Market report: Irn-Bru maker AG Barr canned as sales tipped to fizzle

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Investors today cast doubts over AG Barr’s ability to hit its full-year profit targets after the Irn-Bru maker’s weak first half.

Last week the FTSE 250 company, also behind the Rubicon brands, revealed like-for-like sales dived 2.9% to £125 million in the first six months, blaming the late arrival of the summer weather.

It insisted it would still be able to meet its profit targets for the year, “assuming market conditions improve and our robust second-half plans deliver”.

Analysts at Berenberg, however, who today downgraded to Sell, think its optimism is misplaced: “This will be very tough to achieve as it requires both a significant turnaround in sales performance and margin expansion.”

Strong sales growth at AG Barr’s overseas business and of its Funkin cocktail mixers will not be enough to reverse the sales slump, according to analyst Ned Hammond, who claims these businesses are too small to move the dial.

AG Barr’s shares lost their fizz, down 16.45p to 510.05p.

Fresh highs on Wall Street provided investors on this side of the pond with enough encouragement to keep filling their boots.

The FTSE 100 added another 6.27 points to yesterday’s late surge to take it to 6920.98, the index’s highest point since June last year.

On a quiet day for corporate news, there were no major blue-chip share price swings, with Rolls-Royce among the biggest movers, up 12p at 811p.

Struggling phones and broadband firm TalkTalk eased 3.8p to 231.8p following yesterday’s late spike on the back of renewed takeover speculation.

More than 10% was wiped off Genus, 194.2p cheaper at 1743.8p, as the animal genetics group suffered a setback in its legal battle in the US with rival bull semen specialist Sexing Technologies.

The Israeli finance director of “internet of things” firm Telit Communications, Yosi Fait, cashed in on the AIM-listed company’s surge this year by exercising options at 80p before selling 633,000 shares at 267.55p for a £1.7 million payday.

The trade did not fill shareholders with confidence and the stock slipped 5.25p to 261.75p.

CloudBuy, the online procurement company whose boss once claimed it would become bigger than Apple, Google, and Microsoft, has some way to go to challenge Silicon Valley’s giants.

While Apple has made almost $100 billion in 2016, the AIM-quoted company’s revenues shrank 11% to £785,000 in the first half, causing shares to dip 0.18p to 6.95p.

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August 12, 2016 |
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