MIDAS SHARE TIPS UPDATE: Our tip Judges Scientific’s 11-fold rise passes test
Long-serving chief executives are a rarity in the stock market today but, just as Andrew Williams’ 17-year stint at the top has served Halma well, so has David Cicurel’s long tenure at Judges Scientific.
Cicurel founded the scientific instruments business in 2002 and remains in position to this day. The early days were tough, but he stuck to his guns and the business has grown at pace in recent years.
Midas recommended the company in 2012, when the shares were £7.45. Last week, they closed at £85.00, with brokers suggesting the stock should hit £95 over the coming months.
Futuristic: Midas recommended the company in 2012, when the shares were £7.45
Judges acquires high-quality, technologically advanced firms and helps them to grow. The group owns 18 businesses, from GDS Instruments, which makes computer-testing kit for soil and rocks, to Thermal Hazard Technology, which produces calorimeters that ensure batteries are safe and effective.
Earlier this year, Cicurel added to the portfolio with Geotek, which makes geoscience instruments used by mining and energy companies and in climate research.
Judges saw a slight dip in profits during 2020, but figures rebounded last year, with sales up 14 per cent to £91.3million, profits up 21 per cent to £18.1 million and the dividend increased by 20 per cent to 66p.
In a recent trading update, Cicurel acknowledged that market conditions remain challenging, but said the group had a strong order book and should continue to make progress.
Analysts have faith in the business too, predicting sales of £107million and profits of £23million for the current year, alongside a dividend of 72.6p. Further growth is forecast for 2023 and beyond.
Midas verdict: Cicurel is Judges Scientific’s largest shareholder, owning 11.2 per cent of the business. With the company valued on the stock market at nearly £550million, Cicurel is a wealthy man. But he wants to keep it that way. He is cautious about what he buys and is careful with group cash, ensuring there is enough to pay attractive dividends every year. Existing investors may be tempted to bank some profits at current levels, but they should retain a decent holding at £85.00, as the business should continue to reward investors.
Traded on: JDG Ticker: AIM Contact: judges.uk.com or 020 3829 6970