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01 Nov 16
Since our last outlook note, Quadrise has begun to supply MSAR for extended LONO sea trials, paving the way for commercial adoption from calendar H217 onwards. In August it signed a memorandum of understanding with clients in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), which is a key enabler for progressing the production-to-combustion pilot there. In October it completed a placing and open offer raising a total of £5.25m (gross). This should enable it to transition comfortably to the commercial phase on successful completion of the LONO and KSA trials.
Exceptional trading continues
08 Nov 16
Keywords has announced that the strong trading in localisation and audio services has continued into H216. In particular, the Synthesis business acquired in April continues to benefit from exceptionally strong trading. Full-year results are now expected to be materially ahead of consensus and we upgrade our FY16e EPS by 13%. Erring on the side of caution, we have not changed our FY17 estimates significantly. Nevertheless, we believe the company does have a platform to sustain double-digit earnings growth, and hence medium-/long-term prospects for further share appreciation remain good.
04 Nov 16
Breaking with convention, this Quarter we take the temperature of the expanding non-listed casual dining and bar operator sector. Looking at the top 50 operators, it appears that the £80bn market for eating and drinking out in the UK is alive and well. The AlixPartners Growth Company Index (October 2016) shows that 2-year profit CAGR has improved over the last few years, and recent surveys from Greene King, Coffer Peach and Deloitte highlight elevated spend on out-of-home occasions.
Joy of Techs
21 Nov 16
ICT evolution is driven by technological development as advances are made which both meet and shape customer requirements. Our 2011 note No such thing as a telco described the modern reality in that former ‘telcos’ now deliver varying elements of a range of managed services. We built on this theme last year, exploring in further detail their evolutionary paths, operating fundamentals, and cashflow yield similarities. In the consumer environment, demand for bundles of technology is complemented by demand for content. Across the pond, the mooted combination of AT&T and Time Warner typifies the bundled need of ‘pipe’ and content, since unbundled alternatives such as FaceTime and WhatsApp can be easier and clearer to chat over, and Amazon and Netflix are easier to watch anywhere. In the UK, BT’s defensive actions cover delivery, content and capabilities, acquiring EE yet also buying football rights. While TV was long ago added to triple play to become quad play, voice is now merely an app, and fixed and mobile seen as just dumb pipes: it's the content that will influence consumer choices. Growth of TV and film as well as music and gaming over IP leads to UK small cap opportunities. In context of the drive to maximise value from pipes and access by offering content and data, we look at some amongst the potential tech small cap beneficiaries: Amino*, Keyword Studios, ZOO Digital*, 7digital*, KCOM* and CityFibre*.
Innovate, specialise, integrate, globalise
01 Dec 16
Carclo has refocused investment in its established businesses (Technical Plastics and LED Technologies), where a differentiated offer and long-term relationships with customers provide good earnings visibility and more certainty of a return. This strategy delivered strong revenue and profits growth during H117. This growth appears set to continue, underpinned by long-term relationships with blue-chip customers. We leave our estimates and indicative valuation broadly unchanged and introduce our estimates for FY19.
Taking a prudent road
28 Nov 16
As flagged in September, H1 2017 profit is indeed below LY; adj. PBT of £0.5m compares with £1.5m in H1 2016 as Trakm8 invests heavily in new technology and acquisition integration. Management remains confident in another very strong H2 performance and in particular is focused on closing a couple of large high-margin software-related sales which would see the group meeting the original FY 2017 expectations of £5.9m adj. PBT. However, should these fall outside the March year-end, profits are only likely to be in line with last year’s £3.9m, albeit on a growing revenue base. Prudence dictates we assume a worst-case scenario in our forecasts so that surprise is only in the upside – if the deals close in the year, the company will meet those original revenue and profit expectations.
Videos and Podcasts
Most advanced universal influenza vaccine
08 Dec 16
BiondVax with its epitope-based multimeric vaccine candidate M-001 is among the leaders in the development of the universal influenza vaccine worldwide. In previous clinical trials M-001 was shown to be consistently safe, immuno-genic and demonstrated synergy with conventional flu vaccines. The readout from the ongoing European Phase II study is imminent, while the initiation of the last Phase IIb study funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), with results likely in H217/H118, will pave the way for partnering and the Phase III programme. We initiate coverage with a valuation of NIS269m ($71m).
N+1 Singer - ReNeuron Group - Encouraging stroke data; RP and CLI data due 2017
08 Dec 16
ReNeuron’s positive results from its Phase II stroke trial are very encouraging and highlight the significant potential of the group’s CTX cell therapy for stroke. Additional data will continue to be collected until all patients have reached 12 months post treatment and we are encouraged by the response seen post the 3 month endpoint. Data from the group’s other two cell therapy programmes are expected in 2017. Positive data from each will be a share price catalyst and offer significant upside to our 9p Target Price. We remain at Buy and look forward to the news.
Mobilising the strategy
08 Dec 16
PCF has reported a good set of FY16 figures this morning. Pro forma 12 month adjusted pre-tax profit increased 38% YoY to £4.0m (FY15: £2.9m), 5% ahead of our estimate of £3.8m. Fully diluted return on equity remained broadly stable YoY at 13% but beat our forecast of 12.6%, driven by good loan book growth, up 14% YoY to £122m. Given the strength of the results the board has reinstated a dividend of 0.1p per share. Following Tuesday’s announcement of the approval of a banking licence, we believe that the group now has the capacity to accelerate its growth prospects. While the shares trade at 12.0x earnings and 2.0x reported book value, we do not believe this valuation captures the growth potential of the business.
Focused on the long term
08 Dec 16
These are rare events but it is nice to see a management use its public listing advantageously to trade short-term dilution in EPS for the optionality of asymmetric upside in the long term. With over £10m already in the balance sheet, ABD has successfully raised £5.4m gross in a placing and expects to raise another £1m from an offer. We were not surprised to learn that the placing was over 3.5x oversubscribed. How many listed UK companies are positioned to take advantage of the digital revolution in the automotive industry? The additional investment in new people, facilities, products & services should be dilutive to FY2017-18 EPS but this is small price to pay to establish the leading supplier of integrated test, measurement and simulation solutions to the autonomous vehicle industry. Our forecasts assume that growth will accelerate from FY2019. We raise our target price to 575p based on 15x FY2019 EPS, equivalent to Ricardo, the only other UK stock which has embraced the optionalities offered by the technological changes in the automotive industry.
08 Dec 16
Amino has this morning published a positive trading update, with figures for the year to November 2016 slightly ahead of our forecasts. We upgrade our 2016 estimates modestly, to reflect confirmation of this expected strength and upbeat comments on order backlog. Having recently upgraded our 2017 estimates, we choose to leave these unchanged for now, but will revisit them in February 2017 alongside full FY16 results.
Very positive bottom-line developments thanks to restructuring and FX
07 Dec 16
Imagination reported its H1 17 results, ending in October. On a continuing operation basis, revenues came in at £64.4m (+8.8% sequentially, +3.3% yoy). PowerVR witnessed a decrease (£43.3m, -2% yoy) while MIPS (£16.7m, +13.3% yoy) and Ensigma (£4.4m, +146.7% yoy) benefited from strong growth rates. The number of devices shipped remained stable at 584m units; total royalty revenues went up by 5.9% to £52.5m, thanks to the great performance in MIPS, for which royalty revenues went up by about 20% with a 10% increase in shipments. The company reported a return to profitability, with a continuing operations’ EBIT of £2.9m, corresponding to a 4.4% operating margin, while the loss was £5.5m in the corresponding half last year. However, the company remains with a net loss of £4.6m for continuing operations, and £10.1m in total. The restructuring process is progressing well, with £27.5m of cost savings. The sale of the Pure business is now effective, as well as most of IMGsystems, while IMGworks (£2.5m of revenues, for a net loss of £3.4m) is expected to soon be disposed of. The company also announced the nomination of Peter Hill as a non-executive chairman on 1 February 2017.
Prospects electrify; return of cash
07 Dec 16
The sale of the Opus Energy stake to Drax Group is expected to complete during calendar 1Q17, injecting £71m into the balance sheet. With manageable net debt/EBITDA close to 1x, the board expects to return all proceeds to shareholders through a tender offer around the time of prelims, expected June 2017. Telecom Plus’ interims had reported performance in line with mildly tweaked forecasts. While 3 of the "big 6" utility providers committed to price freezes through winter, the implication is for price rises subsequently, from the beginning of TEP’s FY18 (y/e March). The collapse of GB Energy shows that the cheapest utility providers’ business models are unsustainable, which compounds interest from willing and concerned consumers, and re-incentivises the self-employed sales force, as the competitive landscape rebalances. With positive catalysts lining up to lift the share price, we lift our twelve-month target price to 1360p.
Product quality and management depth
07 Dec 16
Yesterday Focusrite held a capital markets day, designed to showcase the range and quality of products and introduce operational management, which shares a passion for music-making and has deep knowledge of the products. This contributes to excellent product support, software innovation and thus customer loyalty, which should sustain the company’s brand leadership.