The Week In Review: Woolies needs a takeover deal

Woolworths has posted another set of poor annual results and, once again, its management is blaming the inheritance it received when the retailer was demerged from Kingfisher. Profits at the group slumped to £57.7m from £68m in the previous year. Its key retail division's performance was particularly weak: profits slumped from £40m to £17m.

Trevor Bish-Jones, the chief executive, argues that Woolies suffered years of underinvestment during Kingfisher's stewardship - it even sold the group's remaining properties, leaving it with just two freeholds out of 806 stores - and complains that the company is still suffering. To remedy the situation, he plans to pump £90m into the business by refitting stores, reforming the distribution network and putting in place more efficient IT systems.

However, these measures do not solve the fundamental identity crisis Woolies faces. And while a takeover is possible, without a deal, Woolies shares are unlikely to rise any higher. Avoid.

FIBERNET

Telecoms group Fibernet says its full-year results will not live up to expectations after it failed to win enough new business in the second quarter. Analysts have slashed their forecasts and now predict Fibernet will register earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of just £17.5m this year, compared with £19.7m previously. Sell.

VISLINK

Vislink is a global leader in microwave and satellite broadcast systems. It has work to do to convince investors its UK business will one day be profitable, but this is outweighed by orders from outfits such as the US Department of Homeland Security. Buy.

ACCUMA

Consumer debt in the UK stands at more than £1.1 trillion and companies offering advice to debt-laden consumers are flourishing - especially those that specialise in individual voluntary arrangements. Accuma is the second biggest player in this industry, with a 12 per cent share. Buy.

PINEWOOD

The talk show Trisha Goddard is produced every day at the Pinewood Shepperton studio and, without it, the latest annual results from the company would have been worse. But the 58 per cent slump in profits to £5.3m came after the UK film industry suffered major disruption and Pinewood is in good shape going forward. Hold.

ALEXON

Alexon is a low-profile clothing group, home to Dolcis shoes and Kaliko womenswear. At first sight, the company looks to offer as much value as the clothes it sells: its shares trade at a discount to the retail sector. But the latest full-year figures show profits down from £29m to £20m. Hold.

DELTA

Stripping out imminent disbursements, Delta's ongoing operations - a steel-galvanising business and a company that produces materials used in batteries - are valued at £70m. This is too low. Buy.

NEUTEC PHARMA

Neutec Pharma has two drugs in the end stages of development and has spent just £17m getting them there over the past nine years. By the standards of the biotech industry, that is good going. Buy.

KAZAKHMYS

Anyone who bought into Kazakhmys at the company's float six months ago will be happy. Shares in Kazakhstan's biggest copper miner have now almost doubled in value. Further rises this week followed solid annual results and a bullish statement. Buy.

JESSOPS

Camera retailer Jessops is firmly back on the growth path, with a pleasing first half performance with sales for the 25 weeks to March 26th up 6.5 per cent, ahead by 2.6 per cent on the like-for-like basis. Buy.

THUS

The fixed-line telecom business is not a good one to be in these days. The sector is fiercely competitive so life is not easy for any operators but if, like Thus, you happen to be one of the industry's minnows it is a miserable experience. Sell.

The above recommendations are taken from the daily Investment Column.

Cash in on Neteller, and you too can enjoy huge profits

The awesome growth at the online money-transfer group Neteller, one of the biggest companies on the AIM, continues. It has unveiled a set of full-year figures that can only be called outstanding. Sales rose 108 per cent to $171m (£98m), pre-tax profits soared 114 per cent to $98m, and the all important cash-flow figure jumped 49 per cent to $114m. Is there no end to the company's growth?

Its chief executive, Ron Martin, says not for a long while. In North America, where Neteller gets 80 per cent of its business, sales remain strong and rising. In Europe and Asia, where operations are in their infancy, revenues are climbing steeply. To give these an extra push, Neteller is planning to launch services in four European languages.

The downside to all this is that the US authorities hate online gambling. In fact, several bills prohibiting the practice are awaiting Congress approval.

In November, the company's founders sold £218m worth of their shares at 625p. Since then the stock has risen; anyone who bought in at the 200p float would do well to follow. Take profits.

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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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

    Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

    £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

    Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

    Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

    £50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker