Xaar has issued an update highlighting that trading for the six months to 30 June has been in line with the Board’s expectations and that good progress is being made in implementing the new strategy. H1 revenue is noted to be £23.7m, a 7% decline relative to H1 FY2019, but sequentially in line with H2 FY2019. In the Printhead business, sales are no longer being made through distributors and OEM customers are now re-engaging with the group. New product development in printheads remains key to reversing market share losses over the last few years. Product Print Systems is marginally ahead in revenue terms in the first half, which is below plan, and Xaar 3D is noted as making good progress in testing despite lockdown restrictions. The balance sheet is strong with cash and cash equivalents of £23.9m. Financial guidance remains withdrawn, given the shorter term uncertainties, with the Board focused on a return to profitability in FY2022. The shares trade at c.0.6-0.7x EV/sales, excluding cash ring fenced in Xaar 3D of $7.25m at 19 November 2019 and the potential payment of $33m should Stratasys exercise its call option over the 55% of Xaar 3D that it currently doesn’t own.
Companies: Xaar plc
FY2019 was a very tough year for the Group, characterised by the decision to cease investment in its Thin Film technology and issues affecting the performance of the core Printhead business. The adjusted loss before tax was £69.8m and included a loss of £9.8m (FY2018 - £4.5m profit) in respect of continuing operations. Period end net cash was £25.3m and this provides the new management team with the resources to implement their strategy and to withstand the uncertain impacts of COVID-19 that are behind today’s expected withdrawal of financial guidance. Whilst management reiterates that the Group has yet to see a significant impact on demand, the statement highlights that the situation continues to evolve rapidly, resulting in actions being taken to preserve cash and to maintain liquidity, including also the use of Government support measures as appropriate. The new strategy looks to address key deficiencies in the previous business model and management believes this sets the right course for an eventual return to profitability and growth in the medium term.
The Group has announced interim results, which include the impact of the decision to cease its Thin Film operations, and also extensive Board changes. In view of the Stratasys transaction we remain restricted and can therefore provide factual comment only. Interim results show an IFRS loss before tax of £52.3m and an adjusted loss before tax of £15.0m. A separate announcement covers management succession that will see the Chairman, SID, CEO and CFO leave the Group.
Ahead of its interim results next week Xaar has announced a significant strategic development for Xaar 3D Limited, its 3D Printer business. Xaar has entered into an agreement with Stratasys that, if approved by shareholders, will see Xaar’s holding in Xaar 3D reduce from 85% to 55% and the issue of a call option that would on exercise see Stratasys own 100% of Xaar 3D. The statement comments that ‘[the group] is pleased that this transaction will create good value for Xaar shareholders and [that it] unlocks the ability for more significant value in due course.’ The proposed transaction and proposed further investment is a Class 1 transaction and also a related party transaction that is subject to shareholder approval which is expected before the end of the year.
Xaar has issued a trading statement together with an update on its strategic review of its Thin Film business and notification that it is to delay the interim results to 26th September (from 10th September). Whilst the statement confirms that first half revenue was £22.5m, trading for the remainder of the year is now expected to be weaker than previously anticipated. Second half revenues are now expected to be similar to the first half. The interims are being delayed to allow time to provide a more meaningful update on a strategic solution to the Thin Film business.
Xaar has issued its scheduled trading update for H1 FY2019E that confirms trading is in-line with management expectations. The statement highlights underlying revenue progression of c.8%, excluding the impact of one-time royalties in H1 FY2018 and a £4m revenue reversal in H1 that is expected to be recovered in H2 FY2019E. There are many moving parts, which additionally include the potential impact from the Thin Film strategic review and the next phase in Xaar’s 3D Printing partnership with Stratasys, and we intend to take a more detailed look at our estimates in the light of the interim results that are due on 10th September 2019.
2018 was a difficult year for Xaar. Revenues from ceramics fell more sharply than the group had expected, while growth in sales of its new Thin Film products was delayed. Management reduced costs, while continuing to drive strategic progress, diversify the business and explore printhead partnering options to share costs/help maximise opportunities. However this was overshadowed by downgrades to profit expectations through the year, and ultimately a move into loss. Given this backdrop, the difficulty for investors is gaining confidence that performance has now troughed and that Xaar’s efforts to build new revenue streams is beginning to pay off. The group has not yet provided proof of its recovery, but we note that ceramics revenues increased in H2 18, while Thin Film and 3D Printing have been validated by external customers and partners. It is difficult to value the company at this stage, but based on our near term forecasts and before any new partnership agreement, we suggest 135p per share.
Xaar has provided an update for 2018, confirming underlying trading and year end net cash in line with its previous announcement from December. It has also highlighted a probable increase in provisions of c.£7m on the basis of prudency, subject to final audit. This is for inventory and debtors, driven by the previously reported slow ramp up of new product volumes in China, primarily its 1201 Thin Film printhead, due to integration issues. The increase in working capital is expected to reverse, but over a longer period than normal. Management expects to take this provision above the line as it relates to sales of continuing products, increasing the reported loss before tax for the year. We have not published updated numbers post the December warning, but noted at the time that this could result in an underlying loss before tax for 2018 of c.£4-5m vs our previous £2m estimate shown below. Post provision, we would expect loss before tax to be closer to £11-12m for the year. The integration issues are now reported to have been resolved with sales volumes expected to increase in 2019. We will review our forecasts following the prelims on 21st March, when management is also expected to give an update on options to reduce costs in its printhead business through more extensive partnering.
Xaar has given an update on trading, which has missed management’s expectations for the final months of 2018. This has been driven primarily by continued declines in sales into its legacy ceramics end market, but also slower than expected adoption of the 1201 printhead. Revenues for 2018 are now expected to be c.£64m, c.£1.5m below our £65.5m forecast, however gross margin has also been impacted by a negative mix effect. We have not yet updated our forecasts, which we place under review, but would anticipate a profit shortfall of c.£2-3m. This could result in a loss before tax of c.£4-5m for 2018, vs our current estimate of a loss before tax of £2.0m. It is disappointing to need to trim our near term forecasts again, particularly given the good progress over recent months regarding longer term revenue streams. This includes securing three new OEM partners (Windmöller & Hölscher, Neos, KELENN Technology) which have adopted Xaar’s 5601 next generation Thin Film printhead for applications in new end markets, with commercial revenues potentially beginning in 2020. Management remains focused on more extensive partnering for its printhead business unit, while also addressing the cost base, and expects to provide an update at the prelims on 21st March.
Redde (REDD LN) Positive start to FY19e, forecasts unchanged | Xaar (XAR LN) Appointments of CFO and Company Secretary
Xaar updated the market last week that trading has been below expectations since the end of June. This has been driven by slower than anticipated adoption of the wellreceived new 1201 printhead and a continued aggressive decline in revenues from Xaar’s legacy ceramic tile printing market. The H1 18 results saw a fall in adjusted operating profit from £7.8m to £3.1m, a reduction in net cash to £36.8m and a rebasing of the dividend to 1.0p. We have cut our estimates to reflect the current difficult trading environment, and now forecast adjusted operating losses for FY18 and FY19. However we would expect these forecasts to increase once the strategic review of the Printhead business is completed, whether due to partnering or to further cost reductions. The results are disappointing, but strategic progress to drive future growth has been encouraging. This includes the new partnership with Stratasys for 3D printing and the announcement by OEM, Windmöller & Hölscher, that it will use Xaar’s new 5601 printhead for the flexible packaging market.
Anpario (ANP LN) Solid H1 results | Be Heard (BHRD LN) Board changes | Future (FUTR LN) Completion of Purch acquisition | Horizon Discovery Group (HZD LN) Downgrade to Hold pending further details of investment plans | Quiz (QUIZ LN) Positive 5 mth performance with continued growth across all channels | Xaar (XAR LN) Disappointing results; positive strategic progress
Companies: ANP BHRD FUTR HZD QUIZ XAR
Churchill China (CHH LN) Continuing to dish out premium growth | IFG Group (IFP LN) Operational progress, but still no clarity on HMRC investigation | Xaar (XAR LN) Trading below expectations; reviewing partnering options for printheads
Companies: CHH IFP XAR
Dunelm Group (DNLM LN) Resilient Q4 sales but heatwave means higher Sale stock (4% d/grade) | Liontrust Asset Management (LIO LN) FuM +9% in Q1, forecasts unchanged | Mobile Streams (MOS LN) Full year update | ReNeuron Group (RENE LN) In-line FY results highlight hRPC deal & upcoming Phase III start in Stroke | Xaar (XAR LN) Joint investment with Stratasys in newly formed Xaar 3D Ltd
Companies: DNLM LIO MOS RENE XAR
Ovoca Gold (to be renamed Ovoca Bio PLC) - RTO of IVIX, a Russian company developing a drug candidate for the treatment of female sexual dysfunctions. No monies to be raised, market cap of £8.5m, due 30 July
Nucleus Financial—independent wrap platform provider . FYDec17 revs £40.36m and PBT of £5.1m. Offer TBA. Due late July.
Kropz PLC-Intention to float by the emerging plant nutrient producer with an advanced stage phosphate mining project in South Africa and exploration assets in West Africa
Companies: XAR ITX TCM KRM GYG ABC ULS WPHO HDD
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Less than a fortnight after a major new contract announcement in West Africa, Capital has announced the expansion of its operations at Barrick Gold’s Bulyanhulu Gold Mine in Tanzania. The contracts include a five-year laboratory services contract for MSALABS, together with a two-year underground grade control drilling contract. Capital commenced operations at Bulyanhulu in February 2020, undertaking a deep hole delineation drilling program. The successful execution of this resulted in an expansion of services, with two underground rigs added to operations from May. The new contract will expand the underground fleet to four, utilising two rigs from the existing fleet and including the acquisition of a further two rigs.
Companies: Capital Limited
Trading to date in FY 2021 has been positive, with no sign of an adverse impact from the second national UK lockdown. Net new business across both divisions is described by management as encouraging and the new business pipeline remains very healthy. With volumes better than expected and margins improving DX is on track to perform materially better than market expectations and we have, consequently, upgraded FY 2021 EPS by 29% and FY 2022 by 15%, driven by stronger assumptions in DX Freight. We have also raised our FCF-based target price from 29p to 33p and reiterate our view that the group is in a strong position to rebuild profitability by winning new business and improving efficiency, productivity and margins.
Companies: DX (Group) Plc
Management is delivering right on cue to its resumed guidance as per the 1 October trading update. H2 revenue recovery is back close to pre-pandemic levels and operating margins have returned to target 3% in quick time – and are sustainable at that level too. Having upheld dividends through this challenging period and actually extended the order book (up 17% YoY and also c3% higher than last reported), TClarke is firmly re-establishing a growth trend on arguably more solid foundations. The share price is 10% higher since the last trading update but in our view remains significantly undervalued against a prospective FY21E EV/EBITDA ratio of 3x, a PE of c6x, yield 4.6% and double-digit FCF yield.
Companies: TClarke plc
The group has released a positive trading update, signalling a strong H2 and performance ahead of expectations. The new guidance points to a 6.7% upgrade to revenues and a 10.5% upgrade to EBITDA. Cash generation has been notably strong, at about $26m, which will drive an increase in supplemental dividends with a dividend yield of 7.1%. We raise our TP from 255p to 285p, based on a target P/E of 14x, giving decent upside to the current 11.6x.
Companies: Somero Enterprises, Inc.
We release prudent FY20E and FY21E forecasts as Xpediator continues to gain momentum and operations revert to pre-COVID levels. The Group has made strategic progress year to date. It has implemented a strict cost reduction programme which should drive annualised cost saving of over £0.5m, restructured and strengthened its management team and further integrated acquisitions. Additionally, it is in the process of consolidating its site portfolio, driving further costs out of the business. We believe the market continues to undervalue Xpediator's geographically diverse revenue base, flexible low fixed cost operating model and positive financial outlook. Accordingly, we move our recommendation from Under Review to Buy.
Companies: Xpediator Plc
Directa Plus has announced that in the October collaboration agreement with NexTech Batteries, it has achieved above 400 Wh/kg (watt-hours per kilogram, the usual measure of energy density) in a practical system. NexTech produced several full-scale pouch format cell prototypes using its proprietary cathode and electrolyte materials (with Directa plus graphene) producing 410Wh/kg of specific energy at a weight only slightly below 30g. For comparison, standard Lithium-Ion batteries have an energy density of 100-265 Wh/kg.
Companies: Directa Plus 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.
Companies: AVO ARBB ARIX CLIG DNL FLTA ICGT PCA PIN PHP RECI STX SCE TRX SHED VTA YEW
Volex has reported interim results that are in-line with expectations following a strong trading update in mid-October. Of far greater significance is today’s announcement of the proposed acquisition of DEKA for a consideration of up to €61.8m on a debt free basis. DEKA is a leading and highly profitable power cord manufacturer, strategically located in Turkey, that serves leading European white goods manufacturers. The acquisition should close in early CY2021, subject to expected Turkish Competition Authority approval. We foresee 15% earnings enhancement in FY2022E with further opportunities for revenue synergies with Volex in the Far East as its operations also vertically integrate, production efficiencies increase and the cost of production falls. The statement highlights that pro forma net debt/EBITDA remains under 0.4x and this provides scope for further bolt-on acquisitions alongside a new $70m RCF and $30m accordion, also announced with the interims.
