Category: Stock Watch

KAINOS

THE SETTING Kainos (Greek for fresh, innovative) was launched in 1986 when the old British IT champion ICL recognised the quality of computer science graduates from Queen’s University Belfast. ICL had a new project involving electricity network analysis and Queen’s had just set up one of the first university incubator companies, Qubis, which was keen […]

Hidden potential in new division

Richard analyses Bloomsbury Publishing’s segmental report to work out where the profit is coming from. The Harry Potter effect is still evident, but the company is conjuring up another source of profit without recourse to magic. My last article ended on something of a cliffhanger because I had found something out, but I did not […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: AG Barr

Quality companies undergoing temporary problems can often become attractive investment opportunities. On that basis, perhaps AG Barr is worth closer inspection. The soft-drinks manufacturer famous for Irn-Bru recently warned that profits would be lower than expected… and the share price plunged accordingly: However, AG Barr does boast a quality track record. During the last 40 […]

How to work out whether a firm is good acquirer

Richard uses a trick from Judges Scientific’s playbook to assess local hero Scientific Digital Imaging. Both companies acquire scientific instrument manufacturers using a “buy and build strategy”. Last month we worked out how to populate Google Maps with SharePad data to find local companies to invest in. Today, we will take the process a stage […]

Checking the numbers match the story

One thing we should always check is that a company’s long-term performance matches the story it tells us. Churchill China says it is “adding value” to tableware, a horrible bit of jargon that is easily corroborated in SharePad. I received a nasty shock last time I reviewed one of my long-standing investments. Familiarity, I said, […]

Portmeirion: When confidence crumbles

SharePad is not just about discovering new shares, it can help us see shares we are familiar with in a new light. Richard uses it to re-evaluate old favourite Portmeirion and his confidence begins to crumble even before events take a nasty turn… This week, and in a fortnight’s time, we will look at two […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Abcam

Today I have returned to the share screen I employed to pinpoint Victrex the other week. To quickly recap, this screen applies two ratios favoured by ‘quality’ investors — operating margin and return on equity (ROE). The exact criteria I re-used were: 1) An operating margin (latest and 10-year average) of 20% or more, and; […]

Bodycote: A stalwart in cyclical clothing

Richard investigates a company that not only walks the walk, it talks the talk. I am not going to lie, even if it means shattering the illusion investors are cool rational calculating machines. I experienced a prolonged period of joy when I started investigating Bodycote. Snared by my Fundsmith filter, the company not only walks […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Victrex

This week I am tracking down a potential long-term winner by employing two ratios favoured by ‘quality’ investors. The first measure is operating margin, which represents the percentage of sales converted into profit. In theory, a company exhibiting a high operating margin may enjoy pricing power over customers — which in turn may indicate a […]

RM: Will profit endure?

Richard considers whether the supplier of educational resources and software services can sustain profitability and reignite growth. There’s a good chance, he thinks, which makes RM an intriguing proposition at its current valuation. In my last article, we took a tour through SharePad and RM’s annual report to check its profit was real. RM is […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Renishaw

I am convinced the very best shares to own are often led by executives who truly act in the interests of ordinary shareholders. In particular, bosses who: * do not dilute investors by issuing shares willy-nilly; * create dependable returns through a rising dividend, and; * own a lot of shares themselves… …should deliver better […]

RM: Is profit real?

Richard investigates RM, one of the stock market’s great survivors, starting with just one question. It takes him on a twisty trail… Before we get into the numbers, some reasons why RM, a supplier of 50,000 educational products and IT to schools and nurseries and on-screen marking services to exam boards, is worthy of investigation: […]

Moneysupermaaaaaaahhhhhhket

The veteran price comparison company is changing, and maybe for the better. Richard investigates one of the companies that easily met the criteria of his Fundsmith filter. I avoid Price Comparison Websites. The notion we should all be like hamsters in a wheel, swapping insurance policies and energy suppliers every year for cheaper alternatives is […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Hargreaves Lansdown

Quality companies often produce exceptional returns for ordinary investors. Just ask Terry Smith or Nick Train. These ace fund managers have delivered wonderful gains by investing in first-class businesses such as Diageo, Reckitt Benckiser and London Stock Exchange. Let’s use SharePad to find a quality company to study for ourselves. Immense figures imply an incredibly […]

