Rocketing 200%+ in one year, I wish I’d bought these UK shares for my ISA

Some market minnows have delivered outstanding gains despite the gloomy economic headlines. Is there more upside ahead for these UK shares?

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When quizzed about which UK shares have delivered the massive market-beating returns over the last 12 months, I reckon many people would pick FTSE 100 recovery plays like Rolls-Royce, British Gas owner Centrica and ‘suddenly hip and happening’ Marks & Spencer.

However, there are lesser-known companies that have done even better than these.

Stonking gains

Many private investors probably won’t be aware of Global Port Holdings (LSE: GPH). However, it must surely be coming onto the radar of at least a few momentum jockeys.

By Friday — and following the release of a half-year update — the shares had delivered a stonking 215% gain since last November. And with good reason. Trading at the world’s largest independent cruise port operator has been in something of a purple patch as the world bounces back from the pandemic.

Naturally, those who held their stake in their Stocks and Shares ISA won’t pay any tax on their profits. I only wish I was one of them.

More to come?

Looking ahead, Global Port Holdings now expects “at least” 12.5 million passengers will enter its ports in the current full year (ending 31 March 2024), up from the previous estimate of 11.8 million due to a “faster than expected recovery in occupancy rates“. Major cruise lines have also reported strong bookings for next summer.

Further down the line, passenger volumes are expected to be “45% higher than pre-Covid levels” by the end of 2027.

This all sounds good to me. Nevertheless, higher demand could become problematic if the company isn’t able to cope. I’m also conscious that some (most?) of the recovery in travel is already priced in. Debt is climbing quite rapidly too.

For these reasons, I’m going to hold off from taking a stake for now.

Fair play to Yu

Gas, electricity and water firm Yu Group (LSE: YU) has also soared. Its stock is up 270% in one year.

Again, this isn’t a complete surprise considering just how well most firms in this space — including the aforementioned Centrica — have done recently.

Yu focuses on supplying utilities to small and medium-sized businesses rather than homes. According to the company, this market is worth £50bn alone and therefore offers significant opportunities for growth.

And that’s exactly what appears to be happening.

Back in September, this small-cap revealed a pre-tax profit of £8.9m in the first six months of 2023. A year earlier, it was £5.5m. Revenue also jumped 51% to just under £195m.

So, that share price move makes sense. I think there’s a good chance it will continue.

On my radar

At the time those numbers were released, management said that it expected “a new record performance to follow in H2“.

Now, a lot can change in a few months. For example, the firm may not hit its target of installing at least 10,000 of its newly launched smart meters by the end of the year. Hence, staying diversified is as vital as ever.

Still, that’s a confident prediction if I ever saw one.

In fact, this comment makes a valuation of just over 8 times earnings for FY23 look cheap, especially as Yu also boasted a cash position of £36.6m a couple of months ago.

I’m considering investing here.

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 has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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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