LONDON -- While many investors are worrying about Britain's struggling economy and the fate of the eurozone, quite a few company directors seem to be defying the pessimism with their upbeat comments.
Indeed, by issuing positive statements about the prospects for their particular businesses, the cheery chairmen and chief execs suggest there are still individual shares out there that could beat this choppy market.
I've trawled the FTSE indexes to find three examples of buoyant bosses from the last three months.
Mike Pulli, chief exec of Pace (LSE:PIC), sounded pleased in July when he said:
Pace has had an encouraging start to 2012; recovery is under way and we are becoming a more profitable, cash generative company. We have a clear strategy and are making good progress in implementing our plans. We are leading the market in the evolution to next generation Media Servers and our widening out into software and services is gaining momentum. Our focus on operational improvement and efficiency has delivered material benefits in the first 6 months of the year; additional cost-saving opportunities are being pursued which will contribute further to profitability this year and beyond 2012. The increased interim dividend reflects the Board's confidence in the outlook and the future prospects for Pace.
Certainly "recovery is under way" and "contribute further to profitability" sound promising to me.
Pulli's statement accompanied interim results that showed sales of more than $1 billion and profits of $21 million.
Supported by the comments of Pulli, Pace's shares have jumped 100% since June.
Then there's Heritage Oil (LSE:HOIL) CEO Tony Buckingham, who sounded happy in August when he stated:
We are delighted to have entered into an agreement to acquire a significant interest in the transformational OML 30 in Nigeria. OML 30 is expected to provide significant production and be cash flow generative immediately, thereby de-risking Heritage's financial profile. The recently published independent reserves report gave an economic valuation of between US$3.4 billion and US$4.1 billion, using a discount rate of 10%, for the current 2P reserves at OML 30 and our assets in Russia, highlighting the underlying value within the enlarged portfolio.
Certainly "transformational" and "expected to provide significant production" sound positive to me.
Buckingham's quote came as Heritage issued half-year results that said the company's active work program in Kurdistan had two rigs operating, and its Tanzania work program continued on the Kyela and Rukwa licenses.
Supported by the remarks of Buckingham, Heritage Oil's shares have jumped 74% during the last three months.
Finally, Joep van Beurden, chief executive of CSR (LSE:CSR), sounded jolly in July when he declared:
We had another good quarter driven by our momentum in providing higher-margin platforms, which is reflected in our revenues and underlying gross margins. CSR remains focused on its strategy to build platform revenues and it has identified five high-growth markets to better position it to deliver sustained growth and shareholder value. The proposed transaction with Samsung accelerates this strategy. We will have an ongoing core business where we have a leadership position, attractive gross margin and ample growth opportunity.
Certainly "good quarter" and "ample growth opportunity" sound encouraging to me.
Van Beurden's remarks accompanied CSR's second-quarter results, which showed sales of $267 million and profits of $24 million. Supported by the comments of van Beurden, CSR's shares have jumped 60% since June.
So what should you make of these upbeat bosses and their rallying share prices? Simply that every company is an individual opportunity and could provide handsome gains -- no matter what the broader market or general economy is up to.
But should you back those three bosses now? Well, you'll need to do some further research -- but the fact their shares have advanced of late suggests that the underlying progress at each business has been better than expected.
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