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Sunday share tips: Crossword Cybersecurity, InterContinental Hotels Group

The Financial Mail on Sunday’s Midas column told readers to ‘buy’ shares of Crossword Cybersecurity, highlighting its roll in the development of Covid-19 certificates.
Despite the firm still being a “minnow”, it was working with one of the designers of core elements of the world wide web, David Chadwick, on how to ensure its certificates against fraud while protecting the privacy of users.

“The project could prove to be a major source of business for Crossword here and overseas but the company has several other strings to its bow,” Midas said.

On top of advising governments and businesses on how to guard against cyberattacks, Crossword also actively sought out promising research at universities in order to bring it to market.

One such outfit is Rizikon, which helps companies guard their supply chains against malware which is then installed in the firms’ clients.

Spun out of City University, take-up for its services had been “enthusiastic”.

Crossword’s board also provided reassurance, with its chairman, Sir Richard Dearlove, having spent over 30 years at MI6, including five at its helm the tipster added.

The long-term potential of the business was underscored by the successful IPO of its much larger rival Darktrace at a valuation of £1.7bn.

“At last week’s results, Crossword announced a ten-for-one share split so investors will be offered ten shares worth about 34p each for every share held.

“The move should give Crossword a short-term lift on the stock market and the long-term outlook is promising too. Crossword is a well-run business operating in several fast-growing areas of the cyber market. Buy.”

The Sunday Times’s Sabah Meddings said InterContinental Hotels Group shares were a ‘hold’ given the short-term risks to its franchisees and the recovery in th share price back to pre-pandemic levels.

Its franchisees were in many cases small businesses and there was the potential for some of them to run into trouble once government support faded.

Furthermore, some measures, such as keeping hotels open to accommodate frontline workers or the introduction of a flexible cancellation policy were not good for franchisees.

InterContinental’s shares were trading above their level of February 2020, proof that investors had priced in a strong recovery, said Meddings.

Yet group sales had more than halved in 2020 and analysts at Barclay’s weren’t expecting a recovery in its revenues per available to room to pre-Covid levels until 2023.

“IHG now needs to justify its £9.4 billion valuation when it reports results for the first three months of the year on Friday. Hold.”

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