Queen Elizabeth, Energy Caps, Verici DX, Equals and Paypoint

The sad death of Queen Elizabeth reminds me of my own mother’s death at the age of 100. They looked similar in later life. Both managed to die in their own home which is the best place from which to leave. Will Charles III make a good king? We will have to wait and see but his name is not propitious bearing in mind the track record of the previous two. As I am not a monarchist I will say no more.

It was interesting to see an open coal fire in use in the photographs of Liz Truss with the Queen. Balmoral does not have central heating apparently while Buckingham Palace does have a CHP plant. But the bill to run the later was about half a million pounds per annum before the projected price increases. So King Charles might welcome Truss’s announcement to cap the maximum price of gas and electricity.

This is a cap on prices, not on overall cost so people with big houses with large gas consumption will still pay more. But at least it will replace the OFGEM price cap which was an irrational policy that would not encourage people to reduce energy consumption. Fracking is also being permitted to boost local gas production.

Truss did not give in to calls for this largess to be funded through a windfall tax. She said this would undermine the national interest by discouraging the very investment we need to secure home-grown energy supplies. You can’t tax your way to growth she said. So it will be funded by more Government debt in essence.

Is this wise? I believe it is the lesser of evils as it will help to bring inflation under control which is essential to keep the economy healthy and avoid a severe recession. These decisions by Truss and her new cabinet are positive in my view and should help the stock market.

But she is still committed to net zero by 2050 which is simply an unrealistic and unachievable objective.

I attended a couple of interesting results webinars this week. The first was from Verici DX (VRCI) who provide pre and post diagnostic technology for kidney transplants to avoid rejection. This is a subject in which I have a strong interest as a transplant patient and I do hold the shares which were acquired free as a scrip dividend when they spun off from EKF. The company is making progress but revenue is some way off and profits impossible to forecast so I would not purchase the shares at this time.

I did attend a two-hour seminar at Guys Hospital recently for pre-transplant patients as I need another. It was apparent that transplant procedures have not changed much in the last 25 years. Back then there was hope of xeno-transplantation but that faded away. More recently a bioartificial kidney has been developed (see  https://pharm.ucsf.edu/kidney ) but that could be years away from clinical use.

The other webinar I attended was that of Equals Group (EQLS) which I have held in the past. Financial figures are improving and a focus on the SME sector has clearly helped. It’s a complex payment business though and the webinar only helped in some degree to understand it. It might be another UK technology business vulnerable to being acquired by a trade buyer who understands the technology and regulatory environment. The company has been tipped recently by Simon Thompson in Investors Chronicle.

One company I do hold which is also looking cheap in the payments world is Paypoint (PAY) – probably because it operates in the retail sector and has been around a long time. There is a good write-up on the company in the latest Techinvest newsletter. But like Equals it is a complex business providing a number of different services. Both Equals and Paypoint could do with better communications on their business activities.

All of Verici DX, Equals and Paypoint have one advantage – they are not affected by the price of energy except very indirectly!

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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Brompton Bikes – The UK Productivity Explanation

One of the big UK economic problems is the lack of productivity in the workforce. We compare badly with most of our competitors. Last night (5/9/2022) I watched an interesting BBC programme which covered production at Brompton Bicycle Ltd.

Brompton are now the largest UK manufacturer of cycles and specialise in folding bikes. Their products range in price from £1,000 to £3,700 while you can buy an imported folding bike from Halfords for £375. Brompton are clearly focussed on the “premium” market sector.

Their main factory is in west London and the view of the shop floor showed lots of people building bikes manually with not a robot in sight – they claim “All Brompton bike frames are built by hand”. Even painting the frames was shown as being done via a manual spray gun while the frame is built by using brazing rather than welding – this requires a lot of manual skill and time.  

As a former production engineer this strikes me as a horribly labour intensive and inefficient process. They can apparently recruit relatively unskilled people in west London to do the work who then require lengthy training. You can see why productivity is in essence so low.

Brompton may have built a business on good technical innovation and clever marketing but they are likely to remain a niche producer in world markets. Their business model is probably only viable because of the availability of cheap labour in London.

While this kind of business can succeed in the UK, productivity and wages will remain low.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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Book Review: The Price of Time

The Price of Time is a recently published book by Edward Chancellor. Its subtitle is “The Real Story of Interest” which makes it very topical as bank interest rates are being raised in both the USA and UK in an attempt to damp down inflation. After an era when interest rates have been at their lowest levels in the last 5,000 years, and have even gone negative in some countries, a historic review of the impact of interest rates through booms and busts is certainly worth reading. But this is a difficult book in some ways.

It’s too long at 400 pages for one thing for all but the most avid reader of economic history. Why do publishers (in this case Allen Lane part of Penguin) insist on their authors padding out their manuscripts to such length? This book would have been much better at 200 pages than 400. It attempts to cover too much ground and in too much detail while not getting the key messages across.

It covers some ancient history but really gets going in a good explanation of how Scotsman John Law rescued the French economy in the 1700s by lowering interest rates and issuing paper money – similar to the modern Quantitative Easing. But thereafter that economic experiment ended in tears. The book covers the economic booms and busts in the Victorian era forward through the depression in the 1930s to the banking crisis in 2008, and the reaction of Governments.

The book attempts to answer the question of whether there is a natural rate of interest, i.e. one that would apply if the Government did not intervene as they have persistently done throughout history – from the imposition of usury laws, through debt forgiveness to modern central bank base rates.

Why is interest paid? Because an investor holding cash needs some return for the uncertainty of being repaid when money is lent. If the risk is higher then the interest paid has to be higher to attract lenders. In times of economic uncertainty such as wars, interest rates are raised.

Historically when there was a surplus of cash in the economy, interest rates would fall as there might be more lenders than borrowers. High interest rates are likely to reduce economic activity as borrowers are put off from investing in new developments such as buildings or machinery. Low interest rates should encourage economic activity and the circulation of money as opposed to the hoarding of assets.

Governments have taken a stance in recent years that lowering interest rates must be good to maintain a healthy economy but the result has been asset inflation. From stock market booms to house price inflation, if you can borrow money at very low rates it encourages speculation and the borrowing of money to buy assets.

Lenders also need a return to cover the future value of the money lent. If inflation is high, then interest will be high. Recently the Bank of England has had an inflation target of 2% while interest rates have been less for many borrowers. That made little sense. Inflation has now got out of hand but real interest rates are still effectively negative. That is essentially irrational.

The book covers the history of Government and central bank interventions in interest rates and the economy, often with unintended consequences. In that regard, it is a good education on what should or should not be done. One message is clear – artificially low interest rates are as bad for the economy as high interest rates.

The book is very well researched with numerous apposite quotations. I would recommend it to anyone interested in economic history and the trends that have made the modern world. But it could do with being shorter and having a more defined structure.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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Am I Living in an Alternative Universe?

My share portfolio jumped up by 1.3% yesterday. But the national media news was full of gloom on energy prices and the drought. The NHS is collapsing and the war in Ukraine continues. Bad news has always sold newspapers and the same goes for clicks on social media channels. I have the feeling I am living in some alternative universe where economics and the stock market are completely uncoupled.

The same thing happened after the gloomy prognostications of the Governor of the Bank of England. It’s rather like the “Backwards” episode of Red Dwarf where everything was in reverse and time ran backwards.

All this bad news is surely going to have an impact sooner or later. Come winter many people won’t be able to heat their homes and the coming recession will mean many people will become unemployed. This might put a damper on inflation but the stock market cannot stay immune from these economic trends for ever.

It reminds me of the infamous comment by Chuck Prince just before the financial crash of 2008 – “When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance”.

I may be sceptical about future prospects for shares, particularly those in certain sectors, but I won’t be selling shares just yet. I will continue to follow market trends as always until I think valuations are completely irrational on individual stocks.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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Bad News from the Bank of England and Tips to Avoid the Worse

I watched Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, present the bad news yesterday about the economy. Inflation is likely to rise to 13% and he is forecasting the economy will soon be in recession, with household incomes falling over the next year. With inflation being driven by the war in Ukraine affecting energy prices the Monetary Policy Committee has decided to increase Bank Rate by 0.5 percentage points to 1.75% to try and get back to the target of 2% inflation.