Starting with the big picture

Richard starts his analysis of fast growing online beach holiday retailer On The Beach with new SharePad views designed to give him the big picture at a glance. Before I start dreaming about holidays, some humble pie. A few weeks ago I ridiculed the idea of using more than three SharePad windows by suggesting they […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Plus500

Before I start looking at Plus500 (LSE: PLUS), I have some good news…. …you can now employ my SharePad screening criteria with just a few clicks! The process involves SharePad’s amazing Filter library. This facility gives you complete access to numerous pre-defined filters that have been used within various SharePad articles. Just follow these instructions […]

Assessing whether profit is real

On the face of it Ricardo is a great company, but in recent years its earnings have deviated a long way from the cold hard cash that has flowed into the company. That may be changing. Though I don’t normally pay much attention to share prices, a 40% slump in the price of Ricardo values […]

Two good companies, but which is better?

Richard takes a first look at Softcat, and he likes what he sees, even in comparison to rival Computacenter, another fine business. Both companies make good money distributing IT, but in Softcat he may have spotted a company with a growth culture. I wrote favourably about Computacenter in October, so I have two good reasons […]

Searching SharePad for something special

Richard Beddard investigates DotDigital in SharePad. The data indicates it has been very prosperous since it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2011. A surge in investment suggests it intends to keep things that way. The starting point for many of the ideas I discover in SharePad is a basic four stage process that […]

What really makes a great business?

To identify great businesses we must go beyond the numbers and understand what causes them. In this article I revisit 4Imprint, an investment I should have made in 2013, and a business probably still worthy of investment today. Back in May 2013 I wrote excitedly about a company selling promotional products to US companies. 4Imprint’s […]

Evaluating a hot tip

Psst, company XYZ is going great guns, it’s shooting for the moon, get in before it is too late!!! In today’s article, Richard uses SharePad to evaluate Clipper Logistics, a tip he received anonymously on the Internet. Tips passed online are sometimes little more than ramps, invitations to boost the tipster’s wealth by buying shares […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: PayPoint

I don’t know about your shares, but my portfolio was thumped during this month’s market sell-off. The drubbing prompted me to consider whether I should remain invested in my racy growth stocks and contrarian recovery plays — or seek out some alternative opportunities instead. My latest SharePad trawling has therefore centred on dividends — which […]

When dull businesses come good

Stroll into a WH Smith and you might wonder why a shop that sells Sellotape, colouring books and slime (really!) exists today, but the company thrives. Smith’s creeping reinvention is an example to investors seeking to profit from businesses people casually write off because they see no future in them. Perhaps Computacenter is another. The […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: Character

My SharePad screening for buying opportunities has short-listed Character (LSE: CCT) as a possible longer-term investment. The attraction here is a quite extraordinary story about buybacks. You see, since 2006, this small-cap has bought back shares every year to reduce its overall share count by a huge 60%. What’s more, the purchases have been an […]

Screening For My Next Long-Term Winner: CMC Markets

In this article I continue my hunt for shares that could deliver market-beating returns… …and this time my SharePad system has identified CMC Markets (LSE: CMCX) as a potential longer-term investment. CMC is a high-margin, cash-rich and owner-run business that I believe could sit well within a diversified income portfolio — despite the firm’s earnings […]

Screening for my next long-term winner: Ramsdens

I am always hunting for great shares that could power ahead of the market during the years to come… …and just few days ago, my SharePad set-up pinpointed Ramsdens (LSE: RFX) as a contender for my long-term portfolio. Ramsdens is a small-cap that boasts cash-rich accounts, a seasoned chief exec, respectable prospects, and a rather […]

Stock Watch – Portmeirion

Portmeirion Group is based in Stoke on Trent and is a leading maker of homeware products such as tableware, cookware, placemats, candles and fragrances. It trades under some well-known brand names such as Portmeirion, Royal Worcester, Pimpernel, Spode and Wax Lyrical. Around half its products are manufactured at its own site in Stoke on Trent […]

Stock Watch: Hill & Smith Holdings

Shares in Hill & Smith Holdings (LSE:HILS) have been a very solid investment in recent years. The company’s strategy of focusing on niche infrastructure markets with significant regulation and health and safety characteristics has seen its businesses grow and become increasingly profitable. Total returns to shareholders have increased by 258% over the last five years. […]

