Derek Pain: Much to encourage after enduring a shaky final quarter

No Pain, No Gain

The no pain, no gain portfolio suffered two embarrassing relegations in the final quarter of the year but still managed to produce a modest advance.

The demise of English Wines Group and Nighthawk Energy was quite clearly a savage blow. And my two most recent recruits, G4S and Rivington Street, have yet to cover themselves in glory.

Still the likes of Booker, the cash and carry chain, and Whitbread have performed well. Marston's and Hargreaves Services have managed hopeful contributions.

Last week Marston's rolled out profits ahead of expectations. Perhaps, more importantly, its final dividend was unchanged. The year's total will be lower but the so-called "rebasing" is not as severe as I had expected. The brewer and pub owner produced year's pre-tax profits, before exceptional charges, of £73.5m (compared with £70.3m). The figure was £52.5m (£21.4m) after the special influences were stripped out. With its arch rival Greene King reporting a heady profits brew the day following Marston's figures, there is evidence that the integrated groups, owning breweries and pubs, are surviving the drinking downturn better than the heavily indebted tenanted pub companies, such as Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns. Some managed chains, like Mitchells & Butlers, are also increasing their presence. Capital Pub Co., a possible portfolio constituent, lifted its half-year pre-tax profits by around a third to £1.66m. Hargreaves, with fingers in coal mining, transport and waste disposal, has posted an encouraging trading update It expects interim figures, due in February, to be in line with expectations and adds that it is confident about the full year's results.

My latest recruit, Rivington Street is now the top Plus adviser with 28 client companies and is working on four floatations for the New Year. The group's AIM contingent is now 23 following the arrival of Nexus Management, an IT specialist. Rivington has also engaged in some surprising diversifications, acquiring a pharmaceutical distributor and a developer of temperature stabilisation equipment – largely for deferred payments – and taken an interest in a Canadian limestone quarry. Cashflow seems to be the main influence behind these three fairly modest deals. But it has not all been good. Patsystems has given ground after a surprising profits warning. The group, providing technical assistance at various trading platforms, said its results would now be "broadly in line" with last year's adjusted figure – £3.9m. Hopes of an advance have, apparently, been dashed by a slower flow of orders and an accountancy change. Private & Commercial Finance, the hire purchase group, has continued to give ground although it has forecast little changed interim profits.

My final quarterly update of the year shows progress. I almost managed to reach £100,000 profit, hitting £99,300, some £3,000 ahead of the September return. It is still far from the £150,000 level achieved a few years ago when the stock market was in exuberant form and the portfolio enjoyed a host of high flyers.

My search for recruits goes on. I intend to stick to UK-based companies and will not join the flight to so-called emerging markets. Anyone contemplating such action should be aware of the dangers. Besides currency complications, such as converting dividends (if any) into sterling, there can still, even in this hi-tech global age, be problems relating to being so far removed from an investment. Investors seeking emerging exposure should trust their luck to one of the many funds that ply their knowhow of overseas activities. I am, I confess, not a fund person.

If I am going to lose money I would rather do so off my own bat rather than pay someone for the privilege. Britain may be one of the most mature share markets, but I believe it still has much to offer.

It should not be overlooked that many domestic companies have extensive interests in emerging countries and offer one of the more responsible ways to capture some of the excitement that has led to the current feeding frenzy.

Perhaps it is also worth remembering that in the fast moving world of investment trends quickly change. I hate to think just how many seemingly irresistible fashions have ended up on the scrap heap with small investors, often the last to get the message, counting their losses.

yourmoney@independent.co.uk

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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
Extras
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Travel
travelPurrrfect jet comes to Europe
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the London premiere of his new film The Imitation Game
people He's not as smart as his characters
Life and Style
healthMovember isn't about a moustache trend, it saves lives
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
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

    The benefits of Recruitment at SThree...

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants

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

    Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

    £20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

    Marketing Manager

    £40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

    Day In a Page

    Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

    Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

    Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities