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Woodford favourite delivers decent results and unveils new CEO

Controversial Neil Woodford stock pick Utilitywise (UTW:AIM) is worth a closer look as investors ponder full year results and a boardroom reshuffle at the commercial energy consultancy.

Utilitywise divides opinion among investors following criticism of its accounting policies. That is unlikely to change much after the business moved on to its third finance officer in little over four years.

UTILITYWISE - Comparison Line Chart (Rebased to first)77

The boardroom changes are a long-term positive for us and results (18 Oct) also showed impressive discipline on costs and productivity, albeit at slower rates of revenue growth in the second half of its financial year.

Chairman Geoff Thompson announced former Sage (SGE) executive Brendan Flattery as the company’s new chief executive and Richard Laker, previously at waste management outfit Augean (AUG:AIM), as chief financial officer.

Thompson said changes in the finance department were partly linked to the change in chief executive.

Laker could be a good fit at Utilitywise as disclosure at Augean was exemplary during the former Northgate (NTG) executive’s tenure, as previously covered by Shares (Understanding Cash Flow, 2 Apr 2015).

Earnings per share estimates in the year to 31 July 2017 are 18.5p and 21.7p the year after, according to analyst Andrew Bryant at house broker Liberum. Utilitywise shares trade at 130p.

Risks include further accounting controversies and the possible need for new capital from shareholders to deliver growth. (WC)

Impressive hires in both executive roles and solid results.

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