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Basic resources: BG Group outlined the next stage of its growth strategy as a focused exploration and production and liquefied natural gas company. John Wood Group reaffirmed its full-year forecast, despite delays in its maintenance business.
Consumer goods: Baron de Ley’s first-quarter sales rose 6% year-on-year, driven by wine exports to Canada, Switzerland and the UK.
Consumer services: WM Morrison entered a 25-year licensing deal with online grocer Ocado, to gain access to its technology and distribution network.
Industrials: Despite mixed global construction demand, Keller started the year on a positive note, thanks to the completion of major projects and good contract performance. Its order book maintained the growth momentum from last year. Management is upbeat about the US and sees opportunities in Asia and Australia, while expecting no further deterioration in Europe. John Menzies’ aviation division saw growth in ground-handling that outweighed weaker cargo-handling volumes, whereas its distribution business was hurt by discontinued magazine titles. Travis Perkins weathered a tough first quarter, with sales falling across most divisions, but it expects volumes to improve over the second half of the year. In other news, Cobham won an A$150 million extension to its existing QantasLink contract.
Real estate: Hansteen continued to do well over the last four months, helped by active asset management and improving demand across all regions. While the market environment remains challenging, British Land’s annual results benefited from its development programme and its focus on prime assets. Land Securities posted full-year results reflecting good operational performance. Management does not expect a drastic improvement in market conditions, but is confident that the company is well-placed to create value.
We hold all the companies highlighted above.