|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||5,100.00 x 0|
|Day's range||4,055.00 - 4,125.00|
|52-week range||3,948.00 - 5,162.00|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||0.83|
|PE ratio (TTM)||2.02|
|Earnings date||22 Oct 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||1.00 (2.21%)|
|1y target est||4,741.39|
FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) share Coca-Cola HBC looks like a promising buy to me, but Whitbread doesn’t look as good on an uncertain future.
Gains in oil heavyweights amid heightened tensions in the Middle East helped London's main index hold steady on Monday, while Ted Baker was in demand after several media reports of takeover plans. The FTSE 100 index of bluechip companies and the FTSE 250 midcap index both edged higher by 0.1%. Oil majors Shell and BP rose about 1% each, tracking gains in crude prices on concerns that Iran's seizure of a British tanker last week may lead to supply disruptions in the Middle East.
The Sunday Telegraph reported in May that Elliott had become increasingly frustrated with Whitbread's strategy of owning Premier Inn hotels outright and wanted the company to offload chunks of its property portfolio. According to the report, the activist investor believes Whitbread's strategy is depressing the company's share price and is leaving it open to a cut-price hostile takeover.
Activist investor Elliott Capital Advisors has trimmed its stake in Premier Inn owner Whitbread to below 5%, a filing http://pdf.reuters.com/htmlnews/htmlnews.asp?i=43059c3bf0e37541&u=urn:newsml:reuters.com:20190719:nRSS1308Ga on Friday showed. The Sunday Telegraph reported in May that Elliott had become increasingly frustrated with Whitbread's strategy of owning Premier Inn hotels outright and wanted the company to offload chunks of its property portfolio.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Shareholders in Merlin Entertainments Plc are poised to exit the theme park.The company that operates Legoland resorts and Madame Tussauds wax museum has agreed to a 4.8 billion pound ($6.1 billion) joint bid from Blackstone Group LP, the family behind the Lego empire, and Canadian pension fund CPPIB.The offer continues the trend for private equity groups to buy back the businesses that they once owned, and are languishing in public markets. The descendants of Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen sold a share of their stake in Merlin to Blackstone in 2005, and the company was listed in London in 2013. The family has held a stake throughout, and it now stands at almost 30%. Companies that are unloved in the stock market make good targets for a second bite of the cherry by the private equity firms that were previous owners. They know the businesses well. Add in the fact that buyout funds have more money than they know what to do with, and you have deals for U.K. satellite company Inmarsat Plc and Swedish building materials group Ahlsell AB.The 455 pence per share offer for Merlin represents a 15% premium to the closing share price on Thursday, and looks fair. It is around the level the stock was were trading at before a lackluster trading update in Oct. 2017, when demand for the company’s attractions was dented by nervousness about terrorism and the first signs of the U.K. consumer slowdown. The shares have traded lower ever since. They rose 14% on Friday, to just below the offer price.As for the buyers, it’s hard to see what they can do differently. Having come from private equity ownership, the company is already pretty efficiently run. There isn’t scope for big cost cuts. Current management will continue.What will be change is how patient investors will be. Blackstone is making the investment from its long-term fund, which typically has a time horizon of at least ten to 15 years. In private hands there’s scope for owners to allow ample time for investments to pay off, a point made by activist investor ValueAct Capital, which has a 9.3% stake. Merlin has spent about 1 billion pounds over the past three years developing its attractions, but the potential benefit from this has not been reflected in earnings, or the share price.The new owners are betting that the investments the company is currently making will ultimately generate returns. At that point, the Merlin can achieve an appropriate evaluation in public markets.There is one wild card: a combination with Whitbread Plc, which has been mooted by some analysts. The company is focused on hotels now that it has shed its Costa Coffee chain. It wants to expand internationally, and Merlin’s global reach would help. Merlin, meanwhile, is building accommodation in its attractions. Whitbread would bring an experienced operator, plus potential synergies.The large number of hotels that the group would own outside of Merlin’s attractions is a significant stumbling block, and makes a deal a stretch.But with the potential for Whitbread to come under pressure to bolster returns from its hotel division, Merlin’s new owners should consider the combination as another route to create value from the buyout.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Ryan at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The outlook for this FTSE 100 (LON:INDEXFTSE:UKX) company remains uncertain and this Fool continues to think the shares are too expensive.
London's main bourse inched higher on Wednesday, helped by better than expected numbers from housebuilder Berkeley and a surge in Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group after it promised more savings from its buyout of Virgin Money. The FTSE 100 index, sharply higher on Tuesday along with other European markets on the back of a strong policy speech from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, edged 0.05% higher by 0707 GMT.
Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Thyagaraju Adinarayan. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: firstname.lastname@example.org WHAT'S ON OUR RADAR: SAGA, BERKELEY, STEINHOFF, ADYEN (0656 GMT) It's a lull in continental Europe, but there is some action in the UK with corporate companies continuing blame Brexit and/or political uncertainties for poor results. Saga says its tour operations business is still being hit by political uncertainties, housebuilder Berkeley Group has reported a 21% drop in pretax profit and Whitbread's like-for-like revenue per available room in the UK fell 6% in Q1.
Britain's Whitbread Plc, focused on the hotel business after the sale of its Costa Coffee chain, reported lower room revenue over the past three months as companies cut back on business travel. Whitbread's coffee sale has left it more exposed to increased competition from budget hotel groups and Airbnb as subdued economic activity and political turmoil force Britons to rein in spending. "We have a higher business than leisure mix than most of the other hotels and the ongoing political and economic uncertainty is continuing to impact the hotel industry (in the UK) and is leading to a decline in short lead bookings from business customers," Chief Executive Officer Alison Brittain said on Wednesday.
