Edison Investment Research is terminating coverage on Medigene, PetroMatad, Brady and Stride Gaming. Please note you should no longer rely on any previous research or estimates for this company. All forecasts should now be considered redundant.
Previously published reports can still be accessed via our website.
Companies: Stride Gaming
Rank Group has made a recommended £115.3m cash offer for Stride Gaming, which equates to an EV of £93.4m. Using the run-rate H119 EBITDA, the deal is valued at c 7.5x EV/EBITDA. The offer of 151p per share is a 29% premium to the previous day’s closing price. Irrevocable commitments have been received by 61.3% of Stride’s shareholders and completion is anticipated in Q319.
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.
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: LOOK PGD TLY KRM BAGR HUW TOT ACSO STR BOOM
For the purposes of the Takeover Code, Edison Investment Research is deemed to be connected with Stride Gaming. Under Rule 20.1 Edison must not include any profit forecast, quantified financial benefits statement, asset valuation or estimate of other figures key to the offer, except to the extent that such forecasts, statements, valuations or estimates have been published prior to the offer period (as defined in the Takeover Code) by an offeror or the offeree company (as appropriate) in accordance with the requirements of the Code.
Consequently we have removed our estimates until the Offer Period ends.
Techniplas –global producer and support services company providing highly engineered and technically complex components, making the supply chain to original equipment manufacturers more efficient. FYDec17 rev $515m.
Loungers plc—the operator of 146 café/bar/restaurants across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, announces its intention to seek admission on AIM, offer TBC, expected late April.
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
Companies: CPC TPFG CFX I3E APPS SOS PMI STR ALS CAB
Stride’s AGM confirmed that trading for the current financial year has been broadly in line, despite well documented regulatory headwinds. To counterbalance rising gaming taxes and other sector pressures, the group is implementing numerous cost-cutting initiatives, which will be key to hitting our FY19 EBITDA estimate. Looking ahead, we expect growth to resume in FY20 (once many regulatory burdens have been lapped) and we believe Stride will take market share within a disrupted industry. Cash conversion is c 90% and the new payout policy leads to a 15.0% yield in FY19 (including the special dividend). The stock continues to trade at a meaningful discount to peers, at 3.7x EV/EBITDA and 6.5x P/E for CY19e.
United Oil & Gas (UOG.L) an oil and gas exploration and development company brought to the Official List (Standard Segment) in July 2017 by way of a reverse takeover of Senterra Energy plc. No capital to be raised, expected market cap of £17m and expected 28 Feb
Techniplas – global producer and support services company providing highly engineered and technically complex components, making the supply chain to original equipment manufacturers more efficient. FYDec17 rev $515m.
Companies: PXC ORR PGH OTMP FDEV STR ITM BLU MSMN BMV
Stride’s FY18 results statement was dominated by the impact of recent regulatory news, as well as by the decision to significantly increase cash payouts. Our FY19 estimates now reflect a £7.1m fine for procedural failings (vs £4m previously), as well an additional five months of higher remote gaming duty (RGD), which equates to a one-off hit of £2.5m. None of this affects FY20 and, given Stride’s competitive positioning, we believe it should achieve market share gains and we raise our FY20 EBITDA from £14.5m to £16.0m. A special dividend of 8p has been announced, and going forward, Stride intends to pay out at least 50% of adjusted net earnings. The stock has bounced from its lows, but still trades at 5.0x EV/EBITDA and 8.0x P/E for CY19e.
The UK government has raised remote gaming duty (RGD) from 15% to 21%. This was better than recent rumours of 25%, but 1% higher than market expectations of 20%. With implementation from October 2019 (rather than April), we raise our FY19e EBITDA by 5%. However, assuming no mitigation, we lower our FY20e EBITDA by £3m to £14.5m. While regulatory pressures are likely to remain a feature of the UK gaming sector, Stride is the number three online bingo-led operator and should benefit from its strong market position. The balance sheet is robust (£20m net cash) and, despite the increased taxes, we expect strong cash flow through synergies and strategic growth. The stock has fallen 58% this year and trades at depressed levels of 3.6x EV/EBITDA and 5.8x P/E for CY19e.
