Companies: TMT PPS GWMO AQX ALS MCL TPG RBD COS KOD
We recently published a paper, Share ownership: For the many, not the few, based on a statistical survey of share ownership, produced jointly with Argus Vickers, the share analysis service. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has now issued its equivalent survey. This paper compares its results with ours. Although there are, inevitably, differences in the detail, the two surveys reach the same conclusions.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB CLIG DNL FLTA GDR MCL NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RECI RMDL STX SCE TON VTA
MCL’s recent results (see our 21 October note, Interim FY’20 results: steady core, deal upside) highlighted the strength of Home Collect (HCC). The division showed operational efficiency improvements, the appropriate use of technology and improving credit. It also generated double-digit underlying profit growth, despite a stable market and without compromising the agent-driven model. In this note, we explore MCL’s strategy to expand from this strong core business. The strategy is driven by extensive customer surveys, and could see a doubling in both the number of customers and the share of wallet over the medium term. Investment is being paced to balance short- and long-term profitability.
Companies: Morses Club Plc
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is due to publish its most up-to-date survey on share ownership in mid-January, which identifies the beneficial owners and decision- makers of the stock market. Hardman & Co has worked together with the share analysis service, Argus Vickers, to jointly produce its own survey, which anticipates the conclusions of the ONS survey but goes into much greater detail. Our work does not use a sample of 200 quoted companies as the ONS historically has, but rather includes everyUK quoted company. The ONS samples share registers every two years; our study uses six-monthly data points. Our survey also extends to shareholders on NEX; the ONS does not.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB BUR CMH CLIG DNL FLTA GDR MCL NSF PCA PIN PHP RECI RMDL SCE SIXH SHED VTA
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
MCL’s core HCC division once again delivered a strong performance. Market volumes remain subdued, but 11% underlying profit growth has been delivered, with efficiency gains and good credit (20% reported adjusted growth). The acquired businesses’ performances required incremental investment, and initial lending appears slightly behind track, but these issues are short-term and management has reiterated its stretching guidance for FY’20 and FY’21. We also note the cash collected from CTL loans at acquisition is £11m, against an £8m consideration. Looking forward, management has outlined a clear, customer-demand-driven strategy in its area of competitive advantage.
Since their privatisation in 1989, the 10 water companies have faced a periodic review every five years; it is undertaken by Ofwat, and prescribes customer prices, along with the investment requirements. As part of the ongoing review, PR19, Ofwat will publish its Final Determination numbers on 11 December 2019; they will apply as from April 2020, although water companies do have the option to seek a reference to the CMA.
Companies: AJB AGY ARBB CLIG DNL DPP FLTA GTLY GDR KOOV MCL MUR NSF PCA PIN PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE SIXH TON SHED VTA W7L
Bracken Trading — The Group undertakes its main trade of lending as well as electricity generation through the operation of two solar farms. Admission on the 09/09/2019
WORLD HIGH LIFE—The Investment Vehicle is to identify investment opportunities and acquisitions in legal Medicinal Cannabis, Hemp and CBD wellness sectors. The Company has raised £2,398,309 through three issues of Ordinary Shares to private subscribers.
Companies: LSAI MCL ALS CWR ALU KIBO IHC BOO EVG ZAM
The introduction of IFRS 2 in 2004 generated considerable debate about the best approach for handling ‘share-based payments’ (SBP). While it is clearly a cost to shareholders, which should be included in the statutory reporting lines through the P&L account, the question arose as to whetherit should be part of our underlying EBIT calculation.
Companies: AVO AJB AGY ARBB CLIG DNL DPP FLTA GTLY GDR KOOV MCL MUR NSF OXB PCA PHP RE/ REDX RMDL STX SCE TRX TON SHED VAL VTA W7L
When advisers first start looking at business relief (BR) products, there is much to take in: the rules governing such products; the investment strategies being used; and what the investment risk is. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that, for non-AIM products, the investment is being made directly into a company or partnership, rather than a fund. It is, therefore, essential that governance is part of the diligence process.
Companies: AVO AJB AGY ARBB CLIG DNL DPP FLTA GTLY KOOV LWRF MCL MUR NSF OXB PCA PHP RE/ REDX RMDL STX SIXH TRX TON SHED VAL VTA W7L
Companies: AZN AVO AJB AGY ARBB CLIG DNL DPP FLTA GTLY GDR HAYD KOOV MCL MUR PCA PHP RE/ REDX STX SIXH TON SHED VAL VTA W7L
We took two key messages from the FY’19 results announced on 2 May. First, the core business is now in a reliable, steady state with modest organic volume growth. It should, however, generate profit growth from acquisition opportunities and technology-driven efficiency improvements. As always, the agents remain core to the group but incremental returns can be generated from managing them better. Conservatively managed growth is being driven from the new business lines. Management has indicated it expects FY’22 pre-tax profits of between £3m and £5m from its recent online lending acquisition (consideration was £8.5m). Our absolute valuation range is 181p to 243p.
How small- and mid-cap quoted companies make a substantial contribution to markets, employment and tax revenues.
Companies: OPM AVO AJB ARBB CMH CLIG DPP FLTA GTLY GDR HAYD KOOV LWRF MCL MUR OXB PCA PHP RE/ STX SIXH TRX TON VTA W7L
SDX Energy plc—a North Africa focused oil and gas company, announces its intention to complete a Canadian plan of arrangement under section 192 of the Canada Business Corporations Act and will have shares de-listed from the TSX-V and admitted to trading on AIM. Expected 28 May 2019, anticipated market cap of £76m Renold plc—a leading international supplier of industrial chains and related power transmission products, announced that it will cancel the listing of the Company from the premium segment and apply for admission on AIM. Expected 06 June 2019. Distribution Finance Capital Holdings plc — specialist lender which builds relationships with manufacturers and then provides working capital solutions up and down their supply chains to drive their growth is looking to join AIM. No raise, secondary offering of £19.8m at 90p, expected market cap of £95.98m. Expected 09 May 2019. Alumasc Group plc, the premium building products, systems and solutions group, has announced its intention to move from the Premium Segment of the main market to AIM. Expected market cap of £33.4m. Expected 25 June 2019
Companies: MCL IQE CER HAYD DHG SIS PGH ZYT CHRT JWNG
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on Morses Club Plc.
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To achieve YoY revenue growth over H1/20A despite the challenges of Covid-19 and its impact on the travel sector is testament to Equals' resilience and increasing focus on B2B and International payments services. While weaker gross profit and EBITDA margins have impacted profitability in H1/20, we see potential for an earnings recovery in H2/20 given cost reduction measures currently being undertaken. This should lead Equals to cash breakeven in Q4/20 and FCF positive by early FY21.
Companies: Equals Group Plc
Litigation Capital Management has announced FY20 results with gross profit up 7% to A$21.7m and PBT of A$9.2m, slightly behind expectations albeit the Group had already flagged that delays to 3 cases during the year would result in resolutions in FY21, thereby impacting FY20 results. That said, excellent strategic progress through the year and good news flow as well as increasing scale suggests more value to come. Reiterate buy
Companies: Litigation Capital Management Ltd.
In June, faced with the task of replacing its longstanding portfolio manager, Alistair Mundy, Temple Bar Investment Trust’s (TMPL’s) board reiterated its commitment to a value style of investing. The board has now opted to hand the management contract to Nick Purves and Ian Lance of RWC Partners, two managers with considerable experience of managing income portfolios using a value-style approach. Value investing, where managers buy stocks that are valued more cheaply than market averages – based on measures such as price/earnings, price/book and yield – is deeply out of favour. The RWC team says that value stocks have never looked more unloved in the 30- odd years that they have been managing money. In their view, this makes it imperative that TMPL investors keep faith with the strategy and it also means this is an attractive entry point for new investors. One important change, however, is a cut to TMPL’s dividend to a level that the RWC team believes will be more sustainable.