Companies: Volex plc
Xpediator has delivered a healthy trading update, breaking several revenue records during H2 2020. Furthermore, the outlook for FY21 remains promising, reflecting recovery to more normal levels in Transport Services, a full-year impact of the Nidd acquisition, the turnaround of underperforming businesses, and new ventures. The £6m PBT forecast for FY20 highlights an improving margin, albeit this represents a shortfall from FY18. In our opinion management actions, plus recovering markets, can take the Group to peak margins over the next 18-24 months: delivering a marked increase in profitability.
Brick and concrete products group Forterra has raised its guidance for FY 2020E to above the current consensus range and reinstated dividends following trading in Autumn which exceeded its previous expectations and which has continued strongly despite the second lockdown. We have increased our FY 2020E revenue, EBITDA and EPS estimates by 3%, 14% and 46% respectively, and cut our net debt projection. We have introduced FY 2021E estimates showing further strong expected growth.
Companies: Forterra Plc
SThree has released a brief update ahead of the scheduled Q4 trading update expected on 12th December. The key headline is that an improving trading backdrop over the last few months has driven a better than expected profit performance. Market consensus was clearly too light with the company now guiding for an FY’20 outcome above the top end of the range of expectations. We have updated our forecasts accordingly and now look for FY’20 PBT and EPS of £28.1m / 13.3p respectively – a PBT upgrade of +53% on our previous estimate. Although the company has not formally reinstated full guidance, we are taking this opportunity to publish our estimates for FY’21. SThree has shown good resilience through this pandemic. The combination of STEM industry specialism and the inherently higher short term visibility of the contract focus has afforded SThree management a greater degree of flexibility when it came to aligning the necessary cost actions with the strategic ambitions of building market share in the key, global STEM markets. Costs and headcount have been cut, but they have been targeted and selective. The net result has been an increasingly positive tone in trading commentary, culminating in yesterday’s explicit upgrade. Has this been fully priced in by the market? To an extent yes, with the shares now standing +57% above the May 2020 lows and outperforming the peer group year to date. However, despite this outperformance (share price and operational) SThree still stands at a material valuation discount to its peers. We continue to find the extent of this valuation gap hard to justify.
Companies: SThree plc
The new ammendments to the UK CfD renewable energy support scheme opens up an opportunity for tidal energy to compete against floating offshore wind. We think the two technologies can deliver similar costs but that tidal, and specifically the already permitted capacity at Atlantis’s MeyGen site, has a marginal advantage in terms of readiness.
Companies: SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd.
H1F21 revenue was £107m, down 14.8% y/y (H1F20: £125.6m) and down 11.9% sequentially (H2F20: £121.5m). Q2F21 revenue was up 5.3% y/y, indicating a trend to recovery in the post-lockdown period across both, Ireland and the UK. The strength of LTHM's business model is supported by the diversity of its customer base and the expanse of its product offering, allowing it to withstand fluctuations in demand across market sectors. We believe LTHM stock is a relatively low risk investment given the strong cash position (131.6p/share), no debt and a stable yield. The stock trades at 8x EBITDA, compared to its peer average of ~11.1x, on what are more compelling metrics.
Companies: James Latham Plc
Macfarlane has released a strong trading update for the 4 months to October 31 2020 highlighting second half revenue and PBT to date being ahead of 2019 and the expectation that 2020 PBT will be broadly in line with 2019, a strong recovery from the uncertain position at the interim results. Separately, the Group has announced that CFO John Love will be stepping down from his role and the Board to be replaced by Ivor Gray, current Group Financial Controller and Company Secretary. We expect this to be a seamless transition given Ivor's experience in the Group and represents very well managed succession planning by the Board. Reiterate buy rating.
Companies: Macfarlane Group PLC (MACF:LON)Macfarlane Group PLC (5K6:FRA)
AFC has announced it has secured a long term lease over new premises at its Surrey HQ, which will serve as the Group’s large scale H-Power assembly and commissioning facility. We view this as a positive step forward in AFC scaling up its production to meet strong levels of demand in the current environment. We remain very comfortable with our investment thesis and target valuation of 68p per share outlined in our initiation note in September.
Companies: AFC Energy plc