With mortgage rates rising and the cost of living rising while there will be downward pressure on wages relative to costs most people are going to be poorer over the next year. There may not be a recovery until 2024.

What was the impact of this gloom on the stock market? Very little in essence. The main UK market indices actually rose yesterday as did my personal portfolio. Perhaps because the bank interest rate rise had been widely forecast and it’s still at a historically low rate. Sales of consumer durables, furniture and carpets – big ticket items for which purchases can often be postponed – will surely fall but the share price of companies selling those products have already fallen over the past few weeks.

The UK stock market is of course dominated by companies with revenue and profits mainly arising overseas while banks will tend to benefit from higher base rates and energy companies are making hay from the high prices of oil and gas.

The conclusion for investors is if you have spare cash on deposit don’t leave it there because its value will shrink. Give it away or spend it on home improvements as we will be doing – particularly to cut your energy consumption. If you do want to put some into the stock market, go for companies who have indexed linked revenue (such as some property companies and alternative energy investment companies) or who have pricing power (i.e. can raise their prices without losing volume). Avoid investing in fixed interest securities such as Government bonds who are benefiting from the erosion of their debts.

Here’s a tip for business owners I learned from past recessions. If you are faced with a loss of revenue in a recession, you should be raising prices not lowering them, i.e. don’t react like your competitors might do to try and win more business. With less revenue and the same overheads you need to raise prices not lower them so avoid following the herd.

As regards giving money away, it is worth bearing in mind the potential Inheritance Tax liability. There was a very useful article in Investor’s Chronicle headlined “What does HMRC mean by gifts from surplus income?” a couple of weeks ago. Gifts from surplus income are exempt from IHT and the IC article explained the rules that apply.

It’s worth doing it regularly but you need to keep a record of all income and expenditure and tot it up at the end of each tax year to ensure you keep within the limit if you are giving money to offspring. I have been recording all personal income and expenses for the last 50 years, now in a spreadsheet, so I have the data readily to hand. This might seem rather manic to some people but even John D. Rockefeller, probably the richest person of all time and certainly in the 1920s, used to record all his personal expenditure, even tips to taxi drivers, in a notebook according to a biography I read.

Gifts to spouses or charities are exempt from IHT of course.

Let us hope the Bank of England is no more accurate in its economic forecasts than it usually is but it’s certainly been looking incompetent at controlling inflation of late. My view is that printing money to keep the economy afloat and protect the NHS during the pandemic was the cause of the inflation compounded by the impact of the imported energy costs.

The lack of a UK energy policy to keep the lights on and gas flowing has been a big cause of our difficulties. Lack of investment in nuclear energy plus restrictions on fracking and new gas exploration due to a rush to achieve net zero carbon have been very damaging.

For more details on the gloomy bank forecasts see: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy-report/2022/august-2022

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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Census Results – A Problem the Government is Ignoring

Yesterday the Office of National Statistics released the first results from the 2021 Census in the UK. The population of England and Wales rose to 59.6 million which is an increase of 6.3% since the last census 10 years ago.

This substantial change which directly affects our quality of life was barely covered in the national media. More people mean more stress on housing provision, more vehicles on our roads and a bigger demand for health services (particularly as the population has aged – there are more older people and they are living longer). Some of the age increase can be blamed on baby boomers growing old.

The population increase has been concentrated in London and the South-East but older people have tended to move out of London being replaced by young immigrants (not just from overseas but from within the UK). The census data might also have been distorted as people tended to move out of central London boroughs to the country during the pandemic.

England now has the highest population density of all major European countries.

One major impact of more population is degradation of the environment – more air pollution and more waste. Here’s a good quote from Sir David Attenborough that is very relevant: “All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people, and harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people”.

What is the Government doing to try and tackle this problem?  In essence very little apart from rather feebly trying to restrict immigration. The birth rate is forecast to fall, but there is as yet no sign of any reduction in the population growth. A growing population might mean a healthy economy but the shortage of housing, particularly in the South-East, has been a major factor in political unrest while the elderly are facing problems in getting medical treatment as the NHS is over-stretched to cope.

The Government is being distracted by many other issues at present in a reactive fashion. Such problems as food and energy security would not be a problem if the UK population was reduced.  

