Good morning, am back from Paris now, and full of praise for the Eurostar service. I'll definitely be using it more often for short breaks. It's so quick & convenient, and my return fare only cost £69! Combined with a great quality hotel deal on Expedia, and eating out cheaply from sandwich shops, and with decent champagne only £9 a bottle from Carrefour (yes that was the reason there was no blog update yesterday!) you can't go wrong really. Plus of course any visit to Paris reminds you that customer service in the UK really is marvellous in comparison!
Long-suffering shareholders in brownfield regeneration company Inland Homes (LON:INL) finally have some good news today - as expeted, planning permission has been granted on the old Pilkington Tiles site in Hamworthy, Poole for a mainly residential development. Whilst house prices in the poshest parts of Poole can be astronomical (e.g. Sandbanks), Hamworthy is a dump. However, since the site is right next to Poole Harbour then Inland's development might begin the gentrification of the area?
I bought a few more Inland shares yesterday, on a small dip. Underlying NTAV is probably now at least 32p a share, so buying at 19.5p seems good value, especially as the Banks are now beginning to lend again in this sector, as reported at Inland's last eventful AGM, where many of us went along to protest at excessive Board Room pay, and unjustified bonuses.
Results from Artilium (ARTA), a telecoms software group, look pretty awful, and their financial situation precarious. So that's going on my bargepole list, as it looks moribund without another fund-raising.
Talking of which, someone told me something interesting the other day. I've often wondered why some fund managers continue supporting companies which are obviously rubbish, with repeated fund raisings (Earthport springs to mind). The answer I'm told is because it's to save their own careers - i.e. by supporting a rescue fund-raising, they can pretend that the company will deliver on its business model, so it kicks the can down the road for a year or two. Whereas if the fund manager admits it's been a rubbish investment, and writes it off, then his own job is on the line.
Makes sense now doesn't it?! I've always thought that people make much bettter decisions with their own money, than with other people's money.
Belgravium (BVM) puts out a profits warning, so expect a sharp drop there today. The maker of rugged portable computers says that orders have been delayed, impacting on sales & profits for y/e 31 Dec 2012. Although dividends are expected to be maintained at the same level as last year, so not all bad. That means at 0.1p the yield is 2%. If it's a fundamentally sound company, then warnings like this can provide a cheap entry point. Although share prices usually take quite a few months to recover from profits warnings. The mkt cap at Belgravium is too low for me, at £5m.
Several readers emailed me yesterday to point out that I'd got the ticker wrong for Silverdell, which is actually SID, so I have corrected Weds blog entry. If you ever do spot any mistakes here, then please let me know, it's very helpful. I try my best to be 100% accurate, but being human, the occasional error will slip through.
Also, someone pointed out that broker forecasts for SID are much more appealing than the historic figures, due to having a full year of their acquired business. So might be worth me revisiting the numbers there, and thank you to the reader who kindly emailed me the Edison research note on SID.
I like the mgt at Silverdell who we met at a FinnCap/Mello Central evening last year. They seem honest, straight-forward, hard working people, which is what you want.
A very quick glance at Photo-Me International (LON:PHTM) results looks impressive - profits up, and tons of cash. Might be worth a further look when time permits? However, bear in mind that it's a seasonal business, with H1 the much stronger half, so don't make the mistake of assuming that you can double interim profits to estimate the full year! (as that would generate a falsely optimistic result).
I note that Berkeley Group has put out very strong results, which gives hope that activity in the house building sector might increase, which we certainly need, given the scarcity of housing, especially in the South East, caused by factors such as an ageing population, increasing number of single person households, and of course unrestricted immigration for the last 15 years.
Funnily enough, if you let in 10 million people, and don't build any new houses, then you end up with a housing crisis! An intelligent 10 year old could have predicted that, but sadly not our last Government!
On that scathing note, I shall sign off & bid you a good day, and a pleasant weekend.