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Aberdeen to Walker Crips: five stocks on top fund managers' hit lists
A round-up of trades by professional investors in Ricardo, Maintel Holdings, Lavendon, Walker Crips and Aberdeen Asset Management.
Martin Cholwill takes profits on Ricardo
Citywire AAA-rated equity income investor Martin Cholwill has booked some gains on British engineering group Ricardo Plc as its shares rocket on the back of a 31% increase in full-year profit.
Cholwill trimmed his holding in the company, held in his Royal London UK Equity Income fund, from 3.12 million shares to 3.08 million worth £16.67 million at a price of 540p, up 30% since early July.
Broker Liberum last week upped its price target against Ricardo from 500p to 570p, but reduced its recommendation from buy to hold. The rapid appreciation has outstripped most price forecasts.
In full year results released earlier in September, Ricardo struck a bullish tone as it reported profits up from £17.6 million to £23 million, saying it had a ‘strong platform for further growth’.
Despite the strong gains, the business continues to trade at a slight discount to peer group at 14 times expected 2014 earnings, versus an average of 15.4.
Giles Hargreave increases Maintel Holdings stake
Citywire AA-rated small cap stockpicker Giles Hargreave has upped his investment in telecoms and data services business Maintel Holdings as the company gears up its acquisition strategy.
Hargreave increased his holding in the company from 1.01 million shares to 1.09 million or 10.26% worth £3.83 million at a share price of 350p, broadly flat over the last 12 months.
The shares are held on behalf of private clients at his broker and investment business Hargreave Hale and in portfolios it manages on behalf of Marlborough Fund Managers.
Broker Finncap upped its price target against Maintel on 16 September from 460p to 500p after it announced the purchase of communications peer Datapoint’s UK and Ireland businesses.
That is the Maintel’s third acquisition in four years, with the company forecasting the purchase would be ‘earnings accretive’ from 2014. In results for the six months to July Maintel reported group revenue up 1% at £13.6 million.
Tom Dobell piles into Lavendon
Tom Dobell, one of the UK’s most respected equity managers and head of the £7.09 billion M&G Recovery fund, has aggressively upped his holding in equipment rental group Lavendon.
Dobell increased his stake in the business by more than 10% from 26.85 million shares to 31.09 million or 18.5% worth £56.58 million at a share price of 182.
Something of a mid-cap darling, the company has appreciated 250% over the last three years versus a 50% gain on the FTSE 250 and is a key pick for a number of highly rated sector managers.
Lavendon supplies cherry pickers to the construction industry, recently emerging from a restructure which saw the company expand from moribund Europe into new regions such as the Middle East.
The company upped its interim dividend 53% last month, following half-year numbers showing total revenue up 1% on 2012, with ‘strong’ revenue growth from the Middle Eastern division.
Christopher Mills lifts Walker Crips stake
Veteran value manager and JO Hambro Capital co-founder Christopher Mills has upped his investment in stockbroker and investment manager Walker Crips. Mills increased his investment in the business, held in his Oryx International Growth fund, from 1.84 million shares to 1.91 million or 5.18% worth £823,450 at a share price of 43p.
Shares in Walker Crips leapt more than 15% on 9 September as the group rolled over stock options in asset manager Liontrust for sale in the market, netting it a £6.6 million windfall.
It received the options, known as convertible unsecured loan stock, as part of the down payment on the sale of its fund management division to Liontrust last year.
‘The net proceeds of the sale of the Shares will be used to drive our continuing strategy of growth and expansion,' said Walker Crips chief executive Rodney Fitzgerald.
In an interim statement in July Walker Crips posted a 36% increase in revenue over the second quarter of 2013, boosted by a 58% increase in brokerage fees.
Ted Williams buys into Aberdeen Asset Management
Four Capital's Ted Williams has paid homage to the UK fund management industry by increasing his stake in Aberdeen Asset Management.
Williams, who runs the Four Active UK Equity fund, added to his holding in Aberdeen Asset Management after buying an additional 200,000 shares at 3.62 pence, taking the fund's position up to 2.3 million shares.
Aberdeen recently saw its share price tumble due to its strong presence and investment proposition in the emerging markets, which have fallen since the Federal Reserve announced its intention to taper quantitative easing. Williams viewed a weaker share price as an attractive entry point, however, and expects the shares to rebound once concerns subside.
'The medium term case for Aberdeen Asset Management remains with its net cash, attractive multiple and continued strong profitability. There is also the possibility of bolt on acquisitions and a healthy increase in the dividend which further enhances the buy case,' he explained.
Since Williams upped his stake the shares have performed well, rising sharply yesterday after announcing that profits for the year to September are expected to be towards the upper end of market expectations.
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- Ricardo PLC (RCDO.L)
- Maintel Holdings PLC (MAIH.L)
- Lavendon Group PLC (LVD.L)
- Walker Crips Group PLC (WCW.L)
- Aberdeen Asset Management PLC (ADN.L)