Companies: Temple Bar Investment Trust
FY20A results largely reflect a period prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, yet show Duke entering a more challenging FY21E with momentum. Yesterday's trading update demonstrated another notable rise in quarterly cash receipts for Q2/21, as royalty partner trading continues to improve. As some partners' forbearance measures will expire this month, Q3/21 receipts should continue this upwardly momentum. This opens the door to a return to cash dividends at some future point. Today, Duke also confirms it is now seeking new royalty partners, alongside follow-ons.
Companies: Duke Royalty
HSBC’s future should be clarified as soon as the US and China come back to the negotiation table. This will not happen before the US elections are over. In the meantime, HSBC will continue to be instrumentalised and its share price will remain under pressure.
Companies: HSBC Holdings Plc
L&G reported an operating profit from continuing divisions (excluding Mature Savings and General Insurance businesses) of £1,128m, -2.2% yoy. The COVID-19-related cost was £129m. LGR posted a growing operating profit to £721m. Net profit amounted to £290m vs. £874m a year before, being affected by the reduced discount rate used to calculate LGI reserves. The Solvency II ratio stood at 173%. The Board recommended an interim dividend of 4.93p/share, stable relative to H1 19.
Companies: Legal & General Group Plc
S4 Capital had an extraordinary week with strong interims and an impressive CMD accompanied by a further merger and topped off with winning its third Whopper. Interims were ahead of our expectations and we were particularly encouraged by LFL Gross Profit growth of +18% in July. The group announced the merger with Dare.Win, an award-winning digital creative agency which extends the geographical presence of MediaMonks to France. BMW and MINI consolidated its Pan-European account into a team led by MediaMonks, which is the third whopper account for S4 Capital, and notable in our view for being won in a pitch, rather than by land & expand, and being an automotive rather than technology client. The group held a three day CMD and our summary would be i) Day One demonstrated the compelling strategic logic and strict financial discipline underpinning the group ii) Day Two illustrated the already formidable partner/client list of S4 Capital, including Adobe, Amazon, Google and CAA and iii) Day Three highlighted the chemistry between the individual agencies brought together to form S4 Capital and the outstanding work that they produce. To reflect BMW and Dare.Win we raise our FY21 EPS forecast by +8% to 10.8p (was 10.0p) and continue to view 15p as a realistic target with further whoppers in prospect and the balance of the recent equity raise to deploy. On a 30x multiple, we raise our target price to 450p (was 375p) and retain our Buy recommendation.
Companies: S4 Capital Plc
Mercia’s FY20 results reflect continued progress, delivering on management’s three-year strategy. AUM climbed 58% to £0.8bn, while FUM rose 73% to £658m. Following the acquisition of the NVM VCT fund management business, the company is operationally profitable on a monthly basis, with annual revenues exceeding operating costs for the first time in FY20. Net assets rose 12% to £141.5m, with the direct investment portfolio stalled at £87.5m reflecting the impact of COVID-19 fair value adjustments and a £15.7m net investment. The group remains well-placed for a downturn with £30m of unrestricted balance sheet cash and £320m of group cash. Post period end the group exited The Native Antigen Company, with £5.2m in cash (8.4x return, 65% IRR) expected. Despite the group’s progress, Mercia’s shares continue to trade at a material discount to NAV (0.60x), even before considering the embedded value of the third-party fund management business (> 4.5p at 3% of AUM).
Companies: Mercia Asset Management Plc
Superb acquisition, Proposed £1.2m subscription and Chairman change
Digitalbox is an AIM-quoted mobile-first digital media business, currently owning two distinct digital media assets and with a scalable platform to grow through acquisition. Aligned to this strategy, DBOX has announced the unconditional acquisition of its third title, a youth and student focused digital asset, Tab Media Ltd for an all cash consideration of £0.75m. The acquisition is expected to be slightly earnings enhancing in FY 2021E (EPS2 +3.6%, PTP + 31%). Alongside this, management also announce the proposed direct subscription to raise £1.2m, issuing 24.5m new shares at 4.9p, which will provide additional balance sheet firepower. At the time of the interim results (early Sept), management flagged some ‘positive and early signs of recovery in the advertising market'. This coupled with M&A momentum, bodes well for further value creation.
Companies: Digitalbox Plc
Numis reported a particularly strong end to its financial year driven principally by capital markets activity. FY20 revenues are set to be nearly 12% ahead of our previous estimate resulting in a 42% increase in our pre-tax profit forecast. Looking ahead, the incidence of capital markets transactions remains uncertain but this prospective result tends to confirm the strength of the franchise and validate the investment the firm has made in resources to underpin client service and growth.
Companies: Numis Corp. Plc
Today's news & views, plus announcements from VOD, POLY, SMDS, BLND, BYG, WEIR, DC, SNR, SHI, INTU, IHR, CNC, ARE, INCE
Companies: INTU SHI INCE
The impressive full year 2019 results included some eye-catching numbers, including a record PBT of £40.1m (nearly 3x FY18 @ £14.3m), £620m of reserves acquired over 16 legacy deals, and $842m of (estimated) Contracted Premium in the Program business – on track to breach $1bn in FY20 as previously guided and $1.5bn-$2bn in 2022-2023.
Companies: Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact globally in many areas. While primarily a health issue, it has had wide-ranging implications for stock markets, which have now rallied after the plunge in share prices in mid-March when the full severity of the emerging pandemic became more widely appreciated. Nonetheless, the FTSE 100 Index remains almost 20% off its late February 2020 figure.
Companies: AVO ARBB ARIX CLIG DNL GDR ICGT NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RECI STX SCE TRX SHED VTA YEW
Secular stagnation refers to the economic theory that growth will be persistently low for some time to come, due to an imbalance between savings and investment. If capital is saved rather than invested productive capacity lies idle, while the drag on consumption reduces demand in the economy. As a result GDP growth is reduced. As we have previously discussed, there is no historical evidence that GDP growth has a direct impact on stock market growth – in contradiction of the theorised linkage via earnings. However, in a world of secular stagnation in which there is a glut of savings, corporate earnings will be muted as demand for companies’ wares remains sluggish, which should negatively impact stock market growth. High rates of savings would also push equity valuations higher than they would otherwise be and thereby reduce future returns. Investors can respond to this situation in a number of ways. One is to try to find active strategies, which either seek to harness certain factors likely to boost returns or to generate high stockspecific alpha. In the first case this could mean looking to harness the small cap premium or to the emerging markets which should see greater earnings growth over the long run. It could also mean looking to the tech sector, where earnings are dependent more on secular changes within the economy than the growth rate of the economy. In the second case this would mean looking for highly active stock pickers who run concentrated portfolios and aim to pick the winning companies which can steal market share from competitors. We believe the investment trust universe is the perfect place to find such strategies, as the structure allows managers to focus on managing their strategy and not inflows and outflows, while being able to take exposure to relatively illiquid assets and harvest the premium for doing so. Another way of responding is to look for alternative assets which offer comparable or superior returns to the equity market as a whole. In our view, when we look at likely equity returns over the next ten years, some alternatives look compelling. In the below we sketch a rough idea of likely equity returns over the next decade and then introduce some trusts we think have the potential to generate similar returns from more predictable cash flows and potentially less volatile NAVs.
Companies: USF HICL NESF TRIG UKW NBLS
Activity was limited by housebuilding shutdown in H1 as a result of COVID. Sigma remained profitable and, with a strong balance sheet, has weathered the storm. With yesterday’s launch of the £1bn EQT London fund, a material step change is expected for the coming financial year. We reinstate forecasts; updating for EQT and revised expectations post-COVID. We revisit our valuation: a “sum of the parts” approach, assuming no additional AuM, implies an intrinsic value of 200p/share.
Companies: Sigma Capital Group Plc