City Talk: Heavy metals nettle JM

Shares in Johnson Matthey responded well on the day it announced its interim results a week ago last Friday. Since then, though, they have slipped back to 532.5p from 553p on the day the results were unveiled. Scare stories about problems in its precious metals business revolving around the turmoil in South-east Asia are one reason for the decline. These rumours were probably generated by traders hoping to short the stock.

The results, however, were a clear indication of the group's sound health. First-half profits were up 14 per cent to pounds 58.2m. So why the company's shares remain on something approaching a 25 per cent discount to the market is a mystery.

More complex speculation has it that JM's role as a supplier to Intel could be under threat - in part either because of a slump in demand for computers, or the rise of the low-cost PC for less than $1,000 (pounds 597).

SBC Warburg Dillon Read sees earnings growth of 10 per cent, 20 per cent and 17 per cent over the next three years. On that basis, the shares remain a strong buy.

A newly quoted company of independent financial advisers (IFAs) is set to list on AIM shortly, raising pounds 5m of new money in the process. Inter- Alliance is coming to the market through an offer for subscription at 268p a share.

A nationwide firm of IFAs, Inter-Alliance hopes to see its registered employees rise to 1,500 over the next three years. At present it has eight offices, with 70 IFAs.

It also hopes to recruit heavily from the ranks of existing direct sales forces - a trend that matches the pattern of the industry as a whole.

There are pros and cons to investing in a company such as Inter-Alliance. On the one hand, it has an experienced management team, which could propel it towards rapid growth. However, any IFA who is seen cutting corners with clients brings down regulatory wrath, not just on the individual concerned, but also on the firm employing him or her.

DBS, another quoted firm of IFAs, has been fined severely for rule breaches.

Inter-Alliance's shares could show a lucrative return, but it's not for widows and orphans.

The elusive quality of the defence document in the bid by Bupa for Care First over the weekend, may give the impression of a side that has already thrown in the towel.

Bupa's offer, is, by any standards, generous. Few shareholders will feel able to resist the all cash offer at 150p.

Bupa says it can afford to pay this sort of money, because it can afford to take a long-term view. It is a curious irony that when companies say they are willing to do this, they are lambasted for paying over the odds. Bupa is impervious to such criticism, of course, because of its private status. It can do very much what it wants to do.

However, it would be understandable if there were some chief executives out there who rued the decision by Bupa not to bid for them.

The exit price on their share option packages would be unlikely to be matched by another bidder.

The only other option - a rival bid - is unlikely for that very reason. There were prospects former chief executive Chai Patel might be able to mount some sort of rival offer, but hopes of that are fading.

But if you are a Care First shareholder, better to be safe than sorry. Hang on to your shares, just in case of an improved offer.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor