Barratt Developments has warned of a slump in house builds as it said cost-of-living pressures and rising mortgage rates were impacting homebuyer demand.
The company’s average selling price fell to £342,900, ($447,553) a drop of almost 9%. It came, in part, due to a lower proportion of sales from London.
It said the rising interest rates and the end of the government Help to Buy scheme meant first-time buyer reservations were down by 49% and accounted for “more than half the decline in our total reservation rate.”
The housebuilding giant is forecasting its build completions to tumble by as much as 23% over 2023-24, to between 13,250 and 14,250 in 2023-24. Total home completions of fell 3.9% to 17,206 from 17,908 in the previous year.
Dr. Martens (DOCS.L)
Dr. Martens shares rose after the bootmaker said trading since the start of the current financial year had been in line with expectations, adding that progress had been made rectifying the US warehousing fiasco that led to a series of profit warnings.
In a statement ahead of its annual shareholder meeting, the maker of the famous lace-up boots said direct-to-consumer operations had seen “very good growth in both EMEA and Asia-Pacific, with continued strength in retail as traffic recovers post-COVID, and good ecommerce growth.
“As planned, wholesale revenues were lower year-on-year, across all three regions. This includes the impact of the strategic decisions to reduce EMEA retailer supply and cease sales to the China distributor ahead of the contract end,” the company said.
Sales in the Americas were also down compared to the previous year, although Dr. Martens said that this was in line with expectations.
Dr. Martens added that it is taking actions to progress its DTC business in the Americas, and expects to see “meaningful” improvement in the second half.
At the time of its fiscal 2023 earnings on June 1, Dr. Martens said it expected revenue growth of mid- to high-single digit in constant currency for fiscal 2024
John Wood (WG.L)
Engineering and consulting business John Wood Group reported "good trading" in the first half of the year as revenue rose around 15% annually to $2.9bn.
The firm said revenue in the six months to June 30, 2023, was around $2.9bn, up 15%, while adjusted EBITDA of $195m, was 6% higher.
‘We are making good progress in delivering on the growth strategy we outlined last November. Trading shows continued good growth and margins in line with our expectations,’ said Chief Executive Officer Ken Gilmartin.
The firm noted an order book of about $6bn at June 30, up 3% on a constant currency basis.
The company expects positive free cash flow in the second half of this year, and positive free cash flow in 2024 as previously guided.
Recursion Pharmaceuticals (RXRX)
Shares of Recursion Pharmaceuticals soared after it said Nvidia (NVDA) invested $50m in the biotech company.
Chipmaker Nvidia will invest $50m in Recursion Pharmaceuticals to speed up the development of the biotech firm’s artificial intelligence models for drug discovery, the companies said Wednesday.
The new funds cement Recursion’s leading position as the pre-eminent AI-driven biotech firm, according to Gil Blum an analyst with Needham & Co. “The collaboration will provide Recursion access to the most powerful AI computing company on earth,” he wrote in a note to clients.
Recursion uses AI-powered models to identify and design new therapies, and offers those models to other drugmakers, including Roche and Bayer.
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