Halfords Group (HFD)

Sector:

Retailers

Index:

FTSE Small Cap

156.50p
   
  • Change Today:
    -0.90p
  • 52 Week High: 258.60
  • 52 Week Low: 142.00
  • Currency: UK Pounds
  • Shares Issued: 199.12m
  • Volume: 371,858
  • Market Cap: £311.62m
  • RiskGrade: 169

Halfords stays in line in first half, acquires McConechy's Tyre Service

By Josh White

Date: Thursday 07 Nov 2019

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - Motoring and cycling products retailer Halfords Group said its first half profit was in line with its expectations on Thursday, adding that growth from strategic investment, gross margin improvements and tight cost control had partially mitigated a "challenging" retail backdrop and tough weather comparators year-on-year.
At the same time, the London-listed firm also announced the acquisition of McConechy's Tyre Service - one of the largest independent garage chains in the UK.

The company said group like-for-like sales declined by 2.4% in a tough market, with revenue standing at £582.7m, although sales returned to growth in the last six weeks of the period.

In retail, cycling sales grew in the 26 week period ended 27 September, and in motoring it said its core categories gained market share, although sales of big-ticket discretionary products were softer.

Autocentres, group services, online and business-to-business all delivered strong sales growth in the period, the board added.

Autocentres EBIT pre-IFRS 16 increased 39.1% to £3.2m, with the business reportedly continuing to make "strong progress" on its transformation, and remained on track to deliver a third year of profit growth.

The group said it remained cash generative, with free cash flow standing at £44.2m, up 29% on the first half of last year.

Net debt-to-underlying EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 on a comparable basis was 0.7 times, in line with the full-year result for the 2019 financial year.

For the group as a whole, underlying EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 was down 9.8% at £44.9m, and underlying profit before tax pre-IFRS 16 was 15.1% lower at £25.9m.

Underlying basic earnings per share pre-IFRS 16 dropped 16.1% to 10.4p.

On the strategic front, Halfords noted that it had agreed a buying alliance with Mobivia, which it described as a "leading player" in the European motoring products and services market.

The board reconfirmed its full-year underlying profit before tax guidance, pre-IFRS 16, at between £50m and £55m.

It kept its interim dividend flat at 6.18p, and reduced its final dividend reduced to 8.0p, with the full-year dividend rebased to 12p for the 2021 financial year onwards.

"In a period where retail sales were impacted by weakened consumer confidence, we are pleased to have successfully increased gross margin, kept a tight control over costs, and seen growth from our strategic investment," said chief executive officer Graham Stapleton.

"12 months on from the launch of our strategy to inspire and support a lifetime of motoring and cycling, we have made encouraging early progress.

"Our autocentres business delivered strong growth in the half, while new initiatives helped to drive top line momentum in group services, online and B2B."

Stapleton said the company was "clear" that its service-led strategy was "the right one" for Halfords.

"Our unique position, growing services business and positive macro-customer trends, gives us confidence that this is the right time to accelerate investment, leveraging our trusted household brand to become a clear market leader in Motoring services.

"Over the medium-term, we expect service-related sales to double as a percentage of group sales and autocentres to represent a materially larger proportion of Halfords' profits.

"As a result, motoring will inevitably grow in focus for the group, [and] we are confident that this strategy will drive long-term sustainable growth."

On the acquisition of McConechy's Tyre Service, Halfords said the acquired business comprises 60 sites and 100 vans across Scotland and the north of England, providing tyre fitting and vehicle servicing, maintenance and repair for both retail and commercial vehicles.

It said McConechy's employed more than 330 skilled staff, providing in-garage services alongside a 24-hour breakdown service for commercial customers.

The McConechy's portfolio meant that around 10 million customers could reach a branch within a 25-minute drive time.

Halfords said the acquisition was for a cash consideration of £8.5m.

It described it as a "highly complementary" acquisition for the company, supporting the growth of its services proposition, providing customers with motoring services across garages, retail stores and mobile vans.

The acquisition of McConechy's would increase the Halfords services footprint, now providing customers with access to more than 900 service locations across the UK.

"We are very excited about today's acquisition and I am delighted to welcome McConechy's to the Halfords family," said Graham Stapleton.

"This acquisition is highly complementary to Halfords' service-led strategy, and the addition of McConechy's further strengthens our growing and unique motoring services offer, which includes Autocentres, Halfords Mobile Expert and our weFit services in our stores.

"The additional garages and vans increase our national presence and takes Halfords to within a 15-minute drivetime to over half of UK households."

Stapleton said the vehicle servicing market was a £10bn market, but one which remained "highly fragmented", offering significant scope for the company's consumer brand to grow its market share considerably.

"I am extremely proud of how our autocentres team has developed in the last few years, continually demonstrating their ability to evolve by implementing new processes, systems, and capability.

"This has transformed the financial performance of autocentres and, by welcoming McConechy's and its highly skilled team to the Halfords Group, I am confident of continued success in the years ahead."

At 1138 GMT, shares in Halfords were up 1.67% at 155.05p.

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Note 1: Prices and trades are provided by Digital Look Corporate Solutions and are delayed by at least 15 minutes.

Note 2: RiskGrade figures are provided by RiskMetrics.

 

Halfords Group Market Data

Currency UK Pounds
Share Price 156.50p
Change Today -0.90p
% Change -0.57 %
52 Week High 258.60
52 Week Low 142.00
Volume 371,858
Shares Issued 199.12m
Market Cap £311.62m
RiskGrade 169

Halfords Group Star Ratings

Compare performance with the sector and the market.
more star ratings
Key: vs Market vs Sector
Value
98.12% above the market average98.12% above the market average98.12% above the market average98.12% above the market average98.12% above the market average
83.67% above the sector average83.67% above the sector average83.67% above the sector average83.67% above the sector average83.67% above the sector average
Price Trend
68.94% below the market average68.94% below the market average68.94% below the market average68.94% below the market average68.94% below the market average
66.67% below the sector average66.67% below the sector average66.67% below the sector average66.67% below the sector average66.67% below the sector average
Income
94.14% above the market average94.14% above the market average94.14% above the market average94.14% above the market average94.14% above the market average
78.95% above the sector average78.95% above the sector average78.95% above the sector average78.95% above the sector average78.95% above the sector average
Growth
89.4% below the market average89.4% below the market average89.4% below the market average89.4% below the market average89.4% below the market average
70.37% below the sector average70.37% below the sector average70.37% below the sector average70.37% below the sector average70.37% below the sector average

What The Brokers Say

Strong Buy 3
Buy 0
Neutral 1
Sell 1
Strong Sell 0
Total 5
buy
Broker recommendations should not be taken as investment advice, and are provided by the authorised brokers listed on this page.

Halfords Group Dividends

  Latest Previous
  Interim Final
Ex-Div 05-Dec-19 25-Jul-19
Paid 17-Jan-20 30-Aug-19
Amount 6.18p 12.39p

Trades for 24-Feb-2020

Time Volume / Share Price
16:35 102,321 @ 156.50p
16:29 429 @ 156.60p
16:29 955 @ 156.70p
16:29 55 @ 156.70p
16:29 158 @ 156.70p

Halfords Group Key Personnel

CEO Graham Stapleton
CFO Loraine Woodhouse

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