We asked our freelance writers to share the best British small-cap stocks they’d buy this January. Here’s what they chose:
Zaven Boyrazian: Bioventix
Bioventix (LSE:BVXP) is a specialist producer of monoclonal antibodies. These are an essential ingredient for performing blood tests when diagnosing a patient. It’s undoubtedly a niche product but remains in high demand as revenues have consistently grown by double digits over the last five years.
Recently, the stock has taken a hit as hospitals have prioritised spending in areas dealing with Covid-19. Consequently, the group’s bottom line has suffered for it. But, with the vaccine rollout making good progress and the world adapting to the pandemic environment, these disruptions may soon be coming to an end.
As such, I think this could be an excellent addition to my portfolio.
Zaven Boyrazian does not own shares in Bioventix.
Ed Sheldon: Calnex Solutions
My top British small-cap stock for January is Calnex Solutions (LSE: CLX). It’s a leading provider of testing and measurement services to the telecommunications industry.
Calnex looks well placed to benefit from the global telecommunication industry’s upgrade to 5G technology. 5G is ultimately the key to many of the exciting new technologies we keep hearing about such as self-driving cars and remote surgery. Networks will need to be tested thoroughly in order for these kinds of technologies to go mainstream.
One risk to consider here is the ongoing semiconductor shortage. This could cause disruption. However, with the stock trading on a P/E ratio of less than 25, I think the risk/reward proposition is favourable.
Edward Sheldon owns shares in Calnex Solutions.
Roland Head: Finsbury Food
My small-cap pick for January is bakery firm Finsbury Food (LSE: FIF). This group supplies supermarkets and also sells under its own brands.
Finsbury has been going through a turnaround period, but now appears to be trading well. Earnings rose by 15% last year and brokers expect growth of 26% for the year ending 26 June.
Rising costs are a concern and supermarkets will always be tough customers. But I’m impressed by Finsbury’s recent performance. I think the stock still looks good value at under 10 times forecast earnings. I hold Finsbury shares and would buy more.
Roland Head owns shares of Finsbury Food.
Rupert Hargreaves: Michelmersh Brick Holdings
My top small-cap is Michelmersh Brick Holdings (LSE: MBH). The specialist brick manufacturer looks set to report a bumper year of growth for 2021, which could underpin further development in the year ahead.
The firm has no debt and a cash-rich balance sheet, suggesting that it has the financial headroom to support its growth ambitions this year. There is also room for shareholder returns. Michelmersh currently supports a dividend yield of 2.5%.
Inflation and competition are the two primary risks the business will have to overcome going forward. Despite these challenges, I would buy this small-cap stock today.
Rupert Hargreaves does not own shares in Michelmersh Brick Holdings.
G A Chester: B.P. Marsh & Partners
B.P. Marsh (LSE: BPM) is a specialist investor in unquoted, early-stage financial services businesses that are in need of growth capital.
Marsh looks for strong management and business plans. It takes a minority equity stake (typically 20%-40%), and aims to be a supportive, long-term partner. It works with management to grow the business’s value, ultimately towards a profitable exit via a public flotation, trade sale or other route.
It has a long history of delivering value for shareholders through net-asset-value (NAV) appreciation and dividends. The shares are currently trading at a 20%+ discount, and I’m expecting a further NAV uplift in an early-February trading update.
G A Chester has no position in B.P. Marsh & Partners.
Niki Jerath: Zephyr Energy
For January, I’m looking at Zephyr Energy (LSE:ZPHR). This has oil and gas interests in Utah, Colorado and North Dakota.
As oil and gas prices increased during 2021, its shares surged by over 600%. Although year-to-date, the stock is down around 2% due to worries about the Omicron variant.
That said, its Paradox Basin project, in Utah, shows a lot of promise for 2022 and it has a pending deal in North Dakota, which was delayed last year.
I could be wrong, but if the transaction goes ahead, I expect the share price to see a jump.
Niki Jerath does not own shares in Zephyr Energy
Royston Wild: Card Factory
I think Card Factory (LSE: CARD) is a small-cap stock whose eye-catching all-round value merits serious attention. The card and greetings retailer trades on a forward P/E ratio of below 6 times. It sports a mammoth 6.1% dividend yield as well.
I like Card Factory for a number of reasons. Its strategy of selling products at low prices puts it in good shape to ride the value retail revolution. Recent investments in digital will allow it to make money during the e-commerce boom. I also like Card Factory’s focus on a more-defensive part of the retail market. We don’t stop celebrating birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions when times get tough, right?
Royston Wild does not own shares in Card Factory.
Paul Summers: Cake Box Holdings
At 25 times earnings, shares in Cake Box Holdings (LSE: CBOX) certainly aren’t cheap. That said, the company’s fundamentals help justify this valuation. Returns on capital and operating margins are consistently high and there’s net cash on the balance sheet. CEO Sukh Chamdal also owns almost 25% of the company, which should mean that his interests are aligned with those of other investors.
Having already climbed 70% in the last year, share price growth may moderate in 2021. However, this looks like the sort of quality minnow I’d be comfortable holding a stake in for years rather than months.
Paul Summers has no position in Cake Box Holdings
Andy Ross: Property Franchise Group
Shares in Property Franchise Group (LSE: TPFG) bring together an attractive combination of growth and income. Over three years the shares have gone from 120p to around 314p. Historic share price growth then has been good. The dividend yield is currently around 3%, but with decent levels of dividend cover, as well as earnings growth, I’m sure the dividend can keep growing.
As a franchising operation, the business has high operating margins and returns on capital. For me, this makes Property Franchise Group a top British small-cap stock and I’ll likely be adding more, especially if the share price dips again.
Andy Ross owns shares in Property Franchise Group.