Tristel: I’m Still Projecting 15%-Plus Annual Returns

22 May 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on Tristel (TSTL).

Event: Trading update published 21 May.

Summary: At last — one of my shares has issued an ‘ahead of expectations’ trading statement! TSTL’s medical wipes appear to be selling very well and second-half profits now seem set to grow by 35%. There could be further upside, too, if TSTL’s past ‘sandbagging’ form is anything to go by. My valuation sums still suggest annual returns of 15%-plus could be earned. I continue to hold. 

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Andrews Sykes: Dividend Yield Now 7.9%

06 May 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on Andrews Sykes (ASY).

Event: Final results published 06 May

Summary: Results better than I had expected. A dismal first half was followed by a less dismal second half and the outlook for 2015 appears relatively promising. Accounts still showcase solid financials and I’m pleased ASY’s 90% owner continues to share the wealth through sizeable dividends. The yield is 7.9% at 300p.  I continue to hold.

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Bioventix: 67% Margins From Monoclonal Antibodies

06 May 2015
By Maynard Paton

Today I’m continuing my hunt for Watch List shares with a look at Bioventix (BVXP).

Here are the initial attractions that prompted this research:

Super profitability: Operating margins were a stratospheric 67% in 2014
Asset rich: The balance sheet carries net cash and freehold property
Owner management: The chief exec owns 12% of the business

As usual, I’m applying a question-and-answer template to help me pinpoint companies that match the criteria set out in How I Invest. I’m looking for as many Yes answers as possible.

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French Connection: Profit Warning Means Radical Action Is Now Required

24 April 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on French Connection (FCCN).

Event: Trading update published 24 April

Summary: Profit warning — poor H1 Retail sales will mean greater-than-expected group losses this year. However, the profitable Wholesale and Licensing divisions continue to perform as expected. Turnaround possibilities remain, but the protracted wait has become just that bit longer once again. What’s needed now is some radical management action. I continue to hold. 

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Mincon: So Here’s The Drill On A Recent Buy

15 April 2015
By Maynard Paton

Today I’m revealing one of the two new investments I’ve made during recent months.

The company in question is Mincon (MCON), a specialist engineer that designs, manufactures and sells drilling equipment for miners. I bought the shares during February and March 2015 at an average of 44.6p including all costs. The mid-price is now 54p.

All told, I feel this £114m Irish business is an excellent fit for my portfolio. Important attractions include a respectable competitive position, high margins, a cash-flush balance sheet and very favourable family management. A languishing share price and a possible P/E of just 10 also clinched it for me.

However, MCON is by no means perfect. In particular, the group is dependent on the vagaries of the mining sector, has an ambitious acquisition plan and does not boast the greatest of free cash flow.

A wide bid-offer spread and 71% boardroom ownership may put some people off, too.

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M Winkworth: A ‘Franchise’ Business On A P/E Of 10

14 April 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on M Winkworth (WINK).

Event: Final results published 14 April

Summary: A quite satisfactory set of full-year results, albeit the second half produced flat profits. WINK has become slightly more dependent on the booming London property market, but its estate-agency franchising operation continues to produce super margins and high returns on equity. There are not many shares with such finacials that I have found that presently trade on a P/E of about 10. I continue to hold.

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Tasty: I Still Believe The Market Cap Can Quadruple

30 March 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on Tasty (TAST).

Event: Preliminary results published 30 March

Summary: A very promising set of results, buoyed by a strong second half. Notable features included robust cash flow and the clearing of some debt, which might suggest TAST is able to expand significantly without hefty external financing. Either way, I firmly believe the family management here can replicate its earlier success at Prezzo (PRZ) and could perhaps quadruple TAST’s current market cap. I continue to hold.

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Getech: I’ve Had To Raise An ‘Amber Alert’

24 March 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on Getech (GTC).

Event: Interim results and acquisition details published 24 March

Summary: A better-than-expected set of results that was blessed with a reasonable outlook statement — a pleasant surprise given GTC serves the battered oil and gas industry. Progress was not perfect, though, with sizeable intangible expenditure and details of a substantial acquisition leaving me on ‘amber alert’. I am minded to await further results before considering any top-up. I continue to hold.

