Derek Pain: Booker and Whitbread power my portfolio to heady heights
Friday 07 March 2014
The No Pain No Gain portfolio is edging closer to its all-time peak, achieved just ahead of the financial crisis that devastated so many shares, particularly small caps where it is heavily involved.
My quarterly calculation produced a profit of just over £139,000, some £10,000 short of its best level. But for Monday's slump, the figure would have been higher. The gain works out at an average of more than £9,000 a year, a reasonable out-turn, particularly as my little collection of shares was allowed to evolve rather than adopt the "big bang" approach.
The past three-month performance has been helped, once again, by star constituents: Booker, the cash and carry chain; and Whitbread leisure group. Mears, the support services group, has repaid my faith by topping the 500p mark and little tenpin bowler Essenden has soared from a lowly 28.5p (showing a modest 4.5p a share profit at the last count) to 66p.
The portfolio is a long-term investor. It does not fancy jumping in and out of shares – an approach that enriches the City but often leaves the small-time investor sadly out of pocket. I must confess that I nursed thoughts of dumping Mears and even briefly toyed with the idea of relegating Essenden. Of course, I am glad I ignored such temptations.
But not everything in my garden is lovely. I have three loss-makers. SnackTime, the vending group, is down to 10.75p after Russian-backed take-over talks were terminated. The group is now moving to merge its three vending operations and could sell its Drinkmaster subsidiary, which produces sealed cups.
As I have said in the past, the deficit on the SnackTime involvement is now so large that it is no longer worth selling for the pittance the shares would fetch. I had hoped the take-over approach would secure a not too humiliating exit, but it was not to be.
Another casualty, environment group TEG, has lost more ground and may well suffer the chop. Animalcare, the veterinary products business, has announced solid interim figures with pre-tax profit up 3.5 per cent at £1.4m and an unchanged dividend of 1.5p a share. Stockbroker Panmure Gordon is enthusiastic, producing a 245p target price and declaring Animalcare is a "dividend-paying cash flow generative business offering defensive growth". Unfortunately, the shares have stubbornly refused to get anywhere near 245p, a level promoted for some time. Whitbread enhanced its position in the portfolio with a 14 per cent sales rise in a 50-week period; but Avation, an aircraft leaser, flew in with profits that were a below expectations.
Andy Harrison, Whitbread's chief executive, reported the leisure group was moving ahead on its three fronts – Premier Inn, the budget hotel chain, managed sales growth of 13.3 per cent; Costa Coffee was up 20.1 per cent; and even the pub/restaurants achieved a 3.7 per cent advance.
Avation's interim profits came out at $7.9m (£4.7m) against $6.9m. Revenue was up 21 per cent at $24.6m. The shares, above 150p a little while ago, are 120.5p. The company has fixed up a couple of refinancing deals that should help future returns.
As readers will know, I have become a little deflated over Brightside, the insurance group. New chief executive Paul Williams has arrived and hopes to fix up more partnership arrangements. The shares have recovered to just above my buying level. When take-over talk began last year the price moved above the rumoured take-out price of 27p. It has since been down to the 16p mark as bid talks faltered and were called off. Still, the would-be bidder remains a significant shareholder.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband
Do you qualify – and how do you get it?
The Mayor of London's sister, Rachel Johnson, apologises for shocking tweet about the PM
- 1 Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
- 2 Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
iJobs Money & Business
£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...
£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...
£25000 per annum + £50,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Southend, Al...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a Call Centre Agent you will...
Day In a Page
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens