Following continued delays of a Brexit agreement, few sectors within the UK market have remained attractive to investors despite low valuations. One sector which has continued to outperform despite the political drama has been the UK video gaming sector (henceforth UK gaming), which we are fans of. We believe a combination of sector-leading growth, strong cash conversion and timely cyclical positioning support our positive view on the UK video gaming sector.
Companies: ABBY AMS ANX ARS ATYM AVON BLVN PIER BUR CGS CAML CDM CSRT TIDE CYAN DTG DEMG ELM EMR FPO FDEV GTLY GENL GHH GRI GEEC GKP HMI HAYD HEAD HILS HTG HUR IBPO IOG INDI JHD JOG KAPE KEYS KWS KCT KGH LAM LIT LOK MACF MANO MOD OXIG PCA PANR APP SRE PHC PMO RBW RMM RBGP REDD RSW RNO ROR SUS SCPA SEN SHG SOLG SOM SUMO TM17 INCE TWD TRAK TRI VNET VTC ZOO ZTF
Brighton Pier final results for FY19A came in line with our expectations. Revenues were £32.0m (est. £32.1m), Adjusted PBT was £3.2m (est. £3.2m), and Adj EPS was 7.2p (est 7.1p). We take this opportunity to push through slight model updates for FY20E (net impact; 2% increase to Adj EPS. of 9.2p) and release FY21E forecasts of £35.8m sales, £4.6m Adj PBT, and 10.2p Adj EPS. At 5.5x FY19E earnings, we believe the asset-backed shares remain materially undervalued. We re-iterate our PT of 95p.
Companies: Brighton Pier Group
In January, we provided a list of 11 stocks for 2019 that we believed would perform strongly with attractive catalysts that could lead to material outperformance. In this Quarterly Research Outlook, we revisit these views, analysing what has happened and how the remaining six months of the year could play out.
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We’re just over three months in to 2019 and we’ve seen a 10% UK market rally, retracing much of the Q4 decline, such is the nature of fickle market sentiment. That said, many of the issues we wrote about three months ago that were impacting markets remain: notably Brexit, trade wars, geopolitics and global monetary policy. The 2019 rally thus far feels somewhat fragile, with competing forces of optimism on a potential trade deal which could underpin the rally, against the deterioration in underlying economic data that could ultimately undermine the recent market gains. In this context, we look at what the lead indicators and the market are telling us about the industrial cycle and the stocks most exposed to various industrial trends. The Q4 derating in short cycle industrials and autos had been vicious and while these sectors have seen a more solid footing in 2019, with earnings downgrades being priced in, it will likely take a trough in lead indicators before short cycle stocks can start to perform again and re-rate relative to the market.
Companies: ARS CYAN HYR LIT SOM ABBY AMS AMER ANX ATYM AVON BLVN PIER BUR CGS CAML CALL CSRT TIDE DTG DEMG EMR FPO FST GTLY GENL INCE GRI GEEC HDY HMI HAYD HEAD HILS HTG HUR IBPO INDI JHD JOG KEYS KCT KGH LAM LOK MACF MNO MANO MOD MKLW OXIG PCA PANR APP PXC PHC PMO RBW RMM REDD RSW RNO RKH RBGP ROR SUS SCPA SHG SOLG TRAK TRI VNET VTC ZOO ZTF
Interim results for Brighton Pier offer no surprises following a January trading update, and confirm the Group is on track to meet expectations for FY19E. Revenues of £16.5m are £0.5m ahead of H1’17, despite railway works impeding access to Brighton from London, and the reopening of Fez being delayed. We expect FY19E revenues of £32.1m, with Adj. PBT of £3.2m and EPS of 7.1p, rising to 9.0p in FY20E. At just 5.0x FY20E p/e and with a FCF yield of 11.7% we suggest the heavily-asset backed shares are undervalued. We re-iterate our PT of 95p and Buy recommendation.
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The market has not faced quite so many conflicting challenges for a number of years, whether related to global geopolitics, trade wars, ongoing Eurozone issues or the “will they, won’t they” saga of Brexit. In our Best Ideas, we sought to highlight stocks that present investors with interesting opportunities following recent market moves. Those stocks, we believe, warrant investor attention, in many cases for uncorrelated or stockspecific reasons, regardless of the near-to-medium term market direction. These stocks, in general, represent attractive and well-managed businesses or assets, with share price catalysts and where valuations or recent stock performance provide investors with a good entry point.
Companies: 7DIG ABBY AMS ANX ARS ATYM AVON BLVN PIER CGS CAML CALL CSRT TIDE DTG DEMG ELM EMR FPO FST GTLY GENL GRI GEEC HDY HMI HAYD HEAD HILS HTG HUR IBPO IOG INDI JHD JOG KEYS KCT KGH LAM MACF MOD MKLW OXIG PCA APP PMO RBW RMM REDD RSW RNO RKH RBGP ROR SUS SCPA SHG SOLG TWD TRAK TRI VNET VTC ZTF
The Group released a trading update this morning for the six months to 31 December, with renewed guidance given for the financial year ended 30 June 2019. Golf continues to trade in line with expectation, with a 7th site due to open in April 2019, with an 8th site due for opening in FY20.
The June IPO of Knights Group Holdings, a Top-100 regional law firm, marked the fifth entrant to the burgeoning UK-listed legal sector. Following recent expansion of our coverage across all five listed legal firms, complemented by coverage of three broader support services peers with exposure to the sector, we revisit and build upon our views on this rapidly evolving sector.
Companies: ARS GTLY GENL KEYS KGH MNO RBGP TWD 7DIG ABBY AMS AMER ANX ARS ATYM AVON BLVN PIER CGS CAML CALL CSRT TIDE DTG DEMG ELM EMR FPM FPO FST GTLY GENL GRI GEEC HDY HMI HAYD HEAD HILS HTG HUR IBPO IOG INDI JHD JOG KEYS KGH LAM MACF MNO MKLW NAH OXIG PCA APP CAKE PDG RBW RMM REDD RSW RNO RKH RBGP ROR SUS SCPA SHG SOLG TWD TRAK TRI VNET VTC ZTF
The group saw a year of extensive change in FY18, with continued rationalisation of the bars division, refurbishment of the Pier’s principal hospitality facilities, and the acquisition of Paradise Island Adventure Golf. Revenues of £31.7m against forecast £32.2m were partially offset at the operating profit level (£3.6m vs. forecast £3.8m). We trim our forecasts for FY19E, given continuation of rationalisation in the bar division and the poor weather on the August bank holiday. We see growth of 5% at the top line for both FY19E (£33.3m) and FY20E (forecasts released; £35m revenues), enhanced to 20% and 19% growth respectively for adj. EPS. We keep our Buy rating with a new TP of 120p (19% upside)
In Q2, UK equities regained some of their poise after the draw down in Q1, although uncertainty around Brexit continued to grab the headlines. On the back of this, investor concern about the UK economy has been understandable in recent months given a number of negative data points. However, we see reasons for optimism for UK Plc with wage growth supporting an improving outlook for the consumer and business investment holding up. That said, continuing UK political disruption clearly remains a risk going forward.
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Brighton Pier Group released results for the six months to 31 December 2017, in line with expectations for the period. The Group benefits from a unique mix of operating assets in the Leisure sector: a chain of premium bars, Brighton Palace Pier, and Paradise Island Adventure Golf – a chain of six indoor mini-golf courses acquired in December 2017.
The Brighton Pier Group owns Brighton Pier and 14 premium bars around the UK following its reverse takeover of the Electric Bar Group in April 2016. In the year since, the Group has enjoyed strong results with FY17 revenues of £31.3m up 38% in the year and adjusted EBITDA of £5.2m, more than doubling.
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Air Partner has issued a further shareholder update, confirming PBT of at least £10m in the first five months of the year to June, an increase of £2.5m since the last update to May. The Group continues to deliver impressive results despite a challenging market backdrop. As has been the case throughout the COVID-19 crisis, performance has been driven by strong activity in the Freight and Group Charter divisions. Crisis driven activity is expected to reduce in H2, with an anticipated recovery in the Group’s core activities, where the update reports positive early indications across the Group’s divisions. The balance sheet is very well supported, with net cash at 30th June standing at £13m post the recent £7.5m fund raise. The Group continues to have access to total debt facilities of £14.5m. Whilst visibility for H2 remains limited, we believe the Group is well placed to deliver a strongly profitable FY21 result.
