Red Dwarf, the very British sci-fi comedy franchise, ran for 11 seasons – most recently in 2017; and The Promised Land is a feature-length TV movie – out this year. Yes, the programme is an acquired taste. Strangely, too, many episodes are impacted by a virus or three (physiological, not main-frame).
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For fighter pilots, it is a minimum requirement. But having 20/20 ‘visual acuity’ (correct term) does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision (as convention assumes); instead, it indicates sharpness and clarity of vision at a distance. It is measured by a Snellen Chart, which displays letters of progressively smaller size and whereby 20/20 means that the test subject sees the same line of letters at 20 feet that a person with normal vision sees at 20 feet (or 6 metres; but 6/6 simply didn’t catch on).
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Dame Agatha Christie (née Miller) published more than 80 books and plays; and the Guinness Book of World Records lists her as the best-selling novelist of all time with roughly two billion copies sold. ‘And then there were none’ was originally published in 1939, with an un-politically correct title; and it is still the world’s best-selling mystery (with more than 100 million sold). It is also number six on the list of best-selling books of all-time.
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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.
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Dwight Barkley PhD is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. He studies waves in excitable media such as the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, heart tissue and neurons. In 1997, Dr Barkley and Dr Laurette Tuckerman, a Paris-based mathematical physicist, developed ‘bifurcation analysis for time steppers’, which is a technique for modifying computer codes to perform bifurcation analysis. More lyrical, perhaps, Dwight is also known for formulating an equation to estimate how long it will be until a child in a car asks the question “are we there yet?” And, it is shown on the image on page 3 of this report. Herein, there are three factors which decide the timing of this wearisome question i.e. one plus the number of activities, divided by the number of children in the car squared. That figure is then added to the time it took the family to get into the car and set off on its journey. Crucial in putting off the first query as to the proximity of the destination are onboard activities for children i.e. no activities equals a question before leaving the driveway. Dr Barkley says: “Mathematics can help answer many of life’s questions”. If only the Brexit journey were that simple. It is not. We are all children now stuck in the back seat; and, maybe, we are still on the driveway with a dearth of on-board activities. Yes, three years on Brexit-resolution-fatigue is making itself felt across the board, including the UK Housebuilding Sector, where the fall in value in 2Q’19 was 7%. Berkeley said something similarin its final results, on 20 June, when it lamented an uncertain operating environment and “a lack of visibility in the political outlook”; and its PBT is expected to fall by a further third this fiscal year. The daily Sector value chart is also lurching from top-left to bottom-right (as is the British Pound versus the Euro). Yes, there were two palpable positives in 2Q from the NHBC and UK Finance about building activity and mortgages; plus, on the third day of 3Q, CBRE’s bid for Telford Homes. Nonetheless, prospective earnings growth for the Sector is now flat in both 2019 and 2020. This is about the journey.
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Y2K is a numeronym and was the common abbreviation for the year 2000 software problem; and, for the benefit of millennial readers, the abbreviation combines the letter ‘Y’ for year and ‘K’ for the SI unit prefix kilo, meaning 1000. Hence, 2K signifies 2000.
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‘From the deserts of East Ham to the gardens of Cottenham’, the UK Housebuilding Sector was whacked to the tune of 27% in 2018; and not one share price (out of 18) rose on the London Stock Exchange.
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“It’s like the cow that every single day during 10 years sees the train crossing in front of it at the same time. And if you ask the cow what time is the train going to come, it’s not going to have the right answer. In football it’s the same”.
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This VAR was conceived in 2010 by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) but it was seven years later, in April 2017, that it had its professional club competition debut in the A-League in Australia in a match between Melbourne and Adelaide.
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This ominous-sounding term originated from the work of famed Swedish meteorologist, Tor Bergeron (1897-1977), but it only entered popular vernacular this year – and there have been ample opportunities in 2018 to use it.
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2018 is the year of the Great Exhibition of the North. This summer, Newcastle and Gateshead will play host to a government-sponsored, 80-day marathon of events. Billed as the largest event in England this year, the Great Exhibition will showcase the best of the North East’s art, culture, design and innovation and we expect it to highlight the region’s ongoing success in high-end engineering, technology and life sciences. It may also reflect on the success of the North East’s plcs, the most striking example of which is Sage’s transition from 1980’s start-up to £9bn FTSE100 stalwart. We remain on the look out for the next Sage and expect the region to continue to produce attractive IPO candidates following Ramsdens’ success last year. Overall 2017 was a positive year for the region’s listed companies, one highlight of which was the takeover of Quantum Pharma, an N+1 Singer client, by Clinigen for £150m. We are confident that 2018 will be another successful year. Our top regional picks this year are Hargreaves Services, Zytronic and Applied Graphene Materials.
Companies: AGM BWY GRI GRG HSP IDH KMK REDD RFX UTW VNET ZYT
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH LN) Significant European acquisition | Northern lights The year of the Great Exhibition
Companies: DPH AGM BWY GRI GRG HSP IDH KMK REDD RFX UTW VNET ZYT
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Boohoo has announced meaningful progress in its Agenda for Change Programme, to deliver long lasting change to its supply chain and business practices. Sir Brian Leveson PC has been appointed to provide independent oversight of the programme, with KPMG engaged to provide additional resource, expertise and independence, working alongside the Group’s internal responsible sourcing and compliance team, as well as with external supply chain audit specialists Bureau Veritas and Verisio. We believe the calibre of the appointments reflects the Group’s unwavering commitment to implementing in full, and with complete transparency, all recommendations of the Independent Review.
Companies: boohoo group Plc
We believe Accrol’s acquisition of LTC represents a transformational transaction which the potential to consolidate the Group’s leading position in the private label tissue market to c.30% share. On completion of the deal, the Group’s combined customer base will be stronger and broader with a step change in capacity to further accelerate its already impressive growth which continues to outpace the market. We estimate the acquisition to be 14.2% EPS enhancing in FY22E the first full year of ownership. The core Accrol business continues to trade solidly, driving an additional upgrade to our underlying numbers today. We believe Accrol’s established platform can deliver an market capitalisation of £400m+ over the medium term.
Companies: Accrol Group Holdings plc
President Trump likes to project himself as a highly successful businessman, but surprisingly little is known about his true financial position. Various articles, including a 2016 in-depth analysis by The Wall Street Journal, have speculated about his income and asset base. All sorts of claims and counter-claims have been made about his wealth – by Trump himself, pitching his fortune at some $9bn, and by journalist Timothy O'Brien, suggesting that it is as “low” as $150m-$250m. It is doubtful whether we shall ever know the truth, but we can use Trump’s UK corporate filings to gain an insight into his businesses in Scotland.
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discoverIE has weathered the pandemic well, with H1 sales down -6% and adj. PBT down -12%. Cash flow was particularly strong, reducing net debt from £61m at March 2020 to £42m at September. The second half has started well, with orders ahead of sales and up on last year, and dividends have resumed with a 3.15p interim (up +6% on last year). We are factoring a touch more caution into our forecasts to allow time for orders to build into sales, but reiterate our view that discoverIE is resilient, flexible and well positioned for growth in the structurally growing markets of Renewable Energy, Transportation, Medical and Industrial & Connectivity.
Companies: discoverIE Group PLC
Games Workshop’s (GAW) update highlights that trading remains ahead of the board’s expectations and that PBT in H121 will be not less than £80m, with growth of at least 37% on H120, and just 10% below the COVID-19-affected FY20. Demand continues to be driven, predominantly, by the recent new Warhammer 40,000 release and through the Trade and Online channels, while Retail is still recovering from the COVID-19 closures. Retail outlets are closed where required by governments but, unlike during the previous lockdown, the factory and warehouses are still operating following investment to make the locations compliant with social distancing requirements. We upgrade our FY21 PBT forecasts by 14%.
Companies: Games Workshop Group PLC
IG Design Group delivered H1 adjusted operating profit and adjusted PBT increases of 13% and 16% to $32.4m and $30.2m respectively, ahead of prudent market expectations for the full FY21E financial year. This robust H1 performance, accompanied by an intensified focus on cash management - which saw average leverage reducing to 0.2x from 1.1x last year – has enabled the group to declare an unchanged interim dividend of 3.0p. We have subsequently raised our FY21E PBT and dividend forecasts, though our H2 forecasts continue to reflect a cautious view across the peak trading period given ongoing uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 backdrop.
Companies: IG Design Group plc
Today’s announcement confirms the strong trading momentum seen in Q1 has continued YTD. Group sales are +45% YOY with revenue growth across all geographies and brands, and profitability improving YOY.
