Share tips: A safe move with this gold transporter

With the price of gold at record highs and no sign of the financial crisis abating, this transporter of gold and cash has benefited from increased demand for its secure logistics services, says Paul Hill.

Brinks Company Inc (NYSE: BCO), rated a BUY by Davenport

British naval captain Sir Francis Drake, who helped defeat the Spanish Armada, was also expert at plundering enormous quantities of precious metals from Spanish treasure ships anchored off the coast of south and central America. Much of this gold and silver resides in vaults under the Bank of England. Yet some of it is now returning home. In July, Hugo Chvez, Venezuela's president, instructed that all the country's foreign gold reserves be brought back to Caracas. Venezuela is the world's 16th-largest holder of gold with 211 tons (worth $12bn) of bullion located overseas. Such a transfer will need top-notch security.

That's great news for the likes of Brinks. As the world's largest secure logistics provider, it has a 21% share of the $14bn market, generating operating margins of over 6.5%. Along with G4S it dominates the bullion transport industry. Better still, Brinks operates its own vaults, where the price of storing gold is rising rapidly due to the high demand for the yellow metal and lack of suitable space.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

The firm offers cash logistics and other services to financial institutions, retailers, governments and jewellers. These include running a fleet of cash-in-transit armoured cars, replenishing cash machines, providing guards, and destroying sensitive information. There are significant barriers to entry in the industry due to the importance of a trusted brand, training requirements for personnel and the need to have sophisticated back-office functions that can track valuable property on the road.


Wall Street is anticipating 2011 revenues and earnings per share (EPS) of $3.8bn and $1.86 respectively, rising to $4.1bn and $2.21 in 2012. Given this, I would rate the group on a ten-times through cycle EBITA multiple. After deducting net debt of $273m and $418m in retirement and other legacy costs, that produces an intrinsic worth of $35 a share.

British investors should factor in foreign-currency moves and the group is also exposed to the usual pitfalls associated with bidding and running government contracts.

That said, demand, according to chief executive Michael Dan, is set to rise thanks to the "surging global movement of bank notes and precious metals". Davenport has a price target of $38, with third-quarter results expected towards the end of October.

Rating: BUY at $24 (market capitalisation$1.2bn)

Paul gained a degree in electrical engineering and went on to qualify as a chartered management accountant. He has extensive corporate finance and investment experience and is a member of the Securities Institute.

Over the past 16 years Paul has held top-level financial management and M&A roles for blue-chip companies such as O2, GKN and Unilever. He is now director of his own capital investment and consultancy firm, PMH Capital Limited.

Paul is an expert at analysing companies in new, fast-growing markets, and is an extremely shrewd stock-picker.