Scotland plc: the winners and losers of 2019

Scotland’s listed companies have had a rocky ride in 2019 with their collective worth underperforming the wider stock market.

Shares in Scottish companies listed on the FTSE and Aim underperformed against the indexes in the first six months of 2019, according to analysis from Brewin Dolphin. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Shares in Scottish businesses listed on the main FTSE market and Aim, the Alternative Investment Market, underperformed against the indexes in the first six months of the year, according to analysis from wealth manager Brewin Dolphin.

It found that Scottish organisations listed on the main market ended June 2019 an average of 9.5 per cent higher than they started the year, compared to a gain of 10.39 per cent across the FTSE All Share index.

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Aim-quoted companies in Scotland were down 7.19 per cent on average, drifting from the Aim All Share index’s 7.07 per cent gain over six months by a considerable margin.

Four Scottish-based constituents of the FTSE ended the first six months of 2019 lower: STV (-1.98 per cent), Stagecoach (-4.23 per cent), Wood (-10.71 per cent), and John Menzies (-11.33 per cent).

The biggest gainers over the same period were packaging firm Macfarlane Group (+33.99 per cent), sausage skin and food casings maker Devro (+29.21 per cent), engineering firm Weir Group (+19.14 per cent), and Irn-Bru producer AG Barr (+17.49 per cent).

Scotland’s Aim constituents were dragged down by troubles at fashion retailer Quiz, which lost 46.03 per cent of its value. The only company’s stock to fall further was IDE Group, which lost 61.95 per cent before its shares were suspended on 1 July.

Among the top Scottish performers on Aim was digital surveillance systems designer IndigoVision, with its shares up 50.87 per cent since the beginning of 2019. Nucleus Financial, the Edinburgh fintech company, and patent attorney Murgitroyd gained 38.66 per cent and 35.33 per cent respectively.

John Moore, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said: “The first half of the year highlights that many of Scotland’s Aim-listed companies are going through growing pains.

“That’s not the end of the world – to help the businesses with real potential break through, investors need to be patient. Rather than being reactive to short-term influences, it underlines why you need to stick with investments for the long-term.

“Sigma Capital and Craneware are good examples of this. While their share prices haven’t done well since the turn of the year, they’ve identified long-term opportunities that, if their respective markets can become more established, could prove very fruitful.

“While Scotland’s more established businesses haven’t quite kept up with the wider index, they are still in relatively positive territory,” Moore added.