Company News

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 ...

The Vultures are Circling – Woodford, Carpetright et al

With the demise of the Neil Woodford’s empire and the winding up of the Woodford Equity Income Fund, investors are looking for whom to blame – other than themselves of course for investing in his funds. One target is Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) and other fund platforms who had it on their recommended or “best buy” lists, including long after the fund’s problems were apparent. Now lawyers are only too glad to help in such circumstances and at least two firms have ...

GB Group, Patisserie Holdings, FRC Stewardship Code and Halma

The stock market seems to be in limbo as business waits to see the outcome of Brexit politics. In my portfolio, small cap companies are drifting down and even large funds and trusts have been declining. Is this due to currency effects or the realisation that “star” fund managers such as Neil Woodford cannot be relied upon? Others are just bouncing around. However there was one exception yesterday when GB Group (GBG) jumped 14% after a positive trading statement. That company ...

Brexit Bounce, Green Accreditation, Security Issues and Hargreaves Lansdown AGM

The FTSE and my portfolio jumped up this morning (11th October) on the hope of a Brexit Agreement after all. RBS is up 16% which seems to be a function of euphoria. I think I’ll wait and see the progress of discussions in the next few days before plunging in to buy some more stocks. But if an Agreement is reached then the market is likely to power ahead so keep that cash handy. The London Stock Exchange (LSE) announced today a ...

Murray Income Trust AGM 5 Nov 2019  

Murray Income Trust have launched a campaign trying to encourage shareholders, existing and new, to meet their fund manager and directors at their forthcoming AGM.  ShareSoc are great believers in making AGMs as useful as possible. The Murray Income Trust campaign is welcomed by ShareSoc.  So, I am happy in this blog to give a plug for this AGM and also for their bright idea for their shareholders to bring a friend and have a free lunch.   After your free lunch you can attend ...

Speedy Hire Presentation, Burford Analysis and Treatt Trading Statement

On Tuesday the 1st October I attended a company seminar organised by ShareSoc in Birmingham, mainly to present my new book. But there was an interesting presentation given there by Speedy Hire (SDY). This is not a company I have looked at before because it seemed to be in a sector driven by construction activity which tends to be cyclical and in a fragmented market with few barriers to entry. This is probably why other listed companies in the sector such ...

Ventus Director Changes following ShareSoc campaign

ShareSoc are pleased with the outcomes at Ventus and Ventus 2 VCTs. It appears that following difficult AGMs, the directors have listened to shareholders’ concerns and have come up...

City of London IT, Equals Interims, Paypoint CEO, Downing One VCT and Parliamentary Pandemonium

Having been away on holiday in the North of England last week, this is a catch up on news that impacted my portfolio. I received the Annual Report for City of London Investment Trust (CTY) which is one of my most boring holdings. This is large cap equity growth/income trust managed for many years by Job Curtis and I have held since 2011 – it seems longer. Total return last year was 2.7% which beat most of the comparable indices. But a ...

Intercede AGM and Tech Stock Valuations

Yesterday (18th September) I attended the Annual General Meeting of Intercede Group Plc (IGP) at their offices in Lutterworth. I have held a very few shares in this company since 2010 in the hope that it would be able to turn its identity software solution into a profitable and growing business. Although they have some great major account customers, revenue has been static at around £10 million for the last 5 years and in 2017/18 they reported substantial losses. It always ...