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Markets need to pause

With many stocks bouncing strongly over the past few weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking that the world was back to normal, coronavirus a minor concern and a recession firmly off the cards….if only!

The FTSE100 index and its constituents of aged dinosaurs has risen 23% from the March lows, the S&P500 index has climbed 35% and the AIM index is up a staggering 48%, meaning it is now only 10% below the year highs.

While the initial sell-off was brutal for AIM, and in some cases fully justified given the questionable outlook for many companies whose businesses are faced with considerable challenges, the rebound from many stocks is all the more remarkable.

The week saw shares in boohoo Group (LON: BOO), the leading online fashion group and AIM’s largest company, rise to all-time highs as it acquired the remaining 34% of shares in prettylittlething.com Limited (‘PLT’) from its minority shareholders. BOO’s market capitalisation of £4.7bn makes it the UK’s fourth largest listed retailer by market capitalisation, ahead of Morrisons (£4.5bn) and Sainsbury’s (£4.3bn). At the current share price of 383p BOO shares trade at 60x revised forecast earnings for 2021 or 3.3x revenue and 42x earnings for 2022. There is no doubting the attractions of its online operating model and ability to acquire struggling brands on the cheap, but in a recessionary climate that is a mighty rating by any stretch. To put things into context, shares in Next (LON:NXT), another excellent retailer with a substantial online presence, trade at only 13.7x forecast earnings for 2022 or 1.7x sales. BOO has silenced the doubters before but it has a lot to live up to.

Video gaming companies on AIM have performed particularly strongly over the pandemic and in this interview with Jeremy Naylor of IG markets, Chris Boxall, co-founder of Fundamental Asset Management, discusses the recent performance of these and thoughts for the future.

Companies covered in the interview include:
Team17 (TM17), an existing Fundamental AIM portfolio holding.
Frontier Developments (FDEV)
Codemasters (CDM)
Keywords Studios (KWS)
Sumo (SUMO)

 

You can find out more about Fundamental’s high performing AIM portfolio service, including the latest fact sheets, from the link here.

Fundamental Asset Management has delivered exceptional investment returns investing in AIM for more than 16 years.


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A big week for fund raises on AIM

It was a big week for fund raises across AIM with one of our AIM portfolio constituents receiving strong support from its shareholders sending the shares significantly higher.

Fundamental AIM portfolio constituent Watkin Jones (LON:WJG), the developer with a focus on the Build to Rent and student accommodation sectors, reported strong results for the 6 months ending 31 March 2020. Revenue rose 16.7% to £185.7m, underpinned by both student accommodation development and, increasingly Build to Rent. Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 6.4% to £26.6m and the group closed the period in a net cash position of £37.5m with an additional £71.1m of undrawn facilities available to it. With £390m of revenue to come from a forward sold pipeline for the current financial year Watkin Jones has decent visibility. It also has 17,721 student accommodation beds and apartments under management providing another stream of high margin income. Despite the short-term challenges, with cash in the bank and a decent forward order book, it looks in good shape.

International home repairs and improvements group Homeserve (LON:HSV) has proved to be remarkably resilient across the crisis. Results for the year ending 31 March 2020 announced this week saw revenue grow 13% to £1.1bn and pre-tax profits rise 12% to £181.0m. The group’s North America business performed strongly and is now the largest part of the group working with over 950 utilities and with access to 64m households. Across the coronavirus crisis no staff have been furloughed or made redundant and free repairs have been offered for NHS and social care workers in the UK, with over 2,000 repairs completed to date – a great effort!

Shares in Dart Group (LON:DTG), the leisure travel and logistics group which operates the Jet2 airline and is a more recent Fundamental AIM portfolio holding, soared following news of a successful fund raise of £172m at 576.5p per share. Having budgeted several scenarios, including one where flying operations only re-start on 1 April 2021, management believes that the proceeds of the equity raise, together with £300m drawn on the Bank of England Corporate Financing Facility and the Group’s fully drawn facility of £100m, will see them through even the most challenging of trading environments.

