Derek Pain: Booker and Whitbread power my portfolio to heady heights

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

Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
News
UK Border Control
i100
Sport
boxing
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

    Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

    £36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn