Derek Pain: Findel and Booker lead the way with some peak performances

I imagine every share tipster likes to see at least some of their selections riding at around their peaks. For a time disasters can be forgotten and it is possible to concentrate on some of the winners.

Two of the members of the no pain, no gain portfolio have recently underlined their reputations with some fine trading displays. One constituent is near its 12-month high; the other not so very far from its all-time record level.

First Findel is a group embracing home shopping and educational supplies.The shares, as I write, are near their highest price for a year at 308.75p.

The portfolio descended on them at the equivalent of 142p in November 2012. It turned out to be a lucky month as Essenden arrived around the same time and its shares have recently topped 100p against a 24p buying price.

In a trading update Findel reveals that sales have risen by 5 per cent during its past year, although two of the divisions suffered negative performances. Group pre-tax profits, however, are substantially ahead and it is anticipating that margins will increase from 4.6 per cent to some 6 per cent. Last year, adjusted profits emerged at £15.5m. This year the City expects the figure to be up to £22.5m

The two main operations – Express Gifts, a mail-order business, and education supplies – chalked up impressive sales gains. Express advanced 9.7 per cent and the education side, supplying equipment to schools, by 6.2 per cent. But doorstep seller Kleeneze suffered a 5.4 per cent decline and Kitbag, offering sports merchandise, lost 4.5 per cent.

Still, Kitbag's performance is improving and it should benefit when the World Cup gets under way.

Findel is still very much a recovery play. It has been brilliantly turned around by its present management.

The shares once topped 3,000p; the company's last dividend appeared in 2008.

My other top performer which is reporting progress is Booker, the cash-and-carry chain. Although the shares have lost some ground after a trading update, they are still the stars of the portfolio.

Recruited at 24.5p more than five years ago, the price is 155.1p compared with a recent all-time peak of 175p.

With supermarket shares shrouded in gloom, there had been worries that Booker, relying on corner shops, pubs and restaurants, had suffered a similar fate.

I am used to Booker shares making headway following trading reports. This time, though, they failed to respond positively. Yet the sales figures were not at all bad.

During the final 12 weeks of the year, Booker's volumes were up 1.9 per cent and, including the Makro acquisition, 16.3 per cent. For the year, total sales advanced to £4.7bn, up 17.3 per cent.

I suppose some were disappointed that Booker's own sales advance was not as sharp as last year's when the shares were around 120p.

So excluding the Makro contribution, progress has slowed. But with the integration of the Makro chain on track, I suspect the group will make considerable headway in the current year. And shareholders can look forward to a windfall. The group, with a £150m cash pile, intends a distribution to shareholders. It aims to spread around £60m, presumably as a special dividend, when announcing its year's figures.

Finally, there is Avation, which intends to lease two aircraft to a new customer, UNI Airways of Taiwan. The share price is now 112.5p, against the 83.5p the portfolio splashed out in January 2011.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

    £43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there