Derek Pain: Looking good for portfolio as updates flow in
No Pain, No Gain
Friday 01 February 2013
The rush of new-year trading updates continues to enliven the stock market — and the No Pain, No Gain portfolio. Another four constituents have produced bulletins. All are in positive territory but some are not quite as bullish as earlier contributors.
The ritual of letting shareholders – and other interested parties – know just how a business is performing between statutory announcements has developed rapidly. In my younger days, such communications were almost non-existent. I am not decrying the update experience – any move to add to shareholder knowledge should be applauded.
At the time of writing, nine of the 14 portfolio members have produced January trading statements, including my two most recent recruits. Both are recovery plays, and both seem to be making headway. Nick Basing, chief executive of Essenden, the tenpin-bowling group, says: "Having turned things round from a probable derailment, the company is back on track." Roger Siddle, his counterpart at Findel, comments that the home shopping group "remains on the path to recovery".
Essenden pushed up sales by 1.4 per cent in the five-week festive period, but over the year the advance was a somewhat less flattering 0.7 per cent. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation as well as cash generation continue to improve. At the halfway mark, the group announced pre-tax profits of £780,000.
Findel reported sales up 8.9 per cent so far in its current year. With the exception of the doorstep selling business, Kleeneze, the group is doing well, with its Express Gifts operation enjoying its best Christmas for five years. The education and health businesses also progressed but trading "remains challenging" at Kleeneze. Half-year loss was £10.5m.
Essenden shares are about 30p against the 24p paid by the portfolio. Findel, probably reflecting some disappointment that its rumoured sale has still to be clinched, is 7.65p against 7.1p.
Marston's, the pub-owning brewery, was also positive, with chief executive Ralph Findlay saying "good progress" continues. In a 16-week period, managed pub sales were up 1.2 per cent. Profits from the tenanted and franchised pub side were 2 per cent higher.
Shares of the group, which has 2,150 pubs, have been lively in recent months after a long, rather lacklustre display. The portfolio paid 95p nearly four years ago. The price is now about 133p.
Brightside, the insurance broking and financial group, is a constituent with an upbeat message. It talks about "significant growth" in turnover and profits, and declares it should meet stock-market profit estimates of about £18.6m against £15.5m last time. Stockbroker Cenkos Securities believes the year's dividend will be 0.4p. The shares arrived at 18.5p last year; they are now 22.25p.
The group is seeking shareholder approval to buy in up to 10 per cent of its shares. It believes picking up its own stock will improve stock-market liquidity as "relatively insignificant" sales have had a disproportionate impact on the share price. I am not enthralled by buy-ins; I much prefer higher dividend payments.
Finally, Avation, the aircraft leasing group, has increased its fleet to 19. Chairman Jeff Chatfield says that should help ensure revenue continues "to move in a positive direction". Avation has close links with Skywest, an Australian airline planning a merger with another Down Under aircraft group, Virgin Australia.
Skywest already has trading ties with Virgin. Once the merger, goes through, I would not be surprised if Virgin displayed predatory ambitions towards Avation, a business spun out of Skywest. Avation's results are due next month.
Of course, many companies besides Avation do not take part in the January deluge of updates – financial periods may be unsuited to such exercises. Another example is constituent Whitbread. With an early-March year end, it often produces a trading statement in February.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
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