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FTSE 250 movers: Pennon under pump, Cranswick tasty

Published 23/05/2023, 15:15
© Reuters.  FTSE 250 movers: Pennon under pump, Cranswick tasty
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Sharecast - Ofwat said on Tuesday that it has launched an investigation into South West Water’s leakage data, weighing on owner Pennon Group (LON:PNN)’s shares.

The regulator said it had opened an enforcement case into South West Water to investigate the accuracy of the performance figures it had reported for leakage and per capita consumption in the 2021-22 regulatory reporting period.

Ofwat sets targets for companies on both leakage and per capita consumption, and they are either penalised or rewarded depending on whether they are met. In November, Ofwat deferred its decision on the progress South West Water had made towards its leakage performance commitment, as it wanted to better understand how the firm was calculating its data.

David Black, Ofwat chief executive, said: "We are committed to holding companies to account for performance and for sharing timely, accurate and complete data with us and their customers."

Pennon said the data in South West Water’s annual performance report had been subject to "rigorous assurance processes", including independent checks by an external technical auditor.

"We will work openly and constructively with Ofwat to comply with the formal notice issued to South West Water as part of this investigation," it added.

As at 0945 BST, shares in Pennon were down 2% at 805p.

It is the second probe by Ofwat into South West Water, which supplies Cornwall, Devon and parts of Dorset, in less than a year. It was also fined £2.1m last month by the UK Environmental Agency for pollution offences across Devon and Cornwall during a four-year period.

Meat producer Cranswick (LON:CWK) reported a rise in full-year profit and revenue on Tuesday as it announced a new supply agreement with retailer Pets at Home.

In the year to 25 March, adjusted pre-tax profit ticked up 2.3% to £140.1m, with revenues up 15.7% to £2.3bn. The company lifted its full-year dividend by 5% to 79.4p, in what marked the 33rd consecutive year of dividend growth.

Cranswick said broad-based inflationary pressure across the cost base continues to be "well controlled".

It also noted that during the year, it made further investment in its pig farming operations, meaning that self-sufficiency in British pigs is now approaching 50%.

Chairman Tim Smith said: "We delivered strong revenue growth, primarily reflecting good control of widespread cost inflation, with a strong pipeline of new products launched, nimbly responding to changes in market led demand.

"Our customers and consumers continue to recognise and appreciate the quality, value and versatility of our product range."

Cranswick also said that it recently agreed a long-term supply agreement with Pets at Home to manufacture a range of established private label products for the retailer.

"This partnership, alongside reinvigorating the business's existing Vitalin and Alpha dog food brands, will support the ongoing strategic development of the business and accelerate our ambition to develop Pet Products into a leading British pet food manufacturer complemented by our farm-to-fork strategy in poultry and pigs," it said.

Upper Crust and Ritazza owner SSP (LON:SSPG) said on Tuesday that FY 2023 sales and core profit are set to be at the upper end of its expectations, as it hailed a strong first half performance, particularly in North America.

The company had guided to sales of £2.9bn to £3bn and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £250m to £280m.

"Whilst we continue to face macroeconomic uncertainty, we believe that the travel food and beverage sector will remain structurally resilient to pressures on consumer spending and that our global footprint, with increasing exposure to the North American and Asia Pacific regions, will enable us to deliver sustained growth," it said.

"Progress in the first half of the year has been encouraging as we have maintained revenue momentum and have actively mitigated inflationary pressures to deliver a strong conversion of sales to profitability."

In the six months to the end of March, SSP - which has outlets at airports and train stations - swung to a pre-tax profit of £15.8m from a loss of £2.3m in the same period a year earlier. Revenues rose 64.1% to £1.3bn, underpinned by a continued recovery in passenger travel volumes.

SSP said the recovery is being led by domestic and leisure travel across both the air and rail sectors, with business and commuter travel also recovering, albeit more slowly.

The company’s strongest-performing region is North America, where revenues are now at 124% of 2019 levels, "reflecting the growth of domestic air travel and the scale of net gains in the region". In Continental Europe, meanwhile, revenues are at 116%, driven by a strong performance across the Air business.

Chief executive Patrick Coveney said: "This has been a strong first half for SSP, and the ongoing revenue momentum across the business means that we are now expecting our performance for 2023 to be at the upper end of our previous assumptions."

FTSE 250 - Risers

Cranswick (CWK) 3,346.00p 6.56%

PureTech Health PLC (LON:PRTC) 220.00p 4.27%

SSP Group (SSPG) 272.60p 3.18%

Harbour Energy (LON:HBR) 245.30p 3.11%

Energean Oil & Gas PLC (LON:ENOG) 1,132.00p 3.00%

ASOS (LON:ASOS) (ASC) 455.90p 2.80%

Tritax Big Box REIT (LON:BBOXT) (BBOX) 147.20p 2.58%

Drax Group (LON:DRX) 637.60p 2.57%

TUI (LON:TUIT) AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 543.80p 2.45%

Darktrace (LON:DARK) 299.50p 2.43%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Molten Ventures PLC (LON:GROW) (GROW) 271.60p -5.50%

Future (FUTR (LON:FUTR)) 841.00p -3.50%

Computacenter (LON:CCC) 2,378.00p -3.02%

Senior PLC (LON:SNR) (SNR) 172.20p -2.71%

Babcock International Group (LON:BAB) 310.60p -2.63%

Crest Nicholson Holdings (LON:CRST) 255.00p -2.60%

Wizz Air Holdings (LON:WIZZ) 2,902.00p -2.58%

Pennon Group (PNN) 802.00p -2.43%

Diploma (LON:DPLM) 2,970.00p -2.43%

Vistry Group (LON:VTYV) (VTY) 793.50p -2.40%

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