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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Keynes Biography and Engines That Move Markets 

 As I am still in hospital I have had the opportunity to continue with my reading. The first book I tackled was a biography of John Maynard Keynes a very famous economist and stock market investor. He helped to found the IMF and the current international banking system. The book was highly recommended by Barton Biggs as I mentioned in a previous blog post and was written by Robert Skidelsky, It’s a biography of a famous person that nobody has ever heard of to quote my wife. But he really was important in influencing government financial policy after the Second World War.

At 1020 pages it’s quite a heavyweight and that’s just the “abridged” version. But I gave up on it after 200 pages. It’s way too long and too tedious. Not recommended.

The next book I am reading is “Engines that move markets” by Alasdair Nairn. This is no lightweight tome either at 545 pages. It’s a historic review of technology investing from railroads to the internet. The authors object is to teach us when to get in and out of tech stocks and how to avoid ones that are likely to fail after the typical market euphoria for a new technology,

It makes for an interesting read but is too long and could have done with some aggressive editing. But it may be of interest to tech investors.

I shall persevere with it as I have time on my hands.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )

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Is the Investment World Changing?

With the war in Ukraine continuing and inflation hitting over 6% (and likely to go higher), it seems a good time to review one’s investment strategy. My thoughts on this were prompted by watching the panel discussion at the Mello Trusts and Funds webinar on Tuesday. Some members argued that now is the time to move into commodities and out of the high growth technology stocks that have been such winners in the last few years. Is growth going to go out of fashion?

It’s certainly very clear that high inflation in basic commodities such as food (likely affected by the war in Ukraine who are a major producer) and oil/gas (also affected by the war and the associated sanctions on Russia) will have a big impact on consumers in the UK in the coming year. We are already seeing this in the shops and in on-line stores from my brief shopping experience yesterday.

As the Chancellor’s Spring Statement indicated yesterday, the UK is facing its biggest drop in living standards on record as wages fail to keep pace with rising prices. His measures to relieve this by raising the National Insurance threshold and cutting fuel duty will help a few people but not the retired or those not in work. The basic rate of income tax will fall slightly in 2024 in time for the next general election but the country will remain a high tax environment. Perhaps the Chancellor has decided he cannot protect people from the world economy which is undoubtedly true so he has just made a few gestures.

Economies might grow less rapidly or recessions hit as a result of these adverse economic winds, or we might see the dreaded “stagflation” return to the UK. But does this mean I should change focus on the types of companies I invest in?

I don’t think so and I shall repeat what Investment Manager of Smithson Investment Trust (SSON) said in their Annual Report which I was reading today: “One might then ask, if interest rates are so obviously on the rise, and this so obviously creates a more favourable environment for value companies rather than quality or growth companies, shouldn’t we adapt our strategy to buy the companies which stand to benefit? Well, no. Owning high quality companies with sustainable growth is a winning strategy over the long term, has been shown to work through several economic cycles, and is one which we know we can execute successfully. Whilst other managers may be able to run a value strategy, we believe it is inherently more difficult, as you cannot hold value companies for the long term if all you are doing is owning a poor quality company at a low price, which you hope will re-rate in the future. If this does happen (there is no guarantee), you then have to sell the company to find another such investment, and so on. This means that unlike our strategy, time is not your friend, because the longer you are holding the company and waiting for it to re-rate, the lower your annualised returns become, and if you’re particularly unlucky, the worse the company becomes. On the other hand, it matters less if it takes more time for the market to appreciate the value of the type of companies we hold in our strategy, because the highest quality companies are constantly getting better, or at the very least bigger, owing to their growth. So, once we have found the right companies, all we have to do is wait. We think that patience is one of our competitive advantages, because with the strategy we employ, it tends to pay off”.

Commodity companies go in an out of popularity as their profits depend on the commodity demand and prices. But the production of most commodities responds to price changes so in a year or two the boom is over and the bust follows as over-capacity has been created. Chasing these rotations requires a large amount of time and effort when I prefer to purchase companies that one can stick with for many years.  

The impact of high inflation does mean that one has to be careful in selecting companies with high margins and pricing power, i.e. the ability to raise selling prices when their costs rise. But that is a truism in all economic circumstances. Those are two factors that differentiate quality companies from the pedestrian ones.

Companies that have index-linked contracts with their customers might be worth looking at now that inflation is heading to 10%. That applies to many infrastructure investment companies for example and another sector is property companies who often have inflation linked rent reviews. I hold a few shares in Value and Indexed Property Income Trust (VIP) which is one such company.

Incidentally Smithson noted they had sold their holding in Abcam (ABC) which I also commented on negatively recently. They are concerned about the uncertain paybacks on the investments being made which I completely agree with.

Changing my investment strategy which has developed over the last twenty years and has made me an ISA millionaire does not seem to be wise. There was an interesting article published today in the Daily Telegraph on ISA millionaires of which there are apparently over 2000 in the country now according to HMRC. There may be more than that as Hargreaves Lansdown alone claim to have 973. See article here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/investing/isas/meet-millionaires-made-fortune-using-isas/

The average age of ISA millionaires is apparently 71 and the article reports that the top three stocks favoured by these investors are pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, insurer Aviva and oil giant BP. Popular funds include Artemis Income, Fidelity Global Special Situations and Fundsmith Equity. That tells you that you don’t need to be a speculator to become an ISA millionaire. You just have to invest the maximum possible every year in a diverse portfolio and stick with it.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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Ukraine – A More Balanced View

I attended a meeting of investors on Sunday and the main subject discussed was the war in Ukraine. Most attendees clearly had a gloomy prognosis for the outcome mainly because of a belief that Vladimir Putin was a lunatic who desired to restore the USSR, i.e. he would not stop at Ukraine but would thereafter move into Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania et al.  This view is very much reflected in the Western media with concerns that the war could very rapidly develop into a nuclear one.

President Zelensky is clearly a masterful politician. He came from nowhere to win the election for President when historically he was simply a comedian who pretended to be President. There are few more unusual biographies. He also became a master of social media and has won the hearts and minds not just of Ukrainians but of most of the western world – the British do of course love underdogs. Meanwhile Putin has failed in terms of public relations by not putting his case well and has even publicly suggested that Ukraine should not be considered an independent country.

I take a somewhat different view to the popular consensus although I would not want this to be seen as an apology for the acts of the Russian military. As in any war it is unfortunately the civilians who are suffering the most. A peaceful solution needs to be found because if the war is escalated, with more sanctions being imposed on Russia, then the economic damage will be severe and widespread on both Russia and many European countries.

I think when looking at political conflicts which lead to war then it is best to look at the conflict from the point of view of the enemy when pursuing a solution.

Ukraine has historically been closely linked to Russia after being dominated by Poland. To quote from Wikipedia by the Treaty of Perpetual Peace [surely a wonderful name for a peace treaty], signed in 1686, the eastern portion of Ukraine (east of the Dnieper River) came under Russian rule. As a result a large proportion of the population (about 30%) speak Russian, particularly in the Eastern region and the Crimea. In fact President Zelensky was brought up in a Russian speaking family. In other words there are strong cultural ties with Russia. Ukraine was also a founding member of the USSR until that was dissolved in 1991.

Russia is clearly concerned about the encroachment of NATO and the EU eastwards that could both militarily and economically threaten Russia. Only Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine are not in the EU but Zelensky has indicated his desire to join. There is also the problem of the insurgency in the Donbas region which was long-standing before the latest events plus the takeover of the Crimea by Russia which Ukraine wants back. The longer the war goes on, the more difficult it will be to reach an amicable solution as attitudes harden on both sides and people look for revenge. As has been pointed out, Russia might be able to achieve a complete occupation of Ukraine but that might be followed by many years of constant insurrections and guerrilla warfare against them.

Russia has now offered to cease fighting on the following conditions: Ukraine changes its constitution to enshrine neutrality, acknowledges Crimea as Russian territory and recognises the rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent territories.

This appears to be a reasonable basis for a settlement that would halt the damaging fighting and cease the escalation. If all military forces were withdrawn by Russia from the rest of Ukraine and Ukraine itself committed to the above (including no applications to join the EU and NATO), then a modus vivendi could be achieved.