Stride’s FY18 trading update confirms the widely reported headwinds facing the UK bingo-led market, with a c 3% decline in real money gaming (RMG) in H218. More positively, FY18 RMG EBITDA appears to be in line (or slightly better) than our recently reduced estimate. Importantly, Stride’s high-margin proprietary platform is a key differentiator and the company remains well placed to gain market share. The balance sheet is strong and we expect strong cash flow through synergies and strategic growth. The stock has fallen 60% this year on the back of downgrades and a UKGC fine (which appears to be c £4m) and now trades at depressed levels of 5.8x P/E and 3.3x EV/EBITDA for CY19e.
Legalisation of online sports betting in the US will provide opportunities for AIM online gaming companies. The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to overturn the Federal prohibition of sports betting. The state of New Jersey argued that congress had exceeded its authority and the judges agreed. The US sports betting market, both onsite and online, could be worth $6bn by 2023, but individual states will have to enact legislation to enable online sports betting to commence in their territory.
Companies: AOR TYR SML STR MWE RNWH
The entire UK gaming sector has been stung by recent regulatory changes and, like other operators, Stride’s strategy is to diversify its UK-centric model into international markets. In the UK, the company is gaining market share, with H118 adjusted revenues increasing 14% to £44.9m, driven by 25% growth in the proprietary platform. However, we have lowered our total FY18 and FY19 EBITDA forecasts by 16.6% and 28.7% to reflect increased costs associated with regulatory compliance and international expansion. The stock has fallen 18% year to date and trades at 8.3x EV/EBITDA and 13.4x P/E for CY18e.
Stride’s AGM trading update confirmed the continued momentum in its core real money gaming (RMG) vertical. The Aspers Casino partnership has had an encouraging start and Stride is well positioned to keep gaining market share. Its key differentiating factor is the high-performing proprietary platform and we expect underlying margin expansion as customers migrate from acquired businesses. We believe that visibility into the social gaming vertical (5% of revenues) remains limited and we have lowered our future revenue forecasts by c £2m per year. Our profit forecasts are unchanged. At 7.4x EV/EBITDA and 10.8x P/E for CY18, Stride trades at a meaningful discount to peers.
Block Energy—a NEX Listed UK based oil exploration and production company whose main country of operation is the Republic of Georgia, looks to join AIM end of February 2018. Offer TBC
OnTheMarket—Intention to float on AIM to raise c.£50m which will be used to fund the growth of the OnTheMarket.com portal, already the third biggest UK residential property portal provider. Offer raising £30m at 165p with mkt cap of £100m . Due 9 Feb.
Companies: PVG SPSY IDE JAY B90 COM STR RHL ERGO SYME
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on Stride Gaming.
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Arena's planned £9.5m share placing will substantially strengthen its balance sheet and, together with various cost saving measures being undertaken, should help to see the company through the coronavirus crisis for the foreseeable future. Given the uncertainty around how long it will take before normal event scheduling resumes, we withdraw our forecasts and place our rating Under Review, which we will revisit once visibility improves.
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
Directorate change: DWF has announced that Andrew Leaitherland will step down as Group CEO and a managing partner of DWF Law LLP and DWF LLP with immediate effect and will be replaced by the Group’s Chairman Sir Nigel Knowles. Sir Nigel has over 40 years of experience in the legal sector and was previously. Global Co-Chairman and Senior Partner of DLA Piper. We believe he has the experience and leadership qualities required to lead the Group through the near-term challenges it faces. Chris Sullivan, Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, has been appointed as interim Chairman.
Companies: DWF Group
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
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
N Brown is taking crucial steps in its transition to being a pure-play online retailer (currently 77% of sales) and to strengthen its leading position in the under-serviced market for fashionable plus-size apparel. While strategic updates may be on hold until a new CEO is appointed, the company closed the loss-making portfolio of high-street stores in H119 and further brand consolidation seems inevitable. The shares trade on a low FY19e P/E of 5.5x and yield 7.2%.
Companies: N Brown Group