Companies: Air Partner
Whilst Arena delivered FY20E results in line with our expectations, this has inevitably been overshadowed by the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the industry. Arena acted swiftly to cut costs and preserve cash, such that it currently has a c£23.5m cash balance. This is enough to see the company through into 2021, even if the global event market remains heavily disrupted for the rest of the year.
Companies: Arena Events
Gaming Realms is a creator and licensor of innovative games for mobile, with operations in the UK, U.S. and Canada. Through its unique IP and brands, Gaming Realms brings together media, entertainment and gaming assets in new game formats.
Companies: Gaming Realms
Today’s statement reveals incredibly robust Q1 trading across the Group’s brands and regions, with a positive outlook and guidance reinstated for the remainder of the financial year and beyond. In addition, the Group has announced the acquisitions of Oasis & Warehouse, bringing two well-recognised and complementary brands onto its platform. We believe the unprecedented disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the channel shift to online where we see BOO as the clear winner, with an established and leading model positioned to consolidate the market.
Companies: Boohoo Group Plc
Independent review launched: The Boohoo Group has announced the launch of an immediate independent review of its UK supply chain, intended to identify any areas of risk and non-compliance and to further strengthen the Group’s compliance procedures to ensure similar allegations will not recur in the future. The review is to be led by Alison Levitt QC, a highly experienced advocate who has previously reported on complex issues, including safeguarding enquiries. Boohoo has also announced an initial additional £10m investment in ensuring any supply chain malpractice is eradicated and is accelerating its independent third-party supply chain review with ethical audit and compliance specialists Verismo and Bureau Veritas.
The group has today announced the conclusion of a structured development and succession plan implemented by the Board over the past 2 years. CEO Phil Maudsley will be succeeded by Paul Kendrick at the end of the current financial year (March 2021). Phil leaves the group in excellent shape, having completed a major transformation of the group over the last 10 years, from a heavily indebted mini conglomerate to a digital-first value business with bright growth prospects. Studio Retail’s transformation from a small Christmas catalogue retailer to an agile online value retailer back by a strong integrated credit operation was clearly evidenced by the June update, highlighting the best growth rate in the listed retail space (+55% YTD). Phil will be involved over the remainder of the current year to ensure a smooth transition and handover to Paul who has made a significant contribution to recent strategic and operational enhancements, and who leads the business forward with a clear and exciting 5 year growth plan.
Companies: Studio Retail Group
We are introducing our Best Ideas for 2019 and also review the performance of last year’s picks. We suggest ten solidly financed stocks with good business dynamics that ought to be considered for core portfolio holdings and six UK domestically focused stocks that our analysts believe should perform strongly in the event that uncertainties unwind. We also introduce a new style of research from N+1 Singer which presents a Company’s dynamics and metrics in a clear and concise manner and concentrates on the pivotal issues affecting that Company and an investment decision.
Companies: BCA CLIN CLG CBP DNLM EAH STU FCRM FUTR GTLY INS GLE NICL SDL SPR TRI
Halfords 3Q IMS is in our view positive with PBT forecasts for FY 2020 held at £50-55m and good LFL in Retail cycles +5.9% and Autocentres +4.6% where most of new management development work has been focused. Retail Motoring products LFL -2.7% continues to show impacts of discretionary spend softness in our view. Management retains its caution about near term demand prospects overall and its development programme in Autocentres and key aspects of the business overall (notably new integrated website) moves up a notch in calendar 2020. This said PBT guidance for 2019/20 has been maintained and this trading shows promise in our view.
Companies: Halfords Group
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.
Companies: OPM ALU ANCR BLV CONN CRC STU GATC HAT LEK MMH MCB MWE NXR NTBR NOG PAF PEG RFX SRC TEF TEG TPT VTU WYN XLM
What’s new. This morning Purplebricks UK has provided an “update regarding current trading and the potential impact of COVID-19 and Govt guidance on the UK housing market.” Key points are:
1. Purplebricks first priority is health of people and customers: its online business model includes “video valuations, virtual viewings, connecting customers with potential purchasers via Purplebricks online platform.”
