LONDON -- We've been in a busy reporting period for FTSE 100 companies with years and quarters ending in March. Things are starting to settle down a bit, with most having reported now, but there is still some good stuff to come.
Let's take a look at three companies from the top-tier index bringing us news next week.
Tate & Lyle (LSE:TATE)
Tate & Lyle is set to publish full-year results on Thursday, and at the time of its pre-close update in March things were going pretty much as expected, with the firm saying it should "deliver modest progress for the full financial year."
Current forecasts suggest earnings should be pretty flat this year after four years of steady growth. But there's a rise of about 4.5% expected in the annual dividend, taking it to 26 pence per share for a yield of about 3% on the current share price of 870 pence -- and it should be about twice covered by earnings.
The shares are on a price-to-earnings ratio, based on those expectations, of about 15 -- and that's after the price has gained nearly 30% over the past 12 months. That's a little higher than the long-term FTSE average of about 14, but if forecasts for the next two years are close to accurate, the P/E should drop to about 13 by 2015.
Severn Trent (LSE:SVT)
Thursday will also bring us the full-time score from Severn Trent as it unveils its results for the year to March 31 -- although the event has been somewhat overshadowed by the recent dramatic takeover attempt faced by the water supplier. On May 14, the firm was the target of a bid from an investment consortium, and the share price soared. And though the bid was rejected the very next day, the share price has stayed high, standing at 2,055 pence now -- up more than 12% on its pre-bid close.
But what of the expected results? City forecasts suggest flat earnings, with an 8% rise in the dividend to provide a yield of 3.7% on the current price. As cash cows with regular and fairly predictable dividends, utilities are in high demand from those seeking safe income -- like pension funds. And to illustrate the value placed on predictability these days, Severn Trent shares are currently on a P/E of 23 -- way higher than the FTSE average.
We have a first-quarter update due from Kingfisher, again on Thursday, and shareholders will be keen to see how the new year has shaped up so far after the full year to February was hit by weak consumer confidence. The owner of B&Q and Screwfix in the U.K., as well as a number of European brands, saw adjusted pre-tax profit fall by 11.4%, with adjusted basic earnings per share down 11.2%.
But the final dividend was kept flat, and when added to a 25% rise in the first-half dividend, the overall annual payment was up 7% to 9.46 pence per share. Going forward, the firm introduced a new policy of aiming for a dividend cover of about 2.5 times.
For this year, analysts are currently forecasting a 7% rise in EPS and a 6% dividend hike, putting the shares on a forward P/E of 14, with a dividend yield of 3%. And that comes after the past 12 months saw the share price rise by 17% to 327 pence, so some folks seem to be eyeing up a return to consumer spending.
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