Lamont Holdings: last year's look

City Talk

MOYGASHEL, once the hip alternative to linen, seems out of fashion, at least on recent results from Lamont Holdings. The company, whose mainstream business is property textiles - heavy-duty carpets and the like - also has a fashion exposure through its ownership of the Moygashel brand.

Unfortunately, a move away from pure linens to linen mixes over the summer caught management on the hop, creating a jump in stocks. Profits at the unit halved, prompting a precipitate decline in the shares, to 235p on Friday, down from 360p a year ago. Only a pounds 4.4m profit on a property joint venture kept the figures respectable. But brokers have cut back estimates, and now see the year end coming in at around pounds 10m. The shares are a sell.

TODAY is a big day for Manchester United fans, as Eric Cantona returns to Old Trafford against Liverpool in his first game following his eight- month ban for a kung fu attack on a Crystal Palace fan. But an even bigger day for shareholders is Tuesday, when the club reports full-year figures to the end of July. The City is confident of another cracking result, with house broker Smith New Court forecasting pre-tax profits of pounds 18.8m, up from pounds 10.8m the previous year.

Whatever the outcome, the figures should give some support to the price, after the team's disappointing early departure from the UEFA Cup competition, in the defeat to Rotor Volgograd. After their 3-0 defeat to lowly York City, it also looks inevitable that they are out of the Coca-Cola Cup.

The two disasters combined will cost United in the order of pounds 4m in lost revenues, most of which will hit the bottom line directly.

Capacity at Old Trafford is also reduced while the club redevelops the North End, depriving it of bread-and-butter income. Despite the return of Cantona, the odds of them lifting another major trophy this season are stacked against them. At 206p, the shares are only for diehards.

WHILE the new-issue pipeline is choc-a-bloc with venture capital and Alternative Investment Market trusts, one current flotation to stand out is Morrison Construction. The Edinburgh-based firm this week set its float price at 115p a share, to value the business at almost pounds 77m. Morrison, one of the UK's largest privately-owned construction groups, is being floated through a placing and intermediaries offer worth pounds 25m, of which pounds 20m is new capital.

Intermediaries only have pounds 2.5m of stock, and the offer closes on Wednesday morning, so if you want to buy shares at the offer price, you will have to move quickly. That said, current jitters in the market and the sector should see the shares remain steady for the first few days of trading.

But they clearly appeal on several counts. Morrison has managed to make profits in each of the past five years - not a boast all its peers can make. Management also has an innovative approach to tendering, refusing to take on contracts at below cost, a policy which has bedevilled rivals in the sector.

BRITISH-BORNEO has been one of the fastest-growing small independent oil and gas companies. Sales have climbed rapidly to the pounds 20m reported at the interim stage, and its reserves would make an attractive addition to many larger companies' portfolios. Although the shares have enjoyed a good run over the past year, the downside is limited. At 282p, there is more to come.

THE outlook for Cable & Wireless grows less favourable by the day. News of a pounds 1.2bn restructuring charge at its French rival Alcatel Alstholm, and a Fr1.23bn loss for the first half, further undermined confidence in the stock.

Nor did uncertainty around Vodafone help, while the mega-demerger of AT&T in the US has upped the competition. Meanwhile, C&W has little concrete to show for its expansion into mobile telephony, and its crown jewel, its majority stake in Hong Kong Telecom, is unlikely to find a buyer given the current political uncertainty in the colony.

City pressure for the company to do something, anything, to correct the impression of a floundering management is mounting. There remains the possibility of a sale of Mercury, but problems in that business do not augur well for the price. So the shares, at 417p, remain unloved. Sell.

A CHANGE of heart by Kleinwort Benson insurance analyst Julianne Jessup towards broker Sedgwick reflects growing disenchantment with the sector. While insurers have seen premium rates harden, brokers have stayed in the cold. Sedgwick's shares reached a five-year low on Friday, at 108p; Ms Jessup believes there will be no dividend growth for three years, and has cut the shares from long-term buy to hold. Kleinwort also cut its profits forecast for 1996 to pounds 85m from pounds 100m. Steer clear.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Jemma Gent: Project Coordinator

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: In this role you will report to the Head of...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable