News & Analysis

Biffa's revenues are in the bin but share prices highest in over 5 years!

Andrew Saks, Tuesday, 1 June 2021

There have been a number of blue-chip companies whose revenue figures have made for tedious reading, yet whose share prices are on the up.

It is often very unusual for a firm with declining revenues or losses to ignite buyer interest, but Biffa, whose name is synonymous with the large letters emblazoned on the side of red waste bins, has been the subject of exactly that.

The waste management and refuse collection company is listed on the FTSE 350 index, which is a market capitalization weighted stock market index made up of the constituents of the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices.

The company, which was originally engaged in the removal and sale of ashes and clinker from London power stations, was founded in Wembley by Richard Henry Biffa as Richard Biffa Limited, in 1912 and has large contracts for commercial waste removal across the United Kingdom, with its stock having bene listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2016.

Given the nature of its association with commercial garbage, Biffa has been thought to have been impacted by the forced closure of the hospitality sector by the British government over the course of the past year, as many bars, event venues, hotels and restaurants are served by Biffa.

Biffa's CEO Michael Topham spoke out when the results were announecd that "It has been a year none of us want to repeat", lamenting the company's £52.8 million annual loss, however rather bizarrely, the share priec rose 4.6%  306p at around midday as the company explained that despite the loss, its results were ahead of expectations and stated it was 'strongly positioned' to recover when the constant obsession with lockdowns finally goes away.

In the opening quarter of this financial year, Biffa reported a £70million impact from the shutdown of nearly half its Industrial and Collections (I&C) customers, but even as business improved the next quarter, the group was affected by weakness in its Seaham recycling facility.

The share price of 306p means that not only have buyers reacted to the positive statement by Biffa, but they represent the highest stock price for over 54 years for the company. The last time the price came near this was in February 2020 just before the lockdown, but that was only 297p, still far short of today's price.

As can be expected, prices were decimated in March, but the recovery has been remarkable since.

For those who remember 1970s TV show 3-2-1 with Ted Rogers, the dustbin in this case is also both the mascot and the booby prize.


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