I was expecting to write about Aggreko (AGK) but its first comment in its full year results questions was that it was going to say nothing - this side of the fifth of March limit - about an approach for the company. As I noted here in early February, either the bid comes through and I take an alright profit, or it does not and I double up. More in a few days I guess. So onto something different...and it has to be BT Group (BT.A), which I also wrote up in February here...
I concluded then that I am still hopeful of a turnaround for a stock that is dull but has some workable positions and whose shares look cheap. Part of that rationale was the newish combination of the CEO and the Chairman of the business, both of whom have a bit of history in turning around businesses in their past. However now 'BT Group plc announced that Jan du Plessis has informed the Board of his intention to retire as Chairman of the Company in 2021 once a successor has been appointed.' So why is he going?
Four years of being the BT Chair by the time he goes does not seem a particularly long time. Well du Plessis notes that “after 17 years of demanding roles as chairman of significant FTSE companies, I know the time is now right for me to step down and focus on other interests.” Well I guess at 67 years old maybe it is a time to do something else. However I do have to wonder if there are other angles here.
BT is a medium-term turnaround which is not going to fully deliver until another two or three years, as it starts to convince people more that it is maintaining consumer demand and being important for companies, whilst not hacking off the government (as noted in my last article linked above). Compared to the highly successful turnaround days at Rio Tinto (RIO) and the takeover at a huge premium of SABMiller, frankly a late ‘60’s BT Chair life maybe does not really work. And - let’s face it - the last three plus years have hardly been fantastic for a £700,000 per annum job. My guess is that the feel from both sides of the need for a change is apparent. It will be interesting to see who BT appoints but in the meantime for the BT day-to-day working team...time to keep on changing this name. For what it is worth - as I discussed in February - I remain optimistic and a holder and hope for hello again a 150-200p share price at some point over the next year or so.
Filed under: BT Group, Zoetic, Wildcat Petroleum, Hurricane Energy, Tern, ShareProphets readers tips
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