City wakes up to latest Net player

No Pain No Gain

The stock market has at last woken up to the Internet attractions of City of London PR, a little investment and public relations group I slipped into the no pain, no gain portfolio in August at 117.5p.

The stock market has at last woken up to the Internet attractions of City of London PR, a little investment and public relations group I slipped into the no pain, no gain portfolio in August at 117.5p.

If it had been a start-up web adventure instead of embracing businesses that actually make profits and pay dividends, its shares I suspect would have taken off months ago. As if making up for lost time, they have in the past week soared from around 130p to 387.5p yesterday morning.

Probably, if City of London had added a dot.com to its name last year or something about e-commerce to its rather staid title, it would have joined the Internet craze much earlier.

But it is a rather reticent business, and anyway City of London likes to make progress rather than just talk tantalisingly about its ambitions. Not surprisingly, it has contented itself with outlining the headway its fledgling Internet venture has so far made.

Last summer it took a stake in CBSH which developed a web-based service linking companies around the world with existing Internet sites. The idea was to provide details of buy and sell offers on a variety of products and also list details of companies operating in specific fields.

Well, CBSH seems to be on a winner. Since its autumn launch its operation has performed ahead of expectations. It has attracted 3,500 business members and 5,600 advertised offers have appeared on its Eceurope.com web site which has been visited nearly 50,000 times. The average visit is 21 minutes.

Besides owning what it claims is Europe's leading business-to-business e-commerce site, CBSH takes in the URL2T trade directory which ranks world trade sites and offers short cuts to business-to-business resources on the web. It is due to go online in the spring.

Like any Internet business CBSH is hungry for cash. City of London has spent £60,000 exercising an option which, with its existing interest and a £175,000 convertible loan stock, takes its stake to 49.9 per cent. But more cash is needed. Talks about further financial injections are going on and thebusiness might be floated before long although City of London is expected to remain deeply involved.

But the public relations group is nursing another hi-tech venture and is on the verge, I believe, of taking a stake in the company which is backing a team developing a software archiving operation.

The shares joined the no pain, no gain portfolio when its Internet ambitions were emerging. Those ambitions are now being appreciated. As befits an Internet company the shares are a narrow market with founder-chairman John Greenhalgh sitting on a controlling stake. The capitalisation is now around £32m.

What I like about City of London is that it has two relatively reliable income flows and would not be devastated if its Internet ambitions should come to grief. Mr Greenhalgh has made sure its exposure to the brave - and dangerous - new hi-tech world is well covered.

Although its public relations operations, heavily involved in mining, are unlikely to be booming, City of London's investment portfolio should be performing well and it is likely to now be worth something like 100p a share.

Profits for the year ended March should emerge at around £800,000, against £1m the previous year. Still, the year's dividend should be increased again. A standstill payment would leave the yield at nearly 2 per cent.

Global is another portfolio constituent making headway, not because of Internet involvement but on the back of its traditional meat business. The shares, tipped in May at 20p, are now 31p, with stockbroker Williams deBroe suggesting profits in the year just ended could nearly double to £6.4m, with earnings per share advancing 100 per cent. For the current year the broker is looking for £7.75m .

Last year Global acquired Sims Foods, and its food manufacturing business is achieving 13 per cent underlying sales growth; further food takeovers are likely. And cash is being pulled in by the sale of peripheral businesses, such as the fork-lift truck operation which should be worth some £7m.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

    £16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

    SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones