Aston Martin Q3 loss; Sainsbury’s falls; Bovis homes deal
In the slow lane: Aston Martin says trading is tough
Luxury carmaker Aston Martin has blamed “tough trading conditions” for a third-quarter pre-tax loss of £13.5m against a profit of £3.1m last time.
The company said it expected total wholesale volumes to be “lower than previously guided”, but it was still on track to meet market financial expections for the full year’s results and was taking action to control costs through an efficiency programme.
The company is launching its first sport utility vehicle, the DBX, which it hopes will turn around its fortunes.
It said four Aston Martins would feature in the next James Bond film, which is due for release in the first half of next year.
Home builder Persimmon said sales volumes fell 6% over the first half of the financial year although it had seen the usual pick-up in customer activity during the summer.
Dave Jenkinson, chief executive, said: “Persimmon’s top priority is the delivery of higher levels of quality and customer service through the implementation of its detailed customer care improvement plan.”
In a statement, the company said: “Trading has continued to be resilient through the second half of the year with the group’s average weekly private sales reservation rate per site of 0.67 being in line with last year.
“We are now fully sold up for the current year and have £950m of forward sales reserved beyond 2019,” it added, which was down from £987m at the same time last year.”
Sales prices remained firm across regional markets, Persimmon claimed, with customers continuing to make “carefully considered” reservation commitments, particularly in relation to higher-value new homes.
Cancellation rates were running in line with last year, at historically lower levels.
Sainsbury’s said its statutory first half profits fell to £9m after taking one-off charges of £229m in part from reviewing its store estate.
It also blamed the phasing of cost savings, higher marketing costs and tough weather comparatives.
Underlying profits are down 15% at £238m. Like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) are down 1%.
The slump in profits comes after a failed £7.3bn attempt to take over rival Asda, which was blocked by the competition regulator.
CMA concern over West Coast rail
The Competition and Markets Authority has raised concerns over rail services between Preston and Scotland under the new West Coast Rail franchise.
It has been scrutinising the award of the franchise to a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia.
After a ‘phase one’ investigation, the CMA said it concerned “this could lead to higher fares and less availability of cheaper tickets because train passengers would have no alternatives, or limited options, to choose from”.
Bovis buys Linden Homes
Bovis is buying Linden Homes from Galliford Try for around £1bn. The deal was first suggested in September.
Bovis is using its shares to help pay for the deal while Galliford shareholders will a receive a stake of 29.3% in the enlarged group after the sale of the operation.