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Sunday share tips: Restaurant Group, Alnwick Garden Trust, Scottish Mortgage

Sun 08 March 2020 20:56 | A A A

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No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal. Hargreaves Lansdown may not share ShareCast's (powered by Digital Look) views.

(Sharecast News) - The Sunday Times's Sabah Meddings told readers that shares of Restaurant Group were best avoided given the issues surrounding its legacy operations.

The businesses, which include brands like Chiquito and Frankie & Benny's, form what the company calls its Leisure Division.

Onerous leases and falling like-for-like sales at retail and leisure parks have pummeled their profitability and the company is understood to be looking at its options for hiving them off.

But it has yet to find the way of doing so without letting go of the sucessful Wagamama chain that it purchased at the end of 2018.

Like-for-like sales at Wagamama jumped by 8.5% in 2019 and is plotting an expansion into the US through a joint-venture.

"However, it will be some time before it manages to untangle itself from its fading Frankie & Benny's sites. Avoid."

Investors may want to take a serious look at an upcoming ten-year charity bond sale by the Alnwick Garden Trust, The Mail on Sunday's Midas column said.

Set up 25 years ago by the Duchess of Northumberland to help raise funds for local projects, the garden receives over 300,000 visitors each year and has a track record for generating sales - more than €5m in 2019 alongside a surplus of €251,000 even after all the costs for its social impact work are taken into account.

The bond, which will be sold by the likes of AJ Bell and Equiniti, is expected to raise between €10m and €15m to fund the Lilidorei project - an all-weather play village that will create 300 new jobs, mostly for Armed Forces veterans - and increase Alnwick's visitors by more than 250,000.

"Coronavirus has driven fear through financial markets and many shares have tumbled in recent weeks," Midas said.

"The Alnwick Garden Trust Bond offers an alternative form of investment, with a generous annual income and the added benefit that the money will be used for a genuinely good cause."

For his part, the Mail on Sunday's Jeff Prestridge, touted six investment trusts that had been hit by the coronavirus but which he said "should look healthy in the long run".

They included: Scottish Mortgage, Murray International, Henderson Smaller Companies, Ballie Gifford Japan, Finsbury Growth&Income and JP Morgan Emerging Markets.

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