Sims and TPI soar

Never mind the results, look to the future, even if its cloudy.

The results were bad and the future uncertain.

But both Transpacific and Sims Metal Management rode the market higher today, both buoyed by the prospect that their restructuring plans will deliver the goods some time down the track.

It helped as well that both managed to deliver results that were a little better than the forecast disasters.

Interestingly, most brokers rate both companies a buy, on the belief that the radical surgery afoot at both groups is on track and that ultimately, what will emerge are strong and viable businesses.

But there is only so much that cost-cutting and offloading unwanted assets can achieve when it comes to lifting earnings.

To describe trading conditions as tough for both groups would be a serious understatement.

Transpacific has been hit hard by weak construction activity while lower metal prices have dealt a blow to Sims.

Transpacific offered up a full-year loss of $218.7 million following a $12.5 million profit last year after writing down the value of 42 non-core businesses and its Australia Post Collection assets that totalled $276.8 million.

Conditions this year were likely to be similar to the second half of last financial year although New Zealand was looking like a rare bright spot. Investors greeted the news by pushing the stock 1.7% higher at noon to 89.5c

As for Sims, lower ferrous scrap prices have seen its margins slashed, resulting in steep declines in its Australian and European operations.

Another $304 million impairment charge, following last year’s $675 million write down, contributed to $466 million loss for the year although on an underlying basis, the company managed to tip into the black with $17.1 million profit.

That didn’t deter investors who pushed 6.6% higher to $9.50 by midday.

Buying Sims is a ticket to the recovery in the US economy. And there are signs that America is starting to perform (see Carr's Call: Pinpointing market hotspots). The US division was the only bright spot in the result and with divestments and cost control at the fore, the company is hopeful the combination will begin to pay off this year.

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