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 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says 'they messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are handed peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...
£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...
£20400 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and highly reputable organisat...