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; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

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

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

    Laura Norton: Project Accountant

    £50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?