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  • Writer's pictureMark Watson-Mitchell

Character Group – 42% lower sales for toys group up to Christmas sees shares fall 15%

The AGM Statement from Character Group (LON:CCT) reported that trading conditions have remained challenging, with sales in the four months to end December showing some 42% lower.

The designers, developers and international distributor of toys, games and giftware is hoping that its participation in next week’s London Toy Fair might help to lift its sales for the remainder of the current year to end August.

Analyst Opinion – halved profits

Ian Jermin at Allenby Capital, the company’s joint broker, notes that the stronger US dollar and higher input costs have been creating margin pressures.

He is expecting sales this year to fall to £145.0m (£176.4m) while adjusted pre-tax profits will more than halve to £5.5m (£11.4m), slashing earnings to 22.2p (45.7p) but increasing its dividend to 19.0p (17.0p) per share.

Jermin sees the group’s net cash easing just £2m to £18m, keeping up its strong balance sheet, hence the progressive dividend policy.

Conclusion – shares to ease before any good news

On the basis of this broker’s estimates the group’s shares fell 60p to 350p on the news.

They still look expensive ahead of better sales and profits news being given for its second half-year.

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