RBS profits over £1bn and Standard Life shares fall – Finance Friday

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RBS profits exceed £1bn

Finance Friday – a brief look at this week’s finance and investor news from around the UK


RBS reported an operating profit for Q2 of £1.2bn compared to a £695m loss in the same quarter of 2016. The improved performance reflects a 24% rise in income and 32% fall in operating costs versus the prior year. The shares rose 3.6% in early trading.

Merlin Entertainments

First half revenue of £685m represents growth of 9.6% at constant exchange rates (CER), with like-for-like growth of 3.7%. Profits before tax rose 0.7% to £50m. The shares rose 2.4% following the announcement, which also included a 9.1% increase in the interim dividend to 2.4p per share.

Intercontinental Hotels Group

At the half year stage, revenues of $857m came from 2.1% growth in RevPAR and a 3.7% increase in the number of rooms led to operating profits rising 8% to $370m and the impact of last year’s $1.5bn return of capital meant this translated to a 27% leap forwards for adjusted EPS. The company is confident for the rest of the year, whatever macro events unfold and has boosted the half year dividend payment by 10%.

Standard Life

First half operating profit before tax rose 6% to £362m with underlying cash generation up 1% to £256m. The interim dividend rose 8.2% to 7p per share. The shares fell 1.6% following the announcement.

Pets at Home

Pets at Home’s Q1 revenues rose 5% to £256.5m, driven by like-for-like (LFL) revenue growth of 2.7% and the opening of new stores and services. This growth represents an improvement on that reported in recent quarters. The shares rose 5.3% on the news.


Half Year operating profits rose 5% at constant exchange rates (CER) to £2.4bn. Performance was driven by results from the Asian and US businesses, partially offset by slower growth in the UK. The group announced an interim dividend of 14.5p per share, up 12%. The shares were broadly flat following the announcement.


First half revenues rose 1% to £2bn in underlying terms, primarily due to higher gross sales and lower returns in North American higher education courseware. Adjusted operating profit improved significantly, from £15m to £107m cost savings and dollar strength more than offset some cost inflation. The shares rose 2.9% on the news.


Pre-tax profit rose 50% to £80.5m, however following the £350m share issuance in May, adjusted earnings per share rose 1.6% to 3.21p. The group declared two 1.6p interim dividends in the period, and says it remains on course to deliver the 6.4p full year target. The share were little moved on the news.


An improved commodity price environment helped Glencore’s first half revenues rise 44% to $100bn. Combined with better cost control, this saw the group deliver earnings per share of $0.17 in the half, compared to a loss of $0.03 the previous year. The shares fell 2.8% following the announcement.

Legal & General

Legal & General (L&G) saw a significant rise in operating profits in the first half, up 27% to £1bn, with progress across all divisions.

The board declared an interim dividend of 4.3p, 7.5% ahead of the prior year interim, and in line with the new dividend policy of paying out 30% of the previous year’s full year dividend at the half year. The shares were broadly flat following the announcement.

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