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Shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Alpha FX group, Applegreen and Conviviality.

by David Campbell, Selin Bucak on Jul 31, 2017 at 05:00

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£153m
No. of shares out33m
No. of shares floating15m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employeesnot stated
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£8m
Profit before tax£3m
Earnings per share13.38p
Cashflow per share15.96p
Cash per share24.31p

Nickols tops up on Alpha FX Group

Citywire AAA-rated small-cap veteran Dan Nickols has upped his stake in corporate foreign currency dealer Alpha FX Group (AFX) as its shares drop back to recent trend after briefly climbing to a fresh high.

Nickols upped his holding to just over 7% of the business worth £12.3 million at a share price of 465p, just off a peak of 482p.

The shares are held in his £1.1 billion Old Mutual UK Smaller Companies fund, the largest external holder of the stock.

Shares in Alpha FX climbed 138% from their admission to trading at 196p in April, hitting 467p in June, but have since effectively traded sideways. The Reading-based FX broker was launched in 2010 and provides foreign currency to businesses such as Asos, Holland & Barrett and Global Data.

House broker Liberum rates it a ‘buy’, but the upward momentum has already outstripped its early June price target of 390p

Key stats
Market capitalisation£368m
No. of shares out79m
No. of shares floatingm
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees1714
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover673m EUR
Profit before tax9m EUR
Earnings per share0.11 EUR
Cashflow per share0.30 EUR
Cash per share0.08 EUR

Stone takes another bite of Applegreen

Citywire A-rated pan European stockpicker Colin Stone has upped his stake in UK and Ireland petrol station owner Applegreen (APGNA) as its shares have dipped following a 31% climb in the last year.

Stone increased his stake in the business from below a disclosable level just over 4% of the shares worth £11.3 million at a share price of 470.8p.

The shares are largely held in his £896 million Fidelity European Smaller Companies fund, with a long tail of smaller positions held in sister portfolios.

In 2016 Applegreen reported a 16% increase in gross profits. The Dublin-based business noted this was 4% less than it would have been before sterling’s slide against the euro.

Investec reiterated its ‘buy’ rating on the shares in May.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£642m
No. of shares out173m
No. of shares floating171m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees2196
Trading volume (10 day avg.)1m
Turnover£1,560m
Profit before tax£18m
Earnings per share10.42p
Cashflow per share20.29p
Cash per share6.04p

White trims Conviviality stake…

Citywire + rated Chris White has sold down some of his investment in Bargain Booze owner Conviviality (CVRC) after strong results for the company following a restructure.

White, head of UK equities at Premier Asset Management, reduced his stake in the business to 4.9% from a previous position of 5.8%. The shares are worth £31.6 million at a price of 376p, up 74% over the year to date.

The majority of the shares are held in his Premier Income fund with the rest in the Monthly Income and UK Growth funds.

In its results for the year to 30 April, the drinks business reported a 147% increase in pre-profit tax to £22.5 million. Over the year, the company said it successfully completed integration of recent acquisitions, the latest of which was wine specialist Bibendum, which resulted in £6 million of synergies being realised during the period. Revenue was up 85% to £1.6 billion.

Chief executive Diana Hunter stated that the firm believed ‘there is exciting potential for significant organic growth’ and said she was confident of the future success of the business.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£642m
No. of shares out173m
No. of shares floating171m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees2196
Trading volume (10 day avg.)1m
Turnover£1,560m
Profit before tax£18m
Earnings per share10.42p
Cashflow per share20.29p
Cash per share6.04p

…as Hargreave buys more

Citywire AA-rated small cap selector Giles Hargreave has meanwhile been upping his stake in Conviviality (CVRC).

Hargreave increased his holding to 5.1% of the company worth £33.3 million at a share price of 376p, up 24% in just the past month.

The position is largely held in portfolios Hargreave runs for Marlborough Fund Managers, with the remainder held by private clients of his broker and asset manager Hargreave Hale.

Broker WH Ireland has upped its target price from 390p to 400p, rated ‘buy’.

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Look up the shares

  • Alpha FX Group PLC (AFX.L)
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  • Applegreen PLC (APGNA.L)
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  • Conviviality PLC (CVRC.L)
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