Company News

Ventus VCT AGMs – A Disappointing Result, National Grid and Sports Direct

I have mentioned previously the attempt by a shareholder in the Ventus VCTs (VEN and VEN2) to start a revolution, i.e. replace all the directors and appoint new ones. See https://tinyurl.com/y6e5fafo . Nick Curtis was the leader of the revolt but at the AGMs on the 8th August the required resolutions were narrowly defeated with one exception. This was after the boards of these companies paid a proxy advisory service £38,000 to canvas shareholders, which of course shareholders will be paying ...

Burford Capital, Goals Soccer Centres, Carillion, and Why Numbers Are Not Important

To follow on from my previous comments this morning on Burford Capital (BUR), this is a typical “shorting” attack where the shorter (Muddy Waters) and their supporters make a lot of allegations which investors are unable to verify in any useful time frame. I certainly questioned the accounting approach used by Burford and other litigation finance firms as I commented on it back in June, but disentangling the factual accusations in the Muddy Waters dossier from innuendo and comment is not ...

Market Crashes and Burford Capital

Investors might have been panicked by the recent market falls driven by the US/China trade wars, Brexit and gloomy economic forecasts. As usual, the UK market is led by the US markets. The S&P 500 is down 5% since the 26th July even though there was a slight bounce upwards yesterday. There can be few readers portfolios which have not suffered some impact because there were few stocks that did not fall. Now I am an inveterate trend follower so how did ...

IQE, The Long and the Short of IQE?

I see that T Rowe Price now owns 17% of IQE, but has lent out 4.75%. The amount it has lent out reduced from 5% to 4.75% on 25 July 2019. see https://www.voxmarkets.co.uk/rns/announcement/6f11c0e6-1401-419b-b9c5-e19356c177fc/ On 24 July, Coltrane Asset Management, L.P. increased its short position from 4.10% to 4.33%. So will someone who is short be squeezed, as you cannot short a stock unless someone agrees to lend the share? I read this as T Rowe is a long term holder of IQE, but happy ...

Brexit Investment Strategies

Investors may have noticed that the pound is in free fall and heading towards US$1.20. That’s near the low after the initial Brexit vote. Pundits, not that they can be relied on for forex forecasts, suggest it could go lower now that we seem to be heading for a “no-deal” Brexit. With the pound falling, and potential damage to the UK economy from a hard Brexit, investors should surely have been avoiding companies reliant on UK sales, or UK consumers, or those ...

New Stockopedia Version and Abcam Trading Update

Like many private investors, I use the Stockopedia software to provide me with a summary of key financial information on a company. I also use it to provide “alerts” on price changes and for occasional stock screening. It’s one of the key elements in my share portfolio management. It has always been quick and easy to use, without too much complexity. They have just released a new version of the software that now supports mobile devices much better – that was ...

Pay at HSBC and Santander, Net Worth, Duplicate Dividends and Persimmon

Apparently bankers still live in an unreal world so far as most of us are concerned, even after the financial crisis of ten years ago when their remuneration was attacked. The Financial Times covered two stories on the pay of bankers in today’s edition (16/7/2019). The first was on the opposition to pay at Standard Chartered and comments from the CEO, Bill Winters, on it after a vote of almost 40% against their pay policy in May. The concern is mainly ...

Daily Mail, 14 July 2019, Thomas Cook – misleading investors?

Cliff Weight asks if Thomas Cook were misleading investors and if the FCA should investigate. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-7246503/Thomas-Cook-slammed-misleading-investors-lifeline.html The 3 May RNS looks unduly optimistic in the light of today’s announcement. Thomas Cook’s directors need to be held to account for making such positive statements, which may have misled many individual investors. The shares were shorted over 10% before the 12 July announcement. This suggests the directors were slow to act to inform the market. Individual investors have a right to be treated fairly and prima ...

Renold Accounts, Audit Quality and Abnormal Price Movements

Chain maker Renold (RNO) has provided the latest example of sloppy accounting work. On the 9th July it reported that it had identified accounting issues in the three years ending March 2017, 2018 and 2019. Assets and profits were overstated and liabilities were understated in the Torque Transmission division. In total adjusted operating profits were overstated by £1.8 million. As a result the AGM is being postponed to give time for revising the Annual Accounts. Their auditors are Deloitte. The Financial Reporting ...

Bonmarché Update, FCA Grilling over Woodford and Amati AIM VCT AGM

Yesterday Bonmarché (BON) conceded defeat in its opposition to a takeover bid at 11.4p. On the 17th May it had rejected the bid because it “materially undervalues Bonmarché and its prospects”. The share price of this women’s clothing retailer was over 100p a year ago but the latest trading review suggests sales are dire because of underlying weakness in the clothing market and “a lack of seasonal weather”. Auditors might have qualified the accounts due to be published soon due to ...