GEA released a mixed bag of results, with sales declining further (9M 20: -3.8% yoy vs H1 20: -2% yoy), EBITDA improving (+17.8% yoy), and net income slightly growing (+2.6% yoy). EBITDA benefited from higher-than-expected overheads and raw material costs, though net income was negatively impacted by impairment losses from the sale of GEA Bock. Consequently, GEA is more confident about its FY20 EBITDA target, raising it from at least €455m to at least €500m.
Companies: GEA Group AG
GEA posted -2% yoy H1 20 revenue, driven by its Food & Healthcare tech (-5.3% yoy) and Farm tech (-5.7% yoy) segments. Limiting this contraction, Separation & Flow tech (GEA’s second largest segment) grew by 2.8% yoy. Furthermore, GEA presented lower COGS (-5.1% yoy) and selling expenses (-7.3% yoy), translating into a +35% yoy net income. For the outlook, the company expects revenue to contract slightly yoy, EBITDA (before restructuring charges) to be €430-480m, and ROCE 12-14%.
Management announced in late January that it has to write-off the purchase price of Italian Pavan. This happened in Q4 last year which has translated into negative EBIT, PBT and net earnings. In spite of this, it proposes an unchanged dividend of €0.85.
GEA acquired Pavan S.p.A., an Italian producer of production lines for the manufacture of fresh and dried pasta, for a total consideration of €254m in late 2017. As the company has not delivered what management had expected, it is now writing off the entire €248m amount of goodwill.
GEA has shown very volatile profit numbers in the last few quarters. From a strong recovery of pre-tax earnings in Q1 19 (+119%) to a collapse in Q2 (-58%). The Q3 number was about unchanged, whereas we had a considerably more cautious view. We hope that this becomes a more normal feature of the new management team.
Clients are reluctant to invest in new machines and plants and this is reflected in GEA’s accounts. Whereas the book-to-bill ratio was at a reasonable 1.12x in Q1, it fell to 0.92x in the last quarter. In fact, this is the lowest quarterly number since 2006 and the 1.01x after six months the lowest since 2009, i.e. since the last financial crisis. This is not a good signal for the quarters to come.
The share price has halved during the last three years as net earnings fell by some 70% from 2015 to 2018 although revenue was up. Management has tried to deal with this by regularly changing the divisional structure, but that has not paid off. Changes in the reporting segments are often an indication that management has a lack of ideas. Hopefully, the new management team will do a better job.
GEA has released some numbers for 2018 and the order inflow and revenue numbers were slightly lower than we had anticipated. However, EBIT fell by 32% to €260m which is considerably below our projected €325m. Finally, EPS collapsed by more than 50% to €0.63 compared to our €1.31. In spite of this, the dividend is, as we had expected, maintained at €0.85.
Ever since GEA moved its HQ away from its labour force to an office space in Düsseldorf in 2011, the group’s profits have been under pressure. The most recent peak EBIT number was reached in 2012 and, ever since, management has had to release regular profit warnings. This might indicate that management has lost contact with the real world.
GEA had reduced its cash flow driver margin for 2018 with the release of its 9M18 numbers. It has now lowered its 2019 outlook. In spite of the currently good volume development, it is less optimistic for 2019. The deteriorating economic development in combination with higher material and personnel costs will have a damaging impact on next year’s earnings, it says.
Supervisory Board member Werner Bauer, a representative of Nestlé Deutschland, has stepped down and is replaced by Colin Hall, a representative of Group Bruxelles Lambert (GBL). GBL made its first investment in GEA in August 2018 and the share price has fallen by some 30% ever since.
We have argued for quite a while that the previous management was not able to bring GEA back onto a sound footing and it had to release regular profit warnings. Consequently, the CEO decided in March 2018 not to pr
Order inflow increased by 13% to €1.2bn in the last quarter, bringing the ytd number to €3.68bn, an increase of 7%. Simultaneously, the respective revenue growth rates were 5.1% to €1.19bn and +5.6% to €3.46bn. Whereas the group’s H1 profit numbers had been dismal, they recovered strongly in Q3. EBITDA was up by 14% to €138m, EBIT by 9% to €85m, and net earnings by 38% to €60m. While turnover was in line with our expectations, the profit numbers were higher.
As a consequence of a continuously difficult situation for products for milk processors, management is reducing its 2018 guidance. Revenue growth is now expected to be in the vicinity of 4% instead of 5-6% and the EBITDA margin at around 11% instead of 12-13%.
Management also argues that demand for new machinery (with relatively low margins) continues growing faster than service revenue (with higher profit margins).
Several profit warnings resulted in the immediate departure of the CFO in spring 2018 and the announcement that the CEO would leave in early 2019. It has taken the Supervisory Board some six months to present a successor: Stefan Klebert, born in 1965.
