My investment non-mistakes in 2012: Part 3

Sunday, Jan 06 2013 by

Right, following on from part 2, let's wrap this up:

7) Halfords - HFD

I first bought Halfords (LON:HFD) in 2011 at ~295p on a very simple thesis. The share price had fallen significantly after 2011 profits were a bit disappointing (and it too has the 'retail' stigma attached to it), however HFD offered a) a business with high long term ROEs, b) a large yield of over 7% at the time and c) a low historic P/E. I thought that the decline in profit was likely to be relatively short term and the company would carry on growing in the future as it also had an auto garage business that was expanding to offset the retail slowdown.

I didn't really expect what happened next, when profits looked to have another year of -20% falls. I'm still not entirely sure what caused it, but the share price reaction was to knock a further ~35% off the price down to ~190p. I topped up again, at 210p, but was still kind of unsure as to why profits were falling so fast. Halfords then decided on a CEO swap, and together with a big boost in cycling sales from the British Tour de France success the share price swung back up as high as 355p. I got pretty lucky as I sold out completely at 351p basically because the shares looked much worse value given profits were still expected to fall significantly and, importantly, I don't really get why the decline is so drastic nor why it should reverse. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has any further light to shed on this situation.

8) Staffline - STAF

I don't have a great deal to add on Staffline (LON:STAF) beyond Paulypilot's summary of his meeting with management here and MaxCashflow's share competition write up here. It ticks the boxes of a) good long term growth b) decent level of management ownership and c) an attractive valuation. It's gone up ~30% since I bought it so I've trimmed a bit at ~300p but I still hold a good chunk for the longer term.

9) 21st Century - C21

£C21 is an interesting one. I got in…

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Staffline Group plc is an outsourcing company. The Company is engaged in provision of recruitment and outsourced human resource services to industry and services in the welfare to work arena and skills training. The Company's operating segments include the provision of temporary staff to customers and the provision of welfare to work and other training services (Employability). It provides managed workforces to the logistics, e-retail, manufacturing, driving, agriculture, food processing and support services sectors in over 250 locations in the United Kingdom, Eire and Poland. The Employability segment includes the Avanta and Eos brands and Government contracts, which offer Work Programme, a contractor in four regions in England; Steps to Success, a contractor in Northern Ireland; Youth Guarantee (MyGo Centre), and Ministry of Justice Transforming Rehabilitation in Warwickshire and West Mercia. The Company also provides training services through Elpis, Learning Plus and Skillspoint. more »

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21st Century Technology plc is a United Kingdom-based company. The Company's principal activities are in the road and rail based public transport vehicle sector. The Company is a specialist service provider of closed-circuit television and monitoring systems to the fleet and network operators in the bus and rail industries. The Company has two geographical segments: the United Kingdom and International, which includes Scandinavia and other European Union. The Company's subsidiaries include 21st Century Technology Solutions Limited, which is engaged in the sale and installation of CCTV and other monitoring devices and 21st C. Scandinavia AB, which is engaged in CCTV installation and project management. more »

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All Leisure Group plc is a United Kingdom-based company, which is engaged in cruise ship operation and tour operating. The Company operates through two segments: Cruising (including the Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Island Cruises brands) and Tour Operating (including the Travelsphere, Just You and Discover Egypt brands). The Company's Travelsphere and Just You brands offers escorted tours to a range of destinations across the world. Company's Hebridean Island Cruises brand operates five star cruise vessel Hebridean Princess. Its Voyages of Discovery brand operates in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Company's Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic and Hebridean brands offer destination-led cruises to a range of countries. Discover Egypt brand offers package holidays to Egypt, including cruises and excursions on the River Nile. more »

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  Is Staffline fundamentally strong or weak? Find out More »

2 Comments on this Article show/hide all

Miserly Investor 6th Jan '13 1 of 2

CantEatValue - fantastic! I really enjoyed reading your down to earth trilogy so thanks for taking the time to write it all up. Overall it seems as though you have had a very satisfactory year :)


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CantEatValue 7th Jan '13 2 of 2

Cheers MI! Yes, it's been a good year for me (beginner's luck!) - although my "investment mistakes of 2012" post reminds me I can still mess up with the best of them!

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About CantEatValue


Part-time private investor predominantly in micro-cap UK equities or anywhere I can find inefficiencies.


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