Much has been written about the effects of the virus on the world and on the stock market. Here is one analyst’s take on some of the likely impacts on the way we should look at companies. This article was originally produced as a blog, “10 Changes Post Virus”, which was published a few weeks ago.
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Much of the UK’s privatisation programme took place between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s: subsequent sales have been few. Undoubtedly, privatisation attracted many private investors to the market, many for the first time.
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600 Group is a distributor, designer and manufacturer of industrial products. This morning, the group has released a trading update, stating that as a result of order intake being weaker than previously expected due to a number of factors, results for the year to 31 March 2020 will be significantly below expectations.
Companies: 600 Group
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.
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Companies: DSG TST SIXH
Against the backdrop of some pretty tough overseas markets, today’s interims show good progress in revenue and profitability, albeit this was driven by a knockout performance by both the UK operations and CMS, acquired in June. On a purely organic basis, and stripping out exceptionals relating to settlement of the pension scheme, the performance was broadly flat. The UK performance was aided no doubt by substantial self-help measures in streamlining the business and the move to a newly kitted out facility in Elland, West Yorkshire
UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) – Corporate – £2M Equity Raise | 600 Group (SIXH) – Corporate – Interim Results
Companies: UK Oil & Gas Investments 600 Group
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.
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600 Group (SIXH) – Corporate – Trading in line
AMRYT PHARMA PLC— a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and delivering innovative new treatments to help improve the lives of patients with rare or orphan diseases have raised $60m before expenses and will relist on the AIM Market on the 25/09/2019. VAALCO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: EGY), an independent energy company focused on development and production assets in West Africa, today announces its formal intention to seek a Standard Listing on the Main Market of London Stock Exchange ("LSE"), to complement its existing Listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Kaspi.kz, the largest Payments, Marketplace and Fintech Ecosystem in Kazakhstan with a leading market share in each of its key products and services, announces today the expected publication of a registration document that has been submitted for approval to the FCA and its potential intention, subject to market conditions, to undertake an initial public offering . Registration document approved for Helios Towers. The Group provides essential network services, flexible infrastructure solutions and reliable power supply to mobile network operators in five African growth economies. Revenue increased 7 per cent. year-on-year to US$191m (H1 2018: US$178m), with Adjusted EBITDA up 15 per cent. year-on-year at US$99m (H1 2018: US$86m) for the six months ended 30 June 2019.
Companies: CKT IDEA SIXH IMMO EOG AMP SGM MERC RQIH AMYT
This morning’s results are a small beat at the adjusted PBT and EPS lines. Although revenue was slightly lower than our expectation ($66.7m vs $71.0m), the restructuring of the UK business including relocation to a more streamlined site and the cessation of some lossmaking activities has led to a material increase in overall gross margin (36.1% vs 33.7%). The current year to March 2020 is underpinned by an order book 6.5% ahead of this time last year coupled with a first time contribution from Control Micro Systems, Inc, the laser systems business acquired last month for $10m.
ReAssure Group plc - The Group is a leading closed book life insurance consolidator in the United Kingdom with 4.3m policies, £68.7 billion of assets under administration on a Post-L&G Illustrative Basis. It is considering a premium listing segment of the main market.
Voyager AIR The Com pany w ill focus on the acquisition, leasing and m anagement of prim arily widebody aircraft, w ith asset management services to be provided by Amedeo Limited the IPO will comprise a Placing and Offer for Subscription of Shares to raise up to approximately US$200m.
Companies: CRC XSG ELA REDX ORCP SIXH CAML TCN TLOU DBOX
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.
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600 Group - Acquisition of CMS Inc; 13% current year EPS upgrade
Alumasc Group plc, the prem ium building products, system s and solutions group, has announced its intention to m ove from the Premium Segment of the main market to AIM. Expected market cap of £33.4m. Expected 25 June 2019 Expected market cap of £36.5m
Argentex a UK-based forex service provider founded in 2011 by its current management team which operates as a Riskless Principal for nonspeculative and forward foreign exchange as structured financial derivatives is looking to join AIM. Offer TBC, expected 25 June
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Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on 600 Group.
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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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Full-year results were at a record level and slightly ahead of expectations by £0.2m at the adjusted PBT level, or 2.8% better at the EPS level. Cash generation was also stronger than expected, resulting in net cash of £3.2m. The dividend was maintained – a sign of confidence. Good strategic progress was made, helped by the integration synergies of Pacer and new product development programmes. Our forecast and price target remain under review given COVID-19-related uncertainties.
Companies: Solid State
The announcement that Avon Rubber is to sell milkrite | InterPuls, its dairy division, to DeLaval Holding for £180m gross proceeds is strategically logical and financially compelling. The fit of dairy and defence has always looked slightly anomalous and the terms of the deal show that the opportunity to augment dairy through value-accretive deals is difficult given the scale of the business and opportunities. Management must now recycle the cash balances that will be created into Avon Protection, where there are a greater number of potential investments.
Companies: Avon Rubber
Brick and concrete products manufacturer Forterra has raised c. £55m gross in an equity placing in order to maintain its strong balance sheet and support the Group's continued investment programme. It was accompanied by, in our view, a reassuring trading statement which we believe is backed by yesterday’s brick industry data and comments from housebuilders, which suggest that demand has been recovering from its lockdown lows, before the PM’s promises to “build, build, build” housing and infrastructure.
Successful K3 Capital placing to raise £30.45m (gross) at 150p to fund the £9.3m acquisition of Randd UK Ltd, an R&D tax credit specialist with an LTM EBITDA of c.£2.0m, with a margin of c.50% and revenues typically contracted for 5 tax years with many recurring thereafter, followed by future potential deals in SME exposed markets. K3 has established itself as an innovative company that is able to effectively gather, generate and mine large quantities of data in order to scale up M&A services to SMEs. Transferring these lead generation capabilities to adjacent SME markets can allow rapid growth from proven models, at scale.
Companies: K3 Capital Group
Blackbird plc* (BIRD.L, 19.25p/£64.7m) | Mirada plc* (MIRA.L, 92.5p/£8.2m) | Tern plc* (TERN.L, 10.75p/£29.0m) | Checkit plc (CKT.L, 39.5p/£24.5m)
Companies: BIRD MIRA MIRA TERN CKT
Further Profitable Growth to Come
discoverIE reported FY20 results ahead of our forecasts for underlying operating profit and EPS. Looking through short-term COVID-19-related disruption, the company has set new strategic targets for the next five years. These are a continuation of the strategy to grow the Design & Manufacturing business organically and via acquisition and include the target to increase the group operating margin from 8.5% (pro forma) to 12.5%. We maintain our normalised operating profit and EPS forecasts.
Companies: Discoverie Group
The Norcros operating companies largely performed relatively well in challenging market conditions (in both the UK and South Africa) in FY20 though year end trading was affected by COVID-19 lockdowns, as flagged previously. The group’s financial position appears robust following management actions (including foregoing an FY20 final dividend) and well-placed to both contend with weaker near-term markets and the pursuit of market share gains from a position of relative competitive strength. Our estimates remain suspended at this time.
Updating forecasts following 2019 results
Companies: Trackwise Designs
Full year results ahead - robust position against uncertain near-term backdrop
Solid State is a manufacturer of computing, power and communications products, and value added distributor of electronic components. This morning, the group has released full year results with PBT and EPS slightly better than our upwardly revised forecasts had assumed and reflecting a strong margin performance in the year. As previously flagged, cash generation was particularly strong. The group entered FY 2021E with a strong order book, which is reported to have stood at £37.9m as at 31 May 2020, an increase of some 5.6% from a year earlier. With little in the way of cancellations or deferrals of orders, Q1 2021E revenue has held up well, whilst order intake has been just under 15% lower than the prior year, which suggests a weaker revenue performance in Q2/Q3 but with the tender pipeline implying a potentially stronger Q4. Reflecting the present uncertainty, we leave our forecasts under review for the time being. Fundamentally, and backed by a strong balance sheet, we believe that Solid remains well positioned to come through the current crisis and will emerge as one of the winners when normal service resumes.
The Smart Zones customer base is expected to reopen, to a large extent, this weekend. The reopening of pubs will bring forward a revised billing profile and markedly improve the Smart Zones revenue base. Smart Machines continues to operate profitably and the group's Business Interruption Loan should buttress the balance sheet through this year. While our forecasts remain withdrawn we can see an encouraging pathway to normalised trading next year.
Companies: Vianet Group
Smart Metering Systems (SMS) has announced that it has emerged from the recent Covid-19 uncertainty in a strong financial position and taken the decision to return funds received from the Government under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme. Current net cash of £48m (not including furlough grant) is ahead of previous expectations and underlying profitability for the year to 31 December 2020 is expected to be in line with expectations prior to lockdown, despite the obvious interruptions to meter installation activity that it has caused. During lockdown essential emergency field engineering work continued and SMS completed the sale of a proportion of its meter asset portfolio for a gross cash consideration of £291m (£282m net). In March 2020, SMS announced that it would rebase its dividend to 25p (prospective yield 4.3%), index linked to FY24 and commencing payments in October 2020, quarterly thereafter. A phased resumption to meter installation activity commenced on 1 June 2020.
Companies: Smart Metering Systems
As flagged in the April trading update, Solid State’s FY20 results showed a 19.7% growth in revenues and 34.3% jump in adjusted profit before tax. Demand from the medical and food retail sectors is strong but weakness in the oil & gas and commercial aviation sectors related to the coronavirus pandemic is likely to result in lower year-on-year sales during Q2 and early Q321. While management sees potential for a Q4 recovery, the current range of FY21 profit outcomes is wide, so it is not providing guidance.
Salt Lake Potash has received commitments to raise A$15m through the placement of unsecured zero-coupon Convertible Notes to Equatorial Resources (ASX:EQX) and institutional investors. The Convertible Notes have been structured as deferred equity with zero coupon and mandatory conversion into equity at the lower of 45c/share or a 5% discount to any future equity raising of at least A$10m. These funds will enable Salt Lake Potash to continue to develop Lake Way to the project schedule through July as they finalise debt financing. Plant practical completion and first SOP sales remain on schedule for the March 2021 quarter. The debt financing process in its final stages and with an agreement expected to be executed within weeks.
Companies: Salt Lake Potash