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FY20 results report EPS slightly ahead (4%) of our previous forecast. Net debt (pre-IFRS 16) was also slightly better than expected at £6.9m (N+1SE: £7.5m). The Group had a very strong start to FY21, achieving PBT of £6.0m in Q1 and trading is expected to be strongly ahead of budget in May. The order book for June is also encouraging. This is an impressive result against the significant challenges posed by COVID-19 for the aviation industry. Performance in H2 will likely depend upon the recovery in activity levels in Private Jets and Safety & Security, but Air Partner is already seeing some signs of recovery here. We believe the Group is well placed to achieve a strong full year result given the diversity of its model and the strength of the balance sheet.
Companies: Air Partner
Unsurprisingly, the limited business progression in H1 19/20 and the pandemic outbreak towards the end of the year have resulted in a significant FY profit contraction.
However, the unprecedented pandemic crisis seems to be dragging all the industry to the same starting line, in terms of market transformation. In particular, after the group showed a better than expected cash position after additional RCF and CCFF and substantial cost-savings, this gives new hope to the market.
Companies: Marks And Spencer Group
After launching a £1bn recapitalisation by way of a rights issue at a price with a heavy discount, the UK-based restaurant and (the largest) hospitality group, Whitbread, saw its share price plummet by 13%. The market movement reflects investors’ concern about the uncertain duration of Whitbread’s business downturn.
Whitbread was on our list of issuers likely to be wrongfooted by the crisis the day before the rights issue announcement.
In FY20, prior to COVID-19, management delivered on its four key proof points, including growing group EBITDA and membership at Roadside. The business model is proving resilient during COVID-19 and we have reduced our FY21 EBITDA forecast by only 7% since the outbreak began – much less than most.
Companies: AA Plc
H1 (to end of March) adj. PBT of £1.2m is in line amidst difficult trading. COVID-19 and closing all stores has seen April’s sales decline 80% y/y. There are promising signs with online sales 3x pre-COVID levels and management is being very pro-active in adapting and re-opening stores, such that the entire estate could be open on a controlled entry basis by the end of June. Liquidity at c.£14m remains comfortable and should rise by £10m in June as additional CLBILS funding becomes available. We move to BUY and present a scenario for FY20E in this note. We will publish formal forecasts when Topps next reports in early July.
Companies: Topps Tiles
After communicating a depressed industry outlook and calling for a huge amount of recapitalisation of £2bn, the leading contract caterer, Compass, saw it share price fall by 3.4% yesterday. Considering the smaller rivals’ weaker profitability and the capacity of equity fundraising from the capital markets, the share prices of other sector participants are also being penalised by the news.
Companies: Compass Group
2019 finals are a smidgen ahead at the EBITDA level. The company executed well in expanding the estate by 10% and collaboration with food aggregator Pyszene.pl (takeaway.com) has proved positive. DPP finished the year with £3.5m of net-cash and importantly, management today signal that this provides sufficient liquidity on a 12m view. COVID-19 to date has had relatively little impact with sales holding up robustly. A strong online presence and a delivery model means the business has continued to operate through the lockdown. Recent easing of restrictions to allow restaurants to open and some cost deflation are welcome developments also. New CEO, Iwona Olbrys, has proven F&C experience, most recently at Telepizza Poland which moved into profitability under her leadership. Whilst no major strategic review type commentary today, there is reference to self-help initiatives to drive the top line, lower costs and enhance the online platform. With little 2020 visibility management has removed financial guidance. N+1 Singer currently has no formal forecasts in the market and will initiate coverage in due course Overall, looking through the current uncertainty, we feel that with a proven new CEO at the helm and an online focused business model, DPP should ultimately reward investors with a move into profitability and value creation.
Companies: DP Poland
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
Inchcape has announced a trading update indicating impact of COVID-19 hit most markets in April, but we note the Group is now open in 25 markets vs. 14 on 7 April. Balance sheet liquidity has improved through the eligibility of the CCFF scheme. A through review of costs will now take place, and we are likely to get more colour on this at H1 results.
The Fulham Shore Plc (“FUL”) released interim results for the 6m period ended 29 September 2019 in-line with expectations as strength in the Franco Manca portfolio more than offset weather-related contraction at The Real Greek. We make minimal changes to our underlying forecasts and introduce a forecast for 2021. Nine restaurants have been opened so far in this financial year (year end March 2020) and the Company is now guiding a further eight to ten in the next financial year. We note that the financials now incorporate IFRS 16 for Leases which came into effect on January 1 2019. IFRS 16 does not impact cash balances but does lead to some material changes to the presentation of the financial statements.
Companies: Fulham Shore
The travel bans and quarantines due to COVID-19 have had a significant impact on PPHE since mid-March and are likely to continue to do so. We now expect a deeper and longer downturn than previously and a slower recovery, so we reduce our forecasts for occupancy for FY20, while holding our prior EBITDA margin assumptions reflecting cost cutting and a high level of government support on key costs. We downgrade FY20 revenue by c 32% and EBITDA by c 29%. The shares are trading at a c 54% discount to the last-quoted EPRA NAV of 2,546p per share.
Companies: PPHE Hotel Group
Boohoo Group has raised £197.7m in new equity as is readies itself to take advantage of M&A opportunities expected to emerge in the global fashion industry over the coming months. Following the fundraise we estimate the Group to have c.£500m in cash, giving it significant firepower to rapidly execute attractive brand acquisitions as they arise.
Motorpoint is the UK’s largest independent vehicle retailer, operating out of 11 sites throughout the UK. The company has a good track record of growth and roll out potential. Despite this, we believe the franchised dealers have a more diversified business model and Motorpoint’s performance will prove more cyclical. Given the asset backing and greater diversity of the listed, we see better opportunities elsewhere in the sector.
Companies: Motorpoint Group
Card Factory is a deep value retailer, offering a core product at 99p that retails for twice that at high street competitors. Despite the wide price gap, management is adamant that it does not need to raise prices to maintain profitability, with a range of actions in progress to optimise both top line and cost structure. The share price has fallen steeply, but this could present an opportunity as there are a number of potential catalysts.
Companies: Card Factory
Motorpoint has this morning released a solid set of interim results achieving adjusted PBT for the first half of £10.5m, in line with our forecasts, which we updated following a positive trading update in October. We leave our forecasts unchanged for the full year and expect adj. PBT of £20.3m in FY18E. The company has also announced this morning a £10m share buyback programme, signaling confidence in the future prospects of the business. While Motorpoint continues to trade at a premium to the franchised dealers, the company has a robust balance sheet, good underlying cash generation and confidence in the near-term earnings.