Category Archives: My Shares

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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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 $3.5m 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Year In Review 2018

01 January 2019
By Maynard Paton

Happy New Year!

I trust you enjoyed the festive break and are now raring to do battle with the market for another twelve months!

This first Blog post of 2019 provides a ‘year in review’ of my current portfolio holdings. I recap how each of the underlying businesses performed during 2018, as well as provide a few remarks about valuation.

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Daejan: 203-Word H1 Statement Reveals £116 Per Share NAV High And Leaves £58 Share Price At A Favourable 50% Discount

07 December 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Daejan (DJAN).

Event: Interim results for the six months to 30 September 2018 published 28 November 2018.

Summary: The commercial property group once again delivered record first-half revenue and net asset value (NAV) figures — despite the chairman’s persistent economic and political worries. The 203-word statement gave little else away, which has allowed the share price to continue to drift and the discount to NAV widen to 50%. Such a valuation has typically rewarded patient investors of this low-profile share, and I have recently bought more.

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Mountview Estates: NAV Creeps To New £92 Per Share High Despite Weakest H1 For 5 Years

07 December 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Mountview Estates (MTVW).

Event: Interim results for the six months to 30 September 2018 published 22 November 2018.

Summary: The property-trading specialist revealed its weakest first-half performance since 2013 after selling eleven fewer houses than this time last year. Furthermore, the 133% investment return achieved from those disposals was below MTVW’s ten-year average. Nonetheless, net asset value (NAV) still managed to creep to a fresh £92 per share high. Meanwhile, dissident shareholders continue to vote against MTVW’s directors and may be growing in number. The £100 shares do not appear expensive on an NAV and yield basis, and I have recently bought more.

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Castings: H1 Results Reveal Machining Turnaround Delayed By 2 Years While Depreciation Review Inflates Group Profit By 10%

15 November 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Castings (CGS).

Event: Interim results for the six months to 30 September 2018 published 13 November 2018.

Summary: CGS’s results were acceptable but contained several irritating drawbacks. In particular, a recovery at the engineer’s troubled machining division has been seemingly postponed for two years. Furthermore, management has now downgraded customer demand from “strong” to “steady”. Oh, and a depreciation review inflated group profit by 10%. CGS does have strengths — not least its cash pile and dividend history — but I suspect the firm’s stalled earnings will keep the shares marooned for now. I continue to hold.

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Oleeo: The 4:28pm Results Revealed A Further Earnings Slump As Anonymous Tip-Off Corrects My HMRC Mistake

07 November 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Oleeo (OLEE).

Event: Preliminary results for the twelve months to 31 July 2018 published 02 November 2018.

Summary: Publishing results at 4:28pm on a Friday is never a good sign. And sure enough, the recruitment software outfit warned of yet another profit slump. Still, at least revenue inched to a new record as the firm enjoyed greater subscription income. Meanwhile, an anonymous tip-off has set me straight about OLEE’s contract with HMRC — the deal appears not to have been lost after all. All I can do now with this illiquid share is hope for an earnings rebound. I continue to hold.

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System1: H1 Results Could Mean The P/E Is Just 9… Assuming The Ad Ratings Service Eventually Becomes A Money-Spinner (I’m Not Sure)

06 November 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on System1 (SYS1).

Event: Interim results for the six months to 30 September 2018 published 02 November 2018.

Summary: A couple of earlier updates had already signalled this lacklustre first-half performance. Indeed, several references to competitive pricing and re-designed products implied the advertising research specialist may no longer be the ‘pioneering’ force it once was. Furthermore, the new Ad Ratings service could be hard pushed to become a real money-spinner and return the group to growth. That said, margins remain good, there is cash in the bank and the P/E might be 9… if you believe some significant development expenditure will eventually pay off. I continue to hold.

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Tristel: 2018 Profit Advances 14% (Before Hefty Share-Based Payments) As Bizarre Management Decision Delays FDA Application Once Again

26 October 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Tristel (TSTL).

Event: Final results for the twelve months to 30 June 2018 published 17 October 2018 and shareholder presentation hosted 18 October 2018.

Summary: I was broadly satisfied with these full-year figures, which set new records for revenue, profit and the dividend. However, the statement and City presentation provided numerous little niggles — not least a bizarre management decision that has delayed product approval within the United States for a further six months. Still, TSTL’s collection of medical disinfectants continue to produce attractive accounts and perhaps their biocidal qualities have been underlined by recent deals with the NHS and Parker Laboratories. I continue to hold.

