Sequential recovery from the Q2 lows. The group has restored FY20 guidance, with expectations of a 14% operating margin. A reshaping of the organisation and portfolio review are also supposed to drive mid-term 3-5% profitable growth. Wait and see.
Companies: Danone SA
Danone did less well than its peers (especially Nestle), and a little less well than consensus expected, but not so badly either. However, the lack of improvement in the expected margin remains the main issue for the rest of the year. Overall, sentiment is mixed.
Strong Q1 results boosted by pantry loading and the shift to at-home consumption, but the 2020 guidance is withdrawn due to the lack of visibility related to COVID-19. The group did not seem confident that the performance would continue in the coming quarters and warned that the group’s margins would be impacted.
Danone’s FY19 results were roughly in line with the consensus and our estimations on both the top and bottom line. It was no surprise that the group downgraded its guidance last October given the clear indications. The main news is, however, the FY20 guidance cut on the back of the Coronavirus and the €2bn investment plan (2020-22). While we were already cautious about its ability to deliver on its previous 2020 targets, we now see this new guidance as more realistic.
Danone reported Q3 sales figures below consensus expectations and now targets lower full-year sales growth from 3% to between 2.5% and 3%. The operating margin target is unchanged at above 15%. However, we note some positive points anyway, especially in Early Life Nutrition in China.
Quite a good set of H1 results, driven by baby foods in China and the Moroccan recovery. However, our enthusiasm is slightly negatively impacted by volumes declining in Q2 and raw material cost inflation.
Slow start to the year, mainly due to China’s slowdown and the Moroccan boycott. However, we expect a recovery in both. Coupled with the brighter perspectives, especially for H2, the group should reach its FY19 guidance.
Satisfying FY18 results, with reassuring top line and growing operating margin.
We remain cautious regarding further operating profitability improvement despite cost savings, as the company will see higher input/logistics costs in the year to come.
Although the company showed further improvements in both EDP divisions and good momentum in Waters, the contraction in ELN in China was more severe than expected.
We expect changing dynamics in Chinese ELN to result in more conservative estimates in the coming quarters for this segment.
Reassuring numbers despite boycott in Morocco, driven by Specialised Nutrition and the pick up in EDP North America. Our Add recommendation is maintained.
Strong start to the year with sales growing 4.9% lfl on the back of China which continues to drive Specialised Nutrition and Waters solidly.
As positives, we note EDP’s improvement vs. Q4 with EDP International flipping into positive territory despite being negative in Brazil.
The company sets the bar high for other Packaged Food players with its Q1 numbers. Investors should feel reassured.
Solid year-ending, driven by Waters & Specialised Nutrition. Essential Dairy & Plant Based is still in negative territory but improved well in Q4 vs. Q3.
We maintain our opinion that EDP tipping over into positive territory would be a clear trigger for the stock.
Sales grew organically +4.7% (cons. +3%) with volumes up +0.4% (in line with consensus) and pricing +4.3%.
Lfl performance by division: Essential Dairy & Plant Based International -2.3% (cons. -1.6%, volumes down -7.4%), Essential Dairy & Plant Based North America -2.2% (cons. -1.3%, volumes down -2.7%), Specialised Nutrition +17.8% (cons. +9%, with volumes +9% and +8.8% in value), and Waters +7.6% (cons. +6.4%, volume up +6.2%).
The FY is confirmed and clarified at +12% recurring EPS growth at constant FX.
A debate about why major US food manufacturers’ margins appear consistently higher than those achieved in Europe is, in our view, worth having. In particular, should greater willingness to outsource production processes and focus more on marketing, new product development, finance and strategic M&A be the answer, there could be significant revenue growth opportunities for those who act as food industry solution providers.
Companies: BN NESN ULVR CA GNC PIL CWK
Q2 update: Sales grew organically +0.2% (cons. +0.5%) with volumes down -2.1% (cons. -1.9%) and pricing +2.3% (cons. +2.7%). On reported figures, sales were up +16% (FX: +1.3%, net acquisitions: +14.5%).
OG by division: Essential Dairy & Plant Based North America -2.9% (cons. -1.5%, volumes down -0.4%), Essential Dairy & Plant Based International -1.8% (cons. -2%, volumes down -4.8%), Specialised Nutrition +5.5% (cons. +4.6%, pricing driven), Waters +0.3% (cons. +0.7%).
OG by geography: Europe & North America -1.5%, ROW +2.3%.
Overall, in H1, sales were up +0.4% organically. On reported figures, sales were up +9.7%. The trading operating margin on the reported figures in H1 was up +81bp to 14.1% and 91bp on an underlying basis.
For FY17, the group expects volatile and uncertain market conditions with a steep rise in milk prices. The target is to deliver double-digit growth in EPS at constant FX.
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Diversification means Carr’s Group provides essential infrastructure to the global nuclear industry and occupies a critical position in food supply chains in the UK, the US and Europe. As a result, almost all of its businesses have remained operational during the coronavirus pandemic. While group profitability was adversely affected by the low oil price caused by the pandemic, we see potential for recovery driven by greater penetration of international markets for animal feed supplements during FY21 and a return to more normal oil prices from FY22 onwards.
Companies: Carr's Group PLC
As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant declines in out-of-home consumption, which were partly offset by gains in at-home consumption and market share gains. Full year revenue declined 6.8% on a constant currency basis, while adjusted EBIT was down 21.9% at constant currency, and adjusted EPS was down 27.8%. A full year dividend of 21.6p was confirmed, following the decision in H1 to prudently suspend the dividend. Management focused on cash and cost efficiency to mitigate the impact of the pandemic as much as possible. During the period, the company extended its carbonates relationship with Pepsi to 2040. The outlook is understandably cautious, given the uncertainty in terms of further restrictions in Britvic’s main markets. Nevertheless, management has carefully planned its approach, and the agility demonstrated so far should continue to help Britvic navigate the uncertain environment.
Companies: Britvic plc
A brief year-end trading update with not a huge amount of details. The main point is that post the July 2019 profit warning, the PBT performance through a combination of mix and cost savings has come in towards top-end of market expectations, implying c18% y/y decline. So a c3% beat vs our £36.5m. Revenue decline at -9% however was worse than our -7%. This reflects ongoing challenges with the Rubicon and Rockstar barns and lower Irn-Bru volume due to price realignment. Net, the company had a better H2 than H1 and from our understanding, exits Q4 with good momentum. Looking ahead to 2020, the comps are easier and the company is expected to get back into growth mode (albeit 3% at the PBT level). The main cloud on the horizon is the Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland, and we understand the Scottish Parliament will provide an update on plans in the next few weeks. We view this as short-term negative for AG Barr and hence have a y/y profit decline for FY22. Post today’s update we nudge our current year PBT up by 2% and FY21 by 2% also. There will be some investor relief this morning but given the anaemic growth outlook and ongoing headwinds we feel an FY21 P/E looks full. We stay at Hold.
Companies: A.G. BARR p.l.c.
A number of REITs have the ability to thrive in current market conditions and thereafter. Not only do they hold assets that will remain in strong demand, but they have focus and transparency. The leases and underlying rents are structured in a manner to provide long visibility, growth and security. Hardman & Co defined an investment universe of REITs that we considered provided security and “safer harbours”. We introduced this universe with our report published in March 2019: “Secure income” REITs – Safe Harbour Available. Here, we take forward the investment case and story. We point to six REITs, in particular, where we believe the risk/reward is the most attractive.
Companies: AGY ARBB ARIX BUR CMH CLIG DNL HAYD NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RE/ RECI SCE SHED VTA
Upon Admission to AIM, Nightcap will acquire The London Cocktail Club Limited (the "London Cocktail Club"), which is an award winning independent operator of ten individually themed cocktail bars in nine London locations and one location in Bristol. Offer TBC. HSS Hire Group, HSS.L transfer from Main to Aim. Mkt Cap c. £70m. Recently raised £52.6m. Leading supplier of tool and equipment for hire in the United Kingdom and Ireland and has provided equipment hire services in the United Kingdom for more than 60 years, primarily focusing on the B2B market. VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc, a closed-ended investment Company focused on making sustainable energy infrastructure investments, today announces intends to launch an initial public offering of shares on the Official List (Premium) of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
Companies: PMI RMM SUN BOIL ITM TRMR MLVN 88E IME ANP
Further media reports that Dr Martens, the British Boot brand is planning an IPO on the LSE. It is currently owned by PE group, Permira who is expected to sell down its stake at the IPO. March 2020 YE the group had revenues of £672m and EBITDA of £184m. Deal size TBC. Upon Admission to AIM, Nightcap will acquire The London Cocktail Club Limited (the "London Cocktail Club"), which is an award winning independent operator of ten individually themed cocktail bars in nine London locations and one location in Bristol. Offer TBC Due mid Jan. HSS Hire Group, HSS.L transfer from Main to Aim. Mkt Cap c. £70m. Recently raised £52.6m. Leading supplier of tool and equipment for hire in the United Kingdom and Ireland and has provided equipment hire services in the United Kingdom for more than 60 years, primarily focusing on the B2B market. Due 14 Jan. VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc, a closed-ended investment Company focused on making sustainable energy infrastructure investments, today announces intends to launch an initial public offering of shares on the Official List (Premium) of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Due by Early Feb.
