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Strix has released an AGM statement indicating that trading in the early part of the year has been solid, the new financing facilities have been put in place, product development is on track with 14 new products released during the year and the factory move remains on schedule and to budget. The current trading period is an important one and the scheduled trading update 23rd July should provide more colour on the underlying performance as well as the early indications from the new products already released and the outlook for those that are scheduled to be released in H2. The resilience of the Strix business has been reaffirmed during the current situation with financial guidance having been maintained and the final dividend committed to, a 10% increase yoy.
Companies: Strix Group
Despite some initial integration issues with WatBio (since resolved), Filta generated strong organic growth (+16% YoY) and delivered results in line with expectations. Given ongoing uncertainty around the pace at which self-isolation measures will be eased, we maintain our Hold rating, and will look to reinstate forecasts once visibility improves.
Companies: Filta Group
TClarke's trading update is refreshingly positive in all key aspects of investors' current COVID fears and hopes. The decision to fully pay the 2019 final dividend sustains income attractiveness (4% yield on the final alone), the avoidance of trading losses in the teeth of the industry lockdown period (after a profitable Q1/20) demonstrates resilience whilst maintenance of net cash balances through April and May illustrate a robustness of cash flows despite reduced activity levels. It has also maintained the order book and has moved quickly to re-structure the cost base ensuring that margin recovery is not entirely dependant upon market improvement. Prudently and we believe reasonably, we are removing all forward forecasts until visibility on revenue recovery and productivity rates into H2/20 become clearer. However, TClarke's operational strengths, financial robustness and cash coverage of dividend in the most testing of circumstances gives us renewed confidence to uphold a Buy recommendation.
FY results ahead due to a waiver of the management bonuses and final dividend is proposed. Current trading is impacted by COVID but there are clear signs of improvement.
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
Judges Scientific, the group focused on acquiring and developing companies in the scientific instrument sector, has announced the acquisition of UK based ‘Health Scientific Ltd', a world leading maker, and global exporter, of calorimetry instruments. The initial cash consideration equates to £5.3m, with a further £2.0m cash earnout if profits hit £1.22m in 2020. The business generated £4.4m of revenue and an adjusted EBIT of £0.88m (20% EBIT margin) to April 2019, and is expected to have an even stronger year to April 2020, suggesting a ‘6x EBIT takeout multiple' if the earnout target is hit.
Companies: Judges Scientific
In the midst of a crisis, Judges has made what we think is an excellent acquisition in a high growth sector (lithium battery testing). Heath Scientific fits all of Judges’ acquisition criteria and is a business that is well known to management. We think that the current crisis may well throw up more opportunities and, with its strong balance sheet, Judges is well positioned to capitalise on this. FY20E EPS increased by 1.8% and FY21E by 3.2%. DCF based TP raised from 5245p to 5380p. CY21E PE 26.3x. Buy.
Filta Group (Filta) announced FY’19 results pretty much in line with our numbers. Adjusted EBITDA was £3.2m, vs. our £3.3m estimate, and revenue was £24.9m, vs. our £25.1m expectation. These figures confirmed that the integration of Watbio was back on track and the business was trading well until COVID-19 struck. Most of Filta’s customers are currently closed, but the company is optimistic that they will bounce back one distancing restrictions are lifted. We have removed our 2020 forecasts.
New Equity Driving Growth
TP Group's FY19A results were in line with our expectations, with strong organic revenue growth of +16% YoY. Whilst the business remains resilient, with a large net cash position and a record order book, COVID-19 has caused uncertainty around the timing of some pipeline opportunities. Therefore, in line with a number of other companies, TP Group is withdrawing market guidance. We also withdraw our forecasts and place our recommendation Under Review.
Companies: TP Group
Costain has raised £100m of gross proceeds. We reduce FY 20 and 21 FD EPS by 45% and 59% due to the dilution.
Companies: Costain Group
The biggest takeaway from Sureserve Group’s interim result was its strong cash performance in the first half, with net debt falling to £3.5m at end March (£12.9m at end March 2018). This sets a solid base for the group to ride out the disruption of the lockdown. Our focus is on the outlook, with H1 only having eight days of impact from the lockdown. We have reduced our estimates for FY20, with the bulk of the revenue cut from £230m to £210m being a £13m cut in the Energy Services division. The cut to PBT from £9.8m to £9.1m is less severe, reflecting the improving efficiency in the Compliance division and the cost mitigation efforts of the group. With the long-term investment themes of regulatory compliance and energy efficiency likely to stay in focus, we see solid support for the group’s business and our FY21 numbers reflect the start of a bounce back in activity.
Companies: Sureserve Group
Trading has recovered from the initial hit from COVID-19, with improving B2B activity adding to strong B2C trends. Revenue has been better than previously expected at both DX Freight and DX Express, with this now running at 10-15% below normal levels for this time of the year, compared with the initial 33% impact at the commencement of the lockdown.
Companies: DX Group
Avation is a lessor of 48 commercial aircraft to a diversified airline client base. Intra-day yesterday, the group announced that, as a result of the present uncertain backdrop caused by COVID-19, the Board had withdrawn from the previously announced strategic review and formal sale process, and that it was no longer in active discussions with any interested parties. The key reasons behind this were 1) the present uncertainty meaning that an attractive valuation was seen as unlikely to be achieved at this present moment in time and 2) the distraction of the process in the day to day operational activities of the business.
Petards supplies advanced security and surveillance systems to the Rail, Defence and Traffic Technology markets. Intra-day yesterday, the group confirmed that its RTS Solutions subsidiary had secured a multi-year renewal agreement for the provision of software support services to one of its major rail customers.
Touchstar is a supplier of mobile data computing solutions and managed services to a variety of industrial sectors. This morning, the group has released full year results to 31 December 2019, alongside providing an update on progress against the present COVID-19 backdrop. In line with the market updates provided in February and April, group revenue in the year increased by 3.2% to £7.1m, whilst revenue from continuing operations, excluding the Onboard business that was disposed of in the year, increased by 7.2% to £6.7m, driven by traction being gained with new products and services. The gross margin in the year increased by 280bps to 53.9% reflecting the greater proportion of software and service income. This resulted in a trading loss after tax before exceptionals of £89k, which post exceptionals of £412k that predominantly related to the disposal of OnBoard, resulted in a loss after tax of £501k. As previously reported, the year-end net cash position stood at £850k, which reflected an increase of £554k in the year; this post £1.1m of new product development expenditure and cash costs associated with the disposal.
Companies: AVAP TST PEG
FRP is a UK-focused business advisory firm, specialising in corporate restructuring (administrations, liquidations etc), with a nationwide network and team of c360. In its AIM IPO, FRP raised £80m gross (£20m new) at 80p on a pre-money market cap of £170m to fund organic plans.
Companies: FRP Advisory Group