A warm glow from insulation

SIG Group, the insulation, PVC window frame, ceilings and partitions distributor and merchant, looks undervalued. Although the shares made good progress through to 286p in 1994, they have since been stuck at around the 250p level. But there could still be plenty to go for. Sales of pounds 358.7m could rise to pounds 500m in 1997, according to stockbroker Teather & Greenwood.

The firm now dominates the UK insulation market, with a 30 per cent market share, while last year it built a 10 per cent share in the German insulation market on the back of acquisitions. Profits could jump to pounds 33m, from pounds 24.1m, to leave the shares trading on a prospective p/e of 12. Its ceilings business has also performed handsomely, and from a standing start in 1990, it has become the market leader in suspended ceilings and partitioning systems. A hardware and security business has been less lucrative.

But with continued talk of a bounce in the housing market, this could also change for the better. The shares, now 242p, are worth a flutter.

GEC's sale of its Satchwell Controls business to engineering group Siebe for pounds 80m was good news for both companies. At the former, it marks the beginning of George Simpson's reign as the new managing director, while at Siebe, it confirms the group is still well on the ball when it comes to snapping up suitable niche acquisitions. Although progress at GEC will be slower - and Mr Simpson has less room for manoeuvre - the shares, at 384p, should be returning to some brokers' buy lists.

SINCE we tipped shares in Northern Leisure in this column last April at 115p, the shares have had a fine run and put on a spectacular end-of- year spurt to take them to 200.5p. While the concept of the business remains valid - buying nightclubs in towns outside the ambit of the big quoted operators - the shares have begun to look overpriced. Time to take profits.

LAST year was an exciting one in the independent oil exploration and production sector. Its two stars, Enterprise (633.5p) and Lasmo (229p), both performed heroically, with Enterprise the stronger of the two. Sorting out their respective merits has always provoked fierce debate, but now may be the time to think about buying Enterprise, and switching out of Lasmo.

Stockbroker Charles Stanley argues that of the two companies, Enterprise seems the cheaper on virtually any measure. Enterprise, it notes, also has a better track record of adding value for shareholders and looks to have better immediate prospects.

CALLUNA is another British high-tech contender which has come up with a 520-megabyte 1.8-inch disk drive, which will go into volume production in this quarter. The company is funding the new business through a two-for-11 rights issue at 50p and an extension in its borrowing facilities. The market for 1.8- inch disk drives is set to grow strongly and has plenty of uses beyond computing, including in personal organisers, cars and digital cameras, where larger formats such as 2.5-inch are too bulky. Flash Memory, one potential competitor, is 10 times the price.

Calluna reckons initial demand is of the order of 10,000 units. The company is also at work on a virus isolator, and Calluna hopes sales of it can start in the next few months. It is also developing an encryption product for the government, based on a removable 1.8-inch disk drive.

On the basis of the 1.8-inch disk drive, Calluna should be able to generate sales of pounds 4m in 1997. Although the company will make a loss next year, of around pounds 4.5m, 1998 could be the year when it hits pay dirt. Then, sales could be upwards of pounds 50m, while profits could hit a respectable pounds 4m. With all the hallmarks of a highly speculative situation, the shares, at 55p, are a tentative buy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • 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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

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...

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