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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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

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

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before