The latest update from Belvoir Group (LON:BLV), the UK’s largest property franchise, has reassured that the rental market might be holding up better than expected. The update could bode well for our satellite AIM portfolio holding Property Franchise Group (LON:TPFG) where lettings is also a major contributor to gross profit.

Exceptional demand in the final quarter of the year saw Pets at Home (LON:PETS) lift revenue 10.2% to £1,058.8m for the year ending 26 March 2020, the first time they had surpassed £1bn. The lock-down proved highly beneficial to their online operations and subscription customers however, as anticipated, the exceptional demand witnessed in the closing weeks of the last financial year has unwound in the current year which, combined with social distancing has temporarily depressed normal levels of turnover and profits. It remains to be seen whether customers will be less inclined to use their 453 stores as lockdowns ease, in which case PETS might be faced with needing to reduce the number of stores. A business initially doing nicely from the pandemic may ultimately see its business suffer as a new normal prevails.

Time Out (LON:TMO), which operates the popular Time Out Markets as well as the original media assets, raised £45m at 35p per share. £22.5m of the new funds raised will be used to redeem its outstanding loan notes with the balance used to provide working capital and support the development of new markets. With Time Out markets around the world currently closed and advertising revenues meaningfully lower, the group is facing a very uncertain future while also carrying a significant amount of costly debt. We were really impressed with Time Out Market in Lisbon, which appeared to be thriving before the pandemic struck, welcoming 4.1 million visitors in 2019. Time Our Markets are a great concept and we very much hope they go onto succeed, but the group certainly entered the crisis with a very fragile balance sheet. There could be a cracking recovery play here….for the brave.

To keep up to date with the coronavirus impact on these and many other companies please visit our associates Investor’s Champion.

Have an excellent weekend


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AIM stocks rally on Conservative landslide

The Conservative election victory, supported by progress with the US/China trade negotiations, triggered a strong rally from stock markets, with the UK index of 100 leading shares up just over 1%, the UK mid-cap index surging over 3% and US stocks hitting record highs. The AIM index was up just over 2%, but who were the biggest winners on our AIM portfolios from this short term ‘Boris bounce’?

Anything associated with housebuilding, construction and infrastructure spending had a terrific day, with notable risers from our AIM portfolios  Breedon (construction materials) and Nexus Infrastructure (infrastructure services to UK housebuilders). Having struggled in the first half of the year, Nexus announced its full year results this week with a strong order book offering plenty of encouragement for the future.

Shares in Adept Technology, which provides managed IT services to over 100 councils, NHS trusts, schools and other government bodies, also rallied. The share price of this excellent business, which generates plenty of reliable recurring revenue and cash, has struggled to make much progress over the past few months. With the election out of the way and a more stable political outlook hopefully it will start to attract greater interest.

Highly rated foreign exchange brokers Alpha FX Group and Argentex will have had a busy time supporting their clients in the face of a rising pound, but their share prices barely moved today. With many predicting that the pound will continue to rise over the coming months their services should continue to be in high demand from corporate clients needing help managing foreign exchange exposures.

RWS Holdings, the intellectual property support services and localization provider, was a notable faller on the day. AIM’s 8th largest company announced excellent results this week but warned that, having previously benefited from positive exchange rate movements, currency is proving less supportive at the start of its new financial year. A resurgent pound won’t have helped sentiment in the short-term but this terrific business has weathered far greater currency storms over the past 10 years.

For further information on Fundamental’s high-performing AIM portfolios and thoughts on winners and loses from the election please contact Chris or Stephen on 01923 713890. You can download fact sheets and other information from the Publications section here

While the UK market was clearly the main focus of attention for many, a US listed company which we hold on some of our general portfolios stole the show for us and highlights the terrific investment opportunities available on overseas markets. Adobe will be well known many through its free Acrobat software which is used to read PDF documents, however, there is clearly much more to this creative and digital media software business. This US giant has delivered tremendous growth over the past 3 years and now boasts a market capitalisation of $150bn. Despite its huge size Adobe has just reported a 24% growth in like-for-like annual revenue to $11.17billion and 15% growth in earnings per share. And who says elephants can’t gallop!

Adobe is also a constituent of Investor’s Champion’s Ultimate Stocks Portfolio which you can find out more on from the link here.


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AIM, where patience brings big rewards

The share price of CVS Group (LON:CVSG), the UK’s leading veterinary services business, rose strongly this week on the back of another positive trading update. CVS has been a mainstay of Fundamental AIM portfolios for many years, although it’s tested our patience on numerous occasions.

The dynamics of the UK veterinary market have changed significantly over the past few years and a shortage of newly qualified vets, combined with the rapid consolidation of the sector, has been making life harder for CVS, the UK’s largest consolidator.

We were getting particularly concerned by CVS management’s strategy of pursuing high priced acquisitions, despite the evident challenges in the sector which needed addressing. Generally speaking Fundamental is a very cautious investor in pure ‘buy and build’ business models of the sort being run by CVS. From our perspective, there comes a point when the focus needs to be on internal matters and organic growth. However, we like the defensive attributes of this sector and the management team had done a pretty good job up to now, so we were prepared to see this through.

Other investors were clearly also worried about the state of play sending the share price down sharply to a low of 362p in January 2019 from 1140p just six months earlier.

The interim results for the six months ending 31 December 2019, announced at the end of March 2019, offered a first glimpse that things were improving, with management addressing several of the key issues which had contributed to the previous underperformance.

What encouraged us more than anything was the greater reluctance to pursue acquisitions, unless the price was right, and a greater focus on organic growth. The interim results commented on an increase in the number of in-house referrals, which would benefit the group’s referral centres like Lumbry Park, which we visited in the summer and in which they had made significant investment. The growing numbers joining CVS’ Healthy Pet Club scheme, which provides care through a monthly subscription model also looked encouraging.

Results for the year ended 30 June 2019 announced in September provided further evidence that things were continuing to improve with like-for-like sales growth of 5.2%, of which 4.3% came from the core Veterinary Practices division. Earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), after central office costs, rose 14.5% to £54.4m.

The group’s Healthy Pet Club had 401,000 members at the year-end, an increase of 10.8% in the year, with 133% growth in their new Healthy Horse Programme to 7,000 members. These membership schemes bind the group to its clients and their pets and lifted annual monthly based subscription revenue 19% to £45.4m.

The update this week offered more encouragement with like-for-like sales increasing 8.0% in the four months to 31 October 2019 driven by a strong performance from the core Practices Division, which has seen like-for-like sales increase 7.4%.

It’s also reassuring to note that employment costs and vet vacancy rates have remained stable and only one acquisition has been made since September 2019.

The latest update cautioned that comparatives become more challenging in the second half of the current financial year given the improved second half performance seen in the previous financial year but it all sounds a lot more promising than 12 months ago.

While the shares still remain well below previous highs, they have performed strongly over the past 10 months rising over 170% from lows.

Having assessed the holding on numerous occasions over the past 18 months, our patience and ongoing commitment has been well rewarded…..up to now.

Hopefully onwards and upwards!

To find out more about other investment opportunities on AIM, the Main Market or overseas markets, contact Chris or Stephen on 01923 713890 or email [email protected]

 


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Invest in what you know – know what you invest in

The nature of investing in AIM for Inheritance Tax planning purposes is that investors must directly hold shares in the underlying AIM companies, albeit via a broker’s nominee arrangement. The Inheritance Tax planning benefits would be lost should investment be made via a fund or investment trust arrangement where the investor simply holds shares or units in the underlying fund or investment trust.

This method of direct investment has the advantage that the investor has full knowledge of exactly which stocks he or she is holding and how each is performing. This contrasts with the typical fund arrangement where normally only the largest holdings (typically the top ten) are disclosed by the fund manager.

The portfolio approach means investors are also privy to all the transaction details and therefore have full knowledge of the manager’s actions.

The suspension of the Woodford Equity Income fund, where 300,000 investors have been prevented from accessing their cash since June, has highlighted the problems with investment in open ended funds, where fund managers, administrators, custodian’s and regulators sit between investors and their money. Furthermore, investors have little knowledge of managers trading activity and the complete picture of where performance is really coming from. Indeed, the opaque nature of fund investment appears at odds with the information age in which we live and the demand for greater transparency.

While a portfolio approach is a requirement for investment in AIM for Inheritance Tax planning purposes it can equally apply to general investment portfolios. Fundamental Asset Management’s general investment portfolios, supported by our in-depth research and a good dose of common sensehave delivered excellent performance over the past few years, benefitting from exposure to some terrific companies, both in the UK and overseas. Our clients have enjoyed success with the likes of Apple, Games Workshop, Microsoft and Nestle, to name a few.

With trading costs a fraction of what they used to be and portfolios free of the additional burden of administrators fees and other excessive costs carried by funds, it’s a great time for portfolio investors.

We would argue that it’s also far more enjoyable and reassuring to have full knowledge of one’s investments and to experience the thrill of some terrific stock selections and of course the disappointment of the occasional mistake!

To find out more about our high performing portfolios call Chris or Stephen on 01923 713890


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Stunning results from this technology star highlight the potential for investment outperformance on AIM 

dotdigital Group plc (LON:DOTD) has rapidly become one of our small cap favourites and the latest results certainly didn’t disappoint.

Founded in 1999 as a web design agency, dotdigital has developed a globally compelling product suite for email and digital marketing.

Having grown significantly since admission to AIM in 2011, when it’s market capitalisation was only £19m, its marketing automation platform is now used by over 70,000 marketers in 156 countries worldwide, empowering global marketers to achieve outstanding results. Global expansion and an expanding range of products  has seen revenues grow eleven fold over the last 8 years and the market capitalisation hit an historic high of £339m in July 2019, when the share price stood at 114p.

The group’s expansion has been boosted by it partnering with many of the leading ecommerce platforms including Magento (now part of Adobe), Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce and Shopify.

Results for the year ending 30 June 2019 were stunning, with revenues rising 19% to £51.3m, including organic growth of +15%, and adjusted operating profit up 25% to £11.8m.

33% growth in adjusted earnings per share to 3.88p was even more impressive and materially ahead of consensus market expectations of 3.4p.

The group acquired Comapi in November 2017 which specialises in ‘live chat’ and has built a software platform that allows clients to communicate directly with their customers via email, SMS and social messaging apps. The Comapi technology has now been fully integrated with dotdigital’s platform, with 19% of the group’s customers using more than one channel, helping to grow average revenue per user 14% to £966 per month.

The all-important recurring revenue as a percentage of total revenue increased to 86% thereby offering excellent visibility into the future.

The key partnerships have also been strengthened with revenue through Magento up 27% to £11.8m.

Despite the ongoing impact of GDPR, revenue from the EMEA region delivered double digit growth, but more distant overseas markets were the star performers. Having initially struggled to progress in the US, the group now appears to have found its feet with revenue in this key geography rising 27% to $9.0m. The APAC region was even better, reporting revenue growth of 83% to AUS$3.8m.

dotdigital comments how innovation is at the core of everything and they are committed to the continuous evolution of the technology, reflected in the considerable investment in the period. Despite this, excellent operating cash inflow of £12.3m still resulted in free cash flow of £6.3m, boosting year end cash to £19.3m.

The outlook was extremely encouraging with the first quarter of the current 2019/20 financial year starting well.

The house broker commented how “there are few companies we can point to which consistently deliver 15% organic growth, PBT margins over 25%, and reliable cash conversion” reiterating their target price of 135p, 37% above the current share price.

Having held the shares for several years and remaining enthusiastic buyers, we would echo their comments.

To discover other exciting investment opportunities on AIM please contact Chris or Stephen at small cap investment specialists Fundamental Asset Management by calling 01923 713890 or emailing [email protected] 

 

 

 


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AIM – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Investing in the shares of qualifying AIM companies can attract 100% relief from inheritance tax and is a proven tax planning method, avoiding the costs associated with a trust, or the risks associated with gifts. It’s also been a rather good investment strategy to follow, as long as you know what you are doing!

Fundamental Asset Management’s AIM portfolios can also be accessed through many leading adviser wrap platforms, including Transact, Standard Life Elevate and Nucleus, making it a viable tax planning solution for advisers who don’t want the adminstrative burden of administering assets on multiple platforms.

Supported by extensive in-house research and due diligence, we have successfully managed AIM portfolios for Inheritance Tax planning purposes since 2004, delivering outstanding growth, well ahead of mainstream funds and stock market indices. We have also helped families save large amounts of Inheritance Tax in the process.

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing and over this period we have experienced everything that AIM has to offer, from the highs of AB Dynamics, whose shares have risen over 2500% since listing six years ago, to the lows of Patisserie Holdings, a café chain worth £400m which succumbed to a massive fraud and disappeared overnight.

We have seen it all, from the boom times of 2007, when AIM had nearly 1700 companies, to the depths of the financial crisis, which saw many investors abandon AIM entirely.

Come and join us on 2nd October 2019 at the Landmark Hotel, London (www.landmarklondon.co.uk) to find out what investing in AIM for Inheritance Tax planning purposes is really all about.

Numbers are limited so please RSVP by emailing [email protected] to reserve your place at this FREE event.
Alternatively, please call 01923 713890.

Venue: Landmark Hotel. 222 Marylebone Rd, Marylebone, London NW1 6JQ


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Office of Tax Simplification Inheritance Tax Review – second report: what does it really mean for AIM?

The Office of Tax Simplification (‘OTS’) published its long-awaited review on reforming Inheritance Tax. A first report released in November 2018 dealt with the administration of estates while the latest report focuses on how Inheritance Tax could be made “easier to understand and more intuitive and simpler to operate”.

The stand-out headlines in the latest report were recommendations to reduce the seven year rule for gifting assets to five years and to increase the lifetime gift allowance from the current £3,000 to something more meaningful.

The press has also been keen to jump on a mention in the report of Business Property Relief (‘BPR’) and whether the treatment of AIM shares is within the policy intent of BPR.

Paragraph 5.19 of the report states:
…in relation to third party investors in AIM traded shares, BPR is not necessary to prevent the business from being broken up or sold in order to fund the payment of Inheritance Tax. This raises a question about whether it is within the policy intent of BPR to extend the relief to such shares, in particular where they are no longer held by the family or individuals originally owning the business.

Firstly, it should be emphasised that this was only an ‘observation’ and no further reference was made to AIM in the report in the conclusions or recommendations. However, in our opinion the report makes a reasonable observation regarding AIM.

BPR has never been wholly relevant to AIM in terms of preventing a business from being broken up or sold in order to fund the payment of Inheritance Tax. The relief in respect of smaller listed growth companies, is surely in place to attract third party investment and there are indications that the Treasury has always considered it thus. This is backed up by paragraph 5.18 of the report which states:

The OTS notes that the government’s response to the Patient Capital Review consultation published in November 2017 stated the government’s commitment to protecting the important role that BPR plays in supporting family owned businesses and growth investment in AIM and other growth markets. In correspondence and meetings, the OTS has heard evidence of its importance in meeting that objective.

To reiterate, contrary to what has been suggested by some of the more sensationalist headlines in the mainstream press, the OTS report has not recommended the removal of BPR on AIM. 

However, the OTS report has recommended that estates should not benefit from Capital Gains Tax dying with the deceased if the same assets in the estate are also benefitting from an IHT relief or exemption. In this regard Recommendation 5 on page 44 states:

Where a relief or exemption from Inheritance Tax applies, the government should consider removing the capital gains uplift and instead provide that the recipient is treated as acquiring the assets at the historic base cost of the person who has died.

The Treasury has said it will respond to the report in due course and consider its recommendations.

Last year’s Patient Capital Review highlighted a huge gap in funding in the UK for smaller growth companies and the removal of BPR on AIM will only exacerbate this, therefore we remain cautiously optimistic that radical changes are unlikely.

I think it’s worth reflecting that AIM as a viable Inheritance Tax planning option would not exist at all if the investment credentials didn’t stack-up in the first place.

Our AIM for Inheritance Tax portfolios have materially outperformed leading stock market indices for many years due to the compelling growth characteristics of the companies in which we invest, which just so happen to be accompanied by an attractive tax benefit for UK shareholders.

Successful AIM companies like RWS Holdings, AB Dynamics and many others have not seen their share prices rise due to the weight of demand from those investing for IHT planning purposes, they have risen based on the performance of the underlying businesses.

The great benefit of AIM is that it is market where share registers are dominated by family, founders and senior management.

Studies from Credit Suisse, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company have highlighted how superior growth and returns have been a feature of family and insider-controlled companies.

The great risk with a tax change of the type feared is if it pushes executive founders to sell early and exit the business, thereby depriving it of a valuable asset. For example, both RWS Holdings and AB Dynamics have benefited from the ongoing involvement of founder shareholders; Andrew Brode, Exec Chairman of RWS, has not sold a share since the business listed on AIM in 2003.

You can find out more about our high performing AIM portfolio service from the link here


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Results season offers plenty of encouragement for our AIM portfolios

Results and trading updates over the past few weeks from our AIM universe of companies have been generally encouraging, with growing profits and cash generation supporting investment in the business and raised dividends. Here is a brief summary of the highlights from some.

Tristel (LON: TSTL), the manufacturer of infection prevention and contamination control products, announced the regulatory approval of its Duo High-Level disinfectant product in China. Duo is a hand-held dispenser which applies Tristel’s powerful chlorine dioxide chemistry as a foam to the surface of medical devices.

Frustrated by the length of time it is taking to gain regulatory approvals in the United States, Tristel is placing greater emphasis on China where it proposes to sell Duo through its own sales force. Our associates Investor’s Champion provide in-depth coverage of Tristel here.

Remaining in the medical sector, AIM portfolio company EMIS Group (LON:EMIS) announced decent results for the year ended 31 December 2018, growing revenues across all key segments and raising its dividend 10%. Having had a good look at the business we sense that new Chief Exec Andy Thorburn is looking to make more of the group’s fantastic position in the market and deploy the excellent cash flow to greater effect. Post results it announced the sale of its non-core Specialist & Care segment for £14.0m.

Adept Technology Group (LON: ADT), formerly Adept Telecom, has grown into of the UK’s leading providers of managed IT services. The trading update for the year ending 31 March 2019 confirmed a 13% rise in revenues and underlying EBITDA, in line with expectations. The full year dividend was lifted 12% to 9.80p. We like the recurring revenue attributes of this business from its sticky customer base, which results in lots of delightful cash being generated.

The share price of Smart Metering Systems (LON: SMS), the leading installer and manager of electric and gas meters, has been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride over the past few months. The UK government’s mandated smart meter programme requires all UK households and small businesses to be offered a smart meter by the end of 2020 and SMS will be a prime beneficiary of this huge change. Needles  to say this substantial government initiative has had a few problems.

There are approximately 53 million gas and electricity meters in the UK and, as of the end of December 2018, there were 14.9 million smart and advanced meters installed in homes and businesses across the country. SMS now has agreements with twelve of the independent energy suppliers, equivalent to a potential 8 million meter points highlighting the potential for its business.

While the domestic smart meter exchange may be extended into 2023, SMS will still be a long-term winner, thereafter generating reliable, index-linked returns from its vast portfolio of meter assets. The financial statements and high level of debt taken on to support the acquisition of meter assets take some understanding, however, the operating cash flow hints at the future potential.