This announcement has resulted in quite a sharp share price recovery today (19 September). Investors seem to believe that things can only get better under the new helm. Because of the company’s regular profit warnings in recent years, the share pr
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Our conviction in AFC Energy is fundamentally premised on our appreciation of the unique attributes and qualities of AFC Energy's technology. We have long believed its systems are robust – chemically and otherwise. Nevertheless, we are very impressed with the delivery achieved by AFC Energy's systems in the most arduous conditions on the planet. To have successfully featured as the primary power source to charge the vehicles in each of the first three races is a very strong statement that unequi
Companies: AFC Energy plc
We have visited XPD’s new and expanded distribution centre (DC) in the UK Port of Southampton. We believe this is the largest bonded quayside facility in the UK - convenient for efficient handling of containers and freight. The facility is nearly fully operational, and XPD already has enough Peak Season shipments to fill the new space. A big part of our conversation with management was on costs and supply chain pressures. XPD is not immune and has lifted pay for many of its workers. That said, i
Companies: Xpediator Plc
Strix hasn’t missed a beat over the last eighteen months. Despite the pandemic and the resultant lockdowns, it was able to marginally grow earnings in FY20. The COVID impact on the income statement is barely noticeable, a year of low growth rather than the collapse in profitability experienced by others. This was topped off by the Capital Markets Day in November when the challenging five-year growth target of doubling revenue was set.
Companies: Strix Group PLC
The Velocys interims show the recognition of sales to the Red Rock Biofuels project with a good gross margin indicating the value in these sales. With recent commercial progress in Japan we see this as helping to underpin the value of these developments. Overall, the company is making progress across the board and both the policy and wider industry background, notably in aviation, remain highly supportive.
Companies: Velocys plc
Companies: Judges Scientific plc
Plant Health Care has released its interim results in line with expectations following its trading update in July. In light of this, we do not make any changes to our numbers. We maintain our view that given current market trends, our forecasts remain well underpinned with considerable upgrade potential. Reiterate Buy.
Companies: Plant Health Care PLC
Companies: Safestyle UK Plc
Velocys, the next generation sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) specialist, has reported interim results this morning (23 September). The company's first-half period to end June saw an encouraging rise in strategic activity, as well as a noticeable step up in general news flow surrounding the future needs of the aviation sector for renewable fuels as the industry begins its recovery from the pandemic. We note that this positive news flow has continued into the current Q3 period. The results demons
First half performance indicates that the turnaround is almost complete with Safestyle reporting the best half year financial performance since H2 2017. Revenue of £73.0m is up 73.4% yoy but more importantly increased 13.3% on the H1 ’19 performance. The recovery in revenue picked up pace during the half, after four months it was 10.9%. Gross margin increased 639bps to 32.3% on HY19 as average selling price increased 11% despite a negative movement in mix. This resulted in adj. profit before tax
Esken now has financing in place for the recovery. The Group has raised £55m in fresh equity and secured a £125m convertible loan from Carlyle Group, who become a strategic investor in London Southend Airport. Strategy is focused on two core divisions. The Energy division, which supplies wood biomass to green power plants is profitable and has performed robustly. Trading in Aviation remains subdued. Cargo handling at London Southend has grown strongly but passenger traffic has been hit hard by C
Companies: Esken Limited
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Danakali has left the main market (Standard).
What’s cooking in the IPO kitchen?
Press reports that Law firm Mishcon de Reya has agreed a merger with life sciences specialist Taylor Vinters after recently confirming its plans to go public on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Eurowag confirms its intention to undertake an initial public offering on the Main Market (Premium). The Offer would be expected to comprise both (i) new Ordinary Shares to be issued by the C
Companies: TLY SYM FAB IOF MSYS CGH
PowerHouse’s interims confirm a period of development for the company as it makes progress on its initial site in Cheshire. Additionally international developments add to the potential of the company to develop outside the UK.
Companies: Powerhouse Energy Group PLC
Xeros has reported H1 2021 results for the six-month period up to end June 2021. Revenues are broadly inline but cash is slightly behind expectations due to ramp up in XFiltra investment. These results are not reflective of the longer-term potential of the Group. Despite some inevitable further pandemic-induced delays, commercial progress is encouraging, with the potential of XFiltra looking particularly exciting. We reiterate our 400p/share price target.
Companies: Xeros Technology Group (XSG:LON)Xeros Technology Group Plc (XSG:LON)
Symphony has reported significant product development and regulatory approval. Most notably it has received enhanced US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada approval for introduction of d2p anti-microbial technology for bread packaging in these markets. Our analysis shows the total market in North America for bread products is valued at c.$24bn each year. In the recent H1 statement, the Group reported revenue growth of 13% to £5.4m (at constant FX) but a loss before tax of £0.6m (i
Companies: Symphony Environmental Technologies plc
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Nucleus Financial Group has left AIM
What’s cooking in the IPO kitchen?
Eurowag confirms its intention to undertake an initial public offering on the Main Market (Premium). The Offer would be expected to comprise both (i) new Ordinary Shares to be issued by the Company, raising gross proceeds of approximately EUR200m to support Eurowag's growth strategy and (ii) existing Ordinary Shares to be sold by existing Eurowag shareholders. Eurowag is a leading pan-Europe
Companies: ZIN SHED HUW IXI PHC