Companies: IUG CBP KAT APP RST DIS NICL BOKU CNIC HE1
A G Barr’s (BAG LN, HOLD, T/P 600p) FY2018 half-year results broadly matched expectations at revenue and profit level. Net revenue was £137m, i.e. very similar to the £136m reported in the 2nd August 2017 trading statement. They represented an 8.8% increase from the previous year. The latest IRI data (18th June) showed category value and volume increases of 3.5% and 2.1% respectively.
AG Barr has navigated a tricky H1 (sugar levy, snow, CO2 shortages and upside from hot weather) to deliver a satisfactory set of financials - sales up 5.5% which flowed through to a modest 4% uplift in PBT. The DPS has been nudged up by 5%. So a steady as it goes performance with no meaningful new news or surprise this morning, albeit we note that in revenue terms the company underperformed market growth of 7.7%. Management is guiding to no change to full year expectations this morning. Given low single digit growth expectations the valuation we feel looks full, with share buybacks being the main support over the last few months.
Britvic’s Q1 trading was in line with expectations, with organic constant currency revenue growth of 1.5% excluding the soft drinks levies, and reported revenue growth of 4.5%. With five-year EPS CAGR of 9.8%, DPS CAGR of 8.9% (to September 2018) and debt within the target range, this is a textbook consumer staples company. During FY19, the business capability programme is due to be completed, bringing higher capacity and increased flexibility to the company. Trading at 10.1x consensus FY19e EV/EBITDA, the shares offer interesting value.
Britvic has delivered another strong performance in H1, with organic constant currency revenue growth of 1.9%, organic adjusted EBIT margin up 30bps and adjusted EPS up 5.2%. The business capability programme (BCP) is due to be completed during H219, bringing higher capacity and increased flexibility to the company. Looking ahead, as capex and leverage normalise to lower levels, and planned returns and further growth from the BCP programme come to fruition, the wide discount to peers may narrow.
In FY19 Britvic delivered a strong performance showing good momentum in its core business. The GB business had both Britvic and PepsiCo brands showing revenue growth, Brazil continues to grow and problems in France are being addressed with a proposed exit from private-label juice. The Business Capability Programme (BCP) is complete, and cost savings delivered ahead of schedule. The outlook is somewhat cautious as the consumer environment remains tough, and changes in France will take a while to fully implement. Notwithstanding this, management expects to make further progress in FY20.
Britvic’s Q1 trading was in line with management expectations, indicating a good start to the year. The company acknowledges that market conditions ‘remain challenging’, but it is confident of achieving market expectations for the year. Q1 revenue was £369.8m, up 4.9% vs the prior year. This includes a benefit from extra trading days. On a comparable days and constant FX basis, revenues were up 2.6%.
Britvic has issued an update on the impact of the coronavirus. Prior to recent developments, trading was broadly in line with expectations. The recently announced government-mandated measures, however, will significantly affect consumption in outlet and on-the-go. The company has undertaken extensive modelling. Assuming the current conditions persist across its key markets, management’s best estimate is that the impact on the group is a reduction in EBITA of £12–18m per calendar month. Britvic also updated on its financial position, with headroom available versus its lending covenants.
FY20 started well, with value share gains in GB, Ireland and Brazil. As expected, lockdown has affected out-of-home and on-the-go consumption in particular. Conversely, sales of at-home consumption packs have increased significantly, thus leading to an adverse mix effect. GB and Ireland have been the most affected markets for Britvic, as they have a greater exposure to the out-of-home channel. The company is maintaining its guidance of a likely monthly impact from the COVID-19 pandemic of £12–18m adjusted EBIT, although its scenarios seem very conservative.
Britvic’s revenues for first nine months of 2020 (9M20) were £1,028m, down 5.1% at constant currency, while Q3 revenue was £329m, down 16.3%, which was in line with company expectations. Britvic gained market share across its business units. As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant declines in out-of-home consumption, which were partly offset by gains in at-home consumption.