This week in business: results, meetings and indicators

It cannot be said the build up to Independent News & Media’s agm has been dull

MONDAY (August 21st)

Indicators: UK public sector net borrowing (July), US home prices (June)

Meetings: Sixth International Conference on Future Generation Communication (Irish Computer Society, Ballsbridge, Dublin)

TUESDAY (August 22nd)


Results: Cairn Energy, Hostelworld, Kenmare Resources, Persimmon, Workday, Guess

Indicators: Irish wholesale price index (July); euro zone economic sentiment index (Aug); UK industrial trends orders (Aug); German economic sentiment index (Aug)

WEDNESDAY (August 23th)

Results: Independent News and Media, HP

Indicators: Euro zone composite, services and manufacturing PMIs flash (Aug), consumer confidence flash (Aug); German composite, services and manufacturing PMIs flash (Aug); US mortgage applications and rates (Aug), composite, services and manufacturing PMIs flash (Aug); home sales (July)

Meetings: Independent News & Media agm (Westbury Hotel, Dublin)

Nobody can say the build up to this week's Independent News & Media agm has been dull. The ongoing dispute between chairman Leslie Buckley and chief executive Robert Pitt, much of which has been detailed in the media, has made for a compelling lead in.

Recently, and according to global advisory service Glass Lewis, a first in the history of an Irish company, Mr Pitt has reserved his position regarding his voting intentions.

As reported in The Irish Times, that development is understood to "relate directly" to the re-election of Mr Buckley as chairman. Tense times.

The move is described by Glass Lewis, which advises large investors on corporate governance issues, as the “latest development in a long-running governance struggle at the Irish media conglomerate”.

Relations soured between the two last year over INM’s proposed acquisition of Newstalk, the national radio station owned by Denis O’Brien, who also owns 29.88 per cent of INM. That scenario eventually led Mr Pitt to make a protected disclosure to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

“For the top executive to blow the whistle on his own board and decline to support its meeting agenda carries high symbolic value,” noted Glass Lewis’s blog, “and indicates serious problems in the working relationship between the board and management.”

All eyes on the Westbury Hotel this Wednesday.

THURSDAY (August 24th)

Results: CRH, Falcon Oil & Gas, Premier Oil, Tiffany & Co

Indicators: UK GDP growth (Q2), mortgage approvals (July); US jobless claims (Aug)

Meetings: Specialist qualifications event for accountants and finance professionals (Chartered Accountants Ireland, Pearse Street, Dublin).

Shares at CRH have dipped below €30 recently due to a mixed bag of performances in the sector, but analysts are still confident about the company’s outlook ahead of interim results on Thursday.

Wet weather in the US and difficult trading conditions in cement markets in the Philippines and Switzerland have added some question marks, but overall things are looking positive.

In a note ahead of reporting, Davy said its price target implied an upside of more than 20 per cent and has continued to recommend the shares.

CRH has guided an increase in first half ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) with Europe flat, Asia lower and America higher year-on-year.

Davy says it expects to see ebitda for the six-month period to have risen 5 per cent to €1.18 billion. A limited consensus view puts the result in the region of €1.2 billion. Davy currently forecasts full-year results of €3.4 billion.

“The group had a good start to the year in Europe, with like-for-like sales up 6 per cent year-on-year in Q1,” Davy said.

“Aided by stabilising trends and the timing of Easter, like-for-like sales rose 8 per cent, 5 per cent and 2 per cent respectively in the Heavyside, Lightside and Distribution divisions.

"The positive days' effect reversed in April so these growth rates will likely have moderated. The trend, however, should still be positive with peer commentary pointing to improved momentum in markets such as France, Netherlands, Poland and eastern Europe."

FRIDAY (August 25th)

Indicators: German consumer confidence, GDP growth (Q2), business climate (Aug)

Meetings: ShipItCon conference on shipping gaming software products safely (Mansion House, Dublin)