“ Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves – Mark Halstead
Halstead – what a name to conjure with, redolent of dark northern industrial cities at a time when British manufacturing bestrode the world and Manchester thrived as a centre of manufacturing excellence. None of this fancy re naming nonsense, No “Group” or “International” added to make it sound grander. “Halstead” was grand enough on its own, good enough for the founder and good enough for his successors who have just announced yet another record set of figures for the company’s 100th year, with record turnover and record profit before tax, enabling the final dividend to be increased by 12.3%.
But its not the figures which are important. The importance lies in the philosopy at the heart of this sturdy and steady British company, which brokers have been falling over themselves this week to add to their buy lists.
Mark Halstead the present CEO not only thought the unthinkable – he said it and his words should have brought shame to many a CEO and board of directors.
“ Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves and in this, our 100th year, we have broken records for turnover, profit and dividend.” – Mark Halstead CEO.
” it is clear that we are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as difficult problems.” Geoffrey Halstead, Chairman
And on the strength of sterling – “Much has been written about the strength of sterling and the obvious negative effect on exporters but there are large offsetting factors, not least the effect of cheaper input prices of raw materials and we remain positive.” Geoffrey Halstead
How dare Geoffrey Halstead so succinctly destroy the excuse which trip of the tongues of company directors and executives in an attempt to save their heads from the effects of their own incompetence and mismanagement -the pin striped wonders who have nowhere left to turn, except to blame the strength of sterling for “impacting” hundreds of our best known companies.
How often do we hear such basic wisdom and common sense as was this week displayed by the Halsteads ? There isn’t a university degree course in common sense which is perhaps not surprising, so we shall just have to rely on the Halsteads to try and spread the word throughout British boardrooms.
Halstead manufactures and distributes floor coverings worldwide. It has enjoyed 25 years of continuous sales growth. This year, for the sixth successive year, it has been named Manufacturer of the Year for contract floorcoverings.
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Dr McArdle, who recently retired as Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland, has had a long term interest in the history and origin of the Goldmine River gold deposits.
Text copyright Dr Peadar McArdle 2011.
Pt 2- Our Golden Mountain
A group of workers were felling timber on the estate of Lord Carysfoot on the northern slopes of Croghan Kinshelagh Mountain, locally referred to as Croghan Mountain, on the Wicklow-Wexford county boundary. This must have been strenuous work, requiring both energy and concentration, and the striving men must have welcomed the odd tree that fell over naturally in the course of their labours. These mighty trees, as they toppled, would have exposed their roots and the soil that sustained them. It was while one of the workers was idly inspecting such roots that the serendipitous discovery was made. The date was Tuesday 15th September 1795, just over 220 years ago!
Eureka! The gleaming object that caught the worker’s attention, now laid bare among the roots of a fallen tree was indeed gold. The press may have subsequently lamented that he and his companions were but ‘common labourers’ but they knew gold when they saw it. This was no pinhead speck of gold, but a half-ounce gold piece. Additional finds followed quickly, including handsome specimens of gold amalgamated with quartz or stone. These were very unusual and instant sources of wealth. We can safely assume that the workers immediately abandoned their tiresome labours under Lord Carysfort and devoted themselves wholeheartedly to their new gold mining enterprise. The good news would have been spread by word of mouth so that increasing numbers of gold diggers arrived with each passing day. But middle class readers of contemporary newspapers still felt resentment that poor, uneducated peasants were enriching themselves in the process, a situation only partically retrieved by the fact that the gold was being bought by ‘gentlemen of respectability.’
There are many conflicting accounts of how the presence of Wicklow gold first came to public attention. There are stories told about the young wife who spread golden rumours, not to mention angling tales of a fisherman who by chance spotted a gold nugget in the riverbed. Then there was the local schoolmaster, named as Donaghoo, whose neighbours figured he was living beyond his means and whose enriching early-morning rambles they were supposed to have observed.
The reporting from Goldmine River in those days was comprehensive if somewhat irregular, but always fascinating. Rumours must have been circulating in Dublin for some days. Those closest to the story would naturally have been reluctant to alert journalists so that they themselves might have more time to exploit their good fortune. In any event, the first mention of Wicklow gold in The Freeman’s Journal was a letter from Rathdrum dated 29 September 1795 which also appeared in Finn’s Leinster Journal and Saunder’s News-Letter. However Finn’s Leinster Journal had broken the story in its edition of 16-19 September, describing the accidental discovery three or four days previously by the tree-felling workers on Lord Carysfort’s estate.
The gold itself was reported to be pure – “as pure as any brought from the Gold Coast of Africa” – although it is not clear that the precious metal was being carefully assayed at this stage. One labourer was reported to have made ten guineas in two days, equivalent to more than 2.5 ounces of gold at prevailing prices (unless a premium had been paid for what probably included spectacular specimens).
To be continued…
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A new Quindell (QPP) emerging? Alan Green discusses the interim results with Justin Waite on the ADVFN podcast.
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Alan Green discusses Feedback (FDBK) with Nick ‘Moose’ Batsford on TipTV. Click to view.
Dr Balaji Ganeshan, Chief Scientific Officer at Feedback (FDBK) talks to DirectorsTalk about a new JV with UKUA forming the company “Stone Checker Software Ltd”.
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DDD Group says Nigel Wray has a beneficial interest in shares in the company held by the following nominees. Pershing Nominees Limited hold 1,774,230 shares (1% of issued share capital), and the family of Nigel Wray maintains a beneficial interest in 8,646,418 shares (4.85% of issued share capital) held by Roy Nominees
Feedback plc (FDBK), the medical imaging software company, previously announced on 13 April 2015 that it had signed a research agreement with the Oxford Stone Group at the University of Oxford & Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust, UK to investigate the potential future clinical application of Feedback’s TexRAD texture analysis software on computed tomography (CT) image data of patients with kidney stones. On 11 May 2015, Feedback announced the pilot results from a preliminary feasibility study.
A larger retrospective validation study comprising 90 patients carried out by the Oxford research team led by Mr Ben Turney (Bernard Senior Clinical Researcher in Urology at the University of Oxford and Honorary Consultant Urological Surgeon) is currently under way.
Following these studies, Feedback is pleased to announce the incorporation of a 50:50 joint venture company “Stone Checker Software Ltd” with U.K. Urology Associates Limited (UKUA) to commercialise the specific application of TexRAD texture analysis in Urolithiasis. To facilitate this, Feedback Plc has granted a licence of TexRAD intellectual property to Stone Checker.
UKUA has expertise in a wide range of technology applications in the specialist Urology field. This knowledge extends from the development and distribution of novel medical equipment for both benign and malignant urological diseases through to the use of software in urodynamics. The team comprises an experienced group of healthcare technology innovators.
The vision of Stone Checker is to develop a composite risk stratification software product following stringent clinical standards and regulatory standards. TexRAD CT texture analysis will be incorporated with other known clinical markers to develop an integrated product which would potentially assist urologists and radiologists to provide better patient management and treatment decisions for improved patient outcomes. There is a large potential worldwide market for a non-invasive risk stratification tool based on the common occurrence of kidney stones around the world.
Mr Jeevan Virk, Chief Operations Officer of UKUA commented: “The opportunity to collaborate with Feedback plc in the development of a specific urological software is hugely exciting and will provide enormous benefits to patients who will receive appropriate therapy, clinicians who will be able to optimise their use of time and improve success rates, and the healthcare payers who will no longer have to pay for high failure rates in lithotripsy. It is unusual to have a product which fully lines up to provide benefits to the whole clinical team, but this is the promise of Stone Checker software.”
Dr. Balaji Ganeshan, Chief Scientist & New Business Officer of the Company’s subsidiaries TexRAD Ltd & Cambridge Computed Imaging Ltd commented: “We are delighted with the formation of a new JV company with UKUA, Stone Checker Software Ltd, to develop a novel composite clinical score based software product dedicated to the management of kidney stone patients.”
For further information contact:
Tel: 01954 718072
Simon Barrell / Trevor Brown / Tom Charlton
Sanlam Securities UK (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)
Tel: 020 7628 2200
Simon Clements / Virginia Bull
Peterhouse Corporate Finance Ltd(Joint Broker)
Tel: 020 7469 0936
Lucy Williams / Duncan Vasey