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Bioventix: 2018 Results Suggest 20% Underlying Growth But Disappointing Troponin Sales Leave Lofty P/E Open To Debate

12 October 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Bioventix (BVXP).

Event: Preliminary results for the year to 30 June 2018 published 08 October 2018.

Summary: The antibody specialist delivered yet another set of record results, with my number-crunching indicating underlying growth of 20%.  However, I was disappointed to discover early sales of the important new troponin product had been below expectations — and may have left the lofty P/E valuation open to debate (at least for now). Still, the business continues to exhibit magnificent accounts while a special dividend for the third consecutive year underpins the board’s confidence. I continue to hold.

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Getech: H1 Revenue Hits A 7-Year Low And For Now My Hopes Rest On A Stronger Oil Price

08 October 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Getech (GTC).

Event: Interim results for the six months to 30 June 2018 published 28 September 2018.

Summary: These figures were not as good as I had hoped. The lowest first-half sales for seven years created a not-insignificant operating loss and left cash flow dependent on tax refunds. Still, the geoscience software specialist talked of a stronger second half and I remain hopeful the accounts will eventually showcase the high margins and expanding revenue the directors continue to predict. For the time being, I just have to trust a stronger oil price can one day tempt GTC’s customers to increase their spending. I continue to hold.

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Andrews Sykes: I Had Expected H1 Sales To Grow By More Than 7% Following The Heavy Snow And Extended Heatwave

01 October 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Andrews Sykes (ASY).

Event: Interim results for the six months to 30 June 2018 published 28 September 2018.

Summary: Widespread snow followed by a glorious heatwave were always going to prompt demand for ASY’s heating products and air conditioners during this first half. However, I did expect the equipment hire firm to have recorded sales growth in excess of the 7% actually reported. Still, operating profit gained 14% while the accounts continue to showcase high margins and surplus cash. Plus, the second-half ought to show bumper figures and help deliver the firm’s best-ever annual performance. I continue to hold.

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S & U: H1 Figures Show Write-Offs Soaring 32% But I Am Happy To Collect A 4.4% Income After The Dividend Was Lifted 14%

28 September 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on S & U (SUS).

Event: Interim results and presentation for the six months to 31 July 2018 published 25 September 2018.

Summary: SUS reported satisfactory first-half progress, with the group’s main car-loan division now set to deliver its 19th consecutive year of growth. The performance was accompanied by the usual drawbacks — tighter underwriting leading to fewer new customers, and debt write-offs continuing to soar (this time by 32%). The group’s boss reckons we’re at a “relatively late stage of the economic cycle”, too. Still, I remain happy to collect the 4.4% yield and back the veteran directors who carefully steward their £134m family shareholding. I continue to hold.

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Tasty: Hapless Restaurant Chain Reveals Dismal H1 Loss Although Some Outlets Are Apparently ‘Outperforming Expectations’

25 September 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Tasty (TAST).

Event: Interim results for the 26 weeks to 1 July 2018 published 21 September 2018.

Summary: The hapless restaurant chain delivered a rather dismal — but not completely disastrous — set of first-half figures. “Unfavourable” weather was partly blamed for underlying sales falling approximately 4%, which in turn led to an operating loss. The numbers also carried a further substantial write-down while net debt jumped following adverse cash movements. But recovery hopes still remain — costs have been cut, menus have been re-jigged and some sites are even “outperforming expectations”. I continue to hold.

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FW Thorpe: ‘Excellent’ 2018 Results Show Underlying 2% Profit Advance And Claim Sales Of High-Tech Systems Have ‘Rocketed’

21 September 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on FW Thorpe (TFW).

Event: Preliminary results for the twelve months to 30 June 2018 published 20 September 2018.

Summary: The specialist lighting manufacturer delivered its fifth consecutive year of record results, although describing an underlying 2% profit advance as “excellent” overplayed the performance somewhat. Still, the figures were a touch better than I had expected and showcased all the usual financial attractions — decent margins, vast surplus cash and robust reinvestment returns. Sales of some new high-tech products apparently “rocketed”, too. That said, TFW suffered mixed divisional performances while the share-price rating remains rich. I continue to hold.

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M Winkworth: Revenue Jumps 10% To New H1 Record As Online Rivals Now Described As ‘Digital Experiments’

13 September 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on M Winkworth (WINK).

Event: Interim results for the six months to 30 June 2018 published 12 September 2018.

Summary: These results were quite satisfactory and actually revealed record first-half revenue — despite the estate-agency group remaining dependent on London’s difficult property market. In fact, the confident management narrative said sales commission rates had increased and also described online rivals as “digital experiments”. Meanwhile, the accounts seem in decent shape, the outlook appears relatively encouraging and the valuation is hardly extended. I continue to hold.

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Mincon: Satisfactory H1 Results Showcase 12% Underlying Sales Growth And Operating Margin Reaching 19%

23 August 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Mincon (MCON).

Event: Interim results for the six months ending 30 June 2018 published 13 August 2018.

Summary: MCON extended its bumper 2017 progress with some very satisfactory first-half figures. The specialist drill manufacturer claimed greater orders from the mining sector had supported 12% organic sales growth, while my sums suggested a robust 19% operating margin was reached during the second quarter. In addition, current trading appears healthy and a recent acquisition may have performed much better than expected. However, a P/E in excess of 20 probably reflects all of the positives, especially given cash conversion remains below par. I continue to hold.

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City Of London Investment: Fees Cut, Forecasts Reduced, Funds Underperform… But Lifted Dividend Offers 6.8% Income

01 August 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on City of London Investment (CLIG).

Event: Trading update and shareholder presentation/summary results for the year ending 30 June 2018 published 17 July 2018.

Summary: Bumper first-half figures and subsequent monthly updates had already ensured the fund manager’s summary annual results would be positive. However, the second half did witness funds under management decline and the group’s own projections for the coming year have now been reduced. In addition, client fees have been cut once again while the main emerging-market strategy continues to underperform. I still hope that, one day, this cash-rich, high-margin business can attract meaningful new mandates to spark a share-price re-rating.  Until then, a 6.8% income remains available. I continue to hold.

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Daejan: NAV Hits New £111 Per Share Peak As £64 Share Price Offers Theoretical 14% Earnings Yield

27 July 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Daejan (DJAN).

Event: Preliminary results for the year to 31 March 2018 published 17 July 2018

Summary: The commercial property group once again left its numbers to do most of the talking, as new all-time highs for revenue, net asset value and the dividend were accompanied by only two paragraphs of management commentary. A bonus this year was US tax changes adding £40m to the balance sheet, which now stands at £111 per share and continues to dwarf the £64 share price. Conservative borrowing levels, veteran family management and an illustrious track record remain the foundations of this investment, and, in theory at least, a 14% earnings yield is available, too. I continue to hold.

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Tristel: ‘Core’ 2018 Revenue May Have Advanced 18% As The Chairman Looks To Sell His (Now) 15% Shareholding In An ‘Orderly Manner’

20 July 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Tristel (TSTL).

Events: Trading update for the year ending 30 June 2018 published 13 July 2018, director share sales published 16 July 2018 and shareholder open-day presentation hosted 17 July 2018.

Summary: Earlier this week I attended TSTL’s third annual open day, and this year the event was accompanied by news of hefty director selling as well as confirmation of record revenue and profit. The chairman has reduced his shareholding from 19% to 15%, and confirmed he is looking to sell more during the next few years. The marquee presentation did not provide any great revelations, but one slide did show a useful sales comparison between the UK and overseas, while another slide suggested full-year sales of the group’s ‘core’ disinfectants had just advanced an impressive 18%. I continue to hold.

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Mountview Estates: 2018 Dividend Lifted 33% As Boss Admits Company Has A ‘Finite Life’

19 June 2018
By Maynard Paton

Update on Mountview Estates (MTVW).

Event: Preliminary results for the twelve months to 31 March 2018 published 14 June 2018

Summary: This RNS was more interesting for the management comments — all 626 words — than the actual 2018 financials. Indeed, MTVW’s chief exec is probably the first-ever boss to tell shareholders their business has a “finite life” and had essentially operated in an ex-growth market for 30 years. Hardly inspirational stuff… until you realise the dividend was lifted 33% and has now grown 47-fold during the last three decades. Mind you, this property-trading specialist will at some point have to call it a day — and dissolve an estate that could be worth almost double the current share price. I continue to hold.   

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