The truth is, even though there were lessons, I didn’t really learn anything myself. I was just reminded of things I already knew. I knew the risks, I decided to take them, and I bought some shares at 18.5p. Now, thanks to the recommended cash offer from Anglo American, I’m set to get back 5.5p per share. That’s more than I’d have got on the open market before Anglo came along.
It’s still a painful 70% loss, but you know what? Over my 30-plus years of active stock market investing, it’s not my worst ever investment. And there’s an upside too.
Thanks to the Anglo American offer, the potash mine will go ahead. The significant jobs boost for the area will not be lost, and all those farmers will get their organic-certified polyhalite potash fertiliser. I reckon that, especially the jobs outcome, is more important than my modest loss. I say modest, because I didn’t invest very much money, knowing how risky it was.
Just like when you fall off a bicycle (which I do embarrassingly often, even after 50 years of cycling), the thing to do is just get back in the saddle. Or, in this case, get right back to investing. I need to decide what to do with my Sirius Minerals cash.
It won’t be a lot, certainly less than my usual minimum of £1,000 for an investment. That’s my chosen minimum because it keeps transactions charges low as a proportion of the total, and I usually invest more than that to keep them even lower. I wouldn’t invest the few hundred pounds I’ll have from Sirius in one go, not with fixed charges.
But I still have the cash from selling my Premier Oil shares, so I’ll add the Sirius cash to that for my next purchase. But what should I buy?
After suffering a big loss on Sirius, and a smaller loss on Premier Oil, I’m tempted to go safe. I’m still very bullish about Lloyds Banking Group, and a top-up looks very attractive. We’re looking at well-covered dividend yields of around 6%, and at 56p the shares look very cheap. They’re on a price-to-earnings ratio of under eight, and that’s calling me.
I’ve also been meaning to buy some Royal Dutch Shell shares for ages, with some cash I have in my SIPP, but I just haven’t got round to it. Hydrocarbon energy might be environmentally unpopular, but dividends are nudging ever closer to 7%.
Another growth punt
But no. While I may well buy some Shell, and some more Lloyds, during the course of 2020, my Sirius/Premier cash is going into Gulf Keystone shares. I’ve previously written about Gulf in more detail, and my summary is that it’s a smaller oil producer with strong growth prospects. And it generates lots of cash and pays good dividends. And Iraq looks safe enough to me. Possibly. I hope.
Alan Oscroft owns shares of Lloyds Banking Group and Sirius Minerals. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Lloyds Banking Group. 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.