The Group has reported H1 18 EBITDA of US$7.7m, down from the US$24.4m reported in the same period last year.
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This quarter we use finnCap’s Slide Rule to provide both top-down and bottom-up analysis of the UK’s Technology and Telecoms sectors. Our findings are very reassuring: the Tech sector scores the best (across all sectors) when considering Growth and Quality – Taptica*, Frontier Developments* and dotDigital* in particular stand out on these metrics. Given these attractive characteristics and growth prospects, the Tech sector is unsurprisingly one of the most expensive – currently trading at 17.2x FY1 EV/EBIT and 23.8x FY1 P/E, versus 15.0x and 18.5x respectively for the wider market. Despite valuations appearing high, we believe there are value opportunities. For example, Proactis* features in finnCap’s QVGM+ portfolio (ranked 17/462) – the company offers attractive organic and inorganic growth, with earnings forecast to grow by 26% CAGR over the next two years, but despite this, only trades on 15x FY1 earnings and offers 8% FCF yield in FY2.
Companies: 7DIG ALT AMO ARTA BOTB BLTG CTP CITY D4T4 DTC DOTD ELCO FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IGP IOM KBT KCOM KWS LRM MAI MMX NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE SRT STR TRMR TAX TEP TPOP TRAK UNG VIP ZOO CYAN ONEV SSY SYME WJA
The Group's subsidiary Westcon-Comstor is struggling in EMEA and North America.
Bioventix* (BVXP): Strong trading update (CORP) | Central Asia Metals (CAML): Intended transaction and suspension of trading (U/R) | InnovaDerma* (IDP): Solid operational update (CORP) | Tax Systems* (TAX): Evolution continues (CORP) | Datatec* (DTC): Completion of Westcon-Comstor disposal (CORP) | SimiGon* (SIM): Encouraging contract from The FAA (CORP)
Companies: BVXP CAML IDP TAX DTC SIM
Gem Diamonds (GEMD): Large diamond recovered at Letšeng mine (BUY) | Datatec* (DTC): Year-end trading update and possible sale of Westcon-Comstor (CORP)
Companies: Gem Diamonds Datatec
Enterprise-focused niche applications of tech illustrate how, while trends appear to be fluctuating away from the current poster children of fintech and the Internet
of Things, in fact these developments are refining appropriate application of existing technologies.
Companies: 7DIG AMO ARTA BVC BOTB CTP CITY D4T4 DTC DOTD ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IGP IOM KBT KCOM KWS LRM MAI MMX NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TAX TEP TPOP TRAK UNG VIP ZOO ONEV SSY SYME WJA
ICT evolution is driven by technological development as advances are made which both meet and shape customer requirements. Our 2011 note No such thing as a telco described the modern reality in that former ‘telcos’ now deliver varying elements of a range of managed services. We built on this theme last year, exploring in further detail their evolutionary paths, operating fundamentals, and cashflow yield similarities. In the consumer environment, demand for bundles of technology is complemented by demand for content. Across the pond, the mooted combination of AT&T and Time Warner typifies the bundled need of ‘pipe’ and content, since unbundled alternatives such as FaceTime and WhatsApp can be easier and clearer to chat over, and Amazon and Netflix are easier to watch anywhere. In the UK, BT’s defensive actions cover delivery, content and capabilities, acquiring EE yet also buying football rights. While TV was long ago added to triple play to become quad play, voice is now merely an app, and fixed and mobile seen as just dumb pipes: it's the content that will influence consumer choices. Growth of TV and film as well as music and gaming over IP leads to UK small cap opportunities. In context of the drive to maximise value from pipes and access by offering content and data, we look at some amongst the potential tech small cap beneficiaries: Amino*, Keyword Studios, ZOO Digital*, 7digital*, KCOM* and CityFibre*.
Companies: 7DIG AMO ARTA BVC BOTB CTP CITY D4T4 DTC DOTD EGS ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IMG IGP IOM KBT KCOM KWS LRM MAI MMX NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TAX TEP TPOP TRAK UNG VIP WAND ZOO ARC ONEV SSY SYME WJA
Datatec’s interims to August repeated the underlying detail revealed at the September trading update: the board looks to a sequentially and comparably stronger 2H17 and FY17, with revenue of $3.04bn showing a 7.6% decline vs 1H16 but at a gross margin of 13.8% (1H16: 13.1%), highlighting the challenges faced in a macro environment dominated by the effects of the strong dollar. The 1H dividend has reverted to match the unchanged existing dividend policy (exceeded since 2012) from 8 USc to 4.2 USc, to maintain a fixed three-times cover relative to underlying earnings. While FX has challenged the business momentum, it has benefited the sterling translation effect and therefore we retain our 400p target. Evidence of gentle LatAm recovery to the benefit of revenue, an improving product mix to the benefit of gross margin, and efficiency gains in opex due to the ERP, BPO and other initiatives, all lead to optimism for recovery for Datatec into 2H17 and FY18.
Mobile money has been slow to deliver but investors need to stay engaged as there are plenty of reasons as there are plenty of reasons for success. Mobile penetration and network coverage are growing inexorably and where communication leads, transactions follow, as e-commerce has proven. Banking and payments lead the way but it will embrace other financial services too, from insurance to cross-border remittance. Slowly but surely, mobile money is coming of age.
Companies: 7DIG AN AMO ARTA BVC BOTB CTP CITY D4T4 DTC DOTD EGS ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IMG IGP IOM KBT KCOM KWS LRM MAI NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TAX TEP TPOP TRAK UNG VIP WAND ZOO ARC ONEV SSY SYME WJA
After a challenging year driven negatively by macro-economic circumstances beyond company control, the Datatec board has reiterated confidence with a maintained dividend. The one-off FX cost in Angola will not recur and we can see no further similar situations; the Westcon restructuring and BPO transformations are mostly complete, which will enhance margins and efficiencies; and challenged emerging markets businesses have been right-sized accordingly. Logicalis enjoyed strong second-half margins and strength in the US and Europe. With growth initiatives and margin focus, it is now a question of proving the execution and restoring confidence. Target 400p reiterated.
This quarter's topic: Feasting on Red Tape. 2016 harbours every chance of being a stultifying year, given the imminent local and London mayoral elections, the looming hurdle of Brexit, the summer doldrums, the bizarre potential outcome of the US presidential election and then the home strait to Christmas. Excuses for inactivity abound with regard to spending IT capex budgets.
Companies: 7DIG AN AMO ARTA BVC CTP CITY DTC DOTD EGS ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IGP IOM D4T4 KBT KCOM KWS MAI NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TEP TPOP TRAK UNG WAND ZOO ARC ONEV SSY
This quarter’s topic: Automotive Technology. With the Mobile World Congress approaching at the end of this month and likely to feature so many automotive applications to the extent it should perhaps be renamed the Mobile World of Cars, we examine the growing impact of technology in the automotive industry, from telematics to connected cars and autonomous vehicles.
Companies: 7DIG AN AMO ARTA BVC CITY CNS DTC DOTD EGS ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IGP IOM D4T4 KBT KCOM KWS MAI NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TEP TPOP TRAK UNG WAND ZOO ARC CTP SSY
SCISYS*: H2 confirms recovery (CORP) | Aukett Swanke*: Choosing the moment (CORP) | Independent Oil & Gas*: Skipper licence extension and share issue (CORP) | Datatec*: Ten-month update (CORP) | Penna Consulting: Analyst interview (BUY)
Companies: AUK IOG DTC PNA SSY
Datatec interims to August were well flagged by trading updates in July and September, having indicated FX and margin pressure. Group revenue growth of 10.1% included organic revenue growth of 8.5%, however EBITDA (Datatec measure, post SBP) declined 11% due to the fall-out from US dollar currency exