Not long before he had been told he had developed a serious skin cancer – news he passed on to his breakfast-time Radio 4 audience, saying that he was having “a second brush with mortality”.Actually, he has had more than two: at the age of 74, he has so far weathered prostate cancer and a couple of heart attacks. (He came fifth in a poll of spiritual figures a few years back, one place ahead of the Archbishop of Canterbury and three ahead of the Pope.)
Have you heard the one about the rabbi who got cancer? Not a proper subject for joking, you might feel Rabbi Lionel Blue would beg to differ In theory, at any rate. It has all brought a valedictory tone to his Today programme broadcasts. “Jokes are ways in which people cope with problems they can’t solve,” says the man who has been described as Britain’s best-loved cleric. Williams de Broe is expecting full-year pre-tax profits of £239m from Rexam, up from £228m a year earlier.Results: Full year – Arriva; Axis Shield; Fayrewood; Hunting; Kidde; P&O; Rexam; Senior; William Hill; Yule Catto.
Interims – NXT; Eidos; Country & Metropolitan.FRIDAY: Results: Full year – Financial Objects; Greggs; Marshalls.. Have you heard the one about the rabbi who got cancer? Not a proper subject for joking, you might feel Rabbi Lionel Blue would beg to differ In theory, at any rate. The company isis tipped to post pre-tax profits of £496m for 2003, up from £455m a year.Results: Full year – Friends Provident; Gallaher; Nestor Healthcare; RMC; ITV. Interims – JD Wetherspoon.THURSDAY: Has Rexam managed to push its clients into accepting higher prices? This is likely to be of most interest to investors when the world’s largest manufacturer of drinks cans unveils its annual results. The group is likely to have finalised plans for an extensive restructuring of the division and City analysts are likely to quiz management on the future size and form of the business.Investors are expecting high single-digit profits growth from Gallaher, However, of more interest to the investment community will be how the tobacco group is proceeding with its efforts to cut debt.Gallaher’s balance sheet is relatively stretched.
The group has about £2.5bn of borrowings and unless it makes serious inroads toward paying this down, growth from an acquisition-led strategy will be constrained. Analysts predict Gallaher to have generated about £340m of free cash flow in 2003 but fear the group will have reduced its debt burden by just £60m due to a negative foreign exchange effect. Profits for 2003 look set to fall compared with those achieved a year earlier, probably to about £132m from £144m, with losses at RMC’s German business the main reason for the drop. It will be the first time the merged group posts full-year figures and, according to Deutsche Bank, investors can expect operating profits of £109m from the IT services group on revenues of £1.7bn.Results: Full year – Acambis; Brit Insurance; Britannic Group; Informa Group; LogicaCMG; Meggitt; Schroders; Savills; Serco; Taylor Woodrow;WEDNESDAY: David Munro, RMC’s new chief executive, will unveil the group’s full-year figures for the first time. Interims – Benchmark Group.TOMORROW: LogicaCMG is in the running for promotion to the FTSE 100 at this month’s quarterly review of the index. Pearson is likely to complain about the toll the falling dollar is having on its profits, while City analysts will be keen to have an update on recent advertising trends at the FT Group.Results: Full year – Aggregate Industries; Aggreko; British Vita; Exel; GKN; HSBC; Inchape; Pearson; Persimmon.
It predicts losses at the Financial Times to widen as circulation revenues fall due to weak print copy sales in the UK. Recent reports have suggested BAE Systems has held talks with GKN aimed at the purchase of a 30 per cent stake in the venture. The last trading update from GKN indicated that all well at the company so the figures themselves are unlikely to set the group’s shares alight. Williams de Broe forecasts pre-tax profits at the group to fall to £245m from £267m a year earlier.Investec Securities expects Pearson to post a 2 per cent rise in 2003 pre-tax profits but an 8.5 per cent drop in revenues to £3.9bn.