Share tips from the Sunday newspapers, including BCA Marketplace in the Sunday Times, Questor in the Sunday Telegraph examining Barclays, while Midas in the Mail on Sunday going for Harvest Minerals.
Shares in BCA Marketplace were tipped as one to avoid by the Sunday Times' Inside the City column. The FTSE 250 company buys second-hand cars via the webuyanycar.com and sells cars from its British Car Auctions sites across the UK and online, while also carrying out services including car transportation.
BCA was reversed into a listed shell company by private equity owner Clayton, Dubilier & Rice three years ago, helped by Marwyn Capital. At the end of last year, just after the group was promoted to the FTSE 250 index, four directors were awarded hefty share awards as part of their incentive scheme, with executive chairman Avril Palmer-Baunack pocketing shares
worth more than £28m, with two Marwyn partners receiving £19m worth of new shares between them before promptly resigning from the board "with immediate effect" just over a week later.
BCA has been growing profits and revenues strongly, but the column says "the business is piling up risk". The webuyanycar website means the company holds the value of these cars on its books, albeit temporarily, while BCA is a growing provider of car finance, with the company financing more than 11% of all vehicles it sold in the last month where figures are available, resulting in a loan book worth £123.7m. UK new car sales had until April fallen in the preceding 12 months in a row, while second-hand prices could be driven down amid a looming "a glut" of lease cars heading for the market.
Barclays shares were tipped as a buy by Questor in the Sunday Telegraph. The bank's profits are on the road to recovery, with the investment banking arm now an attraction. The $1.75bn purchase the spoils of Lehman Brothers at the height of the financial crisis gave the investment bank a strong foothold with international clients which is central to current chief executive Jes Staley's strategy.
Questor said the investment potential in Barclays, which has been recognised by activist investor Ed Bramson, is yet to be reflected in its shares. Having recently agreed a $2bn settlement with the US Department of Justice over selling mortgage-backed bonds in the run up to the financial crisis, the bank should be able to more than double it dividend to 6.5p a share this year, returning it to levels last seen three years ago. The shares "look cheap".
Shares in Harvest Minerals were put forward by Midas in the Mail on Sunday as a potentially "rewarding punt for adventurous investors". Harvest is focused on Brazil, founded by Australian mining entrepreneur Brian McMaster and local Luis Azevedo, a geologist and lawyer with a 25-year history in the Brazilian mining sector. The AIM-listed company's aim is to produce domestically-produced fertiliser to satisfy a country that currently imports two thirds of its fertiliser and is expected to provide almost half of all the world's new agricultural land.
Harvest Minerals owns four assets, with one, Arapua, already in production and generating its first revenues. Arapua's KPfértil fertiliser is formed from 'weathered lava', which is simply crushed, bagged and sold to local farmers, being completely organic and rich in nutrients. Total costs from the surface mine at Arapua are about $8 a ton. In the year to July 2019, the company expects to sell 100,000 tons, rising to more than 300,000 tons the year after and 450,000 in time. Shares in Harvest have fallen by almost a quarter to 17p since March as government certification for KPfertil has taken longer than predicted. At this level, "they are a bargain," says Midas.