Eyes Down for Tesco's Results
LONDON -- Top British supermarket Tesco is due to announce its annual results on April 17.
At the time of writing, Tesco's shares are trading at 380 pence -- up 17% from a year ago compared with a 13% rise for the FTSE 100.
How will Tesco's businesses have performed in 2012/13 compared with the previous year? And will the results justify the strong performance of the shares? Here's your cut-out-and-check results table!
Revenue (excluding VAT, including petrol)
65.2 billion pounds
66.2 billion pounds
3.8 billion pounds
3.4 billion pounds
Underlying profit before tax
3.9 billion pounds
3.5 billion pounds
Underlying earnings per share (EPS) (diluted)
Dividend per share
Source: Tesco website.
Tesco's results for the year ended Feb. 23, 2013 will take in the first full year since the company's shock profit warning of Jan. 2012. The performance of the U.K. business was the cause of the profit warning, and chief executive Philip Clarke pledged 1 billion pounds of investment to get the core home operations back on track.
The success of the strategy -- if it comes -- won't be visible in the 2012/13 numbers. Analysts are expecting modest revenue growth of 1 billion pounds (1.6%), but a 4 billion-pound drop in profits (down in the region of 10%) -- with EPS falling a little more than 11%.
The current forecasts are actually poorer than six months ago, when analysts had penciled in revenue growth of around 3% and only mid-single-digit profit and EPS declines.
The key U.K. operational number to watch out for is like-for-like sales (excluding VAT and petrol). The table below shows the trajectory across the past seven quarters.
Tesco managed to stem the tide of declining like-for-like numbers in the most recent second quarter, but like-for-likes turned negative again in Q3. Keep an eye on the Q4 number, which should be pretty decent given the comparison is with the poor Christmas trading period that resulted in the profit warning.
At the Q3 stage Tesco said most of its focus to date had been on the food business, which showed like-for-like sales up 1.2% for the quarter. As such, watch out for the split between food and non-food in Q4. Will Tesco have made any progress in turning around non-food? If not, what plans are there for doing so?
Finally -- and perhaps the acid test of Clarke's strategy -- is whether getting Tesco's U.K. business back on track will require further investment on top of the 1 billion pounds spent to date.
One of the spurs for Tesco's high-flying share price was the announcement last December of a strategic review of the company's loss-making U.S. Fresh & Easy business.
At the time, Tesco claimed it had received "a number of approaches" from parties interested in acquiring all or part of the business or in partnering Tesco in developing the operation. Clarke promised to report on progress in the upcoming results.
The Telegraph has recently claimed that Aldi is one of the potential buyers but that the most likely outcome is Tesco being forced to close Fresh & Easy and then sell the assets piecemeal. According to the Telegraph, Tesco faces a writedown of up to 1 billion pounds to quit the U.S. and will book a substantial impairment in next week's results.
While Fresh & Easy could dominate the news headlines, shareholders should keep an eye on the performance of Tesco's growth-engine international operations in Central Europe and Asia. The former has seen weakening consumer spending over the past year.
The analyst consensus for Tesco's dividend is a 0.5% decrease -- ranging from a high forecast of +1.6% to a low of -7.2%. I believe the most likely result will be a dividend maintained at last year's level of 14.76 pence. As the interim dividend was held at 4.63 pence, look out for a final of 10.13 pence.
Tesco is probably one of the most popular shares with small U.K. investors. It's also a favorite of legendary U.S. billionaire investor Warren Buffett. In fact, Buffett owns a trolley-load of Tesco shares.
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The article Eyes Down for Tesco's Results originally appeared on Fool.com.G.A. Chester does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Tesco. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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