You could count the number of AGMs that I have attended on the fingers of a small part of one hand so, whilst DS Smith (SMDS) is sitting nicely in the top five of my current personal pension fund holdings, you will not see me looking to get a free coffee and chocolate biscuit and taking the opportunity to try to ask the CEO a mildly tricky question today. Frankly, if I was desperate to do this, I could have achieved it at 8am this morning on a trading update conference call it held.
I have been really quite pleased with my pension fund performance over the last eighteen months or so. Thanks primarily to a couple of rather good tobacco sector performers, despite me never being a smoker, last year I made some money. And this year has been absolutely fine too. Don’t worry, I am not sad enough to try to become an institutional fund manager again and it is also not as if I have not had any investment disappointments. Believe me, anyone who claims they are more than an eight out of ten investor is a liar in my opinion (and if you are regularly more than seven out of ten, then I assume you are appearing on the front page of some business newspaper or equivalent). As for this year, one of the reasons why I am not a regular seven out of ten (or more) investor is associated with Johnson Matthey (JMAT).
Neil Woodford and Thirsty Paul Scott took the knee at the disruptive potential of online estate agent Purplebricks (PURP). In latter years the deadwood press blew smoke up the arses of the CEO and CFO as they were both women. Girl Power! More ESG vicar? Of course, the numbers never stacked up and the fundamental business offering was dire so shareholders and customers both got screwed. Those of us who do actually look at how a business runs and at hard numbers may be sexist old dinosaurs for doing so but we have another win. Today’s fess up from the birds in charge is grim.
Seed Capital Solutions (SCSP) was incorporated in December 2017 but only joined the Standard list – just before new tighter rules came in to play - on 12 April this year. It is a cash shell looking to make an ESG Acquisition. And today Rolf Harris has just been appointed head of the NSPCC. Sorry, I meant to say that Seed Capital has a new CEO
It is yet another red flag at the fraud Supply@ME Capital. NED Andrew Thomas says he wants to pursue other business opportunities one hopes non criminal ones, and is jumping ship after just nine months. Supply bigs up his replacement Alexandra Galligan but if you life up the skirts of her CV…
Tortilla Mexican Grill (MEX) claims to be “the largest and most successful fast-casual Mexican restaurant group in the UK”. Whatever. Having bought out its nearest rival from insolvency there is scant competition. And if its deceitful trading statement out today marks it as the “most successful” I’d hate to see what a failure looks like.
Ben’s Creek (BEN) shares have zoomed ahead by 15% today to 24.5p on news that shareholders are being shafted. They seem to love being screwed without lube by disgraced CEO Adam Wilson of Atlantic Carbon and Daniel Stewart infamy. Words fail me.
Are you nearly ready for Christmas? I hope that you are, as it has been a busy, and often volatile, year for all investors, and it is always good to have a bit more of family time focus. Naturally though, weirdos like me will be spending a bit of each of the final ten days of 2022 looking at market matters. And that inspires me this morning to write about the specialist international distribution and services company Bunzl (BNZL).
The last stated NAV of Asimilar (ASLR ) was 25p per share. We knew it had taken one hit (AAA) but still the NAV should have been c20p (ho ho ho). On Wednesday its shares plunged by 32% to sub 4p begging me to ask this question.
Study showcases the potential superiority of LIGHT! Shouts today’s RNS from Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO). That would be the LIGHT Proton system that is not yet up and running? Yes that one. Great. So, who did the study? Er…
Back in July, I observed that “it is going to get busy, but Brickability (BRCK) is just one for the experts (even for brick and clay fans like me)” HERE. And since then, the stock has gone up and down a bit but is basically little changed. Are there any excitements then in its announcement today of results for the six months ended 30 September 2022?
After the slave labour in Leicester scandal, Boohoo.com (BOO) insisted it had done nothing wrong but put in place all sorts of ESG committees, procedures and staff to make sure it never did anything wrong again. Not that it had sinned in the first place, you understand. Today, an undercover reporter from The Times has exposed what happened when posing as a worker at the company’s Burnley distribution centre.
It is far from being a boring day today. It is no surprise for me to see shares in De La Rue (DLAR), which institutional investors and brokers used to call “Danny”, pulling back nearly 20% given that it is still struggling to make proper profit and free cash flow. Meanwhile, Halfords (HFD) shares might be down 4% today (and over 40% year-to-date) but seeing the stock at a c. two quid share price strikes me as a bit cheap. Perhaps more on it another time, but today I want to chat about Johnson Matthey (JMAT).
This is shocking, the big crypto blow up is just a fraud from top to bottom with young folks who espoused all that ESG bullshit that Malcolm and our political leaders love so much, either stealing the cash or blowing it through incompetence. Enjoy. This will not be the last such scandal in this industry but it may be the biggest and most comical.
As per analytical data from my personal pension fund account, I have made money from my choice to retain a holding in Haleon (HLN) - “a global leader 100% focused on consumer healthcare with a competitive advantage to combine deep human understanding with trusted science” - after its spin-off from GSK plc (GSK) in July. I am not sure that is technically correct given the company’s c. 276.53p share price at the close of business on Friday. Anyhow, the bigger question is what should I do now? After all, other GSK shareholders - including Tom - decided to exit stage left kicking around a 300 pence share price immediately after the spin-off and invest elsewhere.
Whilst there are a bunch of issues to address regarding the markets, politics and sensible economic policy, I am going to think a bit more about stocks and shares today. And my interest again is centred on the “leading UK manufacturer of clay bricks and concrete products”, Ibstock (IBST).
Regular readers will know that I never have smoked or vaped and never will in the future. It is not my bag but if people want to buy the range of products offered by Imperial Brands (IMB), British American Tobacco (BATS) and the few other global corporate peers that exist out there (all of which are highly taxed by governments around the world), that is absolutely fine by me based on my belief in a freedom of choice. As for health and safety and common-sense, if you want to ban tobacco and related stocks then I guess you should do the same for alcohol and gambling and a bunch of pharmaceuticals. Anyhow, my view has been that Imperial Brands has been a must-have for your pension fund for a couple of years now. And so it has been pleasing to see a 20% share price rise this year (despite all the overall global market angst) and a 4% share price rise today.
Another ‘interesting’ day in the financial markets but, fortunately, not all my pension fund holdings are down today. I see Burberry (BRBY) has announced another senior corporate change as “Daniel Lee has been appointed Chief Creative Officer” from Monday 3 October 2022, as “Riccardo Tisci will be stepping down as Chief Creative Officer and leaving the Company at the end of this month”. As you all know I am a big fashion expert (not!), so clearly the newbie’s Bradford background, profile as an “award-winning designer and one of the most exciting British creative talents of his generation”, combined with his recent three years as the Creative Director at Bottega Veneta “where he helped reinvigorate the Italian luxury brand”, is all very exciting stuff. I am completely unsurprised the stock is up 3% today given all of that then! And moving on from one area of excitement, to another: the world of ESG and Imperial Brands (IMB).
I rather think that what somebody does in their private life is their own lookout, especially when the incident in question was nine years ago. But in this ESG obsessed world I wonder how other folks might take it. Especially when the company, whose CEO follows the Prince Harry ( of old) party code, yacks on ad nauseum about its ESG credentials.
Being oh so ESG friendly Made.com (MADE) not only has a bird as its CEO and also as its chairman, sorry chairperson, but it also, until today, had a full flush of 5 NEDs. Such wonderful diversity has not prevented the company guzzling cash at a prodigious rate, missing every target ever set, and it has now admitted that it needs a bailout fund raise PDQ, as I predicted HERE.
Back in mid-January I wrote that I was going to buy some more shares in SIG plc (SHI), “a British-based international supplier of insulation, roofing, commercial interiors and specialist construction products”. Back then the stock was about 40p and today it is just above 35p. What do I now think after today’s first half numbers?
It gives me no pleasure seeing companies heading toward bankruptcy. I do not care about institutional investors losing money. I feel some sympathy for private investors, almost certainly roped in by some newspaper tipster or those pushing low grade broker research. But I do feen genuinely sorry for staff and suppliers who will have their lives turned upside down. That6 brings us to Made.com (MADE).
Like the complete investment obsessive I am, I spent an hour or two yesterday working out my corporate earnings season schedule for the next week. Monday is easy, Tuesday is pretty busy and then it gets mad. But it is all good fun of course.
Oh dear, oh dear. This is truly awful, and explains why results normally released in late April, came out today - deadline day. Shield Therapeutics (STX) is in a mess, as I warned so often. Ouzo for me. Cabbage water for those who ignored my explicit warnings and instead, hurled abuse at me.
Okay, Sam has a few things to be smug about. She set up FinnCap (FCAP), and 24 years later, it is an AIM-listed Nomad and broker. Furthermore, she has done it all despite - as per hundreds of sycophantic interviews - being a woman in what is largely a male-dominated world. How very ESG, la dee da dee da. But…
In the world of investing, one must know when to quit. Whilst it is, I hope, many years before I no longer manage my money, one shouldn't expect to own their favourite stock today, forever. After all, it is not just that the world changes (because obviously, it does), but any share can become fundamentally fully-valued; that is when to move on.
Since September, I have written a couple of times about Kier Group (KIE), which is aiming “to sustainably deliver infrastructure [that is]... vital to the UK”. However, I haven’t bought the stock - a wise move, clearly, as the shares are down c. 30% over the last six months. So, what do I think now?
It is only ten and a half months since online furniture seller Made.com (MADE) listed on the Main Market, raising £100million by issuing new shares at 200p while existing shareholders lobbed out a cheeky £90 million of stock onto gullible institutions. Today, after a dismal profits warning, the shares are just 56p to sell. Meanwhile another rat has left the sinking ship as it burns through its ill gotten IPO gains ever more rapidly.
Not only are Optibiotix (OPTI) shares not flying (yet) but part two of my retirement plan has also been scuppered as I explain, by the imminent arrival of my in-laws to live in our annexe. I am busy preparing for that and also sorting out the garden ahead of a Greek trip, hence a late bearcast. In that, I discuss whether foolks really are paid to post rubbish on Bulletin Boards, why some companies set up a new holding company and at Carnival (CCL) and elsewhere why an obsession with E &S lets poor G ( shocking greed) take place.
Have you enjoyed the last week in the financial markets? It certainly has been volatile but such is life in the stock market world and – as I have observed before – if you see volatility as more of a threat than an opportunity, get somebody else to manage your investment portfolio as it will make you a lot less stressed and a lot wealthier. Meanwhile for us obsessed with the world of the financial markets the key always remains how you react. And that brings me this morning to the just announced FY21 numbers of SIG (SHI).
It has been another busy week and – despite the fact it is half term holiday time for some – it will be another hectic seven days for a bunch of corporate news, macroeconomic matters and geopolitical discussions. If you want a quiet life in the investment world then wait for Christmas. One stock that reported over the last week but which I have not had an opportunity yet to comment on is PZ Cusson (PZC) which ‘builds brands to serve consumers better with Hygiene, Baby and Beauty at our core’ in brands such as Carex, St. Tropez, Cussons Baby, Sanctuary Spa, Morning Fresh (depending on which part of the world you live in).
I start with KPMG and another scandal but the real scandal is the way it deals with its employees who are fraud enablers by act or by omission or both. Then onto the Methodists and why its stance on Rio Tinto (RIO) is, I suggest, not what Jesus would have advocated. Moreover it highlights how ESG driven investing has created valuation anomalies on both the long and short side. Finally, THG (THG) and PE bid speculation.
You should never mind a bit of hindsight from the 0.001% of people who did something a bit bonkers and made a fortune. I guess I should have theoretically invested a couple of thousand quid in bitcoin eight or ten years ago and would now look like a genius. Whilst I am sure there are a few people who have made themselves absolute fortunes this way, I reckon 99% of people who did buy a few bitcoin back then, probably did not make much money (even if they could log into their electronic link successfully). Famously I sold my ASOS (ASC) shares a gazillion years ago after doubling my money, which was not very smart from the perspective of where the shares ended up fifteen years or so later. I am still living and learning 26 years into my actual investment life. And that brings me back to Diageo (DGE) which had its latest numbers last Thursday…
It is another manic Thursday with plenty of global market news and volatility to enjoy. Obviously I completely love it. In terms of the UK there are about ten different names I could write about today, but I will just leave it to four. After all yesterday I loved-up easyJet (EZJ) already and today’s first quarter numbers hit nearly 12 million passengers, nearly four times the level a year ago.
I am rather taken with the new cleaning lady the Mrs has hired. She scrubs up well, works hard and her views on a range of issues including masks, vaccines, inflation and the role of the state are thoroughly admirable. And hearing myself and Lucian discuss how mining companies claim to be ESG friendly by hiring loads of lesbians, she thought that a good joke and remarked that my work seemed interesting. That would not be how the Mrs would react, both to the joke and the description of my work. I mention all of this only because Agnieszka has been arguing with her 12 year old son who wants her to invest her wages in bitcoin.
Interesting to see that for the first time in over 20 years, the technology-focused NASDAQ index was up 1%+ intraday and finished down more than 1% for the second consecutive day. It may or may not happen for a third consecutive day today, but you get the general point about being deeply thoughtful about your investment choices. Frankly you should be always like this, but the last 12 years or so has favoured too many deeply-excited technology investors. On a related point, I have talked quite a few times about ESG matters.
The last 6 months has seen a push and pull between two opposing views – the “need” for green energy and the real need for cheap energy. The former does not result in the later – far from it. Despite what the BBC and many others, would claim these are two largely incompatible objectives, unless we change the society we live in. At some point progress has to be made to reconcile the two opposing views and face the reality – we need new oil and gas UK based production of scale. I see Orcadian Energy (ORCA) leading the way in illustrating how we can achieve this outcome.
I start with the suggestion that I am ramping gold and de-ramping Bitcoin. I discuss this nonsense although I am vaguely flattered that anybody thinks me so omnipotent. Then onto Unilever (ULVR). Finally a related discussion on the wretched Sunday Times coverage of the laughable Black Pound Report. I refer to the LadBible piece HERE
In a week’s time it will be Christmas Eve and even I might stop looking at the global equity markets for a few days. Before then, there is still lots to think about regarding prospects for 2022. I look forward to sharing a couple of tips for 2022 before the end of this year, but there are three names today which have all given out a pleasing update today. They might not be one of my two formal tips of the year, but there are reasons why I will still be holding them deep into 2022.
Those guys at ShareSoc are so far ahead of the curve are they not? Look at the date on a letter sent to the FCA today regarding the disgraceful goings on at Edge VCT. Prescient or what? Anyhow we see eye to eye with ShareSoc on this matter and urge the FCA to stop jerking off on ESG porn and to intervene. The letter follows below.
It is an exciting day at many levels, even if ‘the prime minister said it was too early to draw conclusions on the characteristics of Omicron but early indications were that it is more transmissible than Delta’. I see the FTSE 100 is within about 1% of its 2021 high, whilst the CAC 40 in France is even closer – and I won’t bore you with the observation about how close the S&P 500 in the US is to its goodness knows how many new highs this year. It is certainly all good fun for a certain type of investor.
Institutional investors are, like the sad drips at Fidelity, are obsessed about telling us how bloody woke they are and how they just are so ESG friendly. Alreet Chloe Thompson ye bonnie lass – fancy a job at Fidelity? Belta! But while they talk the ESG talk do they really walk the G walk? Heroic Tim Martin of JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has lashed out and his answer is NO!. The great man says:
I have been a bit of a fanboy of Headlam Group (HEAD) – Europe’s leading floorcoverings distributor, providing the channel between suppliers and trade customers of floorcoverings – for a while now. So what did its ‘trading and ESG update’ say today?
I start with news of two birthdays. Then I look at today’s Superdry ramp from Versarien (VRS), at Wildcat (WCAT), where the FCA has already responded to my missive, and at Nightcap (NGHT) where what I have revealed today is legal but surely stinks to high heaven making the shares utterly uninvestable.
Five months, ago here, I observed that the ‘British luxury clothing retail company’ Ted Baker (TED) ‘remains a sell for me’. Their shares back then were at about a 155p share price and they finished Friday at a level of 130p. So even though the shares may be slightly up over the last year, any owner since 2017-18 has seen a near 90% share price fall.
The FCA has forgotten that its job is to protect consumers and fight crime rather than issuing woke papers on ESG issues which win rave reviews at the Guardian. SEC chairman Gary Gensler has not forgotten. In a big speech on Thursday he tells it as it is. Gary said:
I have written positively a number of times about Ibstock (IBST) – a ‘leading UK manufacturer of clay bricks and a diversified range of clay and concrete products’ - most recently in August. Back then I hoped for a 250p+ share price and that still made me a strong holder, but the share has moved down since to (today) just over 200p. An opportunity or a problem?
I don’t suppose that anyone reading this is one of the 30,000 people who are apparently going to Glasgow at the start of next month for COP26. Naturally, I will be following many of the comments and trying to work out some of the implications – over time – for the investment world. And that brings me back to the ESG world.
According to a FinnCrap report all UK fund managers are. Even my old pal Mark who is slightly to the right of Genghis Khan? Somehow I doubt it but, as per Joshua and the red clothes day, which fund manager would dare to say that it is all so much shite? I discuss the opportunities that ESG mania offers for those prepared to call out the Emerperor’s New Clothes for what they are. I also discuss whether all entrepreneurs should be feted in the same way by those of us who do believe in capitalism, as per yesterday’s bearcast.
The oil price is panning out largely as I expected when I last drafted on this matter back in March. We are now at $84 as I type, compared to the $67 when I last commented. I saw a high probability of $100 by year end, and so far, I see little to change my mind. Oil and Gas equity prices lag the commodity prices, and oil lags gas. I see real opportunity here, but not without some downside risk.
I start with the big oilers and I am sure Odey is right and the woke ESG obsessed fund management mainstream is wrong. Then onto Ed McdDermott and Seed Ventures (SEED) where I am a loyal shareholder but argue for a plan B
The results for the year to March 31 2021 came out on August 31 but the audited annual report is not out until today, the day of Chill Brands (CHLL) AGM so a second AGM will be needed to approve this sad document. I can see why Chill does not want folks reading the report for it contains multiple horrors all of which indicate that the shares are going to crater. My target price remains 0p-5p but, after today, 0p looks far more likely.
I explain why there was no bearcast yesterday. Then I look at the part this household is playing in the fuel crisis. It is all about psychology. Then a look at Real Good Food (RGF) and companies delisting before a look at the pathetic punishments for the enablers of fraud at Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) I also look at what Australian regulators are doing to tackle pump and dump twitter gangs while the FCA jerks off on more ESG porn doing nothing about tackling real crime. I flag up Aura Energy (AURA) in this regard.
I would like to see some real diversity on AIM. CEOs & FD’s who are not grossly overpaid are woefully under-represented right now. As are Non Execs who hold CEOs and FDs to account. As for directors going for performance related pay & who buy meaningful amounts of shares in the market, they are almost non-existent. How about getting some diversity by getting rid of layers of fat cats, crony capitalists and fraudsters? Oh, that is not what the AIM awards team means with its new diversity champion award is it?
It is going to be a busy next week in the markets. I look forward to that but first a couple of bits of Sunday musing. Five weeks ago here I was thinking about Prudential (PRU) ‘which might have been founded in London in May 1848, but today (post the spin-off of M&G (MNG)) is all about its US and Asian insurance and related business focus’. Well, as you might have read in the last week, the company’s US division Jackson Financial has formally split and the company is an independent organisation listed on the New York Stock Exchange and technically ‘Prudential shareholders are entitled to receive one share of Jackson’s Class A common stock for every 40 Prudential shares they hold’.
I discuss a fascinating article about XL Media (XLM) HERE in the Times of Israel. If I wanted to list a fraud I’d be big on ESG as was XL. Chris Bailey’s fund manager pals would love it as I stole all the cash. I look at gender targets and ask what they should be, referencing Principals of Cambridge Colleges. I look at Mercantile Ports (MPL) and PrimaryBid and then what I plan, or hope, to do next about the fraud Umuthi (UHS), ask the victims to tell their stories. I look at Paul Johnson’s Power Metal Resources (POW) and its latest news which takes me back to 2007 and Mark Watson Mitchell’s Yellowcake. I comment on Asimilar (ASLR) and then go to town on Deepverge (DVRG) and its journalist trolling cock of a CEO Gerry Brandon explaining why I believe investors were materially misled in the run up to the £10 million June 7 placing and why the company is, for a variety of reasons, a total bargepole. It is just not investment grade material.
In March I observed that “I’m still not buying the stock – or drinking the product – of Fevertree (FEVR)” HERE. The one line view is that nothing has changed and (interestingly given the general market movements over the last few months) the share price is about the same level as it was about six months ago. Whilst the latter sounds dull – especially as the dividend yield is still under 1% – it has not been a disaster given the volatility in some other share prices. The challenge for Fever-Tree however remains its c. x40 EV:EBIT multiple for the full year, around double the level of underlying operating earnings growth. As always, it depends on what you pay for forward growth potential.
I have written a few times, most recently HERE, about the ‘development and marketing of veterinary products’ company Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH). Whilst I remember being very impressed by it many years ago when it listed, I concluded back in late February that it may have said ‘thanks to the love of dogs (and Brexit fears)’ but it did not work for me. Since then the stock has pushed up even further although – as noted last week – insufficiently to join the FTSE-100. And the shares are down by more than 7% as I write, so what is going on?
It has been a really good last year to be a Headlam (HEAD) shareholder but here a couple of months ago I felt there was more to come, and I was pleased to read these thoughts here from Tom and Steve observing their appreciation hopes too. So is there any reason to change tack after the company’s first half numbers out a few days ago?
The last time that I wrote positively about Ibstock (IBST) – the UK’s largest brick company - was here - back in April. Back then I concluded that ‘assuming further recovery in key sales/profit metrics to closer to the 2019 levels as 2021 progresses. And fair value is still above 250 pence’, which still suggests today a nice 10%+ increase potential in the share price.
Another day and another announcement from Argo Blockchain (ARB) the company that is spending $17.5 million buying some Texas scrub land worth $168,000. It is more green hype which might impress some of the ESG loving millennial fund managers who Chris Bailey is keen on, but cash guzzling Argo refuses to address the herds of elephants in the room.
Just over a decade ago I remember selling BHP Group (BHP) shares when I used to call the ‘leading global resources company’ “Billiton”, but time has changed a little. Company name evolutions are a boring thing, but far more interesting is that the Australian miner is set to collapse its 20 year-old dual listed company structure that will see all of its shareholders transferred to the Australia-based BHP Group Ltd. There is plenty of other stuff happening in today’s first half formal numbers also.
Fans of a fantastic comedy show of twenty years note the reference above, but let us talk instead about the large cap company Phoenix Group (PHNX) which is ‘helping people secure a life of possibilities’. In short it is ‘the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business’ and reported earlier this week.
I reckon that Deliveroo (ROO) has delivered to my home once. It was okay but – in my view – a bit of a rip off, but it was something a bit different for the family to try. As for Deliveroo shares I have never owned them, regarding the IPO a few months ago as being at a bonkers price. Since the share price low of early April, the stock has pushed up but if you did participate in the IPO in March, then you are still losing money. Last month here I wrote some thoughts on its ‘progress’ but observed that I was still avoiding the shares as ‘the underlying reality answer we all need to figure out is where profitability is going to be in full year 2021 and 2022’. That’s the trouble with a company where the mention of ‘gross profit’ means that it is all going to be comedy EBITDA centred (at best).
Shares in mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO) have performed well for me ever since I realised back in October here that ‘investors should focus on China not cultural heritage’. Actually if truth is told, it is more than just China because demand for the iron ore, copper and aluminium exporter is centred on a broader changing world. Or as Rio Tinto put it on a chart in its second quarter numbers a few days ago, ‘we produce materials essentially for a low-carbon future’.
Always spotless, green and neat, The smoothest woke spin gets them. I misquote, of course. But I am sure that the lead singer of the Undertones, who produced the classic My perfect cousin, now that we have a CD machine here, often playing this year at the Greek Hovel, will not object. These days Feargal spends his time campaigning on river quality. What else would an ageing punk do? The tweet below demonstrates the hypocrisy of big finance on ESG matters.
As I noted last month here, I do own some shares in Carnival Corporation (CCL) on the basis that (1) I was too optimistic in early 2020 thinking about Covid-19 only being focused on China but; (2) I did double up my holding a couple of months later on the basis that the owner of the Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, Seabourn, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Cunard was going to be loved by a growing number of (rich and ageing) holidaymakers around the world. Obviously I would not ever go myself…but as discussed about multiple other sectors and stocks, this has never been a reason for me not to invest (after all, inherently I am personally unbelievably boring in any case).
The question for the Titanic chefs is asked well after the iceberg has been hit. For Hurricane Energy (HUR) is also a busted flush, a sinking ship. Its assets are so poor that it will probably go bust at some stage whether or not it completes a debt for equity swap which will see shareholders lose 95% of the company. This company is, like the Titanic 109 years ago, holed beneath the waterline. Against this backdrop it has today published a glossy 71 page Environmental Social and Governance report.
It has always amazed me how the paper that purports to be the voice of business has, on so many issues taken a profoundly anti-business line. The FT told us to vote for Blair, to join the EMU and the Euro and to oppose Brexit. Natch it is all in favour of a radical green agenda even if it cripples business in the West. And it cannot get enough of the sort of ESG porn that the FCA also jerks off on every day. Today it bigs up a story about the FTSE Russell Index threatening 208 companies with expulsion. According to the FT:
In trading, timing is everything and the board of Best of the Best (BOTB) look like they are the kings of the timely trade. On 31 March 2021 the company announced a heavily oversubscribed secondary placing. The RNS on April Fool’s day stated
The first time I contacted the FCA about these two boiler room scams was in November 2019. Natch the woke dullards were too busy jerking off on ESG porn to do anything and now about £35 million has been stolen. My coverage has been extensive as you can see HERE. But now it really is time that the FCA did something and put these frauds to the sword if only so that those who invested under EIS can get some of their cash back.
April was not an easy month for the largest London-listed tobacco stocks. As I observed at the time it was a US tobacco market shocker for Imperial Brands (IMB) and British American Tobacco (BATS) back then, although I remained optimistic on both stocks. Since then the shares have recovered and after a positive recent update from the former, how has BAT got on with its update today?
Last time bear raider Boatman set sail its target was Babcock (BAB). The company responded by hiring spooks at Kroll and getting poodle yellow journalists at the Sunday Times to target Boatman. It failed. The CEO, FD and Chairman of Babcock have had to walk the plank and the shares have crashed. So the next target…
During the last few months, I have written a few times about BT Group (BT.A). I remain positive on the stock – and it certainly has been pleasant to see the shares rise above the one quid level six or seven months ago - but as I detailed here back in March, a really big call is going to be who is the next chair of the company. Well as you may have read in today’s Times, there is a ‘former minister in line to chair BT’.
RSM has filed its joint administrators’ proposal dated 7 May 2021 at Companies House which effectively confirms that Buy 2 Let Cars Limited was a circa £50 million Ponzi scheme with new investors paying for existing investors’ interest and returns of capital. This is revealed on page 14 of its report which discloses that:
The last time I wrote about DCC plc (DCC), the London-listed but ‘Irish international sales, marketing and support services group’, was back in early November HERE. My observation back then was that its observation in ‘four divisions: LPG, Retail & Oil, Technology and Healthcare’ and hence great performance over the last 26 years meant that ‘I really should consider buying some’. Well I still haven’t…and the stock is still at/around the sixty quid level. So what am I thinking today?
Good news travels fast, bad news is always delayed and that brings us to the delays from Supply@ME Capital (SYME) in buying the loss-making, sub-scale, Singapore-based joke fund manager Tradeflow and in publishing its results.
Everyone knows that loan shark Amigo (AMGO) screwed tens of thousands of customers. Even the company admits to it. Shareholders benefited from that screw. Amigo wants to pay out just a portion of that screw in compensation, leaving shareholders taking no pain as they get to keep some of the ill-gotten gains. Quite rightly those folks at the FCA have taken a few minutes from wanking off on ESG porn to put a stop to this.
Call me boring but I don’t really like IPOs. Therefore when I was offered the opportunity of participating in the Deliveroo (ROO) IPO a few weeks ago I said something along the lines of ‘thank you but no thank you’, but noted down the thought of having a look when it published some numbers after it had listed. After all, even I have used Deliveroo (admittedly just once) in the last year and have certainly seen its cyclists delivering near me many times.
I know that many people believe this area is a bit boring, but I continue to really like Headlam Group (HEAD) which describes itself as ‘Europe’s leading floorcoverings distributor’. I last wrote positively about the stock HERE, as it happens just a few hours before I ended up in hospital until just before Christmas. I see reader Steve B wrote a positive agreement piece with my November thought and has made a further positive return year-to-date in the 2021 readers tip competition. Even nicer for us both is to see the performance of Headlam Group’s shares in March. So is there still room to be excited here or is it time to take the profits and run?
Whilst my positive views on the UK’s largest brick company Ibstock (IBST) – most recently written up HERE - have been really well-rewarded over the last six months, I do have one confession to make. Yes, the company did make a loss of £20 million last year. It was clearly a very difficult year due to Covid-19 shutdowns but also Ibstock was taking on board one off costs to help evolve the business. Still, I know some investors will be feeling unhappy.
Today has seen Eco Atlantic (Eco) become another victim of the ESG driven woke world of idiocy that is seeing oil & gas company’s move away from core business into green energy. I can understand the large integrated exploration and production companies reacting to investor pressure, but a pure exploration company funding solar power? I don’t like the move and I have a few questions on the partner.
Back in August here, I observed that mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO) had been silly not to square off the various interest groups being a big mining group means you rub up against. I did also observe that ‘the trajectory of the Rio Tinto share price remains centred fully on the demand levels or not from China for iron ore…for all the ESG excitement this situation will induce, that is the cold hard reality’.
I warn you that my Mahmud Kamani impression when he meets the new ESG director forced upon him contains strong language. It had to, to be accurate. I discuss, in this podcast, the liars at Supply@ME Capital (SYME), William Hill (WMH), Restaurant Group (RBG), Hammerson (HMSO) and Boohoo (BOO), plus my act of mask rebellion in Wrexham yesterday as I stocked up on loo rolls. You – and the Mrs – mocked me last time but it is better to be the first lunatic overreacting than the first sane person forced to pay £5 and limited to 1 roll each!
So naughty old Rio Tinto (RIO) then. The iron ore, copper and coal name has fessed up that it was naughty in blowing up some ancient rockshelters at Juukan Gorge ‘and have unreservedly apologised to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people’. After, scrapping some executive bonuses, ponying up A$50 million to ‘attract, develop and retain Indigenous professionals into our company’, as well as giving such groups ‘a greater voice’ in its decision-making process and stating although it ‘cannot change the past…we are absolutely committed to doing better in the future’, right on Rio Tinto, yes?…
I shall explain which I am selling and which I am buying and exactly why in the bearcast. Enjoy. I also look at the latest Covid data which spells death for Catenae (CTEA) and doom for others and with a hat tip to the great Peter Tatchell to COVID profiteering by Burberry (BRBY). I look at Plutus Powergen (PPG) in detail, and also at share trades that have happened but others that are not happening which explain why Supply@ME Capital is shaping up to be such a scandal and one where the FCA has disgraced itself by its actions and is still disgracing itself by its inactions. I also explain why comrade PL is taking nonsense on ESG spend adding value.
Previously writing on eServGlobal (ESG) in May it was with the company emphasising “the core business benefitting from a much-reduced cost base, which is already showing signs of progress against a refreshed sales approach”. Now a 2:35pm “Trading Update”. Hmmm – on a significant Brexit afternoon, an attempted no-one watching o’clock?...
Previously writing on eServGlobal (ESG) in October it was following the recent pump…, with that announcement also including “we expect the core business to achieve EBITDA breakeven in the 4th quarter of 2017 as we continue the structural changes to the business”. There’s now a Core Business Trading Update…
eServGlobal (ESG) has announced results for its half year ended 30th April 2017 including “a strong outlook for the year” for the core business and that the Homesend joint venture payment hub “is experiencing a sales expansion which it expects to become more significant across the remainder of 2017”. So why do the shares remain sub 6p, well down from more than 8p reached earlier this year?...
Having recently recovered to comfortably above 7p, shares in eServGlobal (ESG) are currently sliding back towards that level despite an AGM Statement including “we expect sufficient order flow in H1 to support our outlook of breakeven in the core business in the 12 months to 31 October 2017, and progress by HomeSend remains consistent with reaching a breakeven point during this calendar year”…
eServGlobal (ESG) has announced results for its year ended 31st October 2016 emphasising “steady progress in the re-alignment of the business” and “we are confident we will provide further evidence of our success in the year ahead”. Hmmm…
A trading update for its year ended 31st October 2016 from mobile financial technology company eServGlobal (ESG), sees its Executive Chairman, John Conoley, "proud of the achievements of the company in its core business in FY16 after its poor start… we have embarked on FY17 with justified optimism in the core business”. The shares have responded currently slightly lower to 6p…
Shares in mobile financial services company eServGlobal (ESG) have recently moved higher on the back of a trading update particularly emphasising that “the company confirms it remains on track to achieve a small EBITDA* surplus for the core business”. However, researcher Edison has now updated including “we have revised our forecasts to reflect H116 performance, reducing our revenue and EBITDA forecasts”. Hmmm…
eServGlobal (ESG) has announced what it immediately claims as “a significant contract to supply its PayMobile software”. However, despite approximately €2.5 million of the €6 million contract value to be recognised in the company’s current year to 31st October, it only “maintains” financial guidance. Hmmm…
Having previously noted that working capital is “tight”, I now note an announcement from mobile money company eServGlobal (ESG) that it has repaid an Australian$3 million (currently £1.6 million) loan due to National Australia Bank, but has needed to draw down £0.5 million of a new loan facility of up to £1 million with major shareholder Henderson “to meet general working capital requirements”. Hmmm...
I am still on the prescription pain killers as you may be able to guess. And I am still pondering what to get the Mrs for Christmas - any ideas please post away in the comments section. I end with a question for Jabba The Hutt and Afriag (AFRI): tell me David Lenigas what is happening on January 20 2016? In the podcast I cover Infrastrata (INFA), disappointing news from Armadale Capital (ACP), Inspirit (INSP), Octagonal (OCT) - two John Gunn /Lenigas creations - Asian Citrus (ACHL), eServGlobal (ESG), Impact Holdings (IHUK) and ask the question could WH Ireland (WHI) - full dossier on its sins HERE - run out of free cash soon? The answer after today is that the pensioner muggers could well do so. Karma.
Having warned since more than a year ago now on shares in ‘mobile money’ technology company eServGlobal (ESG), I note a further more than 16% fall, to 3.875p, currently today on the back of a “Notice of EGM” announcement…
The announcement of an agreement with Armenian mobile financial service provider MobiDram for the 'HomeSend' payment hub joint venture it is a partner in has failed to impact shares in ‘mobile money’ company eServGlobal (ESG) – perhaps unsurprisingly after some massive forecast cuts last week…
Last week I updated on eServGlobal (ESG) HERE, concluding that ‘with HomeSend still having much to prove and there still clearly trading and financial difficulties for the core business, particularly ahead of a further trading update expected later this month, I remain bearish’. The shares are currently down approaching 25% today, at 5.5p, as guess what? …
I am staying wth my father and lefty step mother in Shipston and so there are a string of jokes at his expense. Talking of jokes I mention, en passant, Sefton Resources (SER) but also the total joke that is Golden Saint Resources (GSR). Then there is BBA (BBA), Telit Communications (TCM), Surgical Innovations (SUN) - cue predictable Zak Mir joke - and eServGlobal (ESG). Finally I comment on Adgorithms (ADGO) and flag up superb Peel Hunt research HERE
Having warned at 27p HERE, 21.5p HERE and 14.75p HERE, I now update with shares in eServGlobal (ESG) at 7.5p following a number of recent announcements including that it “now considers there to be an increased risk that revenue and EBITDA will be below market expectations” and has agreed a loan from a shareholder to provide it with “additional working capital and enable its pro rata investment in HomeSend”…
My bearish stance on shares in dual AIM and Aussie-listed software for mobile financial services company eServGlobal (ESG) has proven correct thus far – with the shares down from an initial 27p and then 21.5p to a current 14.75p. The following updates with earlier-this-year appointed Executive Chairman John Conoley talking of “more rapid deployment times resulting faster conversion of projects to cash and higher margin support revenue”…