Stagecoach was just the ticket
Sunday 05 January 1997
Paul Rodgers' selection of Stagecoach was not only inspired but also earned him the accolade of Fleet Street's top new year tipster.
For founders Brian Souter and Ann Gloag, 1996 was a momentous year. In a pounds 650m spree, the group snapped up Sweden's company Swebus, the South West Trains franchise and the newly privatised Porterbrook train leasing company.
Analysts are forecasting profits of more than pounds 110m for 1996/97, up from pounds 44m, and an impressive 30 per cent rise in earnings per share. Now worth pounds 1.7bn, after just 10 years Stagecoach stands on the brink of the FT-SE 100 index and appears to have further to go.
Patrick Tooher also came up trumps. Indeed, a strong year-end rally from bio-technology company Cantab Pharmaceuticals almost took top honours. Cantab is developing vaccines for cervical cancer and genital warts and a link-up last year with SmithKline Beecham - on top of a deal with Pfizer - sent the stock skywards. Promising test results also gave Cantab an early Christmas present in November.
My own tip, Trafalgar House, also delivered. After years of being voted Britain's worst company, a pounds 900m bid from Norway's Kvaerner in March finally put investors out of their misery. I am adopting a similar strategy (above) this year and do feel a little aggrieved: in the real world, of course, I would have sunk all the proceeds into Stagecoach and beaten Mr Rodgers hands down.
Steve Lodge might have done the same. Pet City was the second of our tips to be taken over. The out-of-town chain was only floated on AIM in late 1995 and fell to a pounds 150m bid from Petsmart of the US in October.
Allied Leisure rewarded Derek Pain with a good run, paying dividends under new management for the first time in three years. However, Capital Radio and Group Chez Gerard, tipped by Mathew Horsman and Roger Trapp, failed to live up to bid hopes.
We had seven disappointments, four of them blue chips, including Hanson, the worst- performing FT-SE 100 share.
John Shepherd, our runaway 1995 winner, came unstuck with Saltire, as did Tom Stevenson with Self Sealing Systems, an AIM newcomer which makes machines for balloons without knots. With concerns over the quality of AIM entrants, we are avoiding the junior market this year.
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
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