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5 shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Just Eat, Concurrent, Avation, PayPoint and Sigmaroc.

by David Campbell, Selin Bucak on Jan 23, 2017 at 05:00

If you would like to receive news alerts on any of the stocks mentioned, click on the star icons below to add them to your favourites.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£m
No. of shares out59m
No. of shares floating48m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees18
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover60m USD
Profit before tax15m USD
Earnings per share0.28 USD
Cashflow per share0.63 USD
Cash per share0.70 USD

Avation

Citywire A-rated fund manager Mark Slater has upped his stake in commercial aircraft leasing company Avation following a 33% increase in its share price over one year.

Slater increased his holding in the business from 5.9 million shares to 6.1 million or 10.39% worth £12 million at a share price of 197.40p, up 47% over the last six months. The stock was listed as one of the top contributors to the MFM Slater Recovery fund’s performance in November 2016.

In December, Avation announced the successful delivery of a new Airbus aircraft to Vietnamese company Vietjet. The business is expected to continue its growth, which saw it add nine aircraft to its fleet just last year.

For the 2016 financial year, the company increased its revenue by 25% to $71.2 million. Meanwhile operating profit grew by 35.6% to $45.6 million.

Elsewhere, the company’s credit rating has been upgraded by S&P Global Ratings to B+ whereas before it was B.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£m
No. of shares out73m
No. of shares floating54m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees99
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£17m
Profit before tax£3m
Earnings per share3.80p
Cashflow per share5.83p
Cash per share8.09p

Concurrent Technologies

Citywire AAA-rated value experts Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh have slashed their investment in embedded computing specialist Concurrent Technologies as it slides from a record high last year.

The managers reduced their holding in the business from 10.1 million shares to 8.7 million or 11.96% worth £5.3 million at a price of 61p, down 15% from last May’s all-time high of 73p.

The shares are primarily held in their £569 million Liontrust UK Smaller Companies fund in addition to their £2.3 billion Special Situation fund.

Concurrent Technologies designs and manufactures bespoke internal computer systems for military, healthcare and communication industries, among others.

In first half numbers published in August, the business reported that overseas sales had risen from 52% of revenue to 81%. Despite that following wind, profit before tax slipped from £1.6 million to £1.5 million. The company lifted its interim dividend 14.3% from 0.7p to 0.8p per share.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£3,557m
No. of shares out678m
No. of shares floating554m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees1443
Trading volume (10 day avg.)3m
Turnover£248m
Profit before tax£23m
Earnings per share3.66p
Cashflow per share5.94p
Cash per share28.53p

Just Eat

Citywire AAA-rated mid-cap veteran Richard Watts has pared his holding in online takeaway ordering service Just Eat as a relatively disappointing update knocks some of the wind from the stock.

Watts trimmed his investment in the business from 42 million shares to just over 33 million or 4.89% worth £169 million at a share price of 512p, sharply down from a record high of 599p in December.

His £2.3 billion Old Mutual UK Mid Cap is the largest fund holder of the stock, with smaller stakes held by AAA-rated colleagues Dan Nickols and Luke Kerr. While the company has reduced its aggregate holding from above 50 million shares, it remains Watts’ third-largest position.

Just Eat, which entered trading priced at around 100x earnings in 2014, seemed to justify some of that early hype last year when it reported a 59% increase in revenues.

Analysts began to temper their enthusiasm for the stock last week however, after it reported 31% order growth last year, below outsized broker expectation.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£657m
No. of shares out68m
No. of shares floating65m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees714
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£213m
Profit before tax£-2m
Earnings per share-3.10p
Cashflow per share5.42p
Cash per share87.08p

PayPoint

Citywire AA-rated UK equity veteran Neil Woodford has upped his stake in payment services provider PayPoint following a 3.26% dip in its share price since the start of the year.

Woodford, who manages the CF Woodford Equity Income fund at his eponymous firm, increased his stake in the business from 11.57 million shares to 11.7 million or more than 17% worth £113.5 million at a share price of 973.25p, up 8.14% over one year.

Shareholders were pleasantly surprised just last month when PayPoint announced the sale of its mobile payments business to Volkswagen Financial Services for £26.5 million in cash. The company said it would return the proceeds to shareholders through a special dividend.

Chief executive Dominic Taylor commented: ‘With the major restructuring completed in line with our strategy, we can now direct our entire focus on the development of our retail business, including the continued rollout of our new PayPoint One terminal and EPoS.’

JP Morgan Chase analysts boosted the company’s price target to 1069p while Cnaccord Genuity gave it a buy rating.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£m
No. of shares out639m
No. of shares floating332m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees3
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£1m
Profit before tax£1m
Earnings per share0.10p
Cashflow per share-9,999,999.00p
Cash per share1.07p

SigmaRoc

Citywire A-rated managers Gervais Williams and Martin Turner have bought into building products firm SigmaRoc following its reverse takeover of Channel Islands-based Ronez.

The small cap veterans went from no stake in the business to holding 3.1 million shares or 3.13% worth £1.3 million at a share price of 41.33p. The shares are held in their Diverse Income Trust.

SigmaRoc recently completed the acquisition of construction materials producer Ronez, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aggregate Industries, for £45 million in cash. Back in August the company, previously Messaging International, restructured as SigmaRoc and replaced its chief executive.

Over the last three months, the firm’s share price is up 5.97%. The Ronez deal marked the company’s first acquisition under CEO Max Vermorken, who also indicated that there would be more to come.

About the acquisition he commented: ‘It will be our cornerstone asset and a great starting point in the journey to grow a niche focused building materials business.’

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  • Just Eat PLC (JE.L)
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  • Concurrent Technologies PLC (CNCT.L)
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  • Avation PLC (AVAP.L)
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  • PayPoint plc (PAYP.L)
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  • Sigmaroc PLC (SRC.L)
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