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Five UK small cap stocks on fund managers' hit lists
AXA Framlington's Nigel Thomas features as we highlight five smaller company trades which have stood out in recent weeks.
Leigh Himsworth ups Ubisense stake
City Financial’s UK equity manager Leigh Himsworth has topped up his position in Ubisense.
Himsworth, who runs the City Financial UK Select Opportunities fund, bought a further 48,000 shares in the location intelligence technology provider at 212 pence. This brings his fund’s total position up to 525,000 shares, equating to an approximate value of £1.1 million.
Himsworth expects the company to experience further growth because of the role it plays in improving workflow at companies. He was also keen to highlight the string of contracts that Ubisense has won more recently, which include BMW, Airbus, Caterpillar and Deutsche Telekom.
‘As an investor it is exciting having access to a technological leader with a host of fantastic customer references that is genuinely global in its offer. Who says that the UK doesn’t produce anything! This is yet to be fully appreciated by the market,’ he added.
Gervais Williams and Martin Turner increase Belvoir Lettings holding
Miton fund managers Gervais Williams and Martin Turner have upped their stake in Belvoir Lettings.
The fund managers hold the lettings and property management service across the funds they run, which include the Diverse Income investment trust. Collectively the managers own around 2.7 million shares, equating to 13% of Belvoir’s share capital.
Commenting on the rationale behind the trade, Turner said he was encouraged by Belvoir’s commitment to grow its dividend by 17% in its last set of results.
He added: 'Belvoir operates a successful residential lettings business and is expanding around the country. It is a beneficiary of a flexible franchise model and an improving market environment. It has initiated a pilot to trial property sales in its branches which should lead to additional growth.'
Over the six months to the end of June Belvoir saw its revenues rise by 35% to £2.5 million, while net profit was up 26% to £0.6 million.
Nigel Thomas tops up on RPC Group
Citywire AA-rated UK stock market veteran Nigel Thomas has upped his stake in plastic packaging manufacturer RPC Group as its shares spectacularly rebound from a profit warning earlier this year.
Thomas increased his holding in the company from 16.62 million shares to 16.64 million or exactly 10% of the company worth £84 million at a share price of 510p.
The shares are held in his £4.33 billion AXA Framlington Select Opportunities fund which over the last five years has returned 100.8% versus a FTSE All Share return of 66.21%.
RPC, which produces jars for Heinz and Nestle among others, plummeted 20% at the end of March after it warned that a strengthening pound would hit its sales into the eurozone.
A wild ride for investors went into an upturn in July as it admitted that trading had held up better than expected and was up over the second quarter. JP Morgan at the end of September upped its price target on the stock from 496p to 534p.
Ralph Cox buys a chunk of Corero Network Security
Ralph Cox, manager of the £450 million BlackRock UK Smaller Companies fund, has bought another one million shares in Corero Network Security. The purchase, worth around £160,000, takes Cox’s stake in Corero to 5.7 million shares – equivalent to 6.7% of the business.
Corero, which is based in the US but listed on London’s AIM exchange in 2011, focuses on preventing distributed denial of service (DDoS) and other cyber attacks against its clients, which include lottery operator Camelot. Although Corero’s revenues have climbed from £3 million in 2010 to £12.7 million last year, it has yet to post a profit. Last year it lost £3.9 million. Corero’s shares have duly lost half their value since the firm floated.
But in August Corero spun off a profitable arm that sold general software to schools for more than £10 million – ensuring it has maintained a net cash position – to concentrate solely on network security, which it expects to be a faster growing market.
John Innes takes profits on M&C Saatchi
Citywire A-rated UK equity veteran John Innes has locked in some profits on international advertising group M&C Saatchi as its shares continue to hover around an all-time high.
Innes sold sown his stake in the company from 4.95 million shares to 4.67 million or 6.86% worth £14.35 million at a share price of 307p, up 70% over the last year versus a FTSE AIM return of 15%.
The shares are held in his RWC UK Focus fund which over the last year has returned 31.18% versus a FTSE All Share return of 19%.
Profit at M&C Saatchi rose 6% over the first half of the year to £9.3 million on new business wins, with revenue up 5%. Sales in the UK, which remains the company’s largest market, rose 8%.
The company said that it was confident that the strong six months would continue over the remainder of the year.
More about this:
Look up the funds
- City Financial UK Select Opportunities A Acc
- AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities R Inc
- BlackRock UK Smaller Companies A Acc
- RWC UK Focus B GBP
Look up the shares
- Ubisense Group PLC (UBIS.L)
- Belvoir Lettings PLC (BLVB.L)
- RPC Group PLC (RPC.L)
- Corero Network Security PLC (CNSP.L)
- M&C Saatchi PLC (SAA.L)