Many people suggest that Putin might be removed as sanctions bite and his economy collapses or the war goes against Russia. But that seems very unlikely to me. Opposition to Putin in Russia is quite small and exaggerated by western media. Putin re-established Russia politically and economically after the collapse of the USSR so many people respect him for that. The war in Ukraine will not undermine the regime in Russia unless it broadens into a much wider conflict with bigger military losses which seems unlikely to me. NATO is not likely to get involved and quite rightly because to do so would simply damage western European countries even worse as Russia retaliated by halting exports of gas and oil. Sanctions on Russia will not halt the fighting alone and will take too long to have an impact – they can only encourage Putin to reach some kind of settlement.

A settlement that gives time for countries like Germany and Italy to wean themselves off Russian gas is a better solution. There are many worse options.

Here’s a good quotation from the book by Barton Biggs I mentioned in a previous blog post:

“ Disregard the ranting and raving of the self-proclaimed elite thinkers and alleged experts on wars, economies, politics, and, above all, the stock market” and “History doesn’t evolve in a slow and orderly way; often it leaps forward in disorderly, chaotic jumps. People with wealth should assume that somewhere in the near or far future there will be another time of cholera when the Four Horsemen will ride again and the barbarians expectedly will be at their gate”.

So far as Ukrainians are concerned, those circumstances have already arrived.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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A Week to Forget in the Stock Market and DotDigital

Last week was certainly one to forget with Friday particularly bad for most portfolios (the FTSE-100 was down 3.5% on Friday and tech stocks were again hit – Nasdaq was down 1.7% on the day). With the war in the Ukraine continuing the economic outlook looks bleak. We already had sharply rising inflation and sanctions against Russia are driving up the price of oil and gas which is never good for the economy. As anyone who has received a utility bill of late will realise, consumers and industry are going to be hit by sharply rising prices in the next few weeks which will affect many businesses.

There was already a downward trend in the market and I expect this will continue unless peace breaks out in the Ukraine which does not look likely until Russia has achieved its objectives which might take some weeks, if ever. Taking over a country where the population is totally opposed to you is never easy, particularly when outside assistance is being provided and sanctions are biting. Ukrainians are not apparently going to accept defeat.

One of my investments which was worst hit last week was DotDigital (DOTD) but not because of the war. The company provides an “omnichannel marketing automation platform” as they call it (email and sms messaging). The share price fell by 60% after an interim announcement on Wednesday that suggested the forecasts for the second half were not going to be met. In addition the CFO and Chairman are departing (the latter on health grounds).

This is a company I have held for some years first buying at around 8p in 2011 and selling some at around 200p in 2021 when enthusiasm for technology stocks drove the price up to unsustainable levels. The price now is 58p.

The company is profitable, has no debt and lots of cash on the balance sheet and has shown steady growth so there is much that is positive about the company. But clearly the expansion of US operations on which forecasts relied has gone seriously wrong. I attended the results webinar on Friday and submitted the following question:

“Clearly one of the reasons for reduced forecasts is the disappointing figures from the USA. Why after several years has DotDigital not established itself well there? Why has the management of that region not been changed as a result?  There does not seem to be anyone on the board with experience in the USA. As you are looking for a new Chairman could you please ensure that a suitable person is appointed with some knowledge of operating in the USA”. The question was not answered but there was enough information disclosed to make it clear that all was not as it should be.

A question on margins got a response that margins will be lower in the second half because marketing spend will be going up. As regards the US management issues, it was indicated that a couple of management teams had been poached by competitors offering higher salaries. Lots of money from VCs and private equity was going into competitors. It was mentioned that “customer attrition had stabilised” which was a remarkably negative comment. With this kind of product (which I use myself) where there is high recurring revenue people are generally reluctant to change platforms. They should not be losing customers! But the figures suggest they are losing some customers and gaining very few new ones in the USA.

So it would seem that after some years of trying to make a success of the US market they are back at square one with a new management team. It looks like another example of a UK business entering the USA but falling flat on its face in terms of marketing approach.

I will try and find out more next week but I have not quite given up on the company completely as yet. These issues might be minor ones if they take appropriate steps.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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