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4 shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Synairgen, Gear4music and Somero Enterprises.

by David Campbell on Mar 20, 2017 at 05:01

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£145m
No. of shares out58m
No. of shares floating52m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees185
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£-3m
Earnings per share-3.69p
Cashflow per share1.83p
Cash per share8.20p

Blancco Technology

Citywire AA-rated small cap selector Giles Hargreave has increased his holding in data removal specialist Blancco Technology.

Hargreave upped his holding in the business from 2.6 million shares to 2.95 million, equating to just over 5% of the share capital. At a share price of 249.5p, it is worth a little under £7.4 million.

The majority of the shares are held in funds run by his asset manager Hargreave Hale for Marlborough Fund Managers, with the remainder held by his discretionary clients.

Blancco’s share price is up 26% over one year. The company recently published its interim results in which it revealed a loss of £1.4 million, up from £0.7 million in the first half of 2016 due to one-off costs and acquisitions.

On a more positive note, the company posted a 43% rise in interim revenue to £14.2 million. Meanwhile the net debt at period end was £5.9 million.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£113m
No. of shares out20m
No. of shares floating12m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees103
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£m
Earnings per share-0.24p
Cashflow per share4.07p
Cash per share17.60p


Citywire AA-rated small-cap veteran Dan Nickols has banked some profits on online instrument retailer Gear4music as its momentum stalls after a spectacular share price rise.

Nickols cut his investment in the company from 1.7 million shares to 1.5 million, equating to a 7.8% stake in the company. At a price of 564p, this is worth £8.25 million. Gear4Music has enjoyed a meteoric ride over the past year, as its shares rose 299.1%. However, more recently its shares have dropped from a high of 688p.

The shares are held in his £173 million Old Mutual UK Smaller Companies Focus fund, the largest fund owner of the stock, with a smaller position in his £995 million UK Smaller Companies fund.

Gear4music saw a 169% increase in European revenue over the six months to October.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£158m
No. of shares out56m
No. of shares floating55m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees165
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover65m USD
Profit before tax12m USD
Earnings per share0.20 USD
Cashflow per share0.24 USD
Cash per share0.31 USD

Somero Enterprises

Citywire AA-rated small cap stockpicker Mark Niznik has banked some profits on laser-guided concrete levelling specialists Somero Enterprises after its shares near-doubled in a year.

Niznik cut his investment in the stock from 7.5 million shares to 7.1 million, equating to a 12.7% position. Its share price is currently around 281p, up from 146p in March of last year. This means the stake is worth just under £20 million.

The shares are held in his £390 million Artemis UK Smaller Companies fund, which remains the largest single holder of the stock.

Broker FinnCap lifted its target price on the company this month from 254p to 325p, having already raised it from 205p at the beginning of the year.

Somero, which offers precision guidance tools to help lay large fields of concrete flooring, was sharply rerated this month after it upped its payout to investors 61% on a 22% increase in 2016 pre-tax profits to $21.3 million (£17.2 million). The stock currently offers a yield of 3.2%.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£27m
No. of shares out91m
No. of shares floating72m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees12
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£-2m
Earnings per share-2.69p
Cashflow per share-2.65p
Cash per share8.45p


Citywire A-rated UK equity veteran Neil Woodford has upped his stake in biotech business Synairgen.

Woodford increased his holding in the company from 20.9 million shares to just over 21 million, equating to 23% of the share capital. At a share price of 29.25p, the stake is worth £6.14 million. Synairgen's share price is up 122% year-to-date.

The shares are held in the £9.8 billion CF Woodford Equity Income fund, which makes Woodford the largest investor in the business by a wide margin. While the manager has built a reputation as a safe pair of hands since he avoided the tech bubble of the late 1990s, the fund has a long tail of small bets on higher-risk micro-caps.

Synairgen tumbled last year after AstraZeneca bought to an early end trials of a novel respiratory treatment it was conducting under license, citing a ‘low number of reported severe exacerbations’.

N1 Singer holds the company on a buy rating with a 46p price target.

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  • Blancco Technology Group PLC (BLTGB.L)
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  • Synairgen PLC (SYNG.L)
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  • Gear4music Holdings PLC (G4M.L)
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  • Somero Enterprises Inc (SOM.L)
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