BTG BTG floated on the stock exchange in 1995 and has a formidable 8,000 patents on its boo...
BTG floated on the stock exchange in 1995 and has a formidable 8,000 patents on its books. Intellectual property (IP) licences from 50 products provide some 99% of the company's revenues and this is set to increase.
Its IP ranges across biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, engineering and other technology. It also manages the IP portfolio for telecoms giant Lucent and German engineer Siemens.
The big new product for the group is Varisolve. BTG predicts the annual market potential of 4 million to 7 million procedures a year at £300 to £700 a hit equating to a revenue potential of £1.2bn to £4bn a year. The group has net cash of around £130m after a £120m equity raising in September 2000. Its cash burn rate over six months was around £8m but this will rise with BTG expecting to spend some £35m over three years on development.
Water companies are a good option as defensive stocks.
Severn Trent is the UK's third largest water and waste manager with operations in Europe and the US. However, 60% of the group's total sales are derived from Severn Trent Water.
But despite water rate cuts by the regulator the company continues to branch out into consulting, environmental laboratory work, software and other services.
Analysts estimate that the company is trading at a discount of 13% below its regulatory asset value the regulator's main method of valuing utility companies, which determines the returns shareholders and debt providers can hope for.
Over the next three years the company should maintain a P/E ratio of around 10, and a yield of approximately 6.5. And the company said dividends will remain at 45p per annum until 2005.
This week Vosper won a £60m preferred bidder contract to build three coastal patrol ships for the Royal Navy.
The company builds, equips and supports smaller warships, but is attempting to move up a notch into the construction of major warships. Vosper is bidding against BAE Systems to build up to 12 Type 45 destroyers, which increase earnings. But if the company fails in its bid it can still afford to invest £30m to £40m on smaller vessel construction such as patrol boats and on its already successful support services business. First-half profit before tax, turnover, EPS and dividends were all up and the company reported a 100% increase in forward orders.
"If you are looking for bomb proof," says Kier chairman and chief executive Colin Busby, "then we are it." The ace up the sleeve for the construction and group is its public finance initiative or PFI work.
Kier's interims announced last week showed profit rising 35% from £4m to £5.4m on revenues that rose 22% to £591m.
All Kier's units performed well. Busby added that there were "huge amounts" of construction work around at the moment; that the housing market seems set fair; and that the support services sector, helped by governmental best value programmes, is also almost impervious to broader economic conditions.
Stanley Leisure shareholders are at present weighing the short-term losses caused by the foot and mouth crisis against the long-term benefits of the betting duty abolition announced in the Budget. Conservative analyst estimates see at least 12% added to the bottom line because of the duty changes.
Interims in January showed that Stanley's profits had fallen fallen by 8% from £10.5m to £9.6m which is ascribed to customers winning more on the Euro 2000 football championship.
Stanley's share price has fallen off its 12-month high of 248.5p breached at the start of March.
Imperial produces Embassy, Lambert & Butler and Regal cigarettes as well as the Rizla brand of cigarette papers.
When the markets were falling last week, Imperial was on the rise as investors sought a safe haven in the most defensive of defensive stocks. Though the market for cigarettes is shrinking in the UK Imperial Tobacco has a strong presence in the Asian Pacific region.
The defensive characteristics of the tobacco sector mean the private investor can also get a good night's sleep.
Despite the 40% increase in its share price last year, Safeway is not viewed as just a one-year wonder. New boss Carlo Criado-Perez has won the hearts of the
City but it seems the recovery he has initiated at the UK's fourth largest food retailer will continue feeding through into earnings throughout 2001, while a rerating of the company is starting to look overdue.
Trading at 300p and on 16 times earnings, shares for Safeway are currently priced on the lowest P/E ratio in its peer group. Dividend cover is at a comfortable three.
Having recently acquired the Lyrick Studios outfit in the US, HIT has branched out from its primary Bob the Builder franchise.
The addition of Barney the Dinosaur from Lyrick, as well as other home-grown properties such as Angelina Ballerina, means that HIT has a stable that could well be appealing to kids for years to come.
Primary Health Properties buys, renovates and rents out healthcare facilities including those for doctors' surgeries.
Some 68% of its revenues are generated from GP surgeries, with 7% from health authorities and 17% coming from NHS Trusts.
The stake from the NHS is set to rise with the government committing to paying rent on more doctor's surgeries. Shares are off their 12-months highs of 154p, they are still a respectable 142.5p with upside coming from the growth potential.
Foreign & Colonial IT
Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust has £3.1bn of gross assets, Foreign & Colonial, known also as the grandfather of investment trusts, would prove an ideal
core holding. The manager, Jeremy Tigue, invests in an internationally diversified portfolio of equities.
It released strong results for the 2000 calendar year, showing that the share price rose by 8.1%, to 267.5p, and net asset per share gained 0.2% to 296p.
The trust made a total return of 1.3%, which outperformed the 6.32% loss on its benchmark composite index of 40% FTSE All-Share and 60% FTSE World (ex UK) Index.
Over the 12-month period the discount to net asset value on the trust narrowed from 16% to 10% and analysts are tipping it could narrow further.