Company News

How many corporate jets does Tesco need?

How many corporate jets does Tesco need? Four is the answer apparently. Every little helps (sic) as is their motto no doubt. The cost of these aircraft has actually risen in recent years and the expenditure on them was £8.9m last year. In addition the company has established a new "corporate" office in the West End of London for meetings rather than have directors travel to Cheshunt (that's just north of London for those who don't know). One has to ask whether they have ...

RBS, Hibu and the unacceptable face of banking

There have been extensive media comments lately on the activities of the Royal Bank of Scotland in lending to smaller businesses, and what they did when those businesses got into financial difficulties. The articles printed focussed on two reports on the activities of RBS - a report commissioned by the bank by Sir Andrew Large, and one by Lawrence Tomlinson* who acts as a consultant to the BIS Department. Both reports, but particularly the latter one, were quite damning about the ...

Pan African Resources AGM Report – a minor victory for shareholders on buy-backs

Pan African Resources is a South African gold mining company, but they are registered in the UK and hence hold their AGMs in London. This year it was at 10.00 am on the 22nd November in the City of London despite shareholders complaining about the 10.00 am start time last year. A full report is here, but here are some of the noteworthy points. Only the Chairman Keith Spencer was present from the directors, and he said the main reason for absence ...

Netcall AGM Report – it was not crowded!

There was no crowd at the Netcall Annual General Meeting today – indeed only me for the meeting, other than the directors and the corporate folks, which was over in about 15 minutes. There would have been a second person but it seems he was in reception and was not told the meeting had started.  A tip for attendees at AGMs – the meeting almost always start on time so if you have not been invited into the room by the ...

Directors’ Pay and Galliford Try – Apathy reigns

The pay of directors in FTSE100 companies continues to power ahead. Up 14% in the past year according to Income Data Services, based on median total remuneration.  This is six times more than the average earnings of all employees. The large increase has been driven by rises in the value of LTIPs (typically share-based pay-outs based on performance measures). These payments are often not at all obvious in Remuneration Reports at present. A good example is Galliford Try, the building company, whose AGM ...

Why should investors not see performance fee details at Northern VCT?

Northern Venture Trust (a VCT) introduced a management performance fee at a General Meeting on the 18th July. They did not have one before even though they had outperformed the very similar Northern 2 VCT over the last ten years who do. I spoke against the introduction of such a fee at the General Meeting, and raised questions about how the fees were to be calculated, as did another shareholder. The calculations were not at all clear from the meeting notice. As ...

Delcam succumbs to takeover offer

Software company Delcam has announced that it is recommending a cash offer of £20.75 per share from Autodesk for the company. That suggests an exit p/e of over 33 based on current year earnings forecasts which is surely enough to gain shareholder acceptance (they already have commitments to vote in favour from over 45% of shareholders). It rather demonstrates the high valuations currently placed on growing and profitable technology companies. ShareSoc first covered this company in our May 2011 newsletter when the ...

Co-Operative Bank Recapitalisation

The Co-Operative Bank has announced details of their revised plans for “recapitalisation” of the bank, which is a euphemism for rescuing it from potential bankruptcy. In effect the previous capital of the bank has been wiped out by dodgy lending, by inept acquisitions such as that of the Britannia B.S. and write-offs of IT expenditure. The existing institutional debt holders will have their debt converted to equity, plus will subscribe additional capital. The Co-Operative Group will put in an additional £462m of ...

Bulletin boards and Globo

I was at the Annual General Meeting of Ideagen yesterday (a full report is here), and happened to talk to one of the advisors present about recent events at Globo, another software company. We agreed there was a problem with bulletin boards that should be tackled. As mentioned in a previous blog entry, Globo has come under attack in the last few days on a number of bulletin boards and financial blogs for the quality of its business and its accounts (more ...

Globo, RM and Tesla Motors – What’s the connection?

Globo, RM and Tesla – what’s the connection? You will see. Globo managed to get their name mentioned in the Financial Times yesterday as coming “under pressure after bloggers question cash flow”. This probably refers to comments from Paul Scott on Stockopedia where he writes a daily small cap report which covered Globo on the 17th October. Not only were those comments spread around on bulletin boards but he and other folks have said similar things in the past. In essence what he ...