Face-off: Tenpin versus Hollywood Bowl

Tenpin bowling chains are like London buses. You wait around for years and then two of them list almost at the same time. Phil Oakley has already reviewed the UK’s biggest operator, Hollywood Bowl, but there’s more to be learned from the number two. Private equity owners of companies tend to list them on the […]

Stock Watch: Superdry

Superdry wants to create a global lifestyle brand by selling premium, high quality and affordable clothing to people. Its brand may not be as recognisable as leading sportswear brands such as Nike or outdoor brands such as North Face but its distinctive logos with Americana and Japanese graphics are not an uncommon sight. Superdry is […]

Stock Watch: InterContinental Hotels

Disclosure: At the time of writing I own shares in InterContinental Hotels. InterContinental Hotels (IHG) can trace its roots back to the Bass brewing company. Bass, long known for its ales set about turning itself into a leisure conglomerate with pubs, Gala Bingo, Coral bookmakers and hotels. In 2000, the company sold its brewing business […]

Stock Watch: Cranswick

Cranswick is a UK-based food producer. It specialises in the production and selling of pork and poultry products. The sales mix of its business is as follows: Fresh Pork (34% of sales) – Cranswick is the third largest pig producer in the UK. Its own herd of outdoor reared pigs provides 18% of its own […]

Stock Watch: Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza is a very good business. It has exploited the trend of the growth in take-away pizza superbly and now has a 46% share of the UK’s £2.1 billion pizza market. For many years it has been able to grow its sales and profits whilst producing high profit margins, high returns on capital employed […]

Stock Watch: Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl is the UK’s largest operator of tenpin bowling centres. It currently has 58 centres across the UK with 43 trading under the Hollywood Bowl brand, 4 as Bowlplex and 11 as AMF. In total, these centres have 1,390 bowling lanes. The average size of each centre is around 30,000 square feet with 24 […]

Stock Watch: Galliford Try

Shares in building and construction company Galliford Try have been hammered since it announced its half year results a couple of weeks ago. The results themselves were pretty good but the shares have crashed due to other reasons, namely: Cost overruns in its construction business. A cut in the dividend – albeit a small one. […]

Stock Watch: City Pub Group

(LSE:CPC 196p, Mkt Cap £96.3m, EMS 1500, Analysts 2) City Pub Group listed on AIM back in November. The company currently owns 38 managed pubs situated in London and the south of England. Twenty three of these pubs are freeholds (owned outright by the company) with 15 leased or rented. Thirty three pubs are currently […]

Stockwatch: Avon Rubber

Avon Rubber is a good example of a company that fits into the category of a profitable niche business. It started off as a cloth mill in 1885 but most people will know its name from Avon Tyres which was sold off in 1994. Today it makes its money from selling protective breathing products and […]

Stock Watch: Nichols

Soft drinks company Nichols (AIM:NICL) has been a good share to own over the last few years. It has many of the hallmarks of a high quality business but its shares have been drifting downwards in recent weeks. This seems like a good time to take a closer look at what has been going on […]

Stock Watch: Henry Boot (LSE:Boot)

Henry Boot is a Sheffield-based company which makes money from property and construction activities. It has four main sources of income: Buying land, getting planning permission for it and then selling it to house builders for a profit. Developing commercial property such as warehouses, offices and industrial units. It also has a small house building […]

Stock Watch: Fenner

Over a decade ago when I was a smaller companies analyst in the City, UK engineering company Fenner was part of the portfolio of stocks that I researched. I also got to know the company and its management team reasonably well when I gave up being a stockbroker and went to work for a fund […]

Stock Watch: Elegant Hotels Group

Elegant Hotels is the owner and operator of a number of upmarket hotels on the Caribbean island of Barbados. The company has been in business for a while and was previously listed on the stock exchange under the name of St James’ Beach Hotels until it was bought by a private equity firm in the […]

Stock Watch: Redrow

The state of the housing market – and the direction of house prices in particular – is a key driver of Britain’s economy. When house prices are going up, people feel wealthier, banks are happy to lend money against property and economic activity tends to increase. More houses are built, more people move home, more […]

