Good morning.

Some absolutely superb posts in the comments section yesterday, terrific stuff! It's particularly good when readers with relevant sector experience post about companies from first hand experience as a customer or supplier.

All too often we just get our information about a listed company from that company itself. Yet this will obviously be a rose-tinted view! So these days I'm trying increasingly to search for info & views on companies from third party sources.

I've seen cases, e.g. Sprue Aegis (LON:SPRP) , where investors have picked up on poor product reviews online (hence publicly available, not insider information), and deduced that there was a serious problem. Some time later the company told the market that there was a serious problem and the shares more than halved.

Portmeirion (LON:PMP)

Share price: 1215p (down 4.1% today)
No. shares: 10.8m
Market cap: £131.2m

AGM Statement (trading update) - this is an uncharacteristically downbeat statement from this UK maker of pottery & associated products:

"Our two largest markets, the US and the UK have performed better than during the same period last year but sales to South Korea have not recovered as we had expected.

As a result total sales for the four months to the end of April were 2% below the corresponding period last year.

We have also experienced an unexpected decrease in demand from some of our other Asian markets. However, we do not believe that this is a permanent trend.

That's not good, sales overall being down - albeit not disastrously so, at 2% below last year.

I'm confused by the last section above. How do they know that weaker demand from other Asian countries is not a trend? Overall, this is a company which is reliable & trustworthy in its announcements, so I've found over the years that we can generally accept what they say at face value. This is not always the case for all small caps - I keep a mental note of which companies put out misleading announcements. Portmeirion isn't one of them thankfully.

Overall though, the company says it's on track to meet full year forecasts, so panic over:

We are taking action in response to the decrease in demand and we are confident that this, combined with our recent acquisition of Wax Lyrical, will provide overall growth for…

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