Another quiet day for RNSs. Engineering group Costain (LON:COST) issues a good solid pre-close trading statement (since their results are due to be issued on 6 March, then the Close Period starts 2 months before that, so 6 Jan).
They finished the year in line with expectations, order book slightly down on last year £2.4bn vs £2.5bn, and with over £700m of work secured for 2013 (presumably up from the "in excess of £650m secured for 2012" at this time last year, although the wording could be ambiguous, since both are in excess of a stated number).
They also have a "strong cash position and no significant borrowings".
This looks a nice steady company, churning out reliable EPS of around 30p on average each year, and a steadily rising divi (10p last year). So the expected EPS of 30p this year puts them on a PER of 8.3, and a divi yield of 4.2%. At first glance that looks fairly attractive to me, for a company which should benefit from the cyclical upturn in the economy which will happen at some point. So could be worth a further look?
Dry cleaning outfit Johnson Service (LON:JSG) puts out an in line trading statement for y/e 31 Dec. Results will be issued in early March. Interestingly, they say that the dry cleaning estate has shown LFL sales growth, "the first such increase for a number of years".
If dry cleaning is a proxy for the overall health of the economy, then this could be a reassuring sign. Although a trend I have noticed, is that with many people feeling insecure about their jobs, people are tending to dress more smartly in the office, in order to project a more professional image. When I turn up for meetings without a tie these days, I'm usually the only person in the room tie-less. Whereas a couple of years ago there were more open-necked shirts. So perhaps JSG are benefiting from a trend towards smarter office dress?
Anyway, the shares look fully priced to me, EPS forecast of 4.4p means they are on a PER of about 8.5 at 38p. Cheap? Not really, when you consider they have £59m of debt (which is 62%…