Sunday share tips: GKN, Provexis, BP
05 Aug, 2012 14:10
First-half numbers from specialist engineer GKN beat market expectations, with pre-tax profits leaping 43 per cent. Nigel Stein, chief executive, also gave some upbeat interviews, indicating that, while many of GKN's customers were cautious about the rest of 2012, "no one is pressing alarm buttons" about the wider economy. This is good news for GKN as many of its products are used in markets with impressive long-term growth, such as the automotive, agricultural and commercial airline industries. The numbers resulted in one of the most bearish analysts on the shares upgrading his rating to hold. Last month, GKN made a good purchase - the aero engine division of Volvo. The business specialises in engine parts for commercial airliners, so is a good fit for GKN's operations, which is focused on structural engineering. The shares are sitting at about the same level they were following the Volvo deal announcement, after drifting for most of the last month. The results failed to give the shares a lift, but Questor still thinks the shares represent reasonable value, given the prospects for its end markets. Trading on a current-year earnings multiple of 8.5 falling to 7.3 and yielding 3.4 per cent Questor says buy.
Provexis is a sports nutrition and health food business with a difference. Using scientifically proven formulas to boost performance and improve health, the company's products are used by GB Rowing, several Tour de France teams and hosts of other athletes - Olympians and enthusiasts alike. The shares are just 1.5p but the company has recently been restructured and its performance should pick up significantly over the next 12 months and beyond. Professional and amateur athletes spend nearly £20bn a year worldwide on sports nutrition, ranging from Lucozade to hydrating gels and energy tablets. In Britain alone, the market is worth £300m annually. More than 50m Americans take aspirin every day and consumption in Britain is extensive, too. If even a fraction of these move to natural, food-based pills instead, Provexis could see sales and profits soar. The company reported full-year results last week, which showed a surge in turnover from £50,000 to £3.5m in the year to March 31. There was an underlying loss of £2.2m, reflecting investment in Fruitflow and restructuring costs as Moon took steps to streamline the business. But the group should move into profit over the next year or so. Provexis is a small company in a fast-growing sector. Moon, formerly at Lucozade-maker GlaxoSmithKline, is down to earth and determined. The past few years have been focused on development. The next few years are all set to be about sales and profits. Provexis should prove to be a winner. Buy, says the Financial Mail on Sunday's Midas column.
Shoddy, unhelpful and "testing the faith" were three of the descriptions used by analysts to describe BP's latest quarterly results. Questor would add appalling to the list. It's just over nine months since Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, said the group had "turned a corner" following the Macondo oil spill. It looks like that corner led back to square one. BP also reiterated its strategic objective of generating a 50% increase in operating cash flow by 2014 relative to 2011. About half of this will come from ending payments to the Gulf of Mexico Trust Fund, with the rest from its operations. However, the third quarter offers more of the same in terms of production and margins. Adding to uncertainty around the divestment of its stake in TNK-BP and the ongoing litigation threat resulting from the 2010 spill, investors now have operational concerns to contend with. There are simply too many uncertainties. Should the TNK-BP stake be sold, a significant amount of the proceeds are likely to be invested in Russia, so country risk will remain. The shares are cheap, reflecting this, with a current-year earnings multiple of 6.7 times and a 4.9% yield. But after such a dire quarter the shares are now a hold, down from buy, Questor thinks.
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