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Expert View: Petra Diamonds, Greencore and Unilever

A roundup of analyst recommendations and comments, also including SDL and Coms.

Our daily round-up of analyst recommendations and commentary, featuring Greencore, Unilever, Petra Diamonds, SDL and Coms.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£303m
No. of shares out80m
No. of shares floating78m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees2750
Trading volume (10 day avg.)0m
Turnover£269m
Profit before tax£21m
Earnings per share25.97p
Cashflow per share41.13p
Cash per share35.47p

*Correct as at 21 Jan 2014

Investec upgrades SDL target price on hopes for 2014

There is value to be made in enterprise software maker SDL (SDL.L) if it can continue to improve its service, leading Investec to increase its target price.

Investec analyst Julian Yates retained a ‘buy’ recommendation and increased the target price to 420p following a good set of results for 2013 where margins increased from the lows of the first half of last year.

Yates still expected technology to deliver a loss in 2014 but he expected the company to act on this by increasing the ‘organic top line’ and reducing costs.

‘The coming year will be crucial for the business in judging the impact of the investment initiatives and integrations of the product suite on the sales generation of the business,’ he said.

He added: ‘Assuming the service improvement is sustained, at current valuation levels we see material upside potential value in the technology business as delivery comes through.’

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£628m
No. of shares out510m
No. of shares floating366m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees5139
Trading volume (10 day avg.)0m
Turnover245m USD
Profit before tax19m USD
Earnings per share0.04 USD
Cashflow per share0.08 USD
Cash per share0.02 USD

*Correct as at 21 Jan 2014

Rare blue diamond makes Petra sparkle

The discovery of 30 carat blue diamond means Petra Diamonds (PDL.L) continues to be the ‘preferred diamond play’ for Numis.

The miner discovered an ‘outstanding vivid blue’ 29.6 carat diamond, one of the rarest types of diamond, in the Cullinan mine in South Africa. Another blue diamond from the Cullinan mine sits atop of the Queen’s sceptre that is kept in the Tower of London.

Numis analyst Cailey Barker retained a buy recommendation and put a target price of 165p on the shares.

‘Given past exceptional stones, this could add something in the order of $15 million to $20 million to the bottom line, which is easy money in our view,’ he said.

Barker said he saw value in the shares over the long term and expected to see ‘steady earnings growth over the coming years’.

‘Petra Diamonds remains our preferred diamond play as a long term investment, with quality management and assets,’ he said.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£986m
No. of shares out404m
No. of shares floating393m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees9806
Trading volume (10 day avg.)2m
Turnover£1,197m
Profit before tax£71m
Earnings per share17.57p
Cashflow per share25.97p
Cash per share1.57p

*Correct as at 21 Jan 2014

Jefferies starts Greencore rating with a ‘buy’

Jefferies has initiated coverage of convenience food manufacturer Greencore (GNC.L) with a ‘buy’ recommendation.

Analyst David Kerstens placed a target price of 275p on the company, which makes pre-prepared sandwiches and ready meals for the UK and US market.

‘Greencore is a leading manufacturer of private label convenience foods, enjoying double-digit earnings growth on the back of strong sales momentum in its Food to Go businesses in the UK and US,’ he said. ‘The company is attractively valued at a 22% discount to the European food sector, which earnings per share growth is at a 50% premium.’

Kerstens predicts strong sales momentum in 2014 on the back of new products, market share gain and improving economic conditions.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£71,805m
No. of shares out2,840m
No. of shares floating2,743m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees172000
Trading volume (10 day avg.)3m
Turnover42,316m EUR
Profit before tax3,694m EUR
Earnings per share1.27 EUR
Cashflow per share1.74 EUR
Cash per share0.83 EUR

*Correct as at 21 Jan 2014

Shore Capital reiterates ‘buy’ for Unilever

Unilever (ULVR.L) full year results for 2013 have come in above expectations, leading Shore Capital to reiterate its buy recommendation.

Shore Capital analyst Darren Shirley placed a target price of £24.37 on the shares after Unilever defied sales fall in developing and North American markets.

Shirley said ‘we see upward pressure on our forecasts driven by both sales and margin assumptions, and therefore may be nudging our below consensus forecasts of core earnings per share of €1.53 (consensus €1.60) though any upgrades are likely to be modest given on-going currency headwinds and still leave us below consensus’.

Although Shore Capital’s earnings per share forecast for Unilever aren’t set to meet consensus, Shirley said that it should not be forgotten that ‘Unilever has driven out a Q4 performance ahead of expectations which should be taken well by the market’.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£41m
No. of shares out797m
No. of shares floating478m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees16
Trading volume (10 day avg.)13m
Turnover£2m
Profit before tax£-1m
Earnings per share-0.40p
Cashflow per share-0.36p
Cash per share0.05p

*Correct as at 21 Jan 2014

Coms growing ‘unlike any other telecoms company’

Charles Stanley has reiterated its ‘buy’ recommendation for cloud-based telephone services provider Coms (COMS.L) after it announced £3.3 million of new business in two weeks.

Analyst Peter McNally placed a 6.0p target price on the shares after it completed a deal worth £2 million two weeks ago and followed up this week with another £1.3 million deal. However he placed an 8.0p price on shares for longer term investors.

‘The rate at which the company continues to grow, through both acquisition and organically, is quite astounding and unlike any other we are aware of in the telecom sector,’ said McNally. ‘Despite this the company remains reasonably valued given the growth.’

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