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Entain reported strong Q4/FY 20 sales with 7%/1% cc growth respectively (ahead of estimates). The performance was driven by the strong broad-based momentum in online (Q4 20: +41%, FY 20: +28%), which more than offset the decline in retail. The US stood out with 131% growth, pushing FY 20 revenue expectations higher to $175-180m. We will be upgrading our estimates to factor in the stronger than expected performance. In other developments, Jette Nygaard-Andersen was appointed CEO with immediate effect.
Companies: Entain PLC
Taking into account the adverse impact of the pandemic, the Air Europa acquisition price has been halved to €500m with payment deferred until the sixth anniversary of the acquisition’s completion, which is now scheduled for H2 21.
Companies: International Consolidated Airlines Group SA
Escape Hunt (ESC) has conditionally agreed to acquire its French master franchise partner, BGP Escape (BGP). Together with UK sites currently in build, ESC expects BGP to add enough scale for the group to reach positive EBITDA when conditions normalise and new sites have matured. The acquisition is attractively priced at only 1x EBITDA before earnout payments.
Companies: Escape Hunt Plc
We were bullish about the ongoing effects of strategic/operational initiatives at G4M, seeing forecast upside risk. It has not disappointed. Q3 sales and margin outperformance drive a 30% upgrade, and a shift into net cash. Extensive planning and systems/delivery changes have helped it after Brexit too, with trading stronger than expected so far in Jan. Valuation looks undemanding given upgrade momentum and the discount to lower margin peers.
Companies: Gear4music (Holdings) PLC
Air Partner has reported a record H1 performance, with PBT increasing by 250% to £10.5m. This was driven by COVID-19 related work, in particular repatriation flights and transportation of PPE, which offset more challenging trading conditions elsewhere. Air Partner’s diversity has insulated it from the significant COVID-19 impact felt elsewhere in the sector. As expected, COVID related work has slowed down in H2, though there have been some early signs of improvement in Private Jets (number of JetCards sold +50% YoY) and Safety & Security (multiple contract wins in Redline). Given continued subdued demand, gross profit has reduced YoY in Q3 to date, though this was offset by cost initiatives. We reintroduce forecasts for FY21, assuming PBT of £10.5m, which implies break even in H2. The balance sheet remains strong, with net cash of £18m and the Board has proposed an interim dividend of 0.80p.
Companies: Air Partner plc
HeiQ is a materials innovation technology company, marketing products that increase the functionality of technical, medical and consumer textiles. The company's core products are at the leading edge of innovating the c$25bn textile chemicals market, while the recently launched antimicrobial technology, HeiQ Viroblock, enables the forward integration into the c$10bn antimicrobial textile market and OTC textile medical devices. The company is grounded on three strategic success factors, materials innovation, mass manufacturing and ingredient brand marketing, which will support the company's ambition to grow its revenues from $30m to $300m in the medium term. HeiQ has listed on London's Main Market via a reverse takeover, raising £20m in new equity. We initiate coverage with a BUY.
Companies: HeiQ PLC
…..drive further forecast upgrade
M&B’s poor trading performance in Q1 FY20/21 was not a surprise. Lfl revenue in the current quarter is also likely to remain deep in the red. Management is exploring an equity issuance to remain afloat / meet the fixed cost and debt service obligations. After all, the cash coffers are fast depleting and the choice on the table is limited.
Companies: Mitchells & Butlers plc
In conjunction with the government’s new tier 4 restrictions, ANG has closed 12 stores. These stores remain operational for ‘call & collect’ though. The remaining estate, websites and DC continue to trade normally, and are geared up to fulfil demand. Positive sales momentum has continued since the update at the start of December, and angling continues to be permitted. The Board therefore reiterates full year guidance of no less than £3.8m EBITDA.
Companies: Angling Direct Plc
Dixons’ trading performance in the 10 weeks ended 9 January 2021 was a mixed bag. The strong lfl growth in the first six weeks is in contrast to the subsequent period. Management has expressed it is comfortable with the consensus of the current financial year and reaffirmed its mid-term guidance. Overall, the business remains in good shape despite the adverse impact of frequent lockdowns and the dilutive impact of the growth in e-com. We maintain a positive stance on the stock recommendation.
Companies: Dixons Carphone PLC
IAG may have reached an agreement to acquire Air Europa at a lower price (edited as per IAG’s request). The deal should be approved by the Spanish government.
Today's news & views, plus announcements from FERG, AHT, KAZ, LMP GLO, ERM, MCS, STU, SEIT, SOLG, INCE, AEXG, BEG
Companies: AEX GLO SEIT SOLG STU INCE
Kingfisher continued to register strong sales growth in Q4 FY20/21, buoyed by the higher DIY spend by consumers since the onset of the pandemic. Management continues to refrain from providing full-year revenue guidance, citing the pandemic-related uncertainties and the impact of lockdown restrictions. We maintain a positive outlook on the stock.
Companies: Kingfisher Plc
Following continued delays of a Brexit agreement, few sectors within the UK market have remained attractive to investors despite low valuations. One sector which has continued to outperform despite the political drama has been the UK video gaming sector (henceforth UK gaming), which we are fans of. We believe a combination of sector-leading growth, strong cash conversion and timely cyclical positioning support our positive view on the UK video gaming sector.
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Strike-led negative jaws effect brought IAG weakened Q3 results, which was still in line with market expectations. There was no guidance update.