The data looks promising for MR

Since Colin Haylock took over as chief executive in 1995, shares in MR - formerly MR Data Management - have managed to stage something of a renaissance. From languishing at 55p, following two years of undistinguished results, they have subsequently recovered to reach 88.5p.

The question now is whether, if he can sort out any remaining problems at the group, Mr Haylock can deliver on his promises of expanding. He sees the future for MR as an overall document manager for businesses - from the old MR speciality of microfilm archives, to outsourcing and data capture. New technology will play a large part in the plan, and the group wants to move ahead with small acquisitions in areas where it is still weak. His promise is that MR will be a changed company within two years, or else it will have failed its shareholders. If it works, profits will be back on a strong upward trend again. Worth backing.

ON TO A gourmet treat for lovers of Chinese and Thai food: Oriental Restaurant Group comes to the market next week via a placing at 154p to raise pounds 4m, valuing the business at pounds 14.7m. It combines a wholesale Thai food business for the Thai restaurant industry inside the M25, alongside a restaurant division, with restaurants, one in Soho, and three in the City of London. Given the combination of quality food, and a premium pricing policy, the group could do well.

A NEW report from Klesch & Co - the specialist debt trader, which follows the fortunes of companies going through difficult times - reckons Queens Moat Houses (18p) is doing its best at an operating level. But the prospects of it reaching its targets for paying down its mountainous debts on time look worse than ever.

Negative net worth of pounds 198.5m lies uneasily alongside a market capitalisation for the shares of pounds 74m. Although the report concentrates on the value of the company's debt, the message to equity investors is stark: at these levels, the shares are grossly overvalued. Avoid.

ON Wednesday, JJB Sports, a leading independent sports retailer, announces interim figures for the six months to 31 July. The market has pencilled in pre-tax profits of pounds 6.5m. Euro 96, the Olympic Games, and the presence of British tennis number one Tim Henman, says the company, have all boosted sales.

With pre-tax profits having grown strongly since it was floated in 1994 at 215p, the shares, at 280p, although on a premium, remain attractive.

BY CONTRAST, figures this week from another retailer, House of Fraser (151.5p), are unlikely to set the pulse racing. Losses are set to rise to around pounds 3m (pounds 0.5m), on sales of pounds 330m (pounds 322.6m), for the six months to July.

The new group chief executive will also publish the findings of a strategic review. Even if there is some good news, HoF has yet to have the look of any of the other retail recovery stories of the last few years. Avoid.

SHARES in JBA, the software developer, are on an expensive rating, at around 25 times forecast earnings for 1996. Given their rise from around 150p, to 509p currently, clearly there is a weight of expectations on the company. At the recent full-year results, sales of pounds 124.7m (pounds 90.7m), gave rise to pre-tax profits of pounds 8.7m (pounds 6.13m).

It seems the business is well ahead in its plans to develop a global presence, given added credibility by its strong ties to IBM. Some exciting prospects are also in store in continental Europe. Although net debt rose to pounds 17.3m from pounds 8m - high for a software house - the bulk of current development costs should now be tailing off. So JBA should be able to boost its cashflow strongly as well over the next two years. Pricey, but the shares are a tentative buy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high