Stock Watch: Scapa Group

Scapa Group has transformed itself over the last few years by following a strategy of offering more value to its customers. It has worked well and has seen a significant boost in profits which has helped to make its shares an exceptional investment. The business Scapa Group describes itself as a supplier of bonding solutions […]

Stock Watch: Ashtead Group

Ashtead makes its money by renting out equipment to construction and industrial companies – things like aerial platforms, forklift trucks, tools, diggers, cranes, power generators and pumps. It makes most of its profits in America and its shares have been a terrific investment. They have been a proverbial ten bagger over the last decade. After […]

Stock Watch: Castings

Castings plc is a foundry business. Foundries are factories which produce metal castings. Castings has two in the UK – in the West Midlands and South Yorkshire – which take scrap steel and alloys and turn them into castings up to 40kg in weight. It also has a machining business which allows it to turn […]

Stock Watch: RPC

RPC (rigid plastic containers) designs and manufacturers plastic products for packaging markets. The company makes thousands of different products such as plastic bottles, food containers, plastic tubes, paint containers, wheelie bins and bin liners. Plastic is everywhere in our lives and there is a good chance that most of us use or come across an […]

Stock Watch: James Halstead

James Halstead has been in business since 1915. It started out dyeing, finishing, waterproofing and rubberising textiles that were used in rainwear and outdoor clothing. Today it has established itself as a leading manufacturer and distributor of high quality flooring for commercial, contract and domestic markets. Its main commercial brand is its Polyflor vinyl flooring […]

Stock Watch: Watkins Jones

Stock Watch: Watkins Jones Watkins Jones is a property developer, best known for building private student accommodation. It floated on AIM in March 2016. The company makes money from three sources at the moment: Building student accommodation units for professional investors Managing student accommodation units for professional investors Building private residential accommodation The bulk of […]

Stock Watch: Howden Joinery Group (Howdens)

Howden Joinery Group is the parent company for Howdens. Howdens was established in 1995 with 14 depots by its current chief executive Matthew Ingle when the business was part of the MFI Group. MFI was sold off in 2006 but the company (it was known as Galiform back then) was responsible for some significant onerous […]

Stock Watch: Smart Metering Systems (AIM:SMS)

I recently wrote about Smart Metering Systems in my exclusive weekly newsletter for SharePad and ShareScope customers. It’s an interesting company so I have decided to dedicate a Stock Watch to it. Smart Metering Systems (SMS) has been in business since 1995. The company’s roots were established following the deregulation of the domestic gas meter […]

Stock Watch: FW Thorpe

FW Thorpe was founded in 1936 and has been listed on the stock exchange since 1965. The company designs and manufactures professional lighting systems for commercial markets. It has been very successful in carving out a profitable niche for itself and its shares have proven to be a very decent long term investment. What makes […]

Stock Watch: FW Thorpe

FW Thorpe was founded in 1936 and has been listed on the stock exchange since 1965. The company designs and manufactures professional lighting systems for commercial markets. It has been very successful in carving out a profitable niche for itself and its shares have proven to be a very decent long term investment. What makes […]

Stock Watch: XP Power

XP Power is based is headquartered in Singapore and has manufacturing sites in Vietnam and China. The company makes power control systems which convert power from an electrical mains supply to a safe level to be used in its customers’ products. It sells its products into the Industrial, Healthcare and Technology sector where they are […]

Stock Watch: Treatt plc (LSE:TET)

Treatt plc has been in business since 1886. Based in Bury St Edmunds, the company specialises in making and selling products based on essential oils. It takes natural plant oils such as orange, lime, peppermint and eucalyptus and uses them to create flavours and fragrances to sell to consumer goods companies. These flavours and fragrances […]

Kraft-Heinz’s bid for Unilever

Disclosure: Phil Oakley owns shares in Unilever Last week’s bid by US food company Kraft-Heinz for Unilever caught many investors by surprise. But in retrospect maybe it shouldn’t have. The bid came in response to the difficulties that many large consumer goods companies are facing right now. It also tells investors a great deal about […]

Does Tesco buying Booker make sense?

Mergers and takeovers are part and parcel of the investing world. However, I think it’s fair to say that last week’s (27th January 2017) announcement that supermarket giant Tesco (LSE:TSCO) was buying cash and carry operator Booker (LSE:BOK) was something of a surprise. Takeovers or acquisitions as they are commonly known are a very grey area for investors. Are […]