Derek Pain: Laggards putting the brakes on portfolio

No Pain, No Gain

The no pain, no gain portfolio has failed to keep up with the stock market over the past three months. It has made modest headway but lagged behind the powerful surge in share prices.

I am disappointed with so little progress. With shares recently within hailing distance of their peak I had hoped my little collection would at least approach its record high of a near-£150,000 gain. Instead the profit is, at the time of writing, a little above £108,000.

Although some constituents have advanced since my last quarterly review, a few, such as Avation, Northern Petroleum and, of course, the lamentable G4S, have combined to reduce the overall gain.

Once again Booker, the cash-and-carry chain, emerges as the portfolio leader. The shares have advanced 38p since my last update and are way ahead of the pack, having reached 131p against a 24.5p buying price. Last week's results kept the pot boiling. In its last year sales rose 3.5 per cent to £4bn with pre-tax profits emerging at £101.4m against an adjusted £89.7m. The year's dividend is lifted 15 per cent to 2.63p a share. The group was firing on all fronts with sales to caterers up 6.2 per cent and shopkeeper turnover advancing 2 per cent. In addition, delivered sales rose 9.5 per cent and internet trade by 10.9 per cent.

The Makro cash-and-carry business which cost Booker £140m is not included in the figures as, after a Competition Commission probe, the acquisition was not completed until the current year.

Chief executive Charles Wilson believes Makro will help lift the enlarged group's sales to some £6bn a year and declares: "The real merits of the transaction will appear in the next few years". Meanwhile, trading in the first seven weeks of the present year was ahead of the same period last year.

Overseas investments – confined to India – now embrace 12,000 customers with four branches. Two more centres are to open this year.

Essenden is another constituent with a trading report. At last week's shareholder meeting, the chief executive, Nick Basing, revealed that the tenpin bowling group's recovery continues and trading "remained encouraging". In the first 20 weeks of the current year, like-for-like sales were up 1.8 per cent and by the end of next month Essenden should be debt-free with the exception of the 24.4m loan notes (now 36p each) traded on the fringe ISDX share market. The shares are 30.5p against 24p when enlisted.

Avation, one of the portfolio stocks in the red, has successfully completed a £2.5m cash call which was 160 per cent over-subscribed.

Chairman Jeff Chatfield observes: "We were genuinely surprised with the level of overwhelming appetite by shareholders for this open offer." Explaining the need for an extra £2.5m share investment which came as a jolt to some followers, including me, Mr Chatfield said: "Equity issuance in the aircraft finance industry is essential in order to attempt to maintain sensible gearing levels."

The group's shares were recruited at 83.5p and went on to top 120p. Disappointing profits, plus the cash-raising exercise, have reduced the price to 64p.

Although they've been in the red for a long time, I am hopeful that shares of TEG, the green-technology group, will soon be in profit. The portfolio paid 8p a share and, under its rules, was unable to subscribe for more when the group, which develops and operates organic waste composting and energy plants, required a cash injection. The issue was at 3p; the share price is now 6.25p.

TEG has announced that in a year it reached what it called a "composting landmark", having recycled more than one million tonnes of waste through its nine sites.

Chief executive Mick Fishwick commented: "The operational side of our business continues to progress strongly."

The portfolio still has too many losers and I hope to redress the balance. I am out of action for the next four weeks, but if some of the laggards fail to offer at least a little encouragement I will probably axe them on my return.

Whitbread – in spite of a chorus of sell comments when it rolled out figures – and Booker remain my star performers. Whitbread recently topped 2,900p.

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

News
Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Audit Manager Central Functions

    To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

    Credit Risk Audit Manager

    Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week