Investment column: Thin margins at ISA
Thursday 18 June 1998
City analysts slashed their forecasts for pre-tax profits to pounds 6m in response and warned of more trouble to come.
ISA's woes are unlikely to ease in the near term. The European market for printer cartridges, toners and similar electronic office supplies, which accounts for the bulk of the company's sales, is highly competitive and margins on these goods are likely to remain depressed.
More traditional office supplies, such as pens and paper, yield higher margins, but ISA is a relative newcomer to the market and will need time to integrate John Heath & Co, the stationery wholesaler it bought in February.
Optimists point out that in the long run, cross-selling of electronic supplies and traditional stationery should bolster profits. Failing that, the slump in shares from their peak of 240p, reached in December 1996, could attract the interest of a predator.
But with most of ISA's competitors struggling with similar problems, it is hard to see where a bid might come from. So, even with its bargain- basement rating of five, ISA looks one to stay well clear of. For those unlucky enough to hold the stock already, however, there does not seem much point in baling out at these low levels.
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 3 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 4 Wimbledon 2015: Dustin Brown knocks Rafael Nadal out of the championship
- 5 Primark and Penny's heir Barry Ryan drowns trying to save his 21-year-old son
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a 'minute of bulls**t'
Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
Worker killed by robot at Volkswagen car factory
BP hit with record $18.7 billion fine over Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...