Derek Pain: Comeback pays off for Findel – and me
Friday 06 December 2013
Findel, recruited to the No Pain, No Gain portfolio a year ago, has proved a lucky strike. Enlisted at the equivalent of 142p, the shares are, as I write, around 260p – a splendid performance for what amounts to a recovery play.
The home-shopping and educational-supplies group has produced figures that indicate its comeback is on track and profits are just around the corner. A far cry, therefore, from a few years ago when it experienced a disastrous time, weighed down by debt and forced into an £81m cash call. Back then, before problems became apparent, the shares were riding at the equivalent of more than 3,000p.
In the last half year, revenue climbed from £231.7m to £243.6m with the pre-tax loss – as usual these days there is more than one figure on offer – put at just over £3m against a corresponding £11.9m. Express Gifts, a leading mail-order group, and the education business were behind the improvement. Between them they account for some 75 per cent of Findel's operations. Two minor divisions, Kleeneze and Kitbag, had tougher experiences. Sales at Kleeneze, a doorstep retailer, continued to decline although the reversal slowed and Kitbag, an online sports retailer, also lost ground.
With trading so far in the second six months described as "encouraging", further progress should be achieved. Stockbroker Cantor Fitzgerald says profits of £22.5m for the year are possible. The portfolio arrived when the shares were trading at 7p, but one of those cosmetic share consolidations lifted the buying price to 142p.
SnackTime, the vending-machine group, is the dog of the portfolio. A half-time statement failed to offer much encouragement.
Interim, pre-tax loss is £685,000 with sales down 6.6 per cent at £9.5m. Still, the deficit has been sharply reduced from last year. Even so the riddle is just how Russian billionaire Boris Belotserkovsky will react to the latest misadventure. He has rather cleverly built an 8 per cent stake without disturbing the share price too much. Will he continue to buy, mount a bid, stay in the background or retire disillusioned? Time will tell.
SnackTime has had a difficult run. Over-expansion contributed to its difficulties. The portfolio bought the shares at 119p. They are now about 13p.
Marston's, the brewer and pub owner managed to catch the stock market on the hop with its year's results. Pre-tax profits came in below expectations at £88.4m (before £18.6m of exceptional charges) although revenue improved 9 per cent to £782.9m and the year's dividend is lifted by 5 per cent to 6.4p a share. The group continues to unload unwanted pubs. A further 202 have been sold for £90m and more disposals are on the way as Marston's concentrates on its more upmarket, food-led outlets. It opened 22 newly built pub/restaurants in the year and has created more than 100 since it decided to open food/drink outlets on new sites. The shares fell more than 3 per cent on the figures but have since recovered some of the ground lost.
Finally, analysts at Barclays have provided some cheer for the portfolio's most profitable constituents. Shares of both Booker, the cash and carry chain, and leisure group Whitbread, hit new highs following bullish comments from the investment house.
Booker has been helped on its way as the target price was lifted to 187p with talk of internet developments. And Barclays continues as a fan of Whitbread, reiterating its overweight rating.
Debt in Britain: Numbers seeking help on how to cope with mounting bills goes up by more than half in three years
Bargain Hunter: BT improves its mobile reception with 'incredibly competitive' deals
Offset your mortgage and save thousands
Simon Read: 'It went below the radar but you could be eligible for a tax break on your savings'
Women to lose benefits from contracted-out pension scheme
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
Day In a Page
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
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
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
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000
A two-bedroom flat with an open plan kitchen and two balconies, close to Arsenal station