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4 shares the pros are buying

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Science in Sport, Debenhams, Mincon and Redde.

by Daniel Grote, David Campbell on Dec 11, 2017 at 05:00

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£48m
No. of shares out67m
No. of shares floating39m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees85
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£-2m
Earnings per share-6.21p
Cashflow per share-5.22p
Cash per share14.18p

Science in Sport

Long short small cap veterans Paul Marriage and John Warren have opened up a chunky stake in protein shake maker Science in Sport (SISS) as the group raises £15 million in an oversubscribed placing.

The two managers purchased a 5.3% stake worth £2.5 million at the placing price of 70p. The position is held in their £320 million Schroder UK Dynamic Absolute Return. The mangers departed the fund giant to launch their own boutique this year but still run the assets on contract.

Science in Sports produces a broad range of nutritional supplements marketed to athletes.

The company said the money raised would be used to increase its footprint in the US, Italy and among football players, having reported a 28% increase in revenue to £8.2 million in the first half. Broker Cenkos rates the business a ‘buy’.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£422m
No. of shares out1,228m
No. of shares floating870m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees8392
Trading volume (10 day avg.)7m
Profit before tax£230m
Earnings per share3.97p
Cashflow per share12.88p
Cash per share3.26p


The $1.7 billion (£1.2 billion) global small cap value team at US fund house Brandes has upped its stake in beleaguered department chain Debenhams (DEB) as its shares slump to a 2009 low.

The managers, led by the company’s investment director Ralph Birchmeier, increased their holding from 10.9% of shares to just over 11%, worth £47 million at a price of 35p.

The shares are a top five holding in the Brandes International Small Cap Equity fund, which is heavy on UK retail exposure, holding WM Morrison and Magners Cider owner C&C as second and third largest positions, and Sainsbury’s seventh.

Despite the sharp mark down in Debenhams’ share price, its largest backer, Sports Direct, has also been an active buyer in recent days, while from a smaller base Goldman Sachs has also added.

The price has weakened since the business reported a 16% drop in pre-tax profit to £95.2 million in October. Liberum cut guidance from ‘hold’ to ‘sell’, and its target price from 58p to 40p.


Citywire A-rated international small cap star Samuel Chamovitz has ramped up his stake in Irish drill bit manufacturer Mincon (MCON) as the company continues in a narrow eight-month trading range.

Chamovitz increased his investment to 5.2% of the business worth €9.9 million (£8.7 million) at a share price of 91 euro cents.

The shares are mainly held in his $1.8 billion (£1.3 billion) Fidelity International Small Cap fund with a smaller stake held by AA-rated colleague Joel Tillinghast’s $39 billion Low Price Stock fund.

Shares in Mincon had rallied hard over the two years to early 2017, doubling as the commodity sector emerged from a crunching downturn. They are essentially flat over the last eight months however.

Dublin broker Davy reiterated its ‘buy’ rating on the group last week as it upgraded its forecast of Mincon’s full-year profits for the fourth time this year on stronger than expected recent revenue.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£476m
No. of shares out304m
No. of shares floating290m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees1995
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£48m
Earnings per share8.68p
Cashflow per share13.11p
Cash per share11.96p


Neil Woodford has upped his holding in Redde (REDD), the Alternative Investment Market-listed support services group that specialises in claims management for company car fleets.

Woodford topped up his exposure from 25% of the company’s shares to 26%, worth £125.2 million at a share price of 158.4p.

Woodford is the second largest shareholder in the business, behind his former employers Invesco Perpetual, with a 2.3% holding in his Woodford Income Focus fund and 1.1% of his flagship Woodford Equity Income fund held in the company.

The two analysts covering the company both rate the stock a ‘buy’. The shares yield 6.7% and despite hitting a year high of 182p and low of 136p, are now trading at roughly the same level as 12 months ago.

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  • Science in Sport PLC (SISS.L)
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  • Debenhams PLC (DEB.L)
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  • Mincon Group PLC (MCON.L)
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  • Redde PLC (REDD.L)
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