Summary: Phew! I had thought TAST’s plunging share price was signalling these results would be accompanied by an emergency equity placing. As it turns out, the beleaguered restaurant chain continues to report a profit and has surprised me by raising £4m — equivalent to half of its market cap — from two property transactions. Furthermore, management now has a proper turnaround plan in place, the second half showed a few glimmers of hope while the upside could be considerable if a recovery ever occurs. I have bought more shares, both before and after these results.
Summary: A change of year end, various exceptional items, the effect of an acquisition and the company’s own ‘cost base’ definition meant studying these numbers was not straightforward. However, it was clear the geoscience software specialist has returned to profit, while it was also obvious the new boss remains confident about the group’s competitive attractions. Looking ahead, I am still hoping some encouraging revenue talk alongside tight cost controls could one day lead to much higher earnings and decent share-price upside. I continue to hold.
Summary: These first-half figures were slightly better than I had expected, with December’s AGM statement having downplayed the group’s underlying progress. Welcome revenue advances — both in the UK and abroad — were delivered by TSTL’s main disinfectant products, while adjusted profit would have soared 24% were it not for the costs of entering North America. Sadly it remains anyone’s guess as to when those costs will eventually see any payback. Nonetheless, the first North American milestone is looming — an EPA product approval decision is expected on 16 April, and the share price is optimistic. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: Favourable market movements helped CLIG report its best-ever first-half figures, with revenue, profit, net cash and the dividend all moving higher. However, the finer details showed the emerging-market fund manager struggling to capture new clients as its main strategy under-performed. Meanwhile, fee rates are still being chipped away and staff costs keep on climbing. The shares may look under-appreciated on a P/E of 10 and yield of 6%, but sadly a re-rating does not appear imminent. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Happy 2018! I trust you have enjoyed a successful year’s investing and that you continue to find my Blog useful.
I’m currently celebrating my third anniversary as a full-time investor — and I am reasonably satisfied with how things have turned out so far.
Indeed, with no income other than my capital gains and dividends, I am pleased my portfolio has recorded a positive performance during each of the last three years.
However, the three years have not been all plain sailing. In particular, I did wonder whether foregoing an annual salary was such a bright idea during the mid-2016 Brexit lows. Still, a recovery eventually emerged that has continued throughout 2017.
All that said, I’m disappointed to have under-performed the market for the second consecutive year. Unfortunately for me, a decent collection of 2017 portfolio winners was counterbalanced by one big loser.
I trust you have enjoyed the festive break and are now raring to do battle with the market for another twelve months!
This first Blog post of 2018 provides a ‘year in review’ of my current portfolio holdings. I recap how each of the underlying businesses performed during 2017, as well as provide a few remarks about valuation.
Summary: From what I could tell from the chairman’s 216-word update, DJAN has had to work hard of late to achieve somewhat modest progress. Currency movements and Brexit apparently kept a lid on this H1 performance, although NAV still managed to creep to a £103 per share all-time high. Dull updates from low-profile businesses often cause share prices to stagnate, and so I’m not too surprised the property group’s discount to book has widened since I first bought during 2015. I now wonder whether I should buy once again. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: It took MTVW’s chief exec just 265 words to describe the group’s weakest first-half performance for four years. Still, the nature of this property-trading firm means earnings can be somewhat variable from time to time. What is important, though, is that net asset value improved once again to a fresh high while debt continues to be reduced to a new low. My sums point to a possible NAV of £209 per share based on the firm’s long-term margin. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: This was another frustrating RNS from the specialist currency manager. The cost base has ‘inevitably’ increased, yet revenue and client numbers remain stagnant and — as usual — there’s no real sign of the business enjoying an upturn anytime soon. At least REC continues to generate cash, retains a robust cash pile and distributes a healthy dividend. The yield is 5%, which is not too bad in the current market. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: Last month’s statement concerning a review of CGS’s machining division had already braced me for worrying news. In the circumstances, this RNS was not too bad. Sure, the machining division has reported a loss and will cut back on certain projects. However, CGS’s main foundry operation appears to be performing very satisfactorily, with profit per tonne reaching a new high. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: These figures from the recruitment software developer were never going to be great. The overriding theme of the last three years — greater marketing and product investment — once again hit earnings and will continue to do so throughout 2018. The statement talked of some client-fee reductions, too. Still, at least overall revenue and the hefty cash position have both advanced to new all-time highs. Exactly when a profit revival will occur remains anyone’s guess — but I am hopeful the chief exec/71% shareholder will one day oversee a recovery. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: These results were never going to show a major turnaround, but glimmers of hope continue to emerge at the geoscience software specialist. In particular, a new chief exec has cut costs, reorganised the firm and spotlighted some of the company’s product attractions. True, minimal earnings are likely during the short term. But with the upbeat stock market making obvious buying opportunities hard to find, I am beginning to warm to GTC’s recovery potential. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: The marketing-services group had already alerted investors to these disappointing figures. However, the setback was explained honestly by management and I note 50% of the business continues to grow at a fair rate. So everything does not appear completely lost just yet. That said, adopting the tag of industry ‘pioneer’ will always court competition and it seems rivals have tempted some customers away. The share price has been thumped since the summer, but is now looking quite interesting. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: July’s trading statement from this medical disinfectants specialist had already signalled these record results. However, the update showed underlying revenue growth of just 7%, with the UK up 3% and overseas up 10%. I’ve therefore had to delve deep into the numbers to ensure TSTL’s main products continue to sell relatively well. At least the company’s accounts and recent acquisition showed more obvious appeal. I must confess, I am nervous comparing the share-price valuation against the medium-term expansion potential, especially with the prospect of sizeable North American revenue as distant as ever. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: The antibody specialist delivered another outstanding set of results, as astonishing margins, robust cash production and magnificent equity returns once again underlined the group’s wonderful economics. However, matters were tempered somewhat by management remarks about the immediate revenue potential of a new product. It could mean progress during 2018 won’t be very impressive, which may leave the current 29x multiple rather exposed. I’m hoping things work out for the best, and continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: I was very satisfied with ASY’s first-half progress. The specialist hire group reported positive performances both within the UK and overseas and could now be on course to deliver its best-ever annual results. A 20%-plus operating margin and substantial net cash remain key bookkeeping features, while management hints of an encouraging second half have kept the share price buoyant. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: These results displayed further “steady and sustainable” growth from the used-car loan firm. Although the seasoned executives remain optimistic about the group’s prospects and the wider economy, margins have dipped once again as the impairment charge representing potential bad loans continues to rise. Still, the 11-12x multiple appears modest given the company’s growth rate and there is a near-5% income, too. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: Yet again this lighting specialist has delivered a very satisfactory annual performance, with revenue and profit attaining fresh all-time highs and the dividend lifted for the fifteenth consecutive year. Although the group’s largest division appears to be performing very well, other subsidiaries did not enjoy the very best of second halves. Management comments about 2018 seemed quite cautious, too. The accounts remain in pristine condition, but I am mindful of the shares trading at a rich multiple. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: These figures could have been a lot worse, given the estate-agency firm remains dependent mostly on the standstill London property market. The major highlight derived from the statement was that WINK continues to outperform Foxtons, and it appears the group is now using the difficult sector to expand its franchising network. Meanwhile, the financials remain in order, the outlook seems relatively promising and yet the valuation is still in the doldrums. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: These results were always going to be somewhat grim, and news of a £9.3m write-off suggests about a third of TAST’s restaurant estate has now suffered trading problems during the last 18 months. At least the board is currently showing greater urgency with its turnaround plan and I would like to think these figures mark the low point for the group’s finances. I continue to believe the long-term upside could be considerable if a successful recovery one day prompts further restaurant expansion. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary:A very welcome set of results, which I calculate included the drill specialist’s best-ever quarter as a quoted company. Revenue and profit enjoyed significant advances, and it appears the group’s mining customers are now happy to place greater orders following the sector downturn of the last few years. Also pleasing was the improvement to cash flow and the possibility of certain new projects providing further “meaningful” growth. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: Earlier updates had already signalled these summary annual results would be positive. However, the fund manager’s progress was supported entirely by favourable markets and currency movements — the year actually witnessed a net outflow of client money. Still, the icing on the cake was the first dividend lift for six years and, despite the share price climbing since this time last year, the payout still supports a 6% income. The presentation also outlined the potential cost of the new staff bonus scheme, and I am hopeful the cited 2% of revenue will not eventually rise towards the scheme’s 5% limit. I continue to hold.Continue reading →
Summary: Similar to last year’s open day, this was a very useful shareholder event that accompanied a better-than-expected trading update. However, I thought the lack of any reference to UK revenue was odd and I await October’s full-year results for the finer details. For now at least, the disinfection specialist appears on course to meet its three-year targets and there are some promising developments with the planned venture into North America. Plenty of optimism, though, appears to be priced into the shares. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary:This time last year DJAN’s management was full of Brexit gloom, but here we are now with the commercial property group declaring new highs for revenue, net asset value and the dividend. Of course, the board’s caution may eventually prove to be shrewd, and I’m hopeful the veteran executives will be able to navigate through any wider property uncertainty — assisted in part by the firm’s relatively low level of debt. The shares trade at 63% of net asset value and I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: There was a certain irony about these figures. REC makes its money by managing currency movements for clients… yet the group itself has prospered of late largely because the weaker GBP has translated into greater management fees. Whether REC’s clients have actually prospered is harder to say, as there still seems little evidence of a growing customer base. Still, I welcome REC’s decision to hand excess cash back via larger dividends, but the accompanying £10m tender offer does appear as if it was devised primarily to help REC’s founder plan for his retirement. With operating costs expected to rise, too, I reckon the tender price equates to an underlying P/E of 14-15. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: These figures were somewhat better than I had expected. The regulated-tenancy property trader produced a record level of revenue during the second half to counterbalance a rather disappointing first half, and the end result was not far off the very strong numbers delivered for the previous year. I was also pleased net asset value advanced further to a new high while borrowings were reduced to a fresh low. My updated sums now point to a possible NAV of £206 per share based on the firm’s previous gains on sold properties. I continue to hold. Continue reading →