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.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

Network Engineer - CCNP, Hedge Fund, London

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer - CCNP, Hedge Fu...

Senior Network Engineer-CCIE, Multicast, Low Latency

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-CCIE, Mul...

Network Infrastructure Engineer

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Infrastructure Engineer (...

Network Engineer (CCNP, BGP, Multicast)

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, BGP, Mult...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition