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Following the equity fund-raising via a new share placing on 22 April 2020, Science in Sport has announced a new debt financing facility. The equity placing raised gross proceeds of £4.5m, and the group has now secured a new £8m invoice financing facility from HSBC for an initial one-year term. This latest undrawn facility provides further headroom to the company’s liquidity position during the COVID-19-related uncertainty and gives it the financial flexibility to continue with its strategy of pursuing strong sales growth.
Companies: Science In Sport
Finsbury has announced a positive H1/20A, boosted by strong LFL revenue growth (+5.2% YoY) in UK Bakery, and the maintenance of group Adj EBITDA margins (at c8.5%) in the face of challenging market conditions. Finsbury's cash generative business profile (c11% FY20E FCF yield) is enabling the company to steadily deleverage, whilst also supporting a growing dividend (3.6% FY20E yield).
Companies: Finsbury Food Group
Whilst Finsbury is experiencing strong demand from the retail channel, the food service channel (c20% of FY19A revenues) has been significantly impacted by the government's decision to close food outlets in order to control the spread of COVID-19. Finsbury is only in the early stages of assessing the impact of the virus on their business, and as such, is unable to provide earnings guidance. We withdraw our forecasts and place our rating Under Review, until visibility improves.
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
UK nuclear represents a huge and complex market offering significant long-term opportunities. New build nuclear is required to help meet rising UK power generation needs and replace generation capacity which is nearing end of life. Decommissioning is essential to clean up the UK’s legacy nuclear sites safely and securely, prioritising areas where deteriorating buildings present an unacceptable risk. The total budget for nuclear is estimated at c.£301bn, with a significant proportion of this spend expected to be with UK companies. The contracting opportunities are not without risks and uncertainties. However many companies are already generating revenues and profits from UK nuclear contracts, including a number from our small and mid cap universe. We expect these contributions to become more material over time, and for the experience gained in the UK market to leave companies well-positioned to pursue nuclear opportunities overseas. Our top picks are Severfield (Buy) and Augean (Corporate), but we are also positive on Redhall (Non-Rated).
Companies: AUG FSJ WYG DRV CARR SFR PRV RHL
Britvic (BVIC) has successfully managed two potential threats – the Soft Drinks Levy (SDIL) and the industry CO2 shortage – to confirm modest earnings growth prospects for FY18. The recent heatwave might otherwise have driven outperformance. But with redirected marketing driving double-digit stills growth, the position was held. Looking forward, as BVIC’s business capability programme completes and benefits start to flow, more meaningful earnings growth may narrow the discount to peers.
Finsbury has announced its annual results for FY18A, delivering 2.4% YoY growth in revenue from continuing operations to £290.2m. Management has delivered a stellar performance by controlling costs and maintaining margins in a challenging market environment. Investment into innovation and facilities, coupled with strategic acquisitions in a consolidating industry, provides investors with a platform for continued growth. We release our FY20E forecasts, inferring c6% YoY growth in adjusted operating profits, with Finsbury trading on a 12-month blended-forward EV/adj-EBITDA of c6.5x. We reiterate our Buy recommendation.
Warren Buffett once said that as an investor, it is wise to be ‘fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful’. Fear is not in short supply right now.
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A strong H2/19A meant Finsbury reported LFL revenue growth of +4% for the year, outpacing the market. FY19A was largely in line with our expectations, and we leave FY20E forecasts broadly unchanged. A heavy capex period is reaching an end, resulting in rising FCF for investors (c18% FCF yield for FY20E). Buy.
The trade-off in the risk/reward for gold and gold mining equities is improving, as central banks push the current iteration of the post-World War II Bretton Woods financial order towards its limits.
Companies: AVO AJB AGY ARBB BUR CLIG DNL DPP FLTA GTLY GDR MCL MUR NSF PCA PIN SRE PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE TON SHED VTA W7L
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.
Venture Life Group announced it has agreed to acquire PharmaSource BV, a company which operates in similar markets to Venture Life and is based in the Netherlands. Venture Life will pay an initial consideration of €5.23m and a deferred contingent consideration of up to €1.27m, funded entirely from the company's cash reserves. We see a number of strong benefits from the acquisition, including wider distribution, potential cross-selling, future manufacturing benefits and operational cost synergies. The company has also announced a trading update, noting its results for FY19 have been affected by previously noted issues with its Chinese distribution partners. We maintain our Buy recommendation.
Companies: Venture Life Group
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%.
In line with the recent FCA announcement, Venture Life, in conjunction with its auditor has taken the decision to delay the release of its FY19 results, though the company notes it was in position to release them. Also, with this announcement, the group has provided a strong trading update, noting that all business units are still operating as of now. Specifically, Venture Life points to orders of over €7m from its Dentyl partner in China for 2020 (versus €0.5m for 2019), with at least €2m for delivery in H1/20. Overall, the order book stands at over twice the level at this time last year. While remaining cautious, we have upgraded our forecasts for FY20E and maintain our BUY recommendation.
Following its strong Trading Update in December 2019, Venture Life has announced its audited results for the year ending December 2019. Revenues were up 7% to £20.2m and gross margin increased to 39.6% from 38.8% in 2018. Adjusted EBITDA for the year was £3.0m and adjusted EPS was 2.18p, up 6% YoY. The results were supported by a number of product launches, partnering agreements and development and manufacturing agreements. Post year end, the company completed the acquisition of PharmaSource BV and as announced in March has received significant orders from China. We upgraded our forecasts in March and maintain our Buy recommendation.