Whitbread's coffee sale has left it more exposed to increased competition from budget hotel groups and Airbnb as subdued economic activity and political turmoil force Britons to rein in spending. Short lead bookings refer to rooms booked only a week or so in advance, usually by business travellers, who contribute significantly to Whitbread's revenue. Originally a brewer, Whitbread is expanding its hotel business after selling Costa to Coca-Cola Co for 3.9 billion pounds ($4.9 billion) in a cash deal in January.
The value of cross-border company takeovers in Britain fell sharply in the first three months of 2019 as the number of acquisitions by British and foreign companies fell, official figures showed on Tuesday. Foreign companies bought British firms worth a total 6.3 billion pounds ($7.97 billion) in the first three months of 2019, the lowest since late 2017 and down from 38.8 billion pounds in the last three months of 2018, the Office for National Statistics said. British companies bought foreign firms worth 5.4 billion pounds over the same period, down from 10.5 billion pounds in late 2018.
According to the report http://bit.ly/2VEGpuh on Saturday, the activist investor believes Whitbread's strategy is "depressing" the company's share price and is leaving it open to a cut-price hostile takeover. Citing city sources, the newspaper said Elliott wanted Whitbread to sell 10 to 15 percent of its hotel portfolio and "continue to be open minded about the rest".
Elliott Advisors has become increasingly frustrated with Whitbread Plc's strategy of owning Premier Inn hotels outright and wants the company to offload chunks of its 5.8 billion pound ($7.64 billion) property portfolio, the Sunday Telegraph reported. According to the report http://bit.ly/2VEGpuh on Saturday, the activist investor believes Whitbread's strategy is "depressing" the company's share price and is leaving it open to a cut-price hostile takeover. Citing city sources, the newspaper said Elliott wanted Whitbread to sell 10 to 15 percent of its hotel portfolio and "continue to be open minded about the rest".
Premier Inn owner Whitbread has warned that demand for its hotel rooms is being hit by an "acute period of political and economic uncertainty in the UK". Chief executive Alison Brittain said there were "ongoing signs of market weakness across both business and leisure especially in the UK regions". The warning covers a period when the UK has faced intense uncertainty over the terms of its departure from the EU - though Brexit was not specifically mentioned by the company as a factor.
A bed at a Premier Inn hotel in Liverpool. Whitbread said sales in the regions fell by 1.5% in March. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters Premier Inn owner Whitbread has reported a 40% fall in annual profit and warned that a drop in demand for hotel rooms had worsened in recent weeks as Brexit uncertainty discouraged bookings, particularly among business travellers outside London. Alison Brittain, the Whitbread chief executive, said the hotel market had been hit by declining business confidence over the past two years, which worsened in March and April – a time of “heightened political and economic uncertainty in the UK”. The UK was scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March, but the deadline was extended to 12 April and later to 31 October. The threat of a no-deal Brexit has forced many businesses to draw up contingency plans and to rein in spending. Brittain said: “We hear of lots of businesses [where] uncertainty is an unhelpful element … We did have a number of even large businesses not travelling at all in the March-April period. They were just asking people to cease travel.” Sales in the regions, where most of the 800 Premier Inn hotels are located, fell by 1.5% in March and revenue per available room was down 4.4% – weaker than the firm had expected. It said both business and leisure travellers were cutting back. Bookings in London have held up, however, as international visitors continue to flock to the capital. Brittain said independent hotels were struggling even more, and Premier Inn was likely to add to its 9% market share. The UK’s biggest hotel chain is pushing ahead with expansion, from 76,000 rooms to a target of 110,000 in the next few years. She hailed a “momentous year” for Whitbread, after it sold its Costa Coffee chain to Coca-Cola for £3.9bn in January, which leaves the once-sprawling brewing and leisure conglomerate with its budget hotel business and 740 restaurants located next to Premier Inns. Excluding Costa, Whitbread made a pre-tax profit of £260m in the year to 28 February, down 39% from £426m in the previous year. UK accommodation sales fell 0.6% on a like-for-like basis (excluding new hotel openings). Whitbread already warned in January that 2019-20 profits would be flat on last year. Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk The group is using the sale proceeds to return up to £2bn to shareholders and to fund its expansion in Germany, where it has opened hotels in Hamburgand Frankfurt with plans for 20 more by the end of next year. Whitbread has also wiped out its pension deficit with a one-off payment of £380m. Aside from the main Premier Inn chain, Whitbread owns 10 upmarket Hub hotels, seven in London and three in Edinburgh, and is looking at opening more Hubs in cities such as Bath and Manchester. It has also launched a new no-frills hotel brand called Zip with small pod-style rooms from £19 per night, compared with £49 at Premier Inn and £69 at Hub. The first Zip opened in Cardiff in March and another one, in Southampton, is scheduled to open towards the end of year. Brittain said Zip in Cardiff was proving popular, especially with people travelling to sporting events at weekends.
The sale of the group’s cafe division to the soft drink giant left Whitbread focused on its budget hotel unit, and here the recent performance has been disappointing. Uncertainty around Britain’s divorce from the European Union led to weaker demand at Premier Inn in the three months to February, and this worsened in March and April.
Whitbread, which has its origins as a brewer, has focused on its hotel business after Coca-Cola Co bought Costa for 3.9 billion pounds in a cash deal completed in early January. Whitbread said it expects weak room revenue growth in Britain for the financial year to next February as demand dips.