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FW Thorpe: LED Sales Are Booming

20 March 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on FW Thorpe (TFW).

Event: Interim results published 19 March

Summary: Good set of reliable figures with revenues, profits, the dividend and net cash all moving higher. Progress was made throughout the group’s different divisions, with sales of LED products apparently booming. A loss-making subsidiary has also been sold. I could find no accounting worries and wish all my investments could issue such dependable results. I continue to hold.

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Pennant International: Why I Sold

20 March 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on Pennant International (PEN).

Event: Annual results published 17 March

Summary: Headline results as expected, but they hid a weaker second half and some disconcerting cash-flow movements. The figures contained plenty of other irritations and worries, while the chairman’s statement was notable for what it did not say. All told, the results carried too many signs of profit trouble ahead and I sense PEN could return to its haphazard ways witnessed between 2000 and 2009. I have sold.

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French Connection: I Still Think The Shares Could Top 100p

17 March 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on French Connection (FCCN).

Event: Annual results published 17 March

Summary: Mixed results. The Retail division was subdued, and gave a disappointing second-half performance. However, trading at the Wholesale and Licensing divisions appeared promising. There was further welcome progress on cost cutting, too. This turnaround has still to really turn, and I’ve trimmed my recovery assumptions. But the upside potential remains sizeable. I continue to hold. 

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Tristel: Is There A Further 46% Upside?

25 February 2015
By Maynard Paton

Here’s a an update on Tristel (TSTL).

Event: Half-year results published 25 February.

Summary: Figures met my expectations, showing good all-round progress. Management commentary noticeably upbeat — confidence underlined by first RNS mentions of group sales target and ‘North America’. Firm’s healthcare products remain attractive to investors — repeat purchase and patent protected. Share-price upside could be attractive if growth forecasts come good. I continue to hold.

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City of London Investment: 7% Income Plus Vague Hints Of Dividend Lift

12 February 2015
By Maynard Paton

Quick update on City of London Investment (CLIG).

Event: Half-year results published 11 February.

Summary: Figures already heralded by January trading statement — therefore no surprises. Previous guidance all repeated. Still on course to pay 24p per share dividend and support 7% dividend yield at 335p. Vague hints of dividend increase now emerging. Cash position remains high. P/E remains modest. I continue to hold. 

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M Winkworth: My 92% Return From London’s Property Boom

6 February 2015
By Maynard Paton

Today I’m studying the smallest holding in my portfolio — M Winkworth (WINK).

In fact, this £16m estate-agency business represents less than 1% of my portfolio… and so is unlikely to send my wealth into orbit even if it does multi-bag!

I bought WINK at 90p during June and July 2011, but then sold 70% of my shares between August 2013 and February 2014 at an average of 173p.

At the time I was a bit worried about WINK’s substantial exposure to London’s booming housing market — and I probably would have sold the rest of my shares were it not for the price dropping to today’s 123p. Including some very useful dividends collected along the way, my total return to date has been a respectable 92%.

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Andrews Sykes: My 12.7% Income From A 94-Year-Old Tycoon

4 February 2015
By Maynard Paton

You may have gathered by now that I do like my companies to have hefty insider ownership.

My theory is simple: I’m convinced directors are more likely to run their businesses successfully — and are therefore more likely to deliver satisfactory returns to outside investors such as you and me — if they boast significant shareholdings themselves.

I’m certainly hoping that’s going to be the case at Andrews Sykes (ASY), where the chairman and his family own 90% — yes 90%! — of the company.

Such shareholder dominance will of course mean this £127m hire business won’t be for everyone. Indeed, the tycoon in charge has adopted a very haphazard dividend policy and does not believe in standard boardroom governance. He is also very old at 94.

Nonetheless, a closer look ASY’s accounts reveals exactly why he wants to own so much of this company. Super margins, immense cash flow and lofty returns on capital in particular mark ASY out as a top-quality operator — and drew me in during May 2013 at an average of 233p.

So far at least, the threat of being ‘done over’ by a boardroom fiefdom has not emerged.

Instead, I have enjoyed a satisfactory return, with the shares rising to 300p — plus a sizeable 29.7p dividend for 2013 representing a lovely 12.7% income on my purchase price.

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