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Daily Telegraph: The week ahead

The week ahead
(Filed: 02/05/2006)

A guide to company results and meetings, and economic statistics

Tuesday May 2

Technology company CSR should deliver strong first-quarter results on the back of sales of its mobile phones and headsets. Charles Stanley forecasts pre-tax profit of $26m (£14.4m) for the three months to March compared with $10.9m in the same period a year earlier.

Interims: CSR (Q1), Formation Group

Finals: EPIC Reconstruction

AGMs: Advent Capital, Greystar Resources

EGMs: None scheduled

Economics: BBA mortgage lending full release (0830 GMT), April manufacturing PMI (0830 GMT)

Tuesday May 2 | Wednesday May 3 | Thursday May 4 | Friday May 5

Wednesday May 3

BSkyB delivers third-quarter results next week and analysts' consensus forecast for pre-tax profit is £227m compared with £181m a year ago. Sales are expected to be £1.1bn.

Subscriber growth should slow to 45,000, from 95,000 a year ago, which would bring the total to 8.1m. Earlier in the year the company warned that subscriber growth would slow in the quarter to March but that it expects a pick-up in the second half of the year.

Last week the company was awarded three of the six packages of live television rights for screening Premier League football. A second round of bidding will be held for the remaining three packages but the Premier League did not disclose when that would happen.

“BG Group should produce stellar results” for the first quarter, according to Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. The brokerage is targeting pre-tax profit for the three months to March of £958m, just over double the same period a year ago. The biggest boost to earnings will come from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) business, where Dresdner believes operating profit will rocket 400pc. BG was the upstream business of British Gas before the demerger in 1997.

British American Tobacco's first-quarter pre-tax profit should fall to £624m from £650m a year ago, according to Barclays Stockbrokers, because of exceptional gains from asset sales in the first quarter of last year. Operating profit, which excludes such exceptionals, should rise 7pc with the strongest performance from the emerging markets of Latin America, Asia and Africa and the Middle East.

Automotive engineering group Tomkins is forecast to drive up first-quarter pre-tax profit by 16pc to £65m, mainly on the back of cost cuts. Sales growth has been curtailed by the ongoing difficulties in the car industry at large manufacturers like Ford and General Motors.

The first interim results announcement for easyJet's new chief executive, Andy Harrison, are not going to be upbeat, as the budget airline's results are expected to show the pre-tax loss widening to £45m from £22m a year earlier.

The widening loss is due to high fuel prices and the later Easter holidays this year falling into the second half.

Interims: BG Group (Q1), British American Tobacco (Q1), BSkyB (Q3), easyJet, Numis Corporation, SurfControl (Q3), Tomkins (Q1), York Pharma (I)

Finals: Babcock International, Matalan

AGMs: British American Tobacco, Taylor Woodrow

EGMs: None scheduled

Economics: UK April construction PMI (0930 GMT)

Tuesday May 2 | Wednesday May 3 | Thursday May 4 | Friday May 5

Thursday May 4

Royal Dutch Shell is forecast to report a 4pc increase in first-quarter earnings as the benefits of higher oil prices are almost offset by lower levels of production. The current cost of supply net income, the profit measure most used by analysts, is forecast to be $5.56bn (£3.1bn) for the three months to March. The oil price has gone up 25pc year on year but Shell's production is expected to fall 6.5pc to 3.6m barrels of oil equivalent per day. Attacks on facilities in Nigeria are estimated to have cost Shell 100,000 barrels a day.

ICI's first-quarter sales are traditionally weaker compared with the rest of the year, as less paint is sold in the colder months. Underlying earnings, which strips out interest, tax and depreciation among other costs, are forecast to rise 10pc to £167m by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. In February ICI put Uniqema, its speciality chemicals business, on the block and investors will be looking for an update on how the sale is progressing.

Unilever's pre-tax profit is forecast to drop 2.2pc to £820m for the three months to March, due to higher marketing costs to support sales in emerging markets.

Barclays Stockbrokers forecasts operating margins will fall 80 basis points but underlying sales will rise 3pc to 4pc. Sales growth is expected to be slower in emerging markets than the previous year but to be better in the US.

Interims: Imperial Chemical Industries (Q1), Royal Dutch Shell (Q1), Unilever (Q1)

Finals: Blacks Leisure, iTrain, John David Group

AGMs: Eredene Capital, PartyGaming, Reckitt Benckiser

EGMs: None scheduled

New business figures: St James's Place Capital

Economics UK April services PMI (0930 BST), UK March consumer credit/mortgage lending (0930 BST), UK March final M4/M4 lending (0930 BST), BoE rate decision (1200 BST)

Tuesday May 2 | Wednesday May 3 | Thursday May 4 | Friday May 5

Friday May 5

Interims: None scheduled

Finals: None scheduled

AGMs: AngloGold Ashanti

EGMs: Worthington Group

Economics: UK SMMT April new car registrations (1130 BST)

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