The Week In Review: Kazakhs merit a risky buy

Kazakhmys floated only last month, but next week it will join the FTSE 100 index of Britain's biggest companies. Privatised by the Kazakhstan government in stages after 1992, the company has 16 copper mines across three regions of the country.

Kazakhstan is oil rich and mineral rich, and one day will simply be rich. For now, it is among the lowest-cost places to mine. Kazakhmys is investing in new capacity and is expected to boost production by 50 per cent over eight years. Good relations with the government should mean opportunistic acquisitions on top of this.

The list of risks should put most people off. Mining is dangerous, and production can be lost due to accidents or technical difficulties. In addition, Kazakhstan, despite having been spared the ethnic violence of other countries in this region, is still a flawed democracy whose privatisations are widely resented.

Still, Kazakhmys is paying a market-average dividend, which mitigates some of the risks. For long-term, risk-hungry investors with cash to spare, buy.


Persimmon will become the UK's biggest housebuilder when it completes the £643m acquisition of Westbury. Persimmon is one of the most diverse of the housebuilders, both geographically and by type of home. But it has avoided too great a concentration on city apartment blocks, where the market appears somewhat rickety. Hold.


Unlike other pubs groups, which have lamented the consumer slowdown, Greene King is upbeat. It expects a strong Christmas period, which should also benefit from the relaxation of licensing hours. After a 23 per cent rise in first-half profits before tax and one-off items to £55.8m, and trading at about 12 times 2006 earnings, the stock is cheap compared with its peers. Buy.


Packaging is not highly profitable and even a dynamic new management team at API has struggled. After forecasts were downgraded in the autumn, profits for the year to 30 September still came in below the house broker's prediction this week. There has been progress on improving margins. But the latest results have been poleaxed by the Chinese tobacco industry, to which it supplies foil for cigarette packets. Investors are ruing the rejection of a 200p-a-share bid earlier this year. Avoid.


Aberdeen Asset Management, can look back on 2005 with pride. The group, brought low by the scandal surrounding split-capital investment trusts, has been reshaped as "the fund manager's fund manager". Thanks to the £265m acquisition of Deutsche Asset Management, Aberdeen is one of the best-balanced fund managers on the stock market. Buy.


Helphire has tied up a string of deals with insurance companies that offer replacement hire cars as part of their cover. So far, 40 per cent offer such a service, and Helphire reckons another 40 per cent are talking to replacement car-hire operators such as it. Meanwhile, the purchase of Albany last year has taken Helphire further into personal injury claims management and the organisation of vehicle repair, both lucrative areas. Hold.


Royal Bank of Scotland was highly rated for a time following its acquisition of NatWest in 2000, but meeting expectations may often no longer be quite good enough. Despite solid results this week, the shares remain lowly rated. But almost every sector analyst still rates the shares a bargain. Buy.


Alea, the Bermuda and London-based reinsurer, ran out of capital this summer and failed to persuade investors to give it more. It has spent the last few weeks selling off the remaining parts of its active business. As the company moves towards wind-up, money will be handed back to shareholders - compensating for the inevitable crumbling of the company's share price. But working out the true valuation is tricky. Avoid.


From a distance, Computerland UK's interim results do not look particularly impressive. The IT services group registered a 30 per cent slump in pre-tax profits to £800,000 and a 10 per cent fall in sales. But shareholders should not despair. By far the group's biggest division sees it offer organisations with a one-stop shop for their IT needs. This side of the business has registered growth in every one of the last 12 quarters and there is no reason to think this trend will not continue Buy the shares.

The above are recommendations from the daily Investment Column.

Shareholder friendly HBOS on song with big 2005 profits

Those of a sensitive disposition should avoid their TV for the foreseeable future. This week's stonking trading update from HBOS has given Howard, the cheesy bank manager from its adverts, something else to sing about.

The H in HBOS is Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage lender; the BOS is Bank of Scotland. Across the group, stronger sales of insurance and investment products are offsetting the slower mortgage market. And the company's costs are among the industry's lowest. Profits this year will exceed City expectations.

HBOS has mounted a strong challenge to the Big Four high-street banks in current accounts and lending to business. But some in the City have begun to question where future growth will come from. HBOS has few operations abroad, but has been building up its international division.

You can trust its chief executive James Crosby to keep running a tight ship. Rather than spend big on expansion, he has given £910m back to shareholders so far this year, via a share buy-back scheme that boosts the share price. He plans to hand back £750m more next year. Plus dividend yield stands at about 4 per cent.

Shareholders after a safe investment likely to deliver solid income without too many frights need look no further. Buy.

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

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
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

    Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Guru Careers: Management Accountant

    £27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

    Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

    £40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'