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Sunday newspaper tips: Mitie, Majestic Wine, Wincanton

By Digital Look

Date: Sunday 20 Nov 2016

Sunday newspaper tips: Mitie, Majestic Wine, Wincanton

(ShareCast News) - Sell shares in Mitie, said the Sunday Times' Inside the City column, though there's no time to do this before Monday's likely "ugly" set of interim numbers. Outgoing boss Ruby McGregor-Smith, who will step down next month, warned on profits and the half-time report may see further downgrades, including to the dividend.


Mitie's core business of facilities management does not allow much wiggle room on margins, and has suffered from some of its local government contracts. But investors have more time to act before new chief executive, Phil Bentley, is expected to bung 'everything but the kitchen sink' into his first trading update after taking over. The column noted some analyst angst about the leap to £86.0m of trade and other receivables on the balance sheet and the "rigour of its accounting policies", which may come under pressure from any further profit shrinkage.

Shares in Majestic Wine are worth holding, said Questor in the Sunday Telegraph. While the first half of the year saw it splash into losses, the retail performance has been improving on both sides of the Atlantic under new South African boss Rowan Gormley, who thinks a turning point has been reached as he aims to generate £0.5bn annual sales by 2019.

There was little consensus in the City over whether Majestic will enjoy such a bumper festive season as to compensate for the interim losses. Refurbishment has been the recent watchword instead of expansion, while promotional and price activity has been made more simple. Gormley's Naked Wines business, which was acquired last year, is another area of focus, said Questor, and offers exciting potential for overseas expansion.

Wincanton shares were a buy for Midas in the Mail on Sunday, which look undervalued as the logistics business begins to deliver a not-insignificant dividend this year. Times were tough post crisis and a UK slowdown related to Brexit would be likely to hit hard. The pension deficit is another concern that the board have been working to put right.

On the upside things have turned around in recent years, while a solid client base including medium-term contracts with Sainsbury's, B&Q, Dairy Crest, BAE Systems, Heinz and Britvic shows the group is a market leader. Profits are on the up, as recent interim results showed and a 3p dividend is expected to be followed by a 6p final payout.

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