2. Govt restrictions on movement are weakening vendor and purchaser activity; deferral of completions would have a further negative impact.
3. Immediate cost-saving measures will materially reduce cash burn including suspending TV and radio advertising, reducing online marketing, taking advantage of the Government Job Retention Scheme.
4. Purplebricks currently has net cash of £35m and no debt.
Companies: Purplebricks Group
AFC Energy is a global leader in the fuel cell sector. It has a proven fuel cell technology which it is commercialising through its H-Power™ product, an off-grid electric vehicle charging system which is run on hydrogen and produces no emissions. The company's core fuel cell technology is a liquid alkaline fuel cell called HydroX-Cell(L)™. The company is also developing a solid alkaline fuel cell called HydroX-Cell(S)™ , the critical component of which is a is a solid electrolyte which upon validation will be marketed under the AlkaMem™ trademark. We expect the AlkaMem™ product to have multiple electro-chemical applications outside of fuel cells. The purpose of this note is to compare AFC Energy's products, markets and business strategy against its listed peers Ceres Power and ITM Power. The note also assesses the state and outlook of the hydrogen market in addition to the proton exchange membrane market, which is relevant for AFC Energy's AlkaMem™ product. As a reminder, we believe AFC Energy has a fair value of 27p/sh.
Companies: AFC AFC AFC
New management has put in place a strategy which the February interim results revealed was returning the group to growth with very encouraging LFL statistics and attractive returns on refurbished outlets. In March, however, in response to COVID-19 and following UK Government guidelines, all venues had to be closed.
Management initiatives have materially reduced the cash burn while the group is unable to trade, and the group’s lender has been very supportive in significantly increasing the borrowing facility.
Management is now proposing an equity issue, the rationale for which is to strengthen the leverage ratio to create a more appropriate capital structure moving forward, to allow an immediate return to the estate refurbishment programme and to be able to potentially take advantage of strategic opportunities as they arise as the sector emerges from the COVID-19 crisis.
Companies: Revolution Bars Group
Gaming Realms’ 2015 final results show a business that continues to build momentum, as revenues more than doubled to £21.2m (2014 pro forma: £9.8m). Growth is being driven by its real money and social gaming (including licensing) verticals, which were up 362% and 294%, respectively. Gaming Realms also recently announced that it has extended its licensing deal with Scientific Games to land-based gaming machines as part of its strategy of taking the Slingo brand into adjacent markets. 2015 adjusted EBITDA losses fell by 30% to £4.1m and the Q1 trading update (revenues up 100% y-o-y) supports our view that the company can break even at the EBITDA level this year.
Bowling, alongside low-cost gyms, is the strongest sub-sector of Leisure at present. Its fortunes have been revived over the last 5 years through product diversification, investment and a more family focused offering which is resonating with consumers seeking value and experiential treats. The sector is well established accounting for 3% of the family leisure market. We are attracted by its positive growth dynamics and minimal exposure to rising costs. We explore 6 themes in this note and initiate coverage on Hollywood Bowl (Buy; 250p 12m TP) and Ten Entertainment (Buy; 315p 12m TP), albeit with current year EPS forecasts 4% below consensus, reflecting recent prolonged hot weather concerns. On a 1-3 year view both have plenty of scope to further enhance shareholder value through self-help and site expansion.
Companies: Hollywood Bowl Ten Entertainment Group
Quiz’s warning came as a shock, particularly so soon after a positive AGM update. Our post mortem reveals the revenue shortfall is almost entirely due to the erratic demand dynamics of its 3rd party online web partners. Each key partner appears to have experienced unrelated drops in growth beyond the unseasonal transition from summer to autumn. Rather than being Quiz led, whose own performance online and in-store has remained strong, these were factors outside its control. Downgrades of c35% now strip out all growth from these partners but we would not be surprised to see growth reappear if/when partners address the issues. Buy on this set-back.
Companies: Quiz Plc