Company News

ShareSoc Sirius Shareholder Group (SSG)

by Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director for Policy and Campaigns ShareSoc has agreed to help individual shareholders in Sirius Minerals. We are seeking shareholders to collectively work together to get the best outcome for all shareholders. ShareSoc have launched the ShareSoc Sirius Shareholder Group to provide whatever support we can. This group is being run by Yashmin Ismail, Chris Spencer Phillips, Paul de Gruchy, Cliff Weight, Mark Jones and Ian Martignetti. We are not opining at this stage on the merits of the proposed Anglo ...

ShareSoc Launches EDGE Performance VCT Campaign

ShareSoc has launched a campaign to improve the performance of Edge Performance VCT Plc (consisting of H and I share classes) and reduce the fees charged by its investment manager, Edge Investments Limited. We are seeking shareholders to: collectively work together to persuade the incumbent directors to make various changes, vote to appoint new directors, vote against various resolutions at the upcoming General Meeting in February 2020. In addition, we seek to persuade Edge Performance VCT to agree a better deal with ...

Serco Charges, Unilever Trading and DotDigital AGM

I like to report on the latest evidence of fraudulent accounting just to remind folks how little one can trust the accounts of companies. I have not mentioned Serco (SRP) previously but it is now reported that two executives of the company have been charged with fraud and false accounting by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The charges related to false reporting of tagging of offenders to the Ministry of Justice and the company has previously entered into a deferred prosecution agreement ...

FRC Fines Grant Thornton £650k, Ted Baker and Tullow

A ShareSoc member emailed us to give his view: This is terrible. Why wouldn’t the FRC name the partner and the company involved, especially when Grant Thornton has been responsible for so many mishaps. We attend meetings with FRC and are always assured things will be different. All that happens is new people takeover, warm the seats for a few years, take the money and move on. In the other article , the former NAO leader Sir Amyas Morse , a former PWC global ...

Profit Warnings at XP Power and Ted Baker, plus Mercia Placing

A number of profit warnings this morning. The most interesting to me was at XP Power (XPP) although I do not hold it. It was interesting because as a former IT Manager it is a good example of how to screw up a business by poor IT management. In this case their problem is an implementation of a new SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The announcement this morning says that some short-term disruption to shipments “will result in revenues and adjusted ...

M&G Property Fund Closed and M&C Saatchi Accounting Problems

The really bad news yesterday for many investors was that the £2.5 billion M&G Property Portfolio Fund had been closed to redemptions. This is of course an open-ended fund where sales of units by investors causes the manager to sell some investments to realise cash to meet those redemptions. The fund holds a number of large retail shopping centres in the portfolio which must be particularly difficult to sell at the present time. The fund has seen withdrawals of over £1 ...

Ted Baker Audit Failure, SRT Marine Big Deals

The bad news this morning for holders of retailer Ted Baker (TED) is that the company has announced an independent review of its inventory. It says it has identified that the value of inventory held on its balance sheet has been overstated. It estimates that the figure is up to £25 million and that it relates to prior years. This looks like yet another audit failure (the auditors are KPMG). The share price is down 10% today at the time of writing ...

General Meeting Requisition at Allied Minds

Crystal Amber Fund (CRS) have requisitioned a General Meeting at Allied Minds (ALM). Allied Minds is an investment company that invests in technology and life science businesses such as university spin-outs focused on the USA. Crystal Amber aim to remove most of the board of Allied Minds and appoint two new directors. They claim the board has not acted in the best interests of shareholders with excessive HQ costs, insufficient excess cash distribution to shareholders and failure to deal with the excessive ...

Blancco Campaign Update #3

Campaign members will be aware that Blancco has published its Report and Accounts for year ending June 2019. They show an improved performance and positive cash flow. As ever, the accounts are complex, with significant adjustments. The bottom line is only positive owing to “post tax profit from discontinued operations”. Goodwill and other intangible assets exceed the book value of shareholders’ equity. Having said that, the new CEO and new CFO seem to have got a grip and boosted revenues. Post ...

Lloyds Shareholders Lose Case

After many months of deliberation, a judge in the High Court has rejected the claims by former Lloyds TSB shareholders over the takeover of HBOS and recapitalisation of the company by the Government. That resulted in major capital losses to Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) shareholders and suspension of the dividends which many private shareholders relied on for income. For those not familiar with the case, this stems from the events in 2008/9 when all banks came under severe financial pressure. HBOS was ...