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 first-half results were not too bad, not least because they included a record £5.1m revenue figure. However, the software developer did warn that rising costs would hurt earnings significantly during the second half of 2017 and throughout 2018. WOR recovered very well from its previous investment phase of 2009 and 2010, and I am left trusting the firm can repeat the trick once again. At least the accounts remain simple and flush with cash, and you could argue the underlying P/E is just 5. 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: These figures were better than I had expected, not least because WOR enjoyed the benefits of the weaker post-Brexit pound. However, the software developer did warn that costs would continue to rise — which in turn would keep a lid on earnings for the “foreseeable future”. At least revenue is marching higher while the weaker pound ought to help the group’s progress in the States. The accounts remain simple and flush with cash, and you could argue the underlying P/E is just 5. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: These figures were not as bad as I had feared, given WOR’s previous results had confessed to higher costs and lower profit. The outcome for the current year looks set to be better than I had anticipated, too. Notably, revenue moved higher despite one of the software group’s largest customers significantly reducing its payments. Meanwhile, the accounts remain cash-rich and the underlying P/E is less than 7. I continue to hold. Continue reading →
Summary: Oh dear — my portfolio suffers yet another profit warning! WOR had already owned up to lower earnings this year, but now it has admitted to further cost increases for 2016. Nonetheless, these annual results revealed an improved second half while net cash currently equates to half of the present market cap. Bear in mind, too, that the last time this software developer invested at the expense of near-term earnings, profit eventually quadrupled. I continue to hold.
Today I’m owning up to the second of two new investments I’ve made during the last few months.
I say ‘owning up’ because this second share has so far been a complete disaster. Indeed, what I thought could have been a ‘perfect stock’ has instead rewarded me with a 37% paper loss :-(
The company in question is World Careers Network (WOR), an obscure AIM-quoted business that develops and sells recruitment software for major employers.
I purchased the shares during February and March 2015 at an average price of 320p including all costs. The bid price now is 200p and the holding currently represents about 3% of my portfolio.
When I bought, I was convinced this £24m firm offered all the hallmarks of a successful investment. Alongside claims of supplying “world-class technology”, other attractions included a blue-chip client list, generous margins, a cash-flush balance sheet, respectable sales growth and a long-time founder/entrepreneur at the helm. Furthermore, a possible P/E of just 7 suggested the shares were a bargain.
However, events have since not gone my way as I will explain in a moment. And I dare say some investors would have never touched WOR in the first place due to its humungous bid-offer spread and dominant 80%-plus family ownership.