Travis Perkins posted subdued H1 FY20 results as, amidst the Coronavirus-caused disruptions (mainly in Q2 FY20), all its banners except Toolstation slipped into negative territory. Worse, the impact on the adjusted operating profit was 4x vs the 20% fall in the top-line. While H2 FY20 is likely to generate much better top-line and profitability, management remains cautious about the demand for building materials in the near term, amidst the uncertain macro-environment conditions and expectations of higher unemployment in the country.
Companies: Travis Perkins plc
While Travis Perkins sustained positive momentum in the majority of Q1 FY20, Coronavirus infected its final two weeks’ performance. In Q2 FY20, business activity will deteriorate judging by the c.66% revenue decline in the first three weeks of April. As the Brexit-related uncertainty and economic recession are likely to prevail in rest of the year, the cost-cutting and cash-preserving actions act as saviours.
A good year ends for Travis Perkins – the healthy FY19 top-line performance, combined with cost savings led to a profitability improvement during the period. However, management has maintained the cautious outlook for FY20, as the macro-economic uncertainties in the UK are far from over yet. Nevertheless, the Wickes demerger plan remains on track for Q2 FY20.
Travis Perkins maintained the strong momentum in Q3 FY19 – all continuing businesses, especially Toolstation and Retail, contributed to the top-line. Although, management sounded cautious about the near-term outlook, it expects the full-year performance to remain in line with expectations. Progress with the Wickes demerger is on-track, but the disposal of the P&H business has been paused amidst the uncertain macro-economic environment.
We have obtained clarity regarding Travis Perkins’ plan to demerge Wickes, the key takeaway being that the business will be spun-off as a publically-traded company by June 2020. While it remains to be seen if the separately-listed retail business would revive / perform better over time, the enhanced focus on trade-customers is likely to benefit Travis Perkins’ shareholders in the mid-term.
A strong Q2 19 performance by Travis Perkins was led by the improved business performance of Retail business and continued robust momentum at Toolstation. However, amidst the mixed key leading indicators of the UK builder’s merchanting and home improvement market, management maintained a cautious outlook for short-term demand. The demerger of Wickes was also announced. No material changes in our financial estimates.
Due to a change in Analyst role, Cenkos Securities plc has suspended coverage of the following stocks (see table 1). Our previous recommendation and forecasts can no longer be relied upon.
Companies: BDEV BWY BKG VTY COST CRST BBY FERG GLE KLR KIE MSLH MER MTO NXR PSN RDW RNWH SFR SHI MGNS TW/ CTO TEF TPK GFRD
Despite a solid start to the year (7.3% lfl sales growth), Travis Perkins has left investors guessing by not upgrading its full-year guidance of stable operating profit. Management has opted to wait for at least one more quarter, considering the macro-economic uncertainties in the UK. While we have improved the FY19 top-line growth estimate (following a strong Q1 performance), this momentum is not sustainable for the rest of the year. Our stock recommendation is likely to be maintained.
Travis Perkins ended the FY18 on a strong note. While all businesses clocked strong lfl sales growth, the key highlight was the return of Wickes (DIY banner) into positive territory. Management has guided for a stable FY19 operating profit, despite the expected higher inflationary cost pressures. We will revise our estimates upwards.
Travis Perkins conducted its Capital Markets Day last week. Although management remains confident about the company’s long-term growth fundamentals (led by the continued housing shortage in the UK and underinvestment in maintenance of ageing house stock), it sees some challenges in the short term. Put in context, the business has become quite complicated over the past few years, as the group’s expenses (driven by investments to grow the business) increased ahead of revenue in some areas. While some businesses (e.g. Contracts and Toolstation) have consistently performed well during the period, the company has been struggling in domains like Wickes, General Merchanting, etc. Even though some of this slump has been attributable to external factors (e.g. the slump in RMI activity post the Brexit referendum, formation of buying groups have made independent players more competitive vs national entities like Travis Perkins), the internal challenges have also contributed to the increased complexity / slower decision making / margin pressure / inadequate return of capital employed, etc.
THe following are the key remedial measures announced in this regard:
1. Focus on trade customers
2. Divest the Plumbing & Heating division
3. Improve the performance of Wickes’ business before reviewing other options in the medium term
4. Generate annual cost savings of £20-30m by simplifying the group business and reducing branch and distribution cost bases.
Moreover, management expects the group’s FCF to strengthen over the medium term, driven by improved earnings and lower capital expenditure.
The company posted good Q3 numbers, especially in the three merchanting businesses. However, the strong lfl momentum is likely to soften in FY19, especially in Contracts and P&H segments. All eyes are now set on 4 December 2018, the Capital Markets Day of Travis Perkins. A convincing performance turnaround plan would be the next key growth trigger in our opinion. Hence, we maintain the stock recommendation, despite the stock’s valuation being very attractive at current levels.
Travis Perkins has reported poor H1 FY18 results. Although the top-line grew strongly (+4.2% lfl growth; 5.9% in Q2 FY18), the group’s profitability came in below our as well as the street’s estimates. Group adjusted operating profit excluding property profits slumped c.12% in the period. The downfall was largely attributable to the sales mix, weaker K&B showroom sales in Wickes and higher operating costs in the General Merchanting business. The company has charged £246m goodwill impairment for the business.
Management expects challenging market conditions to persist and anticipates FY18 EBITA to come in at the lower range of analysts’ expectations (£360–390m). Also, it has commenced a comprehensive review of the Wickes business and will share details at the CMD in early December.
Travis Perkins clocked strong lfl revenue growth in Q3. The Merchanting business (General Merchanting, P&H and Contracts segment) was up 4.7% yoy, led by strong growth momentum in Contracts. However, the consumer business slowed due to a subdued performance in Wickes. The ongoing momentum in Merchanting is likely to last for a few more quarters, but macro-economic headwinds (tighter credit availability + negative real wages) should soften the growth gradually. No change in our stock recommendation.
Travis Perkins ‘TP’ reported better lfl revenue growth (2.7% vs our estimate: 1.5%) in Q2 FY17, on the back of a strong performance in Contracts (+6.4% yoy; contributed c.21% to group revenue) and Consumer divisions (+6.5% yoy; contributed c.25% to group revenue). The growth was largely driven by improved customer propositions and the benefit of recent investment in the business. The General Merchanting ‘GM’ division was up marginally (0.3% yoy; contributed c.33% to group revenue), impacted by the company’s trading stance of preserving profit margins by passing on input cost inflation. The Plumbing & Heating (P&H) division remained in the red (-1.9% yoy; contributed c.21% to group revenue), due to a continued decline in social housing demand and reduced trade with a major customer. In H1 FY17, the group’s lfl revenue was up 2.7% while reported revenue advanced by 3.5%, underpinned by the scope impact (11 Benchmarx and 24 Toolstation branches opened during the period).
Despite the stable gross margin (due to improved pricing activity to recover input cost inflation), the H1 FY17 adjusted operating profit slumped by 2.1% to £190m (in line with our estimate), impacted by a challenging P&H business (profitability down c.32%) and investment in store refitting and IT capability.
The management outlined the next leg of the transformation plan for the ailing P&H division (further details in the analysis section). It also declared an interim dividend of 15.5p per share (+1.6% yoy) and maintained the FY17 guidance – effective tax rate: 20%, capex: £170-190m, property profits: c.£20m, finance charge: comparable to FY16. The management also remains cautious on the trading performance for the remainder of the financial year, largely due to mixed macro-economic indicators.
Travis Perkins reported its Q1 FY17 trading update slightly ahead of our estimates. Lfl revenue increased by 2.7% (vs Q4 FY16: +2.5%, Q3 FY16: +2.0%; AV estimate: +1.6%), on the back of strong pricing activity at the group level and a solid performance in the Contracts business (+12.1% vs Q4 FY16: +9.2%, Q3 FY16: +5.7%; AV estimate: +3.0%; c.20% of group revenue). The segment’s growth was led by strong new build volumes and soft comparables (+2.1% in Q1 FY16). Plumbing & Heating (-1.1% vs Q4 FY16: -2.7%, Q3 FY16: -4.1%; AV estimate: -3.0%; c.22% of group revenue) and the Consumer segment (+2.9% vs AV estimate: +5.5%; -3.0% lfl impact of Easter falling in Q2 this year) also clocked satisfactory results. However, General Merchanting was down 0.3% (vs Q4 FY16: +0.3%, Q3 FY16: +0.6%; AV estimate: +1.0%; c.33% of group revenue), largely due to subdued demand and tough comparables (+4.7% in Q1 FY16).
The reported revenue was up 4.9% (vs FY16: +4.6%; AV estimate: +2.9%), on the back of a +0.6% scope effect and +1.6% calendar day impact. Management remains watchful about the UK RMI market and expects to meet the FY17 guidance (capex of £170-190m, interest charge of c.£28m and 20% effective tax rate).
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on Travis Perkins plc.
