Looking Ahead At The Next Week
Red Dwarf, the very British sci-fi comedy franchise, ran for 11 seasons – most recently in 2017; and The Promised Land is a feature-length TV movie – out this year. Yes, the programme is an acquired taste. Strangely, too, many episodes are impacted by a virus or three (physiological, not main-frame).
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For fighter pilots, it is a minimum requirement. But having 20/20 ‘visual acuity’ (correct term) does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision (as convention assumes); instead, it indicates sharpness and clarity of vision at a distance. It is measured by a Snellen Chart, which displays letters of progressively smaller size and whereby 20/20 means that the test subject sees the same line of letters at 20 feet that a person with normal vision sees at 20 feet (or 6 metres; but 6/6 simply didn’t catch on).
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Dame Agatha Christie (née Miller) published more than 80 books and plays; and the Guinness Book of World Records lists her as the best-selling novelist of all time with roughly two billion copies sold. ‘And then there were none’ was originally published in 1939, with an un-politically correct title; and it is still the world’s best-selling mystery (with more than 100 million sold). It is also number six on the list of best-selling books of all-time.
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Dwight Barkley PhD is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. He studies waves in excitable media such as the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, heart tissue and neurons. In 1997, Dr Barkley and Dr Laurette Tuckerman, a Paris-based mathematical physicist, developed ‘bifurcation analysis for time steppers’, which is a technique for modifying computer codes to perform bifurcation analysis. More lyrical, perhaps, Dwight is also known for formulating an equation to estimate how long it will be until a child in a car asks the question “are we there yet?” And, it is shown on the image on page 3 of this report. Herein, there are three factors which decide the timing of this wearisome question i.e. one plus the number of activities, divided by the number of children in the car squared. That figure is then added to the time it took the family to get into the car and set off on its journey. Crucial in putting off the first query as to the proximity of the destination are onboard activities for children i.e. no activities equals a question before leaving the driveway. Dr Barkley says: “Mathematics can help answer many of life’s questions”. If only the Brexit journey were that simple. It is not. We are all children now stuck in the back seat; and, maybe, we are still on the driveway with a dearth of on-board activities. Yes, three years on Brexit-resolution-fatigue is making itself felt across the board, including the UK Housebuilding Sector, where the fall in value in 2Q’19 was 7%. Berkeley said something similarin its final results, on 20 June, when it lamented an uncertain operating environment and “a lack of visibility in the political outlook”; and its PBT is expected to fall by a further third this fiscal year. The daily Sector value chart is also lurching from top-left to bottom-right (as is the British Pound versus the Euro). Yes, there were two palpable positives in 2Q from the NHBC and UK Finance about building activity and mortgages; plus, on the third day of 3Q, CBRE’s bid for Telford Homes. Nonetheless, prospective earnings growth for the Sector is now flat in both 2019 and 2020. This is about the journey.
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Y2K is a numeronym and was the common abbreviation for the year 2000 software problem; and, for the benefit of millennial readers, the abbreviation combines the letter ‘Y’ for year and ‘K’ for the SI unit prefix kilo, meaning 1000. Hence, 2K signifies 2000.
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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.
Companies: boohoo group Plc
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
Today's news & views, plus announcements from BRBY, BHB, DPLM, IWG,GFTU, CMCX, JDW, GFRD, BGO
Companies: Bango plc (BGO:LON)Galliford Try Holdings PLC (GFRD:LON)
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
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.
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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
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
This brief but important update has underlined that Galliford Try is coping admirably with the seemingly constantly changing COVID restrictions, with all sites open (as they have been since the start of the financial year in July 2020) and trading at “normal” levels – in line with management expectations.
Crucially, a return of profitability and dividends (as previously flagged) is expected with the half year results, due to be released on 4th March. Consensus is for a 2.5p dividend for the year ending in June 2021, growing rapidly to 4.0p for 2022 and 5.4p for 2023.
Companies: Galliford Try Holdings PLC
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
Today's news & views, plus announcements from JET, PSN, SONG, HWDN, MSLH, PAGE, WMH, ASC, BGO, CUSN, CAY
Companies: Bango plc (BGO:LON)Persimmon Plc (PSN:LON)
Tern plc* (TERN.L, 7.1p/£23.5m) Portfolio update: Strong business momentum (12.01.21) | Audioboom plc* (BOOM.L, 276p/£43.3m) Expanded content network (15.01.21)
Companies: Tern Plc (TERN:LON)Audioboom Group PLC (BOOM:LON)
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
Recent news has been positive. Notably, the Group announced a ground-breaking £27.5m contract award with a new OEM customer in mid-September. Trading has been more resilient than we expected at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, demonstrated by the positive full year pre-close update issued today. Revenue for the year to 31 December (£2m) is in-line with our forecast but gross cash is better, by c.£250k. Operational developments continue apace, and reflecting a healthy pipeline and expanding workforce, a dedicated HR executive has been hired. Confidence in the medium-term demand for the Group’s products has improved with recent contract wins; management now believes its Knowsley factory, when fully built-out, will be able to generate £75m of revenue each year against £50m, previously. Our estimates are unchanged pending the full May statement but with a stronger medium-term outlook, we lift our valuation to 65p from 57p.
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
Companies: Zytronic plc
The impacts of COVID-19 on trading were visible in the H121 outturn but management actions resulted in an improved net cash position at the period end. Walker Greenbank will be renamed the Sanderson Design Group as part of a wider strategic improvement programme. Noting a solid start to H2 so far, management’s messaging is rightly still cautious about the market outlook but it is encouraging to see the combination of close operational control and strategic improvement are running in parallel.
Companies: Sanderson Design Group PLC