BT Problems, Hotel Chocolat and Multibaggers Report

BT has managed to disable my business “landline” number of 020-8295-0378. Major network problem apparently which won’t be fixed until at least 24/11/2023. Even though this is the line used for my broadband service that is still working so anyone wanting to contact me should use this contact form to get in touch:

Will I be buying shares in BT? Absolutely not when the service is so poor.

Despite my previous recent blog post on the dangers of the attractions of luxury food products (see ) it has not deterred Mars from bidding for Hotel Chocolat (HOTC). They have offered to pay 160% of the previous market price which is a prospective p/e of over 190. This seems a wildly optimistic valuation for a retailer with no consistent record of profits.  

Stockopedia ran a webinar on “multibaggers” which I missed as the timing clashed with my usual dinner time. But they have produced a report on their research of UK stocks which you can obtain from their web site.

I hold two of the top ten winners over the last ten years which have certainly contributed to my portfolio performance and it is well worth reading their report.

We seem to be back in a political mess after Suella Braverman got fired and the Supreme Court rejected the Rwanda plan for migrants. That was always going to be legally and politically difficult without a very firm hand on the tiller which Rishi Sunak seems unable to provide. Moving illegal immigrants to a foreign country was never going to be easy. But Rwanda is surely not the best choice of location. How about St. Helena or Ascension or one of the remote Scottish islands instead?

As regards the bust-up in the Conservative Party as a result, as someone who has some experience of such events in membership organisations my advice to Suella is to act quickly. Removing Sunak would not be easy so best to form a new platform for like-minded right wingers.   

Roger Lawson (Twitter  )

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BT Nationalisation and Promises, Promises

We are clearly in a run up to a General Election when politicians promise all kinds of “free” gifts to the electorate. The latest promise, even before the manifestos have been published, is the Labour Party’s commitment to give everyone in the UK free broadband. This would be achieved by simply nationalising BT Group (BT.A) apparently.

I just had a quick look at the cost of this commitment. BT actually receives over £15 billion annually according to the last accounts from Consumers and from Openreach. There is some profit margin on that of less than 20% which might be discounted, but there are many households who do not yet have a fibre connection so that would be an additional cost to be covered by the Government.

In addition there would probably be some cost of nationalising BT Group and paying compensation to shareholders. The current market cap of the company is about £19 billion. They might get away with paying £10 billion up front but the annual cost of at least £12 billion to maintain the network would be an enormous burden on the state. They might be able to raise that by taxing multinationals or others but it still makes no sense.

I am not a BT shareholder currently although I am one of their customers. I also remember how dreadful the service from BT was before it was nationalised. It may not be perfect now in comparison with some of their competitors but nationalised industries such as telecoms, the railways, the motor industry, the coal industry, shipbuilding, the gas/electric/water utilities and about 40 others were all abject failures. They typically lost money and provided diabolical service.  The young who are voting socialist may not remember but Jeremy Corbyn should do so.

The fact that the share price of BT only dropped by 1% today (at the time of writing) just shows you how much credibility investors attach to this promise. It also surely shows how desperate the Labour Party is to win some more votes as they are now trailing well behind in the opinion polls.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: )

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