ABF reported that its Primark stores were continuing to see a steady recovery in trading in the fourth quarter, maintaining the momentum seen in the third quarter. However, given the rising number of local lockdowns recently, the market will be keen to hear whether there has been any impact on footfall into the stores. Full-year operating profits are expected to be at least £350m with good increases in the sugar and grocery divisions.

We currently list ABF as HOLD.

DS Smith: Trading Update

DS Smith has grown steadily thanks to well-judged acquisitions and increasing demand for packaging designed for internet retailing. In September, the Company reported that demand for corrugated boxes had recovered well in July and August as e-commerce demand for consumer goods picked up. The Company also confirmed it would declare an interim dividend and received a further boost in October when it announced a new sustainability strategy aimed at increasing the amount of recycled packaging and reducing waste. Demand from the industrial sector has been a weak spot, so any update on that will be of interest.

We currently list DS Smith as BUY.


Smurfit Kappa Group Plc: Q3 2020 Sales and Revenue Release – Trading Update

Companies in the packaging industry have generally done well in recent years. Of course, the lockdown period did impact results, as the closure of retail stores reduced the demand for packaged goods, but online shopping demand did provide some support. Investors will be hoping that the business has maintained a steady level of demand after the first half revenue fall of 9%. Any further news of cost-cutting measures will be of interest; however, we remain positive on the longer-term prospects for the Group, particularly regarding their involvement in sustainable paper-based packaging.

We currently list Smurfit Kappa as BUY.


Auto Trader Group Plc: Q2 2021 Earnings Release

Auto Trader’s business model is an online car sales portal primarily used by the motor trade to advertise second-hand cars, on which the Group charges a fee. Since listing in 2015, the Company has made steady progress and was promoted to the FTSE 100 in December 2018. Investors in the Company will be hoping that people trading in their cars for another second-hand model on a reasonably regular basis is a trend that will continue. The share price has recovered strongly since March, with the market encouraged by strong demand post-lockdown. The Company remain a clear market leader.

We currently list Auto Trader as HOLD.

AstraZeneca Plc: Q3 2020 Earnings Release

As Covid-19 has spread throughout the world this year, AstraZeneca has seen a boost in sales as people have sought to stock up on many of the medicines it produces. First quarter revenues showed a rise of 16%, although that moderated to 8% in the second quarter. However, the Company has seen some strong growth in its newer drugs and has benefitted from its expansion into emerging markets. The Company is developing a Covid-19 vaccine in conjunction with Oxford University, which is in late stage human trials and has shown great promise up to now. Naturally, any update on that will be of great interest to the market.

We currently list AstraZeneca as BUY.

J Sainsbury Plc: Q2 2021 Earnings Release

The share price has held up relatively well over the course of the year as a result of defensive characteristics of supermarkets, as well as the surge in online shopping from consumers. The latest Kantar figures show that 1 in 5 households are now ordering food online, with a 76% rise in volume observed in the last month in comparison with the previous year. Sainsbury's have had to absorb considerable costs as a result of the pandemic, which were outlined in results back in April. As a result, market share continues to dwindle. Investors will therefore be keen to hear management’s forward-looking initiatives and the outlook for the next few quarters, in the hope of achieving a sustainable recovery.

We currently list Sainsbury’s as HOLD.

Tate & Lyle Plc: Q2 2021 Earnings Release

The Group operates through two divisions: Primary Products (predominantly North America), and Food and Beverage Solutions (food ingredients, including Sucralose). It produces corn syrup sweeteners used by soft drink manufacturers, liquid sweeteners, starch, ethanol and other products. The famous sugar business was sold off in 2010 and since then, the Group’s focus has been on drinks, dairy and soups, sauces and dressings. Reacting to the current Covid-19 crisis, the Group have cut costs, along with other measures. Investors will be hoping that demand for its products has continued to improve and will note any comments regarding the outlook.

We currently list Tate & Lyle as BUY.

Wincanton Plc: Q2 2021 Earnings Release

Wincanton benefits from a diverse base of customers, as well as its good exposure to online shopping. Although Covid-19 has hit the business hard, there have been positive signs in recent updates from the logistics Group in the form of a steady recovery in trading, a rise in home deliveries and improved e-fulfilment. New contracts with supermarkets Waitrose and Morrisons have also helped raise forecasts, which will have pleased investors. Clear indicators that the Group remains on the road to recovery will be sought-after in these results.

We currently list Wincanton as BUY.

All information given including prices, yields and our opinion is correct at the time of publication. Our opinions on investments can change at any time and for our latest view please go to To understand how our Investment research team arrive at their views please read our Investment Research Policy.