We initiate coverage of Argo Blockchain with a 17p target price and conservative forecasts. Argo operates a highly efficient cryptocurrency mining platform in Canada and the US, where it uses c16k specialised computers/machines to mine the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (c90% of revenue) and Zcash. It differentiates because of its access to abundant, low cost power in these locations, and the proprietary technology that its team has created to optimise its machines’ operations. Argo has already achieved a cash payback of 1.3x on the machine investment it made in 2019, and we expect that Argo’s platform will deliver strong growth in the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency market, where the price of Bitcoin has increased to $19,000 from $9,000 in May 2020. Using conservative assumptions for mining rewards, and a spot Bitcoin price, we introduce forecasts for organic revenue growth of +34% to £25.3m, EBITDA growth to £11.1m from £5.6m, adjusted EPS of 0.7p, and EFCF of £7m. We also highlight in our 95p upside case that Argo’s platform is strongly geared to the interaction between Bitcoin’s price and the difficulty of mining Bitcoin, and in our downside case we highlight that under highly adverse assumptions Argo would still continue to generate EFCF, and deliver FY23 net cash of £11m or 4p per share. This attractive skew of share price outcomes demonstrates that Argo looks undervalued on 18x FY21 P/E, 9x FY21 EV/EBIT, and 17% FY21 EFCF yield, with peers on 26-40x P/E, EV/EBIT of 21-28x, and EFCF yields of 2-3%. We watch for changes in Bitcoin’s price and mining difficulty, Argo demonstrating operational efficiency at its results, and the potential acquisition of its Canadian datacentres.
Companies: Argo Blockchain Plc
The group has announced it has successfully raised £11m in an equity placing to help accelerate capex on a new IHT manufacturing site based on guaranteed minimum production volumes and ahead of anticipated customer orders. It is expecting a significant ramp up in production in FY21 following a multi-year £38m production order from a UK-based EV manufacturer. Strong progress is being made with its customer trials for the medical catheter market, which together with other expected new business requires additional capacity to be put in place.
Companies: Trackwise Designs Plc
Trackwise has announced a placing and open offer, potentially raising up to £12.0m (gross). This is to fund a new manufacturing facility that is expected to quadruple IHT production capacity. The additional capacity is required to support the up to £38m electric vehicle (EV) contract announced in September and potential volume orders from electro-surgical catheter manufacturers and aerospace OEMs and suppliers.
CAP-XX Ltd* (CPX.L, 6.8p/£30.1m) | Tern plc* (TERN.L, 6.85p/£20.6m) | Location Sciences Group plc* (LSAI.L, 0.45p/£1.0m)
Companies: CPX TERN LSAI
Victoria has proved to be highly resilient in a challenging first half with revenues of £305.5m (H1 FY2020A £312.3m). The Group has seen 9.2% like for like revenue growth since the AprilMay lockdown and with the added benefit of operational actions and synergies the underlying EBITDA margin for the June-September period was ahead 300 bps LFL at 20.1% (H1 overall 17.2%). Net debt at 3rd October reduced by £5m from the year end to £364.4m, excluding IFRS 16 lease liabilities of £78.5m, with improved cash flow conversion. Understandably, the statement notes that it remains difficult to provide formal guidance for FY2021. Nevertheless the Board expects an outcome that will be well ahead of current market forecasts. We have no formal forecasts at the present time and will initiate coverage in due course.
Companies: Victoria PLC
A number of REITs have the ability to thrive in current market conditions and thereafter. Not only do they hold assets that will remain in strong demand, but they have focus and transparency. The leases and underlying rents are structured in a manner to provide long visibility, growth and security. Hardman & Co defined an investment universe of REITs that we considered provided security and “safer harbours”. We introduced this universe with our report published in March 2019: “Secure income” REITs – Safe Harbour Available. Here, we take forward the investment case and story. We point to six REITs, in particular, where we believe the risk/reward is the most attractive.
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RA has announced interim results well ahead of H1/19, with H1/20 revenue up 53.5% and underlying operating profit up 118.8% versus the same period last year, despite the impact of COVID-19 causing delays to various (particularly Construction related) projects and highlighting RA's ability to consistently deliver under very challenging conditions. RA has now established firm contract award momentum with US$86m of cumulative new business awarded since FY19. Including the recently announced agreement (20 August 2020) with Danakali JV, Colluli Mining, where RA has been appointed preferred supplier, would add a further US$20m once finalised and bring the total to a value representing 153.4% of FY19A revenue. Despite the inevitable COVID-19 interruption during FY20, RA has demonstrated its ability to continue to expand its business substantially, further diversifying revenue by both geography and customer base. We expect to see further contract wins coming through during H2/20 and with all major delayed projects now recommenced and building towards normalised operational activity, the outlook into FY21 is strong.
Companies: RA International Group Plc
McBride has delivered a mixed FY20 performance, with a weaker H1 and a bounce back in H2 as a result of increased demand due to COVID-19. A strategy review has been undertaken, and the company will be reorganised into separately managed product divisions. Time will tell if this will successfully address McBride’s long-term challenges, but the new CEO has a thorough knowledge of the business, and we await further details, which are due to be announced in February.
Companies: MCB MCBRF 10W