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Thursday preview: SABMiller, Experian, Halfords

Date: Wednesday 15 Apr 2009


Acquisitive brewing giant SABMiller will give a fourth-quarter trading update on Thursday in which it is expected to report beer volumes grew by around 1% on a like-for-like basis.

The company has been busy in Asia, mopping up the outstanding 50% stake in its Vietnamese joint venture and acquiring numerous Chinese breweries, and the company could give an indication of how the integration of these companies is proceeding.

Credit checking specialist Experian updates the market on its second half trading performance. The company saw organic revenue growth of 5% in the final three months of 2008 and will have done well to have maintained that sort of level in the first three months of 2009. Focus will be on the company’s debt levels, with Citigroup forecasting net debt of $2.13bn.

Bike and car components retailer Halfords is set to give a pre-close trading update for the year to 31 March, and broker KBC Peel Hunt is expecting the figures to provide a mildly pleasant surprise.

‘Given more recent High Street trends (which have been fairly stable) and the positive backdrop for Halfords’ key categories, we see scope for the underlying sales and profit performance to have been marginally ahead of our current forecast expectations,’ the broker said, noting that the retailer is one of the few retailers still trading on a single-digit price/earnings ratio.

The company’s Christmas trading was hit by a decline in the prices of satellite navigation devices, with the value of sales down by 7.8% on a like-for-like basis in the company’s third quarter. KBC expects the final quarter of the company’s financial year will have seen an improvement in trading, and is forecasting full-year sales will be down just 1.6% in total, or by 4.2% on a like-for-like basis.


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