Mensch und Maschine Software (Frankfurt: MUM) sells computer-aided design (CAD) software. It began life in 1984 as a reseller of Autodesk products. This still makes up the bulk of its revenue, but its own software products now make an increasingly important contribution.
Net profit came in at €3.9m in 2015, up from €3.7m in 2014, and the first quarter of 2016 proved the best "in the company's history", with profits up 78% year-on-year. The shares are up by more than 50% in the year to date, and more than 100% in the last year.
Be glad you didn't buy
Sportswear retailer Sports Direct (LSE: SPD) has more than 700 stores in 20 countries, plus 80 "premium lifestyle" stores under brands such as USC and Cruise. Under its controversial founder Mike Ashley, it's hit the headlines for many of the wrong reasons in recent years. The share price has slid by 65% in the past year. Recent results proved disappointing, with underlying pre-tax profit for 2015-2016 falling by 8.4% to £275.2m.
Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website, scotsman.com, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.
Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.
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