No Pain, No Gain:'s tarnished image set to brighten up acquired a reputation for get-up-and-go profit performances. It joined the No Pain, No Gain portfolio three year ago, with the shares at 30.5p. They reached 77p but now bump along at around 46p.

So is its image irreparably damaged? I think not. The stock market clearly believes it is no longer a robust growth company. For the current year, this view seems accurate. After interim profits little changed at just over £1m, stockbroker Brewin Dolphin is shooting for a pre-tax return of £2.4m (against £2.2m) for the current 12 months.

Such a result would represent a reasonable achievement but would be far removed from the sort of display I - and others - had come to expect.

Clearly, the online printer is set for a year of consolidation. And, unless a bidder appears or suddenly confounds its followers by recapturing more of its old vitality, the shares are going nowhere in the near term. Indeed, in the gap between last week's interims and the full-year results in June, I would expect them to drift a little lower. The period between results, with little in the way of news, is often an uninspiring time for a share. is unlikely to be an exception.

Still, I am hanging on. Although I no longer regard the shares as an out-and-out buy, they are certainly worth holding. Indeed, with the interim dividend up 20 per cent and a prospective yield of nearly 4 per cent, they have income attractions that to some extent nullify the more cautious growth outlook.

The group had already alerted shareholders to a sudden trading downturn in June and July. Was it a hiccup - or something more lasting? But trading subsequently improved and the setback appears to have been short-lived. Still, it left its mark, not only hitting shares but also damaging its go-go image.

This year will probably be something of a write-off, but my hunch is that the group will then recapture its former glory. If it doesn't, I fear the shares will be given the old heave-ho.

In this country, is running out of space. It has a few company-owned stores but its top-tier franchise network, consisting of stand-alone retail outlets, is near saturation. There are 42 franchise shops and only some 14 franchises still available. But its chain of what are known as bolt-ons is growing rapidly.

Bolt-ons are not stand-alone operations. They are attached to an existing business - say, a designer or traditional printer. Many are, in effect, under the control of franchise shops. There are now 140 bolt-ons and Tony Rafferty, Printing. com's chief executive, reckons there is scope for more than 300.

Outlets do not depend on any onsite printing equipment. Orders for, say, booklets and leaflets are transmitted to a printing plant in Manchester. Completed prints are then dispatched to the customer.

Like the portfolio's other franchise constituent - Myhome International - is keen to develop its international presence. It operates overseas by licensing its software and systems, thereby allowing the creation of printing networks similar to its British business. So far it has granted just one master franchise - to a New Zealand company. Already royalties have started to flow and it is likely that the Kiwi printer will embrace Australia.

An option has been taken on Poland, and Rafferty is optimistic that a franchise will materialise that could embrace some other Eastern European countries. He says he is "actively engaged in discussions" with other possible European Union partners and companies in the US and elsewhere.

Avesco, providing audio-visual equipment and other services for events, came near to joining the portfolio a year ago. Since then the shares have climbed from 90p to around 115p, with results meeting expectations. Interim profits, announced last week, were nearly £900,000 with around £3m (against £2.1m) expected for the year. The group is sending out a message of confidence through dividend payments; it is making a maiden interim distribution and should pay 2p a share (against 1.5p) for the year.

There's still a chance I will recruit Avesco to the portfolio. It is well run, although cash intensive. But then, sophisticated equipment at the top end of the market does not come cheap.

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

The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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?