LONDON (SHARECAST) - Lex in the Financial Times ponders the attractions of Sberbank, the dominant Russian banking player. Russia’s central bank is currently offloading a 7.5% stake in the business worth around five billion dollars. The main problem Lex can see is that the market broadly takes an optimistic view on Sberbank already, with shares trading at 1.5 times book value, much higher than some western European players like Deutsche Bank. Still, if a British retail investor can get exposure to the shares, Lex thinks they might find it more stable than the Russian energy sector.
Tempus in the Times is equivocal on TV set-top box maker Pace. It recently failed to complete a contract with BT to supply the kit for its YouView service and struggled last year with floods in Thailand, which saw the departure of the old management team. Selling on 10 times earnings the shares look quite cheap and the American football season could drive sales, but are set top boxes the devices of the future, or a relic of the past, now we have smartphones? Tempus is not certain. Hold.
In the Telegraph Questor is rather more upbeat on Vodafone which has suffered following Indian government manoeuvres to hit it with a $2.2bn tax bill related to the 2007 purchase of Hutchison Whampoa’s Indian unit. Questor believes the fears are overcooked and Vodafone offers a fantastic yield of around 7.5%. Trading at 11 times earnings and with big revenues from its US interests, Britain’s biggest mobile company is a buy.
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