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Four shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring International Personal Finance, Lok'n'Store, Devro and Plus500.

by David Campbell, Selin Bucak, Dylan Lobo on Jan 15, 2018 at 05:00

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£1,183m
No. of shares out114m
No. of shares floating77m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees48
Trading volume (10 day avg.)1m
Turnover242m USD
Profit before tax112m USD
Earnings per share0.75 USD
Cashflow per share0.76 USD
Cash per share0.88 USD


Hedge fund veteran Crispin Odey reduced his stake in spreadbetting company Plus500 (PLUS), following a 14% jump in its share price since the start of the year.

Odey, who has been steadily selling down his position in the business, took his overall holding down by 0.2% to 14.9%. This equates to 17 million shares, worth £176 million at a share price of £10.37. Over the past 12 months the stock is up 158%.

Plus500 has said that it believes full-year profits will beat market expectations due to a growing interest in crypto currency-based derivatives. In a post-close trading update on 3 January, the company said it achieved record revenue in the final quarter of 2017, with around 246,000 new customers joining during the year.

Chief executive Asaf Elimelech commented: ‘Momentum in the business has continued to be strong with increased interest in our crypto currency CFD offering and record new and active customer numbers, demonstrating our ability to serve our customers' trading needs through product innovation and technology leadership.’

This is despite an expected crackdown on the contracts for difference (CFD) market, previously announced by the FCA.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£381m
No. of shares out167m
No. of shares floating162m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees2265
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£61m
Earnings per share1.30p
Cashflow per share14.94p
Cash per share5.93p


One of Europe’s oldest activist investors has cut its stake in sausage skin maker Devro (DVO).

The Sterling Strategic value fund, which was founded by Swiss entrepreneur Dr Tito Tettamanti in 1999, reduced its exposure to Devro by 1.2% to 5.74%.

The fund, which targets listed small and mid caps across Europe, seeks to enhance value through an ‘engaged and supportive approach’ that aims to align shareholder and management interests.

Last August Devro, which manufactures collagen products across the food industry, published its interim results showing an 11% increase in first-half revenue to fuel a 16.7% rise in profit.

Its boss Peter Page said at the time: ‘Devro has made good progress with its principal objectives of growing revenue, volumes and market share in a range of markets, whilst reducing unit costs in operations.’

In a subsequent announcement at the end of last year, Devro announced Page would step down following the release of its full-year numbers in February.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£121m
No. of shares out29m
No. of shares floating19m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees162
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£6m
Earnings per share10.64p
Cashflow per share17.66p
Cash per share38.86p

Lok’n Store

Small cap stock picker Gervais Williams has reduced his stake in storage provider Lok’n Store (LOK).

The Miton fund manager has pared back his holding in the business by 1%to 2.9%. This equates to or 850,00 shares. These are worth £3.4 million at a share price of 400.01p, up 242% over five years. The shares are held in his £398.7 million Diverse Income Trust.

Self-storage provider Lok’n Store reported profit of £3.17 million, up 28.8% year-on-year over the 12 months to August 2017.

The results also revealed that the company has a pipeline of 11 stores expected to add around 45% more space to its operations over the next few years.

Commenting on the results, chief executive Andrew Jacobs stated: ‘We have created a strong platform for an exciting period of rapid growth for Lok'n Store, increasing profits and assets and reducing our debt.’

Key stats
Market capitalisation£475m
No. of shares out223m
No. of shares floating220m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees7598
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£300m
Earnings per share31.30p
Cashflow per share39.69p
Cash per share19.55p

International Personal Finance

Citywire A-rated value specialist Alex Wright has trimmed his stake in Eastern European doorstep lender International Personal Finance (IPF).

Wright shaved his holding in the company by 0.1% to 4.9%. This equates to 11.1 million shares, worth £23.7 million at a price of 213.2p. Over the past 12 months, the shares are up 30%.

The shares are held in his £3.2 billion Fidelity Special Situations fund. After reaching as high as 668p in 2013, IFP has been on a long road to recovery after its shares plummeted to 161p in late 2016 after Poland proposed a tighter cap on consumer lending costs.

The country is one of a series of emerging European nations in which the Leeds-based credit provider operates, in addition to Mexico. Stocks with exposure to Continental Europe, rallied sharply on Friday as Germany said that it had achieved a significant breakthrough in negotiations to form a coalition government.

Numis rates IPF as a buy on a price target of 244p.

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  • Plus500 Ltd (PLUSP.L)
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  • Devro PLC (DVO.L)
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  • Lok'n Store Group PLC (LOK.L)
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  • International Personal Finance PLC (IPF.L)
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