FTSE 250 movers: Wetherspoons cheers investors; Oil stocks slide

By Frank Prenesti

FTSE 250: 18,435.00, -1.57% at close.
JD Wetherspoon shares surged as the pub chain said sales for the last seven weeks were 14.9% higher than the same period last year as it also swung to a half-year profit despite “ferocious” inflationary pressures.

The company on Friday posted a pre-tax profit of £4.6m for the 26 weeks to January 29, compared to a £26.1m loss in 2022. Revenue increased to £916m from £807m and a free cash inflow of £166m, compared with a £34.5m outflow last year. Shares jumped almost 13%, outperforming a slumping market as banking stocks tanked.

Like-for-like sales were up 13.0% year on year. The chain, known for its discounted drinks and venues in locations such as old cinemas, said supply or delivery issues “have largely disappeared, for now, and were probably a phenomenon of the stresses induced by the worldwide reopening after the pandemic”.

“Having experienced a substantial improvement in sales and profits, compared to our most recent financial year, and with a strengthened balance sheet, compared both to last year and to the pre-pandemic period, the company is cautiously optimistic about further progress in the current financial year and in the years ahead,” Wetherspoons said.

“Inflationary pressures in the pub industry, as many companies have said, have been ferocious, particularly in respect of energy, food and labour. The Bank of England, and other authorities, believe that inflation is on the wane, which will certainly be of great benefit, if correct.”

Oil stocks fell on weaker crude prices, with Harbour Energy and Tullow Oil both sharply lower.

In a separate announcement, Harbour said it has submitted development plans for the Zama field to the Mexican authorities, the oil and gas producer confirmed on Friday.

The FTSE 250 group, the largest producer in the North Sea, said it had submitted the unit development plan to the National Commission of Hydrocarbons with its partners in the project: state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, German oil and gas firm Wintershall Dea and New York-listed Talos Energy.

The plan details two offshore shallow water platforms and 46 production and water injection wells, with oil and gas transported via pipeline to new facilities at the Terminal Maritima Dos Bocas.

Engineering and planning work will continue ahead of the UDP receiving approval from the NCH.

Stuart Wheaton, executive vice president of Harbour Energy’s international business, said: “This marks an important milestone towards delivering safe and efficient first oil from the Zama field, which once onstream will contribute significantly to both Harbour’s production and Mexico’s domestic energy supply.”

Harbour said that the project would minimise greenhouse gases “by using best available technology”.

FTSE 250 – Risers

Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 654.50p 12.65%
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Ltd. (VOF) 439.00p 1.86%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,930.00p 1.69%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 209.60p 1.35%
Britvic (BVIC) 877.00p 1.15%
Cranswick (CWK) 3,004.00p 1.14%
W.A.G Payment Solutions (WPS) 91.00p 1.11%
National Express Group (NEX) 118.50p 1.11%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 9,095.00p 0.83%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,365.00p 0.81%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Harbour Energy (HBR) 242.00p -7.42%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 27.68p -6.61%
Hammerson (HMSO) 21.32p -6.00%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,155.00p -4.98%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 111.90p -4.93%
Future (FUTR) 1,085.00p -4.82%
Great Portland Estates (GPE) 467.40p -4.50%
Inchcape (INCH) 724.00p -4.49%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 2,130.00p -4.48%
Just Group (JUST) 80.00p -4.31%

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