Anexo Group (LON: ANX), which only arrived on AIM in June 2018, issued a promising set of results for the year ended 31 December 2018. Anexo is a specialist integrated credit hire and legal services business targeting the impecunious not at fault motorist, who does not have the financial means or access to a replacement vehicle, notably motorbike riders and motorbike couriers. Anexo provides customers with an end-to-end service including the provision of Credit Hire vehicles, assistance with repair and recovery, and claims management services.

This could be a fascinating business to follow as it endeavours to settle the large number of outstanding cases on its books and increase the cash recoveries. With a growing number of in-house litigators it’s looking promising, if little understood by the investment community. You can read an in-depth commentary on Anexo Group here from our associates Investor’s Champion here.

Away from AIM and returning to the main UK market, general portfolio holding Games Workshop (LON:GAW), the creator of fantasy miniatures, including Warhammer, confirmed that sales and profits have continued to climb, with pre-tax profit for the year ending 2 June 2019 rising 7% to £80m. Shareholders are rewarded with both a rising share price and lifted dividend – what more can one ask for!

As usual, there is plenty of variety from the stock market and some great companies to invest in. Please contact Chris or Stephen to find out more about our specialist investment services, including the high performing AIM for Inheritance Tax planning service, which has now been running for more than 15 years.


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Looking for ISA bargains ?

With the end of the tax year fast approaching, many investors will be looking to use their ISA allowance. Here is our brief introduction to some potentially interesting ISA bargains.

AIM shares have only been permissible investments in ISAs since August 2013, but since then they have proved a very popular choice, notably for those investing with an eye on potential inheritance tax savings.

AIM had a difficult 2018 and despite a strong opening to 2019, many excellent smaller companies are trading at modest valuations, offering compelling dividend yields and decent growth prospects.

Chris Boxall and Stephen Drabwell, co-founders of Fundamental Asset Management, would be delighted to discuss the investment opportunities on AIM through our bespoke AIM portfolio service. Please email [email protected] or call 01923 713890.

Our recent Blog commented on Redde (LON:REDD), a substantial business where the dividend yield had risen to more than 11%. While the shares have rallied marginally since our original Blog, the forecast yield is still over 10%.

The share price of Fulcrum Utility Services (LON:FCRM), an independent energy and multi-utility infrastructure and services provider, has been extremely weak over the past few months. Fulcrum’s primary business is the design and installation of utility services from single site properties to large complex multi-site projects. It also owns and operates gas and electrical assets that connect properties to the main UK gas and electricity networks.

Fulcrum has delivered consistent earnings growth over the past 4 years and in 2018 acquired the Dunamis Group, an electrical infrastructure services company. Unfortunately, the Dunamis business has experienced some Brexit induced contracts delays which has accelerated the share price decline. While the Dunamis business is made up of larger, lower margin projects, it’s operating in a very dynamic market with a notable opportunity in the area of electrical vehicle charging.

This week’s trading update provided some reassurance that bsuiness was not as bad as many believed it to be. The modest earnings multiple of 9x current year earnings falling to 8x for the year ending March 2020 and a forecast dividend yield of 6.3% means Fulcrum warrants a closer look for ISA investors.

The Property Franchise Group (LON:TPFG), one of the UK’s largest property franchises, has seen its share price pulled down principally due to fears surrounding the impact of the tenant fee ban on its business. The ban is due to be introduced on 1st June 2019 with the impact on group revenue less than originally anticipated.

TPFG was founded in 1986 and encompasses a diverse portfolio of longstanding high-street brands and a hybrid, no sale no fee agency, called EweMove.

The lion’s share of group revenue is made up of service fees (royalties) charged to franchisees, principally relating to lettings business. Therefore, this is a business which generates relatively stable revenues, high operating margins and returns on equity and excellent cash flow. With modest capital expenditure requirements, the attractive cash flow is able to support a generous dividend, with the yield just over 6.5 per cent at the current share price.

Fundamental AIM for Inheritance Tax planning portfolios may hold shares in the companies mentioned in this article.

Our associates Investor’s Champion publish in-depth research reports on many exciting AIM companies.