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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[SharePad] Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Plus500

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17 January 2019
By Maynard Paton

I have been trawling SharePad again with another back-to-basics search.

For this screen I demanded:

  • A forecast P/E of no more than 12;
  • An operating margin of 15% or more;
  • Net borrowing of zero or less (i.e. a net cash position);
  • A yield of 4% or more, and;
  • A market cap of £150m or more.

One share that stood out within the 16 matches was Plus500.

I remembered this company had issued a positive trading statement just after Christmas:

Accordingly, with the year ended 31 December 2018 almost complete, the Board anticipates the financial performance will be ahead of current market expectations.

If Plus500’s recent progress has been better than expected, why then is the forecast P/E just 6.1?

Simply click here to read my Plus500 article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

How To Evaluate Company Management

Note: This Blog post has been extracted from my Q2 2017 Portfolio Update and my Q3 2017 Portfolio Update. The studies were performed during 2017 and, although the basis of my analysis has not changed, my verdicts have not been updated for subsequent events.)

14 January 2019
By Maynard Paton

This Blog post outlines how I evaluate company management and uses my share portfolio for examples.

As I have stated in How I Invest (my bold):

I want my investments to be led by loyal and capable bosses that have served in the top job for several years. I want to see improvements to profits and the dividend throughout their leadership. Better still is the founder/entrepreneur boss, who set up the firm in the first place, has led it ever since and has therefore shown even more commitment to building the business.”

For the first part of the study I assess management loyalty and commitment (through a sizeable ordinary shareholding). I then look at management capability and track records.

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

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03 January 2019
By Maynard Paton

I am going back to basics with this SharePad trawl. I simply want to identify a quality company trading at a modest valuation that I can hold for the long term.

Given recent market conditions, I am hopeful SharePad will unearth a few likely contenders!

For this screen I demanded:

  • A forecast P/E of no more than 12;
  • An operating margin of 15% or more;
  • Net borrowing of zero or less (i.e. a net cash position);
  • A yield of 4% or more, and;
  • A market cap of £150m or more.

SharePad immediately found 20 shares that matched my criteria.

The name that stood out was Somero Enterprises. I was vaguely aware of this business having some prominence within its particular field — the glamorous world of concrete floors.

Simply click here to read my Somero Enterprises article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

How To Evaluate Pension Deficits

(Note: This Blog post has been extracted from my Q3 2018 Portfolio Update)

03 January 2019
By Maynard Paton

Today I am continuing to evaluate my shares with some thoughts on company pension deficits. As I have stated in How I Invest:

c. Low/no pension issues: I view final-salary schemes as potential timebombs. Nobody really knows the exact level of future contributions they require and I prefer to back companies without any ‘employee benefit liabilities’ whatsoever.”

Let me start by saying this Blog post is not a definitive analysis of company pensions. Whole books can be written on what is a complex subject, and sadly I am not a company-pension expert.

Nonetheless, judging pension schemes should be important to investors — not least because the schemes can suddenly start absorbing extra cash that might otherwise be paid to shareholders as dividends.

I get the impression many companies trade on lowly ratings because investors worry about the associated pension schemes becoming financial ‘black holes’. You could say these shares are potential ‘value traps’.

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Q4 2018: 2 Top-Ups And Down 6.6% For 2018

01 January 2019
By Maynard Paton

Happy 2019! I hope you coped well with last year’s rough market and that you continue to find my Blog useful.

The major development for me during 2018 was starting to write articles for SharePad. No longer can I call myself a full-time investor who has no other income than capital gains and dividends!

Nevertheless, I do continue to depend upon my dividends — so I am still a full-time-ish investor.

For the time being at least, I do not have to think too much about capital gains… which is just as well given the recent market downturn. 

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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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[SharePad] A Special SharePad Investigation: Patisserie Valerie

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11 December 2018
By Maynard Paton

Perhaps the most spectacular share collapse of the year has been that of Patisserie Holdings, the owner of the Patisserie Valerie chain of cake shops.

I am sure you already know the grim story.

To recap, during October the firm confessed to “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities and therefore a potential material mis-statement of the Company’s accounts.

The shares — which had traded at 429p and supported a £440m market cap — have been suspended ever since.

An emergency £15m was then raised by shareholders at 50p a share, while a further £10m was loaned to Patisserie by group boss Luke Johnson.

Before the fraud came to light, Patisserie said its net cash was £28m. Now the group estimates net debt might be £10m.

So, the obvious question:

Could we have spotted Patisserie’s fraud using SharePad?

Simply click here to read my Patisserie Holdings article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

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

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07 December 2018
By Maynard Paton

Many years ago, one of my favourite sources for investment ideas was the Financial Times.

However, the FT’s articles did not interest me, and nor did the Lex column.

Instead, I studied a small table that was tucked away on those pages that listed every share price.

You see, this table named the shares that traded at a 52-week low — and I wanted to learn more about the companies that the market disliked.

Indeed, I hoped a decent business would occasionally fall out of favour, join that table and become worthy of investigation.

These days, SharePad can do all of this 52-week-low screening — and much more besides — in an instant.

Let me now explain how I employ SharePad to scan for shares hitting fresh lows. I will then provide a case study using Mattioli Woods outlining what I then check.

Simply click here to read my Mattioli Woods article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

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

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23 November 2018
By Maynard Paton

One of my favourite ways of assessing companies is by calculating their turnover per employee.

The theory is simple: companies that produce high sales from few people are often simpler to manage and grow than businesses that produce low sales from many people.

In fact, if you can find a business that can expand significantly without needing to take on huge numbers of extra staff, then perhaps you have found a business with a product that actually sells itself.

Suffice to say, companies blessed with products that sell themselves are generally good for us investors!

Let’s now use SharePad to investigate Warpaint London — a cosmetics business with high sales per employee.

Simply click here to read my Warpaint London article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

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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[Event] Join Me At The ShareSoc Masterclass: 27 November, London

10 November 2018
By Maynard Paton

I just thought I would let you know about my participation in an upcoming investor event.

The ShareSoc Masterclass will be hosted at the Clayton Hotel, Chiswick, London on Tuesday, 27 November, and will run from 5:00pm to 7:30pm.

The event is a panel session, and the panellists are:

* Leon Boros (ISA millionaire and acquisition consultant);
* Professor Glen Arnold (Investment author and  Deep Value Shares newsletter editor);
* Graham Neary (Cube.Investments founder and Stockopedia writer), and;
* Me

Glen and Graham will each spend 20 minutes presenting an insightful investing topic. The rest of the evening will be dedicated to the panel answering investment questions from the audience. I am looking forward to taking part and I am sure the occasion will be very educational and entertaining.

ShareSoc is a not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to the support of individual investors. Event tickets are currently on sale and are apparently selling fast.

Just click here to read full details of the event and to secure your ticket.

I hope to see you there.

Maynard Paton

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

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10 November 2018
By Maynard Paton

You might recall from the other week that I decided to unearth the market’s most reliable dividend payers.

My theory was simple — companies with illustrious payout records should provide much more reliable returns during market setbacks than a collection of more speculative shares.

I therefore employed SharePad to identify companies that had lifted their dividend every year for at least the last ten years… and by a compound average of 5% or more.

I also limited the search to companies that offered a forecast payout yield of 4%-plus.

My initial screening pinpointed PayPoint — although my SharePad trawling did reveal another interesting name: Zytronic.

You see, this particular small-cap also boasted an extended history of rising dividends…

…but in addition, offered a 5.7% forecast yield and net cash that represented a substantial 22% of its market cap.

Simply click here to read my Zytronic article for SharePad.

Maynard Paton

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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