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ShareSoc Blog

This blog gives you the latest topical news plus some informal comments on them from ShareSoc’s directors and other contributors. These are the personal comments of the authors and not necessarily the considered views of ShareSoc. The writers may hold shares in the companies mentioned. You can add your own comments on the blog posts, but note that ShareSoc reserves the right to remove or edit comments where they are inappropriate or defamatory.

There is more news given in the News page of our web site and more analysis of news is provided in our monthly newsletter for members – see the Newsletters page.

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Halma (HLMA) and Return on Capital

Recently, I talked about Diploma (DPLM) and their calculation of adjusted return on capital. This morning Halma (HLMA) published their half year results and they also have a strong emphasis on return on capital, but in this case they call it “ROTIC” (Return On Total Invested Capital). This was down slightly at 13.4% and they define it as Adjusted Profit After Tax divided by Total Invested Capital. The latter is shareholders funds, plus retirement benefit obligations, less deferred tax assets, plus ...

Diploma (DPLM) and Return on Capital

Diploma Plc, a supplier of specialist technical products, issued its preliminary results for the year to the end of September today (20/11/2017). This company may not be a household name and hence can fall under the radar of investors. But it has demonstrated a consistent track record in recent years. Today was no exception. Adjusted earning per share were up 19%, and revenue was up 18%, although a significant proportion of the improvement was down to currency movements (they are a ...

Should You Invest In Art?

Following the sale of a Leonardo da Vinci painting for $450 million, those readers who like to speculate might think that investing in art may be worth trying. This was a painting that sold for only £58 in 1958, perhaps because its authenticity was doubted and it had been “overpainted” in some areas. It’s now been restored but it’s far from perfect even so.It is now the most expensive painting ever sold. Back in 1987, the most expensive painting ever sold ...

Abcam AGM, Cambridge Cognition, Ultra Electronics, Wey Education and IDOX

Yesterday I attended the Annual General Meeting of Abcam (ABC) in Cambridge as I often do as I have held the stock since 2006. Share price then (adjusted for consolidation) was about 50p and it’s now about 950p so I, like most investors in the company, am happy. Alex Lawson has done a full write-up of the meeting for ShareSoc, which is available to our full members here, so I will only cover a few points herein.One shareholder expressed concern about ...

Round up on recent FRC and FCA developments

Our event at the FRC on 21 November, when the FRC will explain what they do and listen to members’ feedback, is a sellout and we are now operating a waiting list. Below is a roundup of recent FRC and FCA developments, to inform attendees and help guide questioning.FRC says corporate reporting could still be improvedIn its annual review of corporate reporting, the FRC said disclosures by large listed UK companies are generally good but detailed explanations and clarity could still ...

VCTs – Possible budget changes and pre-planning our response

The autumn statement/budget on 22nd November is getting closer, so we may soon learn the government's views on patient capital.At a Proven VCT meeting on 1 November the VCT manager, Stuart Veale, seemed certain that something will change for VCTs, but nobody knows what. Richard Waltham spoke to him afterwards to suggest that if the changes are adverse then the main focus for lobbying could move from the Treasury to MPs. It may only take a handful of MPs to trigger ...

National Grid, Johnston Press, Crown Place VCT, Lloyds Bank and LoopUp

I had a busy day yesterday, but let me first comment on the news today. National Grid (NG.) published their half year results this morning. They reported “Adjusted operating profit, excluding timing up 4%....” but statutory earnings per share were down by 12%. What exactly does “adjusted for timing” mean? I have no idea because the announcement does not explain it in any sensible way. For example, it says under “UK Timing”: “Revenues will be impacted by timing of recoveries including ...

Johnston Press, Blancco Technology and Intercede

Companies in difficulties always make for interesting reading, and here’s a brace of them.Firstly Johnston Press (JPR), a publisher of newspapers. That includes many local ones but also the Yorkshire Post and the Scotsman who cover national business news – the latter is particularly good on the travails of those big banks registered in Scotland such as RBS and Lloyds. The company had more operating losses than revenue last year, debt is way too high and dividends have been non-existent for ...

Confessions of a Tax Avoider

There have been extensive reports in the press about revelations contained in the so-called "Paradise Papers".One of the most intriguing of these has been the accusation of tax avoidance levelled at the Duchy of Lancaster, part of the Queen's private estate. I was therefore interested to read the details contained in this article in the Financial Times... and from it, I learnt that I am a tax avoider too! Before moving on to the specific issue, I will just point out ...

EDGE VCT – A Trick or Treat pair of RNSs

EDGE VCT released their half year report on 1st November, and there was no treat for shareholders. The results show yet another drop in NAV, with the valuation of each asset either unchanged or virtually unchanged. The drop therefore is entirely due to dividends and running expenses. (Dividends were paid to H holders and only a fraction of the I holders; the rest were left with an empty sweet bag). The H class now has £ 2.27 mio of net current ...
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