Richard Beddard

Share Watch: Alumasc's winter woes make its shares an enticing buy

Alumasc (ALU): winter woes

After five years of profitable growth, Alumasc suffered a reversal of unexpected intensity in the year to June 2018. Revenue fell 6% and adjusted profit fell 25%. Without the contribution of Wade International, a manufacturer of drainage products acquired during the year, revenue and profit would have fallen further, by 11% and 38% respectively.

Share Watch: battling technology group diversifying and looks cheap

Cohort (CHRT): defensive measures

Steady performance in terms of revenue and profit growth in recent years has hidden ructions at Cohort, a group of small businesses that supply technology and expertise to the armed forces, schools, councils and the police force. Flat revenue and modestly improved profit have come at the cost of the closure of one firm, the shrinkage of another and the acquisition of a third.

Share Watch: financial risk threatens this high performing company

Motorpoint (MOTR) High performance, low margins

Independent motor dealer Motorpoint performed very well in the year to March 2018. Revenue increased 21 per cent and profit increased 34 per cent compared to the previous year, when it experienced a mini-slump after the Brexit referendum. Even that year, Motorpoint, which had only just floated on the stock market, was an impressive performer. Return on capital in the year to March 2017 was 13 per cent. In 2018 it was 18 per cent.

Share Sleuth: solid performer at inviting price made to measure

It was a hot day on 23 July when I more than doubled the Share Sleuth portfolio’s holding in Solid State (SOLI) taking it from 1,070 shares, or 3 per cent of the portfolio’s total value, to 2,400 shares (6 per cent). I know it was hot that day, because every day in July was hot, but I don’t think my decision was influenced by the furnace inside my office. I followed the same measured process I have followed for every other trade in the portfolio for years now.

Share Sleuth: time to reflect on comfortable positioning

This month I have no trade to report, because I am happy with the portfolio’s shape, and, as you will notice if you read the Share Watch column (see page 76), my quest to find new investments that might be better than those I have already picked has drawn a blank.

While returns have doubled since inception, Nifty Fifty portfolio still misses benchmark

It’s the Nifty Thrifty portfolio’s eighth anniversary and I’m afraid the news this time is no better than the news last June. The portfolio has edged up in value by 3 per cent over the intervening year, to just over £56,500, but the benchmark FTSE 350 index-tracking fund has increased in value by 6 per cent to just under £60,000. It looks as though the index-tracking fund, an almost effortless investment that required just one decision in June 2010, will be the first to double its original £30,000 stake.

Share Watch: Are fears over Next shares overdone?

Each month Richard Beddard trawls through annual corporate results for his Watchlist and the Share Sleuth portfolio of companies that satisfy key valuation metrics such as earnings yield and return on capital – and profiles the most interesting candidates.

Judges Scientific (JDG): set to profit despite stop-go

In comparison to 2016, the year to December 2017 was a good year for Judges Scientific. The scientific instrument manufacturer increased revenue 25 per cent and profit by more than 50 per cent.