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Wednesday newspaper share tips: Fastjet, Pennon Group

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Wednesday 21 Sep 2016

Wednesday newspaper share tips: Fastjet, Pennon Group

(ShareCast News) - Fastjet has set itself from apart from its peers in Africa looking to leapfrog bottlenecks in the country's infrastructure by various means, the Financial Times said.
Whereas many idealistic businesses tended to get mugged by the harsh realities of the Continent, Fastjet's travails can be mostly put down to managerial incompetence, the tipster added.

After increasing capacity by nearly two-thirds, with the increased fuel and maintenance costs that entails, together with stagnating passenger numbers, the company burned through £65m of funds raised over the previous two years.

Indeed, were it not for a cash call last month its jets would now stand idled on the runways.

Weakness in local currencies added to the pain, as did an economic slump in its home market, Tanzania.

Newly arrived chief Nico Bezuidenhout, who was appointed in June, has made the right opening moves, Lex said, moving to cut costs through various initiatives, including by moving its base from Gatwick to lower-cost Johannesburg.

The longer-term outlook for the business is promising enough with IATA projecting that African air travel will grow by 5% a year over the next 20 years.

However, with only $16m of net cash left in its fuel deposit, Fastjet "will be governed by the short-term", Lex said.

Pennon Group has broken-off the shackles of water industry regulation, turning it into a very profitable investment for its shareholders, according to The Times's Tempus column.

The group's water subsidiary South West Water is "on track to achieve returns approaching twice those that the utility is allowed to make" and Martin Waller suggests the outperformance is down to the company's own actions.

New rules introduced last year by Ofwat only allowed the water company to make 6% on the perceived value of its assets, but it has reached an impressive 11.7%.

Tempus suggests two main reasons for the outperformance. The acquisition of Bournemouth Water allowed SWW to streamline administrative and head office operations, meaning that "Pennon's promise to grow dividends by 4 per cent more than the rate of inflation, the most generous in the sector, is safe enough."

In addition, SWW had a year to get ready to put its business plan into action after being early into the process of having it approved.

Furthermore, the diversification afforded by its Viridor unit seems to be paying off.

"Revenue targets for the current year have been reaffirmed, which means they probably will be exceeded," Tempus writes. "This provides some capital uplift, while the 4% yield on the shares, up 8p at 897p, is good enough for now."

Tempus's advice is to 'Buy'.


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