Shares in kitchen and joinery supplier Howden (HWDN) jumped as much as 11% to a new post-pandemic high of 715p shortly after the open following the firm’s latest trading update, which sent analysts scrambling to increase their forecasts for full year earnings.
Since the company’s last update in early November, trading has remained strong with total revenues for last month up 18.8% and same-depot revenues up 17.2%. This takes the fall for the year to date to just 5.1% compared with a 29% decline at the half-year stage.
Howden said last month that UK trading had improved ‘significantly’ in the second half thanks to pent-up demand since lockdown and a high level of stock availability.
It also said it had seen a big increase in revenues at its French and Belgian depots, and that its European turnover for the year to date was actually ahead of last year by almost 8% in local currencies.
In today’s brief update the company said it now expects full year pre-tax profits to be ‘around 10% above the top end of current analyst forecasts’.
At present, this year’s profits are expected to be between £123 million and £152 million, so based on today’s guidance earnings are likely to be north of £167 million.
Numis analysts, who were forecasting profits of £135 million for this year and £215 million for next year, have hiked their numbers to £168 million and £230 million respectively, leaving scope for 2021 upgrades.
They also raised their price target to 740p, calling Howden ‘a high quality company with a proven track record of outperformance and a clear runway of potential growth’.