No Pain No Gain: England not the only losers during the World Cup

Am I on a losing streak? I hope not. Yet the No Pain, No Gain portfolio is showing an uncomfortably high collection of fallers - and most of them have been recruited in the past year or so.

Access Intelligence, Hargreaves Services, La Tasca and the admittedly dreadful Lennox are the newcomers in the red. They join Wyatt, which arrived more than three years ago.

Otherwise, the portfolio is not doing too badly although a few constituents, in line with the stock market losing some of its exuberance, have drifted from their peaks. Still, progress continues to be made with the overall profit nudging £90,000 on an investment of £195,000. As I have mentioned I intend to cap the outlay at £200,000. So just one more purchase and then recruits will be financed by the profits kitty.

Timing is an important factor in investment and it is quite clear I should have waited before alighting on Access, Hargreaves and La Tasca. Still, despite the declines, I remain relatively happy with the three shares.

Indeed, La Tasca, running Spanish-style restaurants, recently served up an outstanding set of figures. Pre-tax profits topped £5m (up from £2.4m) and there is a maiden year's dividend. Further progress will be made this year. The trouble is it may not be quite as appetising as some expected. For the incredible interest generated by the World Cup reduced the flow of customers and takings suffered. With the cost of new openings also having an impact the more heady profit expectations have been pulled back. Trading would no doubt have been hit even harder had England won the penalty shoot-out. La Tasca has encountered no more than a minor trading hiccup, I suspect.

The World Cup could also have affected the portfolio's other restaurant investment, Prezzo, one of the companies backed by the successful Kaye family. The Kayes have just launched another stock market eating-out venture, Tasty. In a few days its shares more than doubled. But Tasty shares are a very narrow market and it does not take much activity to create sharp price movements. The free float at Prezzo is much more significant although the Kayes are firmly in control with around half the capital.

The available evidence suggests that two other backsliders - Access and Hargreaves - are faring reasonably well. Interim figures are due soon from Access. For the year around £610,000 is expected. Hargreaves is trading in line with expectations and should meet profit estimates of around £6.6m.

I am disappointed by the Wyatt performance. But I have decided to stick with the shares for the time being. Chairman Bob Holt, the man behind the hugely successful Mears support services group, was not particularly upbeat at the interim stage. He did indicate that the little online services group was making some progress and I would expect losses to be reduced. The year's results, which should appear in September, will indicate whether I dump the shares.

The Lennox saga continues. Developments include the calling of a special shareholders' meeting later this month to approve the rescue financial package. According to the meeting notice shareholders representing 63.5 per cent of the capital have already indicated their support. A 75 per cent majority is needed. If the package is not approved loan note holders could cash in, costing Lennox more than £1.1m. Should they do so the two remaining directors (Ray Greenwood and Nigel Barton) make it clear that "the company would not be solvent and would have to cease to trade".

Lennox's departure would be a nasty blow to the portfolio. After all, another constituent, Profile Media, ended in the corporate graveyard earlier this year. I invest £5,000 in each constituent so a £10,000 wipeout in one year would be a humiliating experience. Lennox's demise would not, however, make much difference to the portfolio's overall performance. Its shares are, of course, valued at their dismal 4.75p price in my portfolio calculations; Profile is already written off.

On a happier note I am still awaiting the cash from the MacLellan take over. The support services group is being acquired by Interserve, which is in a similar line of business, in a £116m cash and shares deal. I opted for the cash mix and match facility and I should receive payment early next month.

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

News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
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

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    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