paragon’s focus will return to its core Automotive operations once the disposal of the remaining 58% stake in Voltabox is completed. The strategy remains to drive sustainable profitable growth through the development of innovative proprietary technology solutions. The continuing operations showed better than expected sales growth in FY19 and are performing well as pandemic lockdowns ease. FY20 guidance was raised again following Q320 results on 30 October 2020. We expect market recovery and new product ramp-ups to drive a return to growth in FY21.
Companies: paragon GmbH & Co. KGaA
While Q319 results confirm the anticipated issues in Electromobility (Voltabox), with a more robust performance from the automotive segments (Electronics and Mechanics), there are signs that management is addressing the shortcomings. Indeed, some more positive elements are evident at this early stage, notably the trade receivables reduction as planned. A more prudent view of growth with stronger profitability and positive cash flow is indicated by initial FY20 guidance. The challenge now is to rebuild confidence in the investment, with a focus on reducing costs, improving operational performance and executing to plan.
paragon faces a challenging year, primarily due to growing pains at the Electromobility segment (Voltabox). The Automotive segments’ FY19 sales are guided to be c €130m, near the top of the previous range. Group sales growth continues, albeit slower than expected, with margins reduced by an under-recovery of overheads and rationalisation and integration costs. FY19 guidance was greatly reduced in August. The order backlog of €2.1bn supports stronger growth in FY20, alongside improved profitability due to operational leverage and restructuring benefits in Mechanics. The current rating reflects concerns over the growth strategy following recent events. Restoring investor confidence should be a key management focus.
H119 results reflected reasonably robust sales by the Automotive segments. However, despite strong H119 sales growth, Electromobility developed more slowly than expected, with H219 facing contract delays and supply chain issues. As a result, management greatly reduced group guidance in August. Voltabox is now expected to incur losses this year as opposed to moving to healthy profitability. We have cut our FY19 estimates accordingly and assume a lower growth path in FY20 as management focuses on resolving the issues. The need to start executing to plan is clear in order to rebuild investor confidence and improve liquidity.
Having delivered management expectations in FY18 and despite tempering our forecasts modestly for FY19, guidance is still indicating strong growth, especially at Voltabox. Q119 results do nothing to deflect the expectations and growth should accelerate as the year progresses, primarily as Voltabox increasingly delivers against its €1.1bn backlog. The continued investment in the auto operations should also start to be reflected in improved earnings this year. On our new lower estimates, the rating fails to reflect the growth potential.
paragon continues to make strong progress, with Q218 showing a clear acceleration that should enable increased group FY18 revenue guidance to be met. Voltabox is making strategic investments to augment organic growth, through the adjustment to the Triathlon supply contract and the purchase of Navitas. Although the former does not impact operational profitability, it does incur a financial cost that has led to a €2m reduction in current year EBIT. We have adjusted our earnings estimates to reflect this, but we have yet to consolidate Navitas as the deal is not completed.
paragon’s continued strong growth is driven by the Electromobility division (Voltabox) and the smaller Mechanics division. With the Electronics division transitioning to a new generation of products that should return the division to double-digit growth in the medium term, paragon remains a high-growth technology innovator. Following the flotation of Voltabox in Q417 and the recent change of legal structure, paragon’s rating appears to have undergone an unwarranted decline. Our capped DCF value stands at €98 per share.
Having delivered results that were in line with our expectations, paragon has guided to strong progress in FY18 with sales rising by 40% to around €175m and an adjusted EBIT margin maintained at around 9%. The growth will be primarily driven by Electromobility (Voltabox), but there will also be strong development by the smaller Mechanics division with good organic progress in Electronics. The current rating seems to be depressed by technical factors and does not appear to reflect the growth prospects.
Following recent corporate events, we believe the market is familiar with the paragon growth story. Based on 9M17 results, both paragon and its 60%-owned subsidiary Voltabox are on track to achieve management’s FY17 guidance. Adjusting for Voltabox, paragon’s implied FY17e EV/sales multiple of 0.93x for the electronics and mechanics segments is comparable to peers. Our revenue and earnings estimates are largely unchanged and broadly in line with consensus as we wait for more details on the potential entrance to the autonomous driving market. We have adjusted our DCF valuation from €82.1/share to €86.4/share mainly to reflect the recently completed IPO of Voltabox.
Following a visit to paragon’s expanded Delbrück facility and the successful €50m bond issue, we have revisited and upwardly revised our medium-term growth and margin outlook for the group. With 2016 results having met forecasts despite some timing headwinds and future years underpinned by substantial contract wins across the electromobility division, we believe paragon is on the cusp of further accelerated growth. With proceeds from both the October 2016 capital increase and June 2017 bond issue being invested to support this accelerated growth, we raise our fair value to €82.1/share based on our updated DCF scenarios.
paragon has delivered several announcements over the last few months that have strengthened the medium-term investment case and highlighted the group’s significant growth potential. H116 results highlight the rapid increase in the group’s Electromobility division; all others apart from Body Kinematics also grew, generating a 9% increase in total revenues. Subsequently, the group has announced a series of contracts with significant blue-chip customers while also achieving a capital increase that was oversubscribed more than three times, which further strengthens the balance sheet and supports growth objectives.
paragon’s shares have performed strongly since our September 2015 initiation, supported by recent newsflow from CES 2016, Chinese smog concerns and electromobility. These all demonstrate that paragon is focused on current trends with further embedded growth potential, as highlighted by its December guidance for FY16 following recent strong Q3 figures across all divisions. The combination of substantial contract wins for the group’s Voltabox division and the ramp-up of the new US and Chinese production facilities provides further growth catalysts, while the group is becoming increasingly decoupled from pure automotive volumes.
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The acquisition and planned relaunch of Debenhams online business is a transformational deal for the Group, establishing an ecommerce marketplace of immediate scale and high brand awareness. The deal expands boohoo’s target addressable market and opens the Group up to new product categories including beauty, sport and homeware. It is a significant step forwards in realising the Group’s ambition to operate the UK’s largest ecommerce marketplace, combining boohoo’s online capability and multi-brand platform with Debenhams leading brand recognition and extensive established network of third-party brand partnerships.
Companies: boohoo group Plc
The group’s year-end trading update highlights that the group is on track with its growth and expansion strategy. At the end of the year, a couple of COVID and Brexit-related delays to customer ordering were seen, which have reduced revenue by £0.7m. Nevertheless, operating profits are in line with expectations due to continued cost control. Our forecasts have therefore been adjusted accordingly. The investment case remains sound and this doesn’t alter our view of the company’s prospects, where we forecast a robust scale up over the next few years, focused on significant growth opportunities in the EVs, Medical and Aerospace markets.
Companies: Trackwise Designs Plc
Boohoo has delivered strong results over the peak trading period for the four months ended 31 December 2020. Group revenue is +40% YOY, with robust growth seen across all brands and regions. The Agenda for Change programme is progressing at pace, demonstrating the Group’s commitment to setting a new standard for ethical supply chains in the fashion industry.
Trackwise has announced that it expects FY20 revenues to be c £6.1m, which is lower than our estimate, reflecting disruptions to supply chains caused by tighter coronavirus restrictions and uncertainty about the Brexit deal. However, careful cost control means that management expects adjusted operating losses to be c £0.2m, in line with our estimates. We have updated our FY20 forecasts but leave our FY21 estimates, which are underpinned by an order worth up to £38m over three years from a UK electric vehicle (EV) OEM, unchanged.
Although 2020 will probably go down in history as one of the most challenging years experienced during our lifetime, it will also likely be chronicled as one of the best years for the recognition and appreciation of science. As we entered 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was in its infancy. However, it rapidly evolved through the exponential rise in infections and mortality globally. Much has been achieved during the past 12 months in the fight against COVID-19, but, as we enter 2021, there are considerable concerns about the emergence of a mutant version of the virus and the second wave that we are now facing.
Companies: AVO ARBB ARIX BBGI CLIG DNL FLTA ICGT OCI PCA PIN PHP RECI STX SCE TRX SHED VTA YEW
We introduce FY21 forecasts this morning, cautiously assuming a continuation of current activity levels. As indicated in last Friday’s trading update, revenue stabilised at £2m per quarter in Q4’20 and Q1’21, reflecting current lower levels of demand caused by the COVID pandemic. We assume that EBITDA remains positive for the balance of the year, benefitting from the reorganisation and cost reduction measures implemented by management last year. This has served to protect the balance sheet with the result that we expect only a negligible reduction in the strong net cash position in the current year (£13.5m net cash forecast for September 2021). The timing of the recovery remains difficult to predict but we believe Zytronic is well positioned to weather the downturn before returning to growth.
Companies: Zytronic plc
Today’s Q1 trading update indicates that sales have levelled out at c.£2m per quarter, reflecting current lower levels of demand in light of ongoing restrictions related to the COVID pandemic. The reorganisation and cost reduction measures undertaken by management last year have enabled the Group to maintain a positive EBITDA and there has been a slight increase in orders in the new financial year. Zytronic entered the new year in a strong financial position with £14m net cash. The stable sales pattern should enable us to reintroduce forecasts in due course and the current rating remains very modest indeed based on preCOVID levels of profitability
The Character Group’s (Character) AGM statement confirms the strong start to the year noted in its preliminary results. Revenues in the first four months were ahead by more than 30% and management expects that profitability for the first half to February 2021 will be significantly higher than in the same period last year. While there are more challenges facing the Company in the second half, assuming these do not worsen the Board believes the Group will achieve current market expectations. Our forecasts for FY2021 were raised significantly in December and we are encouraged that despite the temporarily deteriorating macros, current market expectations are still valid. When some normality returns to the market Character will be exceptionally well positioned with a strong balance sheet and a product range in strong demand.
Companies: Character Group plc
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Companies: Bango plc (BGO:LON)Galliford Try Holdings PLC (GFRD:LON)
SCE is raising £20m through a placing and open offer as the future commercial pipeline now justifies building the next manufacturing cell (“Cell 2”). Cell 2 will essentially double production capacity and transform the potential of the business. When operating at full capacity, we estimate that SCE would be capable of £35m revenues, £15m EBIT and £12.5m Earnings. This would equate to EV/EBIT of 7.1x and P/E of 9.5x based on the enlarged capital base. Recent trading updates have highlighted that trading is strong and in line with expectations, while longer term ASP expectations have increased significantly.
Companies: Surface Transforms plc
Residential for rent developer and manager Watkin Jones today posted FY 2020 results, in which profits, cash and dividend beat our estimates by c. 4 - 5%. We have maintained our FY 2021E forecasts and introduced estimates for FY 2022E. Our growth assumptions are supported by further evidence in the statement of a revival in forward funding by institutional investors for both the Group’s build-to-rent and student accommodation developments. A new strategy is aimed to trial the private residential sales division more to affordable housing, in line with WJ’s low-risk, capital-light model.
Companies: Watkin Jones Plc
The group has issued another positive trading update confirming full-year revenue 25% ahead of our original projection made in March and a LBITDA 39% lower than originally forecast and 81% lower than the previous year. We anticipate further revenue growth in 2021 but also an increase in LBITDA as management invests further in a number of growth initiatives. We expect the 2022 financial year to reflect the benefit of the strategic investment programme as the business progresses towards breakeven.
Companies: Eve Sleep PLC
InnovaDerma raised £4.0m to (i) strengthen the balance sheet following the impact of COVID-19 on current trading and (ii) grow its global Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) and E-Commerce capacity in the UK and new geographic markets, thereby enabling the company to accelerate sales and take advantage of the opportunities expected to exist post COVID restrictions being eased. With a clear plan for growth, to be executed by its new CEO, we introduce new forecasts for FY 2021 and 2022 that assume some gradual easing of restrictions in the UK in the spring, with an adjusted pre-tax loss of c.£0.9m in 2021 (positive EBITDA in H2) returning to c.£0.3m profit in FY 2022 on the back of revenues returning to pre-pandemic levels, including higher international contributions. We introduce a target price of 90p, with scope for this to be raised as the new CEO executes on the growth plan, which is based on a peer group EV/Sales multiple of 1.6x.
Companies: InnovaDerma PLC
Outlook remains in line with market expectations
Companies: IG Design Group plc
Strong trading YTD; outlook cautiously optimistic
Companies: Team17 Group PLC