We currently have 161 research reports from 9
Spectra Systems Corporation, a leader in machine-readable high speed banknote authentication, brand protection technologies, and gaming security software, has announced that it has executed a comprehensive services contract with a ‘long standing' central bank customer for the development, manufacture and servicing of a sensor system. The initial development phases underpin our FY2021E estimates (with risk likely to the upside), but moreover, the balance of development work, comprising supply of sensors (estimated value up to $34m in 2024-25), servicing revenues ($7.5m) and resultant high margin material sales through to at least 2035, provides significant underpinning of future prospects. Our updated Sum-of-the-Parts valuation (reflecting higher than anticipated development revenues and margins) indicates a risked fair value of 240p (from 200p).
Companies: Spectra Systems Corporation
Seeing Machines has announced that it has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with global aerospace and defence technology company L3Harris Technologies. The MOU frames the intent to enter into a global non-exclusive license agreement to enhance pilot training technology with Seeing Machines's dedicated precision eye-tracking system for flight crew training in the full flight simulator (FFS) environment. A license arrangement is currently in advanced discussions between the parties and subject to the negotiation and execution of definitive, binding licensing and other legal agreements. Further announcements regarding the progress of the negotiations in relation to such binding documentation will be made when appropriate.
Companies: Seeing Machines Limited
We have today released a new note on The Ince Group plc - this is the first of a series of "explainer notes" that take an in-depth look at the various aspects of the Ince investment case our investors have told us require more clarification. This edition examines the partner remuneration model - the headline for which is that this isn't discretionary bonus, it's more of a revenue share that partners are given in lieu of pay. Thus their remuneration is entirely variable, rather than representing a fixed cost.
Companies: Ince Group plc
Judges Scientific is focused on acquiring and developing companies in the scientific instrument sector. The acquisition of Korvus Technology, a UK-based but global supplier of vapour deposition systems, largely to academic institutions, marks Judges' third deal in less than 12 months. With Korvus generating revenues of £1.42m and adj. EBIT of £0.66m (46% margin), we choose to leave our FY2020E estimates unchanged but, after financing costs (all-cash initial consideration of £2.64m), we see a 3.5% uplift to FY2021E with our adjusted PBT increasing to £15.2m. Although a trading update is not provided this morning, we remain cautiously optimistic with respect to FY2020E. COVID-related business risks / restrictions remain; however the relative strength of H1:2020 (albeit at some expense to the order book) continues to provide some comfort, in our view.
Companies: Judges Scientific plc
TP Group (TPG) delivered robust organic growth of 13% during H1/20A. However, the impact of COVID-19, together with increased investment and a shift in business mix, meant that Adj EBITDA reduced by £0.9m YoY to £1.4m. TPG has today announced it is in advanced discussions to dispose of its non-core oil and gas focused engineering business. Despite the strong and expanding order book, COVID-19 continues to create uncertainty around the timing of contract deliveries. As such, our forecasts remain withdrawn and our rating Under Review.
Companies: TP Group Plc
An explicit and substantially positive update from Norcros points to a strong Q2 trading recovery after a COVID-19 affected Q1 and a significant reduction in net debt to modest levels. The company’s portfolio of businesses have demonstrated resilience and agility in being able to respond to these variable demand conditions and in doing so have probably enhanced the group’s competitive position. Our estimates remain suspended ahead of the H121 results announcement on 12 November.
Companies: Norcros plc
The Group has issued a trading update ahead of its interim results due on 12th November 2020. Overall, the first half has seen a strong recovery in activity and the Board now expects to report H1 revenues and operating profit of at least $200m and $20m respectively. This is materially ahead of market expectations and with a high degree of visibility through Q3 FY2021E we are upgrading our operating profit forecasts by 39% and 25% for FY2021E and FY2022E respectively. The Group is seeing strong growth in EV charging cables and bespoke high-performance cabling solutions, and consumer electronics demand has also remained robust. Together with investment in automation and cost efficiencies, the Group operating margin is now 10%, which is a testament to management’s operational and strategic focus. The shares trade on an FY2021E EV/sales multiple of 0.9x which compares to a sector based multiple of c.1.2x for companies with comparable operating margins and growth.
Companies: Volex plc
Checkit has deepened its relationship with John Lewis, by signing a three year framework agreement with this existing customer. This provides all John Lewis shops with the opportunity to benefit from Checkit’s three proprietary software products: Connected Workflow Management (CWM), Connected Automated Monitoring (CAM) and Connected Building Management (CBM). Out of these three, it is CWM which is a new service offering for John Lewis. We find this product particularly interesting given the broad number of (previously manual and paper-based) operational workflows the platform can automate - increasing efficiency. Additionally - through Checkit’s cloud-based dashboard – managers can track tasks in real-time and also respond to critical issues. Lastly, analytical tools can be used to spot operational weaknesses or non-compliance. This contract therefore provides further validation of these products and how they are resonating with large enterprises, as they look to drive greater efficiency within their organisations. This news follows-on from us recently reinstating forecasts. For FYJan21, we’re looking for £13.1m of sales i.e. modest LFL growth (PY pro-forma: £12.8m), within this though, expect to see strong ‘recurring‘ growth – driven by contracts such as this. Should also see decent progress on profitability (FY21E EBITDA: £-2.0m) indeed such progress was highlighted in H1, as cash-burn fell to £-1.4m
Companies: Checkit plc
The group’s AGM statement reads well, with record Q1 trading and strong cash flows. Net debt now stands below £1m, with significant headroom in facilities. Previous restructuring has delivered £2.4m of efficiency gains, which particularly benefit Levolux and Gatic. The UK market has seen a strong bounce accompanied by a strong export performance and a high level of export orders recently gained. No change to trading forecasts. The shares remain at a deep discount to our 130p price target and today’s update should be taken well.
Companies: Alumasc Group plc
OPG has produced a strong set of full year results. Revenue increased 9.5% YoY to £154.0m whilst strong free cash flow generation enabled material debt repayments. Post period end, the Group continued to make debt repayments and favourably refinanced a portion of its debt. Management swiftly implemented a COVID-19 cost reduction strategy and capitalised on financial stimulus provided by the Government and the Reserve Bank of India. Importantly, September 2020 showed signs of a recovery as Chennai plant load factors increased to 63% (H1/21A 46%). We believe the long-term structural growth dynamics in the Indian power production sector remain compelling.
Companies: OPG Power Ventures Plc
Following hot on the heels of last week’s significant project award for Siemens and London Underground, the group has announced a further significant project award for Alstom’s high-profile next generation of TGV trains for SNCF. While the value of the project has not been announced, it reinforces our optimism and view that momentum in the train market is improving and also further strengthens the group’s medium-term order book. We see the award as noteworthy also because it is in the group’s innovative electronics technology, validating the group’s product investment in this area.
Companies: LPA Group Plc
Symphony Environmental develops and sells innovative products and additives which make plastics and rubber smarter. The core d2w oxo-biodegradable product facilitates rapid and safe transformation of plastics into harmless biodegradable compounds. The newer d2p product is a protective technology which has many applications. The most commercially advanced prevents microbial growth on plastics, useful in food and non-food settings. This market is estimated to be worth $30bn globally and growing rapidly. Recent news has been positive. The Group has just announced that Turkey’s Uno Bakery will use oxo-biodegradeable d2w for its packaging. This follows a recent strengthening of the strategic partnership on d2w packaging with the world's largest bakery, Groupo Bimbo. In late September, in the UK, AGS Airports, which operates Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports has become the first UK company to trial a new d2w 100ml security bag. Further, Brazilian supermarket chain, Cotripal, has introduced an innovative combined d2w and d2p (antimicrobial) carrier bag. No financials for these announcements have been disclosed; we assume for the moment these are not material in the context of the Group. But the potential over the next few years is significant, in our view. Commercialisation is gathering momentum. Our valuation for SYM is 35p per share, indicating 30% potential upside.
Companies: Symphony Environmental Technologies plc
Renewi’s operations are at the heart of the circular economy that collects, processes and converts waste into usable secondary materials to reduce the use of primary resources and to lower carbon emissions. The company has recently entered a new strategic phase with a clear roadmap to deliver a substantial increase in group profitability. Consequently, Renewi offers investors an environmentally friendly above-average earnings growth opportunity.
Companies: Renewi Plc
We are pleased to see that in a period in which most companies faced colossal challenges, and CSSG saw at least some partial business interruptions, the company nonetheless succeeded in generating a result which is ahead of the expectation set in early August, with £1.75m EBITDA as against the anticipated £1.6m. With the interim dividend reinstated eight weeks ago, the final dividend is now announced at 1.2p, giving the FY2020A total of 1.95p, making CSSG a rare example of a company (well-supported by £4.1m of net cash) which has lifted its FY2020A DPS as against the prior year, and by no less than 8%. We assume that some of the net cash relates to HMRC and / or other support schemes; however net cash at more than double the FY2019A level (£4.1m plays £1.7m) still seems like a positive outcome.
Companies: Croma Security Solutions Group PLC
Historically exposed to coal, Drax had to adapt to ecological constraints. Which we believe it has failed to do. We have therefore decided to terminate our coverage in order to allocate our resources to companies that are in tune with tomorrow’s challenges.
Companies: Drax Group plc