CITY TALK: EFT financing its way to growth

EFT GROUP, which operates in the unglamorous world of company leasing finance, is in the midst of consolidating its debt and expects to obtain a significantly cheaper cost of funds once the process is over. The exercise follows its recent acquisition of Haydock, a north-of-England car finance specialist. The deal expands its customer base into the north of England and adds on a consumer franchise to its hitherto mainly corporate clientele. Broker Bell Lawrie White says the two companies fit well together and forecasts that the combined group can produce profits of around pounds 4.6m in the current year, up from pounds 2.9m in 1994. That leaves the shares at 79p on a relatively modest prospective p/e ratio of 11.4 times, making them a buy for the group's conservative management and reasonable prospects over the next few years.

EVER since it reported losses of pounds 71m in December and followed that up at the half-way stage in May with another loss of pounds 30m, Huntingdon International has been in a mess. But it also managed to dispose of one of the millstones around its neck, the American HEE business. And with its other problem child, Travers Morgan, out of the way and new management on board, the shares have recently been ticking upwards. At 67p, they are well above the 20p to which they fell in December. All Huntingdon is left with now is its core animal life sciences business, which is healthily cash generative. An acquisition is likely in the near future.

EXPECT news from Card Care, the credit card fraud specialist, of expansion into a new business in the next few weeks. The company is one of those appealing firms with a strong niche product, and the added glamour of a dash of hi-tech ingenuity in the shape of the system it uses to prevent credit card fraud.

The downside is that the company remains in start-up mode, and has only made losses to date. But these should fall substantially this year, and there is every prospect the company can turn a reasonable profit by 1996. So far its system, which transmits details of lost and stolen cards via Teletext, is in use by almost 2,000 petrol stations, and it expects the number to rise substantially in the years ahead. The shares, at 34p, are a gamble, but they could pay off.

IF CARD CASH remains a hi-tech business that may with luck be on its way up, Reuters (528p) is one of those technology stocks that arrived a while ago. Although the roots of its business lie in journalism, its success has come from purveying financial information and prices to markets around the world.

Its figures this week, however, gave the market pause for thought. Did chief executive Peter Job's cautiously worded statement suggest that growth may be about to slip back to only a single-digit figure? Whatever, the market cooled, and there was talk of profits downgrades. But the company has an enormously strong franchise and should show profits growth for years to come. Hang on.

PAUL MORLAND, who follows smaller companies at NatWest Markets, recommends Menvier-Swan as a buy, on the grounds that it is a high-quality company operating in growth markets.

The business is mainly in emergency lighting, and the management intends to make it the lowest cost producer in the industry. To this end, it has invested pounds 11m over the past two years. Even so, year-end gearing at the recent results was a mere 3 per cent. This gives ample scope for acquisitions, which should, says Mr Morland, be enhance earnings. With earnings growth of 23 per cent a share for the latest figures, the shares at 288p remain on track to continue outperforming.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'