Author Archives: Maynard Paton

Daejan: NAV Reaches New £119 Per Share High But Management Remarks Of Slowing Growth Now Leaves Price-To-Book At 46%

14 August 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Daejan (DJAN):

  • These full-year figures set new records for revenue, up 9%, net asset value, up 7% and the dividend, up 3%.
  • The 3.5% valuation gain was DJAN’s lowest since 2012 following the “uncertainty” caused by Brexit. Management remarks suggested current-year growth could slow further.
  • A significant purchase in the States has lifted the proportion of US properties to 29% of the group’s estate.
  • The accounts remain conservatively financed and the property valuations continue to appear prudent.
  • The share price represents only 46% of net asset value — the lowest percentage for seven years. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: AG Barr

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09 August 2019
By Maynard Paton

Quality companies undergoing temporary problems can often become attractive investment opportunities.

On that basis, perhaps AG Barr is worth closer inspection.

The soft-drinks manufacturer famous for Irn-Bru recently warned that profits would be lower than expected… and the share price plunged accordingly.

However, AG Barr does boast a quality track record. During the last 40 years for example, the group has lifted its annual dividend by an average 11% — and shareholders have never seen their income cut.

Read my full AG Barr article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

City Of London Investment: Dividend Yield Still Tops 6% After Mixed 2019 Summary Shows FUM At Record (GBP) High But Fee Rates Sliding Lower

26 July 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for City of London Investment (CLIG):

  • These 2019 summary figures contained no surprises, as lower funds under management (FUM) throughout the year left revenue down 6% and profit down 16%.
  • FUM ironically ended the year at its highest-ever level in GBP terms (£4.2b), as client money once again trickled out of the main emerging-market funds and in to other strategies.
  • The overall fee rate paid by clients slid from 80 basis points to 76 basis points.
  • The accounts continue to sport high margins, a robust return on equity, decent cash flow and net cash.
  • The P/E is approximately 10 and the yield tops 6%, although the shares have traded on a similar rating for years. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Imperial Brands

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15 July 2019
By Maynard Paton

Imagine this. You find a blue-chip company that offers:

  • 21 years of consecutive dividend increases, with the last ten years showing 10% per annum growth;
  • Management guidance of further 10% annual dividend growth “over the medium term”, and;
  • A share price with a 10% dividend yield.

Too good to be true?

Well, that is the situation at Imperial Brands.

Read my full Imperial Brands article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

Mountview Estates: 2019 Results Show Encouraging H2 As NAV Climbs To £94 Per Share And Closer To £97 Share Price

15 July 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Mountview Estates (MTVW):

  • Brexit “uncertainties” led to MTVW’s lowest annual revenue and earnings since 2013.
  • At least the dividend was held and net asset value reached a fresh £94 per share high.
  • A higher gross margin during the second half was encouraging and may indicate MTVW is enjoying slightly stronger sale prices.    
  • Debt represents a low 12% of the group’s property estate — which continues to be accounted for at cost.
  • My sums suggest MTVW’s balance sheet could actually be worth £200-plus per share — more than double the recent share price. I continue to hold.
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Q2 2019: 1 Sell, 3 Top-Ups And Portfolio Analysis The Fundsmith Way

28 June 2019
By Maynard Paton

Happy Friday! I hope you continue to find my Blog useful… and that your shares are performing well in the current market.

I am pleased my portfolio remains in positive territory this year — although I am still trailing the FTSE 100. So far during 2019, I am up 7.7% while the index is up 13.1%.

My underperformance is due in part to owning companies that are:

  • undergoing potential recoveries (Getech, Oleeo, System1 and Tasty);
  • experiencing flat earnings (Mincon and M Winkworth), or;
  • operating in an unloved sector (Daejan and Mountview Estates).

Those eight shares represent approximately 40% of my portfolio. Add in cash of 7.5% as well, and almost half of my portfolio is marooned far away from the high-flying ‘quality’ growth shares that (seemingly) keep leading the market higher.

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System1: 2019 Results Prompt Awkward Questions After Woeful £3k AdRatings Revenue

25 June 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on System1 (SYS1):

  • An unspectacular performance with gross profit unchanged and profit rebounding due only to cost cuts.  
  • The new AdRatings service suffered a woeful start after generating revenue of just £3k.
  • The lack of all-round progress prompts awkward questions as to whether the group’s advert-analysis services are actually of much interest to the marketing industry.
  • The accounts remain cash rich and would exhibit respectable ratios were it not for the chunky AdRatings start-up costs.
  • The P/E could be somewhere between 10 and 15 assuming AdRatings one day breaks even (or is scrapped). I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: JD Sports Fashion

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24 June 2019
By Maynard Paton

Today I am revisiting the share screen that pinpointed Games Workshop back in January.

The shares of the quirky wargaming retailer have soared more than 60% since that review…

…and I wonder whether the same screen can unearth another promising opportunity.

This time the screen returned 26 matches, and I plumped for the largest on the list — sports retailer JD Sports Fashion.

JD’s earnings per share have surged from 6p to 27p — an average of 35% per annum — during the last five years.

Read my full JD Sports Fashion article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Jupiter Fund Management

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16 June 2019
By Maynard Paton

Today I have revisited a share screen that applies two ratios favoured by ‘quality’ investors — operating margin and return on equity (ROE).

The exact criteria I re-used were:

1) An operating margin (latest and 10-year average) of 20% or more, and;
2) An ROE (latest and 10-year average) of 20% or more.

This time I have pinpointed Jupiter Fund Management, a £1.7 billion fund manager with a mighty 41% operating margin and a robust 24% ROE.

Read my full Jupiter Fund Management article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Domino’s Pizza

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24 May 2019
By Maynard Paton

My latest SharePad article covers one of the most impressive UK growth stocks of the last 20 years — Domino’s Pizza.

Domino’s appeared on my radar after I revisited one of my previous SharePad screens.

The screen in question searched for companies with dependable dividends and reasonable yields.

I selected Domino’s because I was already aware of the pizza chain’s dynamic growth history — and wondered why the shares had fallen to offer a useful, 4%-plus dividend income.

Read my full Domino’s Pizza article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

Andrews Sykes: 2018 Results Show Profit Rising 18% To New High But Absence Of ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ Outlook Hints At Weaker 2019 Figures

22 May 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on Andrews Sykes (ASY):

  • Very favourable weather helped revenue gain 10% and profit jump 18% to set new records.
  • European sales soared 24% to represent almost a quarter of the business, and continue to offer further potential.
  • Accounts showcased wonderful margins, robust returns on equity, reassuring cash levels and respectable cash flow. 
  • Absence of “cautiously optimistic for further success” within management’s outlook hinted that 2019 may not be as buoyant as 2018.
  • The underlying P/E could be 16 while the yield is 3.3%. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Abcam

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10 May 2019
By Maynard Paton

For this SharePad search I re-used the screen I employed to pinpoint Victrex.

The filter focuses on two ratios favoured by ‘quality’ investors — operating margin and return on equity (ROE).

This time I selected Abcam, a £2.6 billion AIM company that develops and sells antibodies.

Abcam boasted a super 30% operating margin and a robust 20% ROE.

Read my full Abcam article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

Getech: 2018 Results Showcase Impressive 24% Products Revenue Gain But Full Profit Recovery Remains Dependent On Stronger Oil Price

10 May 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on Getech (GTC):

  • Total revenue gained 11% to set the highest level since 2015. The dominant and more attractive Products division impressed with a 24% revenue improvement.
  • Progress was achieved in particular by a last-gasp $3.2m sale that contributed approximately 30% to the top line.
  • Profit was hampered by the loss-making Services division, although significant cost savings have since been made.
  • The direction of the oil price may largely dictate whether GTC’s oil-exploration software sells well (or not) during 2019.
  • The £11m market cap requires greater earnings to underpin obvious upside potential. I continue to hold.
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Oleeo: 155-Word H1 Statement Could Strangely Mark The Low Point For Earnings As £13m Market Cap Compares To £11m Net Cash Position

07 May 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on Oleeo (OLEE):

  • A terse 155-word statement revealed an unsurprising 50% profit plunge as OLEE extends its “capacity to suffer” to four years.
  • At least revenue continues to inch ahead and might even be growing at a reasonable pace if the largest customer is excluded.
  • Recent client installations include all four Welsh police forces — cementing OLEE’s 50%-plus share of supplying UK police recruitment IT.
  • A lack of guidance for the full-year could strangely mark the low point for earnings. 
  • A £13m market cap is almost entirely supported by the £11m net cash position. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Victrex

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27 April 2019
By Maynard Paton

For this market trawl I employed two ratios favoured by ‘quality’ investors.

The first measure was operating margin, which represents the percentage of sales converted into profit.

The second measure was return on equity, or ROE, which is calculated by dividing earnings by the shareholder equity used to produce those earnings.

I used SharePad to identify a suitable company, and selected Victrex — a £2 billion specialist manufacturer of high-performance polymers — for further investigation.

Victrex offered a wonderful 39% operating margin and a robust 23% ROE.

Read my full Victrex article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

M Winkworth: Franchisees Continue To Gain On Foxtons As Acceptable 2018 Figures Support Yield Of 6%

18 April 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on M Winkworth (WINK):

  • Collecting a greater proportion of franchisee estate-agent income supported an acceptable rate of growth.
  • Subdued sector conditions likely to persist until “relative [political] stability” emerges. 
  • Further market-share gains won from London rival Foxtons, while threat of online competition continues to subside.
  • Accounts still exhibit high margins, a cash-flush balance sheet and appealing returns on equity.
  • P/E of 11 and yield of 6% do not appear expensive should earnings resume their momentum. I continue to hold.
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Bioventix: Bumper H1 Results Showcase ‘Modest’ 24% Growth As Renewed Troponin Optimism Helps Sustain 34x P/E

16 April 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on Bioventix (BVXP):

  • Very satisfactory 24% growth led by ongoing “modest” demand for the group’s vitamin D antibody.
  • Effect of terminated product licence may have obscured an underlying 28% revenue advance.  
  • Fledgling troponin product plus various pipeline developments offer intriguing long-term potential.  
  • First-class accounts continue to exhibit terrific margins, net cash and scope for further special dividends.
  • Valuation remains understandably rich with an underlying P/E of 34. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Renishaw

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15 April 2019
By Maynard Paton

I am convinced the very best shares to own are often led by executives who truly act in the interests of ordinary shareholders.

In particular, bosses who:

  • do not dilute investors by issuing shares willy-nilly;
  • create dependable returns through a rising dividend, and;
  • own a lot of shares themselves…

…should deliver better profits than ‘salarymen’ directors who care more about their wages, options and bonuses.

I employed SharePad to identify a suitable company — and selected Renishaw for further investigation.

Read my full Renishaw article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

S & U: Record FY Results Show Dividend Up 12% But Management Hints Of Slowing Growth Leave Yield At 6%-Plus

05 April 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on S & U (SUS):

  • Satisfactory double-digit growth supported mostly by additional car loans issued during the first half.
  • Rising bad debts clearly indicate borrowers are no longer as profitable or reliable as they once were.
  • Improved first-payment rate suggests underwriting tweaks have started to curb future write-offs.
  • Reduced level of customer lending during the second half generated surplus cash and lowered group debt.
  • P/E of 10.7 and yield of 6.2% reflect management hints of slowing progress. I continue to hold.
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Q1 2019: 1 Top-Up And Update On Plan For 2019

31 March 2019
By Maynard Paton

Happy Sunday! I hope you continue to find my Blog useful… and that your shares have rebounded following last year’s rough market.

My portfolio has advanced during the last three months — although not as much as the wider indices.

Notable price gains from Bioventix and FW Thorpe have been sadly offset by the ongoing collapse at Tasty and sluggish performances from many of my other holdings.  

The swings and roundabouts have meant that, for the first quarter, I am up only 3.9% versus a 9.5% gain enjoyed by the FTSE 100. 

Let me now explain what has happened within my portfolio during January, February and March.

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FW Thorpe: H1 Results Confirm 10% Profit Drop As Cash Piles Up To New £53m Record

29 March 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on FW Thorpe (TFW):

  • Lower revenue and profit due to “challenging trading conditions” caused perhaps by the collapse of Carillion.
  • The statement’s highlight was management talk of orders having returned to “record levels”.
  • Fresh product developments continue and include “radical” new range of workplace lighting.
  • Accounts showcase huge £53m cash pile while dividend on course for 17th consecutive annual increase. 
  • Underlying P/E of 21 seems optimistic given recent progress. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Craneware

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27 March 2019
By Maynard Paton

I recently employed SharePad to identify a strong R&D-based business.

The exact SharePad criteria I used were:

  • An R&D-to-turnover ratio of 10% or more;
  • An operating margin of at least 10%, and;
  • Dividend growth for a minimum of five consecutive years.

SharePad returned only four matches.

I selected Craneware because, among those four shares, the company was the largest and offered the longest dividend record.

I was also vaguely aware of the business being renowned for some quality financials.

Read my full Craneware article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

Tasty: Equity Placing On The Way As Results Offer Glimmers Of Hope Amid Further Losses And Significant Debt

22 March 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on Tasty (TAST):

  • Miserable figures blighted by debts and losses that confirmed — albeit within the small-print — that an equity placing is on the way.
  • The shares are now a gamble based on how much shareholders are asked to raise and at what price.
  • Second-half trading offered hope through greater cash generation alongside improved sales per restaurant and per employee.
  • Restaurants continue to be sold for cash although current trading was described as “slow”.
  • Market cap now £4.2m for sales of £47m and 58 restaurants. I continue to hold.
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Mincon: Acceptable 2018 Results Show 10% Organic Growth And Outline ‘Disruptive’ New Drilling Product

20 March 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on Mincon (MCON):

  • Acceptable double-digit growth supported by encouraging organic sales and the purchase of Driconeq.
  • New ‘Greenhammer’ product appears to offer attractive possibilities through “disruptive technology”.
  • Year ahead to focus on consolidating operations after bumper orders created production constraints during 2017 and 2018. Recent trading not buoyant.
  • Accounts offer scope for improvement as hefty stock build-up unwinds, capital expenditure falls and cost savings are found.
  • The underlying P/E of 19 is not an obvious bargain. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Accesso Technology

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15 March 2019
By Maynard Paton

I found Accesso Technology after screening for companies that offered an attractive growth history as well as respectable future prospects.

To narrow the field down further, I looked for share prices that had fallen since the start of the year and balance sheets that carried net cash.

The exact SharePad criteria I used were:

1) A negative share-price performance since 31 December 2018;
2) An average 5-year earnings growth rate of 10% or more;
3) A forecast 1-year earnings growth rate of at least 0%, and;
4) Net borrowing of zero or less (i.e. a net cash position).

I noted Accesso’s share price had fallen a hefty 43%, while the forecast P/E of 15 did not look too demanding given the group’s past and expected earnings growth.

Read my full Accesso Technology article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

Tristel: Record H1 Results Deliver Wonderful 28% Dividend Lift But Further FDA-Project Mishaps Dash Any Hope Of Early US Sales

28 February 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on Tristel (TSTL):

  • Very satisfactory double-digit growth supported by encouraging progress both within the UK and abroad.
  • A new product and a recent acquisition offer attractive medium-term potential.
  • Continued bungling of the US regulatory project raises awkward questions about the associated consultants and decision-makers.
  • Accounts remain in good shape with high margins, net cash and conservative reporting of ‘one off’ costs.
  • Valuation remains understandably rich with an underlying P/E of 26. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Hargreaves Lansdown

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28 February 2019
By Maynard Paton

For this SharePad search I screened for companies that exhibited an extended history of high margins and high returns on equity (ROE).

To narrow the field down further, I required my shortlisted companies to possess cash-positive balance sheets.

The exact criteria I used were:

  1. An average 10-year EBIT margin of 20% or more;
  2. An average 10-year ROE of 20% or more, and;
  3. Net borrowing of zero or less (i.e. a net cash position).

I selected Hargreaves Lansdown from the 24 matches because this company:

  • was the largest on the shortlist;
  • offers services used by many private investors, and;
  • prompts different opinions from quality investors Terry Smith and Nick Train.

Read my full Hargreaves Lansdown article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Apple

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11 February 2019
By Maynard Paton

Being able to analyse international shares — at no extra cost! — is a wonderful feature of SharePad. You can take your pick from several US and European indices.

One overseas share attracting my attention of late is Apple. The US company has appeared on my radar because:

  • I know billionaire investor Warren Buffett owns the shares;
  • I see the Apple P/E on SharePad is a reasonable 13.7, and;
  • I own three Apple devices.

When the world’s richest investor buys a share, finding out why can often pay off.

At the end of September 2018, Mr Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle owned 255 million Apple shares with a then value of $58bn. At the time the investment represented 8% of Berkshire’s assets.

During the first nine months of 2018, Mr Buffett acquired Apple shares at prices I estimate to average $170 — a level similar to that seen today.

Should we now join Mr Buffett as Apple shareholders?

Read my full Apple article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Games Workshop

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31 January 2019
By Maynard Paton

For this SharePad search I demanded companies that offered a history of fantastic earnings growth alongside a relatively reasonable valuation.

To narrow the field down further, I wanted only cash-rich companies that paid a dividend.

The exact criteria I used were:

  • Annualised earnings per share growth of at least 25% during the last five years;
  • A forecast P/E of no more than 20;
  • Net borrowing of zero or less (i.e. a net cash position), and;
  • A dividend yield greater than zero.

I added a fifth criteria to exclude house builders:

  • Not a member of the Home Construction sub-sector.

I don’t really class house builders as super-growth businesses, and no doubt they will crop up in future screens anyway. (Eight house builders were excluded from this search.)

Games Workshop stood out among the 23 matches.

I chose this company because:

  • I bought the shares at £8, and;
  • I have visited the company’s HQ and spoken at length with the executive management.

Read my full Games Workshop article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

City Of London Investment: Dividend Yield Now 7.5% As H1 Profit Drops 21% And Tough Markets Extend Wait For Significant New Clients

18 January 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results verdict on City of London Investment (CLIG):

  • Monthly updates had already braced shareholders for lower funds under management — which in turn reduced first-half profit by 21%.
  • Tough markets have again prompted the fund manager to cut its projections, as fee rates are trimmed and costs creep higher.
  • As before, significant new clients are required to bolster earnings and support a decisive share-price re-rating.
  • I am hopeful the replacement chief executive might one day re-energise the group’s marketing.
  • The accounts remain cash-rich and high-margin, and the shares yield 7.5%. I continue to hold.
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