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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  A.G. BARR p.l.c.    BAG   GB00B6XZKY75


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British companies mothball results as virus shreds financial market rulebook

03/23/2020 | 06:10am EST
The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

British companies on Monday rushed to heed unprecedented calls by regulators to mothball their results in the face of the escalating coronavirus, the latest rewrite of the financial market rulebook.

Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said on Saturday that listed companies planning to report over the next few days should hold off for two weeks to better assess how the pandemic is affecting their business.

The move, the first time UK Plc has ever been asked to suspend results en masse, follows similar actions in countries including Spain and China and comes as firms grapple with just how deep an expected global recession is likely to be.

Auditors are also likely to struggle to sign off companies' accounts as the first-quarter reporting season nears.

"It is hard for management to accurately say how badly they will be hit," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

"All they can really do is state how they intend to preserve cash, clarify the current level of cash and debt in the business, give some guidance on how they intend to protect workers, and explain what the next steps might be in their crisis management plan."

With trillions of dollars already shed from fear-driven global markets, investors are also flying blind in their ability to assess companies' health and ability to stay in business just as they were preparing for first-quarter trading updates to start filtering through.

The delay in updates "naturally makes my job a little more difficult in trying to decipher a company?s wellbeing", but was "a reflection of the unprecedented times", said Helal Miah, Investment Research Analyst at The Share Centre.


By 0954 GMT, 11 British companies had responded to the FCA's call including home improvement group Kingfisher, drinks maker A.G. Barr and outsourcer Mears Group. At least 50 companies were expected to report in the week to March 27, data from Refinitiv showed.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which polices accountants that check the books of listed companies in Britain, said on Monday it backed the FCA's decision and that auditors could broaden their approach to delays in company financial statements as the situation "rapidly" evolves.

"It is important that due consideration is given by companies to these events in preparing all reporting," the FRC said.

"The FRC therefore encourages listed companies and their auditors to consider carefully whether they should delay other corporate reports for the next two weeks, such as interim financial statements and final audited financial statements, except where necessary to meet a legal or regulatory requirement," the watchdog said in a statement.

The FCA, FRC and the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority are expected to come out with a further package of measures, perhaps as soon as this week, while the delayed results are likely to fuel calls for stock markets to be suspended.

PwC and KPMG, two of the world's "Big Four" auditing firms, welcomed the delay.

"It is clear that given the pressures on people and the changes that we see day to day, it is in the public interest for reporting to be delayed to give companies the time to properly consider the impacts on their results," said Jon Holt, head of audit at KPMG UK.

Separately on Monday, the London Stock Exchange said it was looking into whether annual meetings of companies could be held online during the epidemic.

(Additional reporting by by Sinead Cruise in London, Jesus Aguado Gonzalez in Madrid; editing by Jason Neely and Josephine Mason)

By Simon Jessop, Huw Jones and Muvija M

© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
A.G. BARR P.L.C. -0.92% 487 Delayed Quote.-6.17%
AMP LIMITED -0.64% 1.555 End-of-day quote.-0.32%
AT HOME GROUP INC. 0.73% 24.93 Delayed Quote.61.25%
CPPGROUP PLC 1.27% 479 Delayed Quote.60.20%
GULF KEYSTONE PETROLEUM LIMITED -1.82% 140 Delayed Quote.14.38%
IGAS ENERGY PLC -1.42% 24.35 Delayed Quote.73.31%
INTEGRATED DIAGNOSTICS HOLDINGS PLC -2.42% 1.01 Delayed Quote.-8.18%
JASON CO., LTD. -2.08% 658 End-of-day quote.-1.50%
KINGFISHER PLC -0.07% 273 Delayed Quote.0.96%
LAMPRELL PLC -2.12% 64.6 Delayed Quote.28.00%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. 5.79% 7.86 End-of-day quote.1.03%
LOOK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED -1.40% 918 End-of-day quote.-4.08%
MEARS GROUP PLC 0.00% 158 Delayed Quote.2.60%
N BROWN GROUP PLC -3.13% 62 Delayed Quote.2.99%
NEXT PLC -2.99% 7914 Delayed Quote.11.69%
S&U PLC 3.18% 2270 Delayed Quote.0.44%
STM GROUP PLC 1.75% 29 Delayed Quote.-3.33%
ZOTEFOAMS PLC -1.20% 412 Delayed Quote.8.42%
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Sales 2021 219 M 300 M 300 M
Net income 2021 21,0 M 28,7 M 28,7 M
Net cash 2021 38,1 M 52,1 M 52,1 M
P/E ratio 2021 24,7x
Yield 2021 1,34%
Capitalization 541 M 740 M 741 M
EV / Sales 2021 2,30x
EV / Sales 2022 2,15x
Nbr of Employees 1 043
Free-Float 65,1%
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Technical analysis trends A.G. BARR P.L.C.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 9
Average target price 514,00 GBX
Last Close Price 487,00 GBX
Spread / Highest target 28,3%
Spread / Average Target 5,54%
Spread / Lowest Target -11,7%
EPS Revisions
Managers and Directors
Roger Alexander White Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
John Ross Nicolson Non-Executive Chairman
Stuart Lorimer Executive Director & Finance Director
Craig Kenny Head-Information technology
Julie Ann Barr Secretary, Director & Head-Legal
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