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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
Two of the pivotal issues flagged in recent research have now been firmly addressed. Gross margin gains & cost efficiencies have been stronger + quicker than expected, driving a record EBITDA margin in H2 (7.2%, +500bps). Capacity has also been created, which will supports future growth with only modest further investment. At the same time G4M has pivoted from cash burn to cash generation. After a strong start to FY21, helped in part by lock-down, and with last year’s initiatives yet to annualise, confidence is running high. Valuation is extremely undemanding for this growth play.
Gear4music’s FY2020 results reflect the positive momentum of the company’s announcements so far this calendar year. The data re-confirm brisk sales growth but in our view improved profits and profitability is the salient story. Moreover, with an online distribution focus, a well sourced product range and clear evidence that its logistics are being run more efficiently, the company’s ability to deliver positive newsflow looks increasingly sustainable. FY2021 started on an exceptionally strong note.
GaaS and eSports a welcome boost; Buy
The company provided a solid update, stating that trading was “comfortably in line with market expectations”. Sumo plans to accelerate acquisitions since recruitment is expected to “remain challenging for some time”. We believe the change is marginal and see acquisitions well supported by Sumo's disciplined acquisition criteria, proven integration process and balanced earnout structures. Sumo remains focused on delivering earnings accretive acquisitions. We make no changes to forecasts and continue to highlight Sumo’s low valuation multiples relative to peers.
Companies: Sumo Group
AGM statement: upbeat
Full year results slightly ahead; improving trend in trading since April
Walker Greenbank is a higher end interior furnishings business with well-established global brand names and manufacturing facilities in the UK. The Group has this morning released full year results to 31 January 2020, slightly ahead of our forecasts at the PBT and EPS levels. During the year, and against what was already a challenging wider market backdrop, brands such as Morris & Co as well as the group's core licensing revenue stream largely offset wider weakness in the UK and US markets. As would be expected, trading since year-end has been extremely difficult, with product sales c.35% down in the first five months of the current financial year. Encouragingly, product sales in the last four weeks are reported to have been 31% below the comparative period, reflecting a steadily improving trend since the beginning of April. At this stage we leave our forecasts under review but it is encouraging to see the more recent improvement in trading patterns, whilst internal actions and the refocused strategy continue to improve the outlook for the group.
Companies: Walker Greenbank
Warpaint has issued a brief, but positive, update alongside its AGM today. Sales have been at a higher level than anticipated in H1, albeit significantly below the prior year due to the pandemic. In line with management’s original ambitions, there has been an improvement in gross margin. Together with lower costs, which the furlough scheme has contributed towards, this has helped the group deliver a positive EBITDA in the half, with no erosion of cash. This is a good outcome and ahead of general market expectations, we believe, albeit there is no guidance or consensus for the year ahead.
Companies: Warpaint London
Full year results – corrective actions taken to protect the business
Immotion is a leading UK-based ‘out of home' Virtual Reality (VR) experience provider. This morning, the group has released full year results to 31 December 2019, broadly in line with our forecasts. Post year-end and reacting to COVID-19, management took the previously reported actions to reduce the company's cash burn, including salary reductions and the furloughing of staff, whilst the two successful fundraisings in recent months have provided additional liquidity of some £4.0m. Reflecting the high degree of uncertainty at this point in time given the present backdrop, driven by the timing of easing of restrictions in Immotion's core territories and then consumer behaviour once this has eased, our forecasts remain under review for the time being. Whilst changes will no doubt need to be made at Partner sites, we believe that the out of home VR opportunity has not gone away once a degree of normality returns
Companies: Immotion Group
A strong finish to FY20
Companies: Frontier Developments
FY19 results: as expected with a robust outlook
Performance in FY20 is substantially ahead of expectations; EBITDA is expected to be no less than £7.0m, equating to at least £5.6m pre-IFRS16, a beat of >36% versus our forecast (>52% in H2). While trading has strengthened as a result of Covid-19 lock-down and the channel shift, this has principally been a feature post period end. The determining factor in FY20 was successful execution of the strategic, commercial and operational initiatives outlined a year ago in response to growth pains in late 2018/early 2019. Despite several levers yet to contribute in full, gross margin improved 50bps more than forecast (+310bps) and cost ratios were 80bps better than expected. As a result, it has almost delivered FY21 forecasts in FY20. We are not upgrading FY21 at this stage, pending guidance in June, but the higher base, enhanced P&L KPIs and recent sales boost all bode well for forecast momentum - which the valuation discounts.
Much has been written about the effects of the virus on the world and on the stock market. Here is one analyst’s take on some of the likely impacts on the way we should look at companies. This article was originally produced as a blog, “10 Changes Post Virus”, which was published a few weeks ago.
Companies: AGY ARBB ARIX DNL GDR NSF PCA PIN PHNX PHP RE/ RECI STX SCE SIXH TRX SHED VTA
US & German manufacturing PMI hits lowest readings since 2009, UK manufacturing PMI heads below 50, BorgWarner expects material financial impact from customer production halts
Companies: AVON CGS HAYD HEAD HILS JHD RNO SCPA TWD TRI ZTF SOM GHH
There has been much comment on the fact that equity markets in the US and Europe have been shrinking for some years now, certainly in terms of the number of quoted companies, if not in total market capitalisation (MCap). This paper has been written with the assistance of the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) and focuses on the evidence for such in the London market and, in particular, that for smaller and midcap companies. It assesses that evidence and considers explanations. Finally, we ask why it matters, and assuming that it does, what practical steps can be taken to reverse the trend. Successful public markets have been a key part of the United Kingdom’s economic success for generations, even centuries, and we should not allow them to wither on the vine.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB ARIX ASAI DNL GDR HAYD NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE TRX TON SHED VTA