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4 shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Modern Water, Accesso Technology, Findel and Craneware.

by Michelle McGagh on Feb 05, 2018 at 05:00

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£13m
No. of shares out95m
No. of shares floating66m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees44
Trading volume (10 day avg.)2m
Turnover£4m
Profit before tax£-3m
Earnings per share-2.64p
Cashflow per share-2.01p
Cash per share1.35p

Veteran small cap investor Gervais Williams has been selling down his holding in water and waste water treatment company Modern Water (MWG) after its share price bounced on news that it had won a major contract.

Williams took his stake down from 4.8% of the company to 3.5%, held in his Miton UK Microcap Trust and valued at around £500,000.

Modern Water announced earlier this week that it had secured a £22 million deal with the government of Gibraltar to design, build and operate a wastewater treatment plant on the crown dependency.

This followed news the company had made the first sale of its brine concentration technology, designed to clean wastewater from power stations, late last year.

It also recently appointed Dr Piers Benedict Clark, a former member of Thames Water’s executive management team, to the board.

Modern Water has seen its share rise by 130% over the past year.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£591m
No. of shares out26m
No. of shares floating23m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees749
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover72m USD
Profit before tax13m USD
Earnings per share0.22 USD
Cashflow per share0.45 USD
Cash per share0.18 USD

Citywire A-rated Kames Capital small cap stalwart Elaine Morgan has upped her holding in online ticketing firm Accesso Technology (ACSO) after it announced that it expected earnings to come in ahead of expectations this year.

Kames increased its stake to 4.1% of the company, or 1.1 million shares, this week from a previously undisclosed level. This was valued at £24.4 million at Friday’s £22.20 share price.

The shares are held across Morgan’s UK Smaller Companies fund, as well as the asset manager’s UK Equity Absolute Return, UK Equity and UK Equity Income funds. Kames holds 3.8% directly with the remaining 0.3% through options.

Accesso, which has contracts with a number of major theme parks, including Alton Towers and Legoland, told the market that earnings were on track to be ‘substantially ahead of expectations’ this year, enabling the company to pay down its debt faster than expected.

The shares are up 42.3% over 12 months and 18% since the start of the year.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£193m
No. of shares out86m
No. of shares floating58m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees1596
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£457m
Profit before tax£41m
Earnings per share-66.85p
Cashflow per share-55.91p
Cash per share33.75p

Hedge fund manager Martin Hughes has upped his stake in retail and education group Findel (FDL), after the company revealed a strong boost to sales over the Christmas period.

Through his asset management business Toscafund, Hughes, one of Europe’s most successful hedge fund managers, increased his holding in the business from 17.7% to 18.3% of the business worth £36 million at a share price of 227p, up 25% over six months.

The shares are mainly held in the Tosca Mid Cap and Opportunity funds with the rest in the Pegasus fund.

In a trading update, Findel said that year-to-date product sales for the company grew by 11% following ‘record Christmas sales performance, with momentum built from a strong Black Friday campaign’.

It added that net debt was down by £5.1 million from the previous year, and while early trading in January was slightly slower than anticipated, the firm reiterated that the ‘strengthening of our online value retail proposition leaves us well-placed against the current consumer backdrop’.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£468m
No. of shares out26m
No. of shares floating20m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees263
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover41m USD
Profit before tax12m USD
Earnings per share0.35 USD
Cashflow per share0.37 USD
Cash per share1.39 USD

Citywire AAA-rated value veterans Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh have pared their exposure to medical software business Craneware (CRW) as it soars on a bullish outlook and bumper stock buyback.

Cross and Fosh pared their holding in the business from just over 18% of shares to 17.8%, worth £82.3 million at a price of £17.50, up 20% since the start of the year.

The shares are held in their £3.3 billion Liontrust Special Situations and £826 million UK Smaller Companies funds. The managers remain the largest holders of the stock.

The price of Craneware has now soared 120% since early 2016. The company began to take off earlier this month after it said it expected both revenue and earnings to continue a recent strong run, with growth estimated at up to 18% over the six months to the end of 2016.

It then delivered further cheer to investors with a pledge to spend up to £15 million of its £35 million cash reserve on share buybacks.

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Look up the shares

  • Modern Water PLC (MWG.L)
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  • accesso Technology Group PLC (ACSO.L)
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  • Findel PLC (FDL.L)
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  • Craneware PLC (CRW.L)
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Look up the fund managers

  • Gervais Williams
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  • Elaine Morgan
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  • Anthony Cross
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  • Julian Fosh
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