Company News

Acquittals Over Tesco Fraud

Yesterday (6/12/2018) was another sad day for those who would like to stop false accounts being published by public companies. Two former executives of Tesco who had been charged with their involvement in the inflating of Tesco’s profits by including supplier credits were discharged by the court on the basis that they had no case to answer. The judge, Sir John Royce, said the case was so weak that it should not be put to a jury. It appears that the problem ...

Banks Claims Group Limited, FCA and RBS

Neil Mitchell, who ran Torex Retail before he blew the whistle on an earlier fraud at the software company and RBS’s Global Restructuring Group took control of the business, has applied for a judicial review of a UK Financial Conduct Authority decision in July that its options for taking action were “limited”. Neil, who claims to represent 530 complainants affected by alleged wrongdoing at GRG, alleges in his judicial review application that the FCA has been “unlawfully refusing or failing” to ...

Bellway AGM for Early Risers Only

Should Annual General Meetings of companies be held at reasonably convenient locations and on convenient dates and times so that as many shareholders as possible can attend? Most private shareholders certainly think so. But Bellway (BWY) seem to be taking the opposite approach. Their 2016 AGM was at the very sensible and easily achievable time of 2pm in the afternoon so all shareholders hoping to attend could actually meet the directors and ask questions. They could travel from all over the country ...

Autonomy, FRC Meeting, Retailers and Brexit Legal Advice

The big news last Friday (30/11/2018) was that former CEO Mike Lynch has been charged with fraud in the USA over the accounts of Autonomy. That company was purchased by Hewlett Packard who promptly proceeded to write off most of the cost – see this blog post for more information: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/regulations-and-law/belated-action-by-frc-re-autonomy/. As this was a UK company, are we anywhere nearer a hearing in the UK over the alleged “creative accounting” that took place at the company and the failure of the ...

EMIS Investor Event

On Thursday (29/11/2018) I attended the EMIS Group (EMIS) Capital Markets Day at the London Stock Exchange. Having held shares in the company since 2011, this was a great opportunity to get an update on the situation of the company and its future plans. First some background. EMIS is best known as the provider of software that general practitioners use – EMIS Web (primary care). That has more than 50% of the UK GP market. But the company also has many other ...

AJ Bell and FinnCap IPOs

Here are some comments on the IPOs of AJ Bell and FinnCap which are open to private investors ̶ the former to any of their clients who wish to put in £1,000 or more. The latter can be purchased from the PrimaryBid platform. Bearing in mind that I have previously said that you should never invest in IPOs (see my comment on Aston Martin which was certainly right as the shares are now down over 20% since IPO here: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/company-news/the-market-dunedin-and-standard-life-smaller-companies-merger-and-aston-martin-ipo/ ), these ...

British Smaller Companies VCT Offer

It’s that time of year when share subscription offers for Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) tend to be launched. One of the first is that for the British Smaller Companies VCT (BSV). This one that has shown a relatively good performance for a generalist VCT – share price total return of 225 over ten years according to the AIC compared with a sector performance of 136. It also has a high dividend yield and a narrow discount to NAV. However I have ...

Majestic Wine, Brexit, Proxy Voting and Inheritance Tax Simplification

Majestic Wine (WINE) issued their interim results yesterday (22/11/2018). I no longer hold the shares but I am a customer of theirs. The financial results were disappointing with adjusted...

Too Much Cash, Wey Education and Patisserie Accounts

Are you stacked up with cash in your ISAs, SIPPs, and direct portfolios? As a dedicated follower of fashion (if the markets are falling as investors sell, then so do I) it is of some concern that the cash is not earning any interest. There was some relatively good news yesterday from soon to be listed A.J.Bell Youinvest. They are increasing the interest they pay on cash held in portfolios. Previously you got 0.05% on balances more than £50,000. It will ...

Johnston Press and TrakM8

Over the weekend, Johnston Press (JPR) was put into administration and immediately sold to a new group of companies controlled by the company’s bondholders. In other words this looks like a typical “pre-pack” administration where a company does not go through a proper administration process with an open sales process but is flogged off to in a fire sale to those who already know the business and see an opportunity to collect a bargain. Trade creditors will lose their money, shareholders will ...