Author Archives: Maynard Paton

Tasty: Woeful H1 Results Leave Shareholders Relying On Bumper Christmas Bookings To Avert Terminal Cash Trauma

07 November 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Tasty (TAST):

  • Woeful figures showed weaker revenue and greater losses — with the excuses this time including Brexit rather than unfavourable weather and the World Cup.
  • A £3m equity placing has shored up the balance sheet, while an absence of further write-offs and utilised provisions lends support to turnaround hopes. 
  • This year’s Christmas performance is crucial, with TAST going all out to capture festive-party bookings. Management’s outlook remarks seemed encouraging.
  • Poor Christmas trade causing further cash flow traumas could leave TAST no option but to de-list.  
  • The market cap is £4.1m for sales of £45m from 57 restaurants. I continue to bravely/stupidly hold.
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[Event] Could You Do Me This Quick Favour?

28 October 2019
By Maynard Paton

Could you do me this quick favour?

I am taking part in a charity ‘kickathon’ this weekend (2nd and 3rd November), raising money for three good causes.

If you have ever enjoyed my free blog, then now is your chance to show your appreciation and make a donation :-)

This link gives full details of the event. Essentially a group of us martial-arts students are aiming to perform 200,000 kicks over two days. I will be happy with 10,000 kicks and the ability to walk afterwards!

All contributions will be gratefully received. Simply click on this link to donate.

Many thanks.

Maynard Paton

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

25 October 2019
By Maynard Paton

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Studying free cash conversion is vital when evaluating a set of accounts.

The measure compares free cash flow to reported earnings, and can indicate whether a business is a ‘cash fountain’ or a ‘cash guzzler’.

Ideally we want to own companies that generate plenty of spare cash, because such cash can:

  • Underpin accounting profits;
  • Indicate an attractive business, and;
  • Fund welcome dividends.

By employing SharePad, I identified Rightmove as an elite cash producer.

Read my full Rightmove article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

FW Thorpe: 2019 Results Declare Record £57m Cash Hoard Despite Slowing LED Sales And Brexit Reducing Profit By 10%

18 October 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for FW Thorpe (TFW):

  • Ongoing economic uncertainty” caused by Brexit led to flat sales and lower profit. 
  • Talk of a “healthy order book” provides hope that trading won’t deteriorate into 2020. 
  • Comments concerning new products imply slowing LED growth and a plucky move into non-lighting applications.
  • Accounts boast enormous £57m cash hoard that could be used for acquisitions — or (fingers crossed) further special dividends.
  • Underlying P/E of 19 seems optimistic given recent progress. I continue to hold.
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Q3 2019: 1 Top-Up, 3 AGMs And Obscure But Important Annual Report Small-Print

01 October 2019
By Maynard Paton

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

My portfolio continues to lag the FTSE 100. Since the start of the year, I am up a measly 3.6% while the index with dividends reinvested is up 14.3%.

I remain on the wrong side of what has become a two-tier market. While global ‘quality’ large-caps continue to charge higher, my portfolio is still full of smaller UK companies…

…many of which are undergoing potential recoveries (e.g. Getech, Tasty), experiencing standstill earnings (e.g. FW Thorpe, M Winkworth) or operating in an unloved sector (e.g. Daejan, Mountview Estates).

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

30 September 2019
By Maynard Paton

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Dynamic growth shares are among the market’s most exciting investments.

Find a business that has expanded rapidly and offers the prospect of further earnings growth — but also has an overlooked share price — and you could be on to a winner.

Medica — an AIM-traded supplier of radiology reports to hospitals — could be one such opportunity. The company’s forecast P/E of 15 appears modest given the 300%-plus earnings growth seen during the previous five years.

Read my full Medica article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

M Winkworth: Subdued H1 Results Leave P/E At 10x As Foxtons Beaten Once Again In Brexit-Stifled Market

23 September 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for M Winkworth (WINK):

  • A standstill London property market left first-half revenue down 3% and profit unchanged. 
  • Subdued trading conditions have persisted since the Brexit vote and are likely to continue until the “political and economic uncertainty” clears. 
  • Further market-share gains have been won from London rival Foxtons, while the online competition continues to struggle.
  • The accounts remain simple, high-margin and cash-flush.
  • A possible P/E of 10 and yield of 6.6% do not appear expensive should earnings ever resume their momentum. I continue to hold.
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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Hammerson

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04 September 2019
By Maynard Paton

Buying a share at a discount to its book (or net asset) value ought to be the safest way of investing.

Indeed, what could go wrong if you can effectively buy assets worth £1 per share for, say, 50p?

The reality — sadly — is not always that simple.

Let me show you what I mean by using SharePad to evaluate Hammerson, a FTSE 250 real estate investment trust with net tangible assets of £5 billion and a market cap of only £1.6 billion .

Read my full Hammerson article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

Tristel: 2019 Open Day Yields No Revelations Although Encouraging Sales Developments Have Emerged In The UK, France And Italy

04 September 2019
By Maynard Paton

Trading update and presentation summary on Tristel (TSTL):

  • TSTL’s 2019 open-day presentation and the associated scuttlebutt did not yield any ground-breaking news. 
  • Unpicking the accompanying trading update suggested second-half UK sales gained an impressive 12%.
  • However, the contribution from international operations was distorted by the purchase of Ecomed in November.
  • The former Ecomed boss was confident sales in France could one day exceed those in Germany — TSTL’s largest overseas market. 
  • The purchase of the group’s Italian distributor — which has expanded quickly during recent years — appears very sensible. 
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Mincon: Remarkable €8m Disposal And Promising ‘Challenger’ Contracts Offset Mixed H1 Trading And 14% Profit Drop

27 August 2019
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Mincon (MCON):

  • Mixed progress, with little underlying revenue growth and profit down 14% due to a “softening market”.
  • Earnings were bolstered by the remarkable €8m disposal of a subsidiary purchased 15 months earlier for effectively €1m.
  • New ‘challenger’ plan of selling direct to customers appears to have started well with two new contracts won.
  • Financials could be improved after accounts show modest margins, notable write-offs and significant working-capital investment.
  • The underlying P/E of 20 is not a bargain. I continue to hold.
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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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