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4 shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Elektron Technology, Ultra Electronics Telecom Plus and Maestrano. 

by Selin Bucak, David Campbell on Jun 04, 2018 at 05:00

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£65m
No. of shares out186m
No. of shares floating87m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees1050
Trading volume (10 day avg.)2m
Profit before tax£5m
Earnings per share1.02p
Cashflow per share2.46p
Cash per share2.79p

Elektron Technology (EKT)

Who’s trading? Citywire AAA-rated James Baker and David Taylor

The trade: The managers of the Chelverton UK Equity Growth fund upped their stake in high-tech components and software firm Elektron Technology from 4% of shares to 5.3% worth £3.4 million at a share price of 34p.

How have the shares performed? Following more than five years in the penny stock doldrums Elektron has rerated spectacularly in the past year, climbing 351% to a seven-year high.

What does the company say: Elektron, which specialises in commercialising University of Cambridge research, launched a strategic development phase at the turn of the decade. That has begun to pay off in the last year with revenue up 10.9% to £30.5 million and sales of key product lines rocketing.

What’s the outlook? The stock is largely ignored in City circles, but management has high hopes for its supply chain audit software Chekit, reporting this year that it had completed its ‘start-up phase’ following a thumbs-up by UK food regulators, and was expected to be launched into the US this year.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£1,215m
No. of shares out75m
No. of shares floating74m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees4172
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£136m
Earnings per share66.17p
Cashflow per share123.07p
Cash per share192.94p

Ultra Electronics (ULE)

Who’s trading? Citywire A-rated Alex Wright

The trade: The Fidelity Special Situations star pared his stake in specialist manufacturer Ultra Electronics from just over 10% of shares to 9.9% worth £120 million at a price of £16.13.

How have the shares performed? Weak trading, a profit warning and the departure of boss Rakesh Sharma halved Ultra’s shares from a high of £22.04 last year. Despite since climbing 43% they remain at the bottom of a five-year price range.

What does the company say? The defence specialist won back some former City fans this year after predicting that it would earn a significant windfall from a big increase in the US military budget. In April it remained cautious about the short term however, predicting a ‘modest’ 2018 revenue boost.

What’s the outlook? JPMorgan rewarded the stock with a big upgrade in May, moving its target from £15.35 to £17.50, well ahead of a median of £15.75. The shares have slid on a corruption probe into Algerian sales, but analysts say the country contributes a negligible share of Ultra’s sales volume.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£826m
No. of shares out78m
No. of shares floating57m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees1049
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£57m
Earnings per share37.81p
Cashflow per share56.81p
Cash per share23.29p

Telecom Plus (TEP)

Who’s trading? Citywire AAA-rated Harry Nimmo

The trade: Small cap star Nimmo trimmed his stake in direct-marketing utility provider Telecom Plus from just over 12% of shares to 11.9% worth £97.4 million at a price of £10.46.

How have the shares performed: Telecom Plus is down from a 2017 high of £13.21 and has tumbled to the bottom half of a three-year range following a 15% slide in its shares since early April

What does the company say: The company – which publically trades as Utility Warehouse - lifted investor spirits last November when it predicted profits ahead of previous forecast. Backers have recently sold off on disappointment after it eked out a slim 1.2% gain in full-year profit to £54 million, however

What’s the outlook? Having traded as high as £18.91 in 2014 sentiment on the stock has cooled in recent years as politicians of both parties have begun to discuss controls on utility pricing. JP Morgan downgraded its price target from £13.50 to £12.50 in May, on a ‘hold’ rating. Regulator Ofgem on Friday said it was investigating how Utility Warehouse manages customers in debt.

Maestrano (MNO)

Who’s trading?Citywire AAA-rated Giles Hargeave

The trade: Small cap legend Hargreaves took more than 9% in the initial public offering (IPO) of Aussie cloud computing business Maestrano worth just over £1 million at an issue price of 15p.

How have the shares performed? At the time of writing Maestrano had been publically traded for less than three days but had climbed as far as 15.2p before falling back to its admission price.

What does the company say? The company has risen to become one of the leading lights of Australia’s small but flourishing tech start-up industry since launch five years ago. It previously raised around £4 million from investors down under, and said the £6 million IPO will leave it ‘well positioned to scale the business substantially’.

What’s the outlook? Previous funding rounds had enabled Maestrano to open sales offices for its software-as-subscription service in New York and Dubai in addition to London and Sydney, and had been courted ahead of its London listing by the UK government, which is eager to polish London’s fintech reputation ahead of Brexit.

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Look up the shares

  • Elektron Technology PLC (EKT.L)
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  • Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC (ULE.L)
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  • Telecom Plus PLC (TEP.L)
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  • Maestrano Group PLC (MNO.L)
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