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; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
REX/Eye Candy
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
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

    C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

    C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

    DevOps Engineer - Linux, Shell, Bash, Solaris, UNIX, Salt-Stack

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: A fast growing Financial Services organisation b...

    Trade Desk FIX Analyst - (FIX, SQL, Equities, Support)

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + excellent benefits: Harrington Starr: An award-win...

    Day In a Page

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?