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.
Summary: A series of poor updates had already heralded what SYS1’s founder described as a “miserable” performance. However, shareholders did receive a candid explanation of what went wrong — with a Warren Buffett-backed bid to buy Unilever taking some of the blame. However, a greater concern is whether SYS1’s pioneering market-research techniques remain that pioneering — the competition is apparently catching up. A lot now rests on whether SYS1’s founder has the ability to lead another recovery. I continue to hold.
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: A change of year-end meant SYS1 had a second opportunity to impress shareholders with a bumper set of annual results. However, this time the group admitted recent trading had been “a little slower than expected” and the highly rated share price reacted accordingly. Still, the group’s executives remain confident about the long term and underlined their confidence by declaring a super 26.1p per share special dividend. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: These impressive annual figures confirmed BJU had enjoyed a magnificent second half. The market-research pioneer confirmed all of its core products had performed well, including the group’s best-selling system that had suffered a wobble during H1. I’m also pleased the accounts remain first class, while it’s not surprising the share-price rating is now expecting further robust growth. However, the usual “limited visibility” of client orders remains a drawback. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
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 2017 provides a ‘year-in-review’ of my current portfolio holdings. I recap how each of the underlying businesses performed during 2016, as well as provide a few remarks about valuation.
As I mentioned this time last year, I find writing such reviews extremely useful — not least because it encourages me to double-check my investment logic to ensure I am still invested for all the right reasons! Continue reading →
Summary: A very respectable set of figures that confirmed this market-research agency has now returned to double-digit growth. However, the group’s best-selling system has started to face “pricing pressure” and the wider competitive advantage may not be as strong as it once was. The statement’s highlight was news of a 12p per share special dividend — the third in four years. The accounts remain in good shape and I continue to hold. Continue reading →
I purchased my BJU shares at an average price of 325p (including all costs) during March and April 2016. The bid price is now 425p and the position currently represents about 2% of my portfolio.
I have to admit, BJU is somewhat quirky in comparison to many of my existing holdings. The group is a market-research agency and has pioneered techniques to judge the potential success of adverts using ‘behavioural science’.
If you’re wondering what on earth behavioural science is, don’t worry. For years BJU’s business never made much sense to me — until I read this year’s annual report, watched a beer advert… and finally got to grips what this £58m small-cap actually does.
Anyway, supporting the notion that BJU had above-average investment potential was a respectable record of progress, decent financials, an executive team led by the firm’s founder/major shareholder… as well as the opportunity to further ‘disrupt’ the wider market-research industry. Continue reading →