Company News

JD Wetherspoon Results and Directors Reappointed at Edge Performance VCT

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) published their results for the year on Friday (13/9/2019). The revenue figures were very positive with like-for-like sales up 6.8%, overall revenue up 7.4% and earnings...

Open Orphan, Operation Yellowhammer and a Bridge to Ireland

Last night I attended a ShareSoc company presentation seminar. One of the companies that presented was Open Orphan (ORPH) which used to be called Venn Life Sciences but changed name after a reverse takeover of Open Orphan and a change of CEO. The new focus is on orphan drugs which are those medications that are focused on rare diseases, i.e. those with relatively few patients and where historically there have been few treatments available and typically very little research. Big pharma ...

3i – Well Managed and Well Incentivised

The 8 times increase in the 3i share price in the past 10 years means that 3i is one of the largest holdings in my portfolio. So I thought I ought to read the annual report of this £11 billion market cap company. CEO Simon Borrows has accumulated £160 million of 3i shares and is therefore very well aligned with shareholders. His annual pay is around the £7 million mark, but most of this is performance based and paid in shares. He ...

Victoria AGM, Dunelm Results and Brexit Impacts

I attended the Annual General Meeting of Victoria (VCP) in central London yesterday. I have held a few shares in this producer of carpets and tiles since the revolution that installed Geoff Wilding as Executive Chairman a few years ago. He did a great job of turning the business around but the share price fell back sharply last October over concerns about the level of debt and a failed bond issue to replace bank debt which cost £7.3 million. As Mr ...

CentralNic, Photo-Me and Nationalisations

Firstly, lets talk about a couple of companies in which I hold no shares. CentralNic (CNIC) published interim results this morning. This company sells internet domain names and web services. It states that both revenues and adjusted EBITDA have tripled year on year. The share price has not moved at the time of writing. This company is surely operating in a growth sector but the company’s share price is less than it was 5 years ago. The company has been growing via ...

D4T4 Solutions AGM

This morning (22nd August) I attended the Annual General Meeting of D4T4 Solutions Plc (D4T4) at their offices in Sunbury-on-Thames. This is an AIM-listed niche software solutions business which has been listed since 1997, originally on the main market under the name IS Solutions. I did hold the shares years ago but recently bought back a few as the acquisition of Celebrus gives it some real IP as opposed to it being primarily a service business as it used to be. ...

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 ...