2 UK shares to buy for the great ‘reopening’

As lockdown restrictions continue to lift, Paul Summers highlights two UK shares he thinks could recover strongly in time.

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As the UK continues to gradually lift lockdown restrictions, I’ve been casting my eye over which shares might recover strongly. Today, I’m going to highlight two examples, one of which I already own, that could do well for patient investors.

A UK share ready to fizz

As a holder of the stock, I never expected today’s final results from drinks firm AG Barr (LSE:BAG) to be all that impressive. And so proved to be the case.

Due to the enforced closure of bars and pubs, the producer of thirst-quenching brands such as IRN-BRU and Rubicon has been hit hard by the pandemic. Revenue fell 11.2% to £227m over the 12 months to 24 January. Pre-tax profit also decreased — by 12.3% — to £32.8m (or £26m once one-off costs were deducted). Despite this, there were a few bits of good news.

Partly as a result of steps taken to control costs, Barr ended the year with £50m in net cash. That’s up significantly from the £10.9m logged at the end of the previous financial year. This comforts me. As an investor, I need to know a business I part-own has a sufficiently robust balance sheet to negotiate inevitable periods of ‘sticky’ trading. 

In other news, CEO Roger White said the company had “the clear intention to recommence dividend payments in 2021.” The fact that it hasn’t done so already is actually a positive for me. As nice as dividends are, I don’t want a business showering me with cash until it’s confident in its outlook. 

All told, I’ve no problem staying invested. That’s not to say I expect the share price to motor back to its 2019 high for a while. 

While the lifting of restrictions should be good news for AG Barr, it would be foolhardy to assume there won’t be obstacles ahead. The possibility of a third wave of the coronavirus can’t be ignored. Especially if the vaccine programme runs into trouble.

This is a UK share for the ‘bottom drawer’. 

Sweet treat

Of course, there are other ‘reopening’ options available in the small/mid-cap space. Chocolatier Hotel Chocolat (LSE: HOTC) is another example of one that could do very nicely in time. 

Now, it’s quite reasonable to say that sales of chocolate are unlikely to rocket as we approach summer. This is particularly the case if we get a heatwave! 

As a counter to this argument, I suspect HOTC’s next update on trading could be better than some in the market are expecting. It should, after all, take into account trading in the Easter period. If reports are to be believed, many in the UK are treating this weekend as a second Christmas and spending lots on decorations and, very likely, chocolate eggs.

On top of this, the recent decision by rival Thorntons to abandon its high street stores could prove a boon to the £500m-cap. It should allow HOTC to assume pole position at the luxury end of the UK market.

Like AG Barr, I wouldn’t buy Hotel Chocolat stock if I were only considering holding it for a few weeks or months. Investing requires patience. Trying to predict where a share price will go in the very near term is asking for trouble.

On a mid-to-long-term basis, however, I’m confident these UK shares could do very well for holders.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Paul Summers owns shares in AG Barr. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AG Barr. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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