Hope remains that G4S takeover can provide festive treat

With Christmas just a week away the thoughts of many turn to gifts. For a time during this festive run-up, I wondered whether the no pain, no gain portfolio was set to receive an unexpected seasonal present in the shape of a takeover bid for one of its constituents?

The alleged candidate was G4S, the Anglo Danish security giant that has so far failed to perform since recruited in April. It is not the first time that vague rumours of corporate action have circulated and I do not believe it will be the last. There is little doubt that some see the sprawling group as ripe for bid activity.



I descended on the shares at 264p. They have since fluctuated to as low as 235p. But, quite suddenly, they perked up. As stock market reporter Toby Green said in The Independent the yarn that private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts planned a 350p shot was once again reheated. But other influences helped the shares. A large seller – possibly institutional investor Credit Suisse that once had more than 8 per cent – is known to have grown tired of the security giant. Perhaps the rump of its once powerful stake was mopped up? The signalled £5.3bn acquisition of ISS, the Danish catering to security group, by private equity player Apax could have also triggered interest. And, for good measure, G4S put through a modest deal of its own, buying a Channel Islands building services contractor.



The group was not recruited because of its takeover vulnerability. In this age of terrorism, an international security operation has considerable trading attractions, despite our Coalition Government's decisive penny-pinching campaign. With corporate activity continuing well below the level of a few years ago, the portfolio, like many investors, has been deprived of a takeover shot in the arm for a long time. So a strike at G4S would represent a welcome display of festive goodwill. But, as I write, the bid speculation seems to have run out of steam. Maybe action will occur some time next year?



NCI Vehicle Rescue, one of the portfolio's two Plus constituents, is not enjoying the best of Christmas cheer. The shares fell 7p to 32.5p after a decidedly sober interim trading update. The group's progressive profits record has come to a skidding halt with half-year profits signalled to be lower than last year's corresponding £340,000. Managing director Neil Richards-Smith says trading has been difficult but adds that the group, which offers roadside assistance and insurance, is in a "healthy financial state" with around £850,000 tucked away in the bank. Cash flow, he says, continues to be positive and "we are excited about the future of the company".



Investing in a small cap can be a speculative exercise and I hope NCI's unexpected reverse will not be too prolonged. I am surprised the trading statement did not contain any figures. In the previous year NCI, which has just added pet insurance to its range, produced interim results in November, complete with sales and profits. Presumably another example of poor figures taking longer to add up than good ones. I gather the results will be announced before the end of the year.



Private & Commercial Finance, the hire purchase group that has teetered on the brink of eviction from the portfolio, has announced an interim profit of £150,000, up from £121,000. It usually enjoys a much stronger second half display and should manage to top last year's £528,000, although the once hoped for £1m-plus looks well out of reach.



The group says tight conditions in the wholesale money market restrained growth but there are some "positive signs of an improvement as the stronger banks recover from the downturn".



Whitbread, the former top brewer now big in budget hotels, coffee shops and restaurants, has rolled out an impressive trading update, with sales in the first 39 weeks of its year up 14 per cent.



The overall Whitbread performance has prompted some in the City to forecast that the shares, recruited to the portfolio at 1,105p, will next year march on to an all-time peak above 2,200p. But the group faces strengthening competition and – together with the rest of the retail community – the seemingly ever increasing impact on consumers of the Government's spending curbs and tax increases.

yourmoney@independent.co.uk

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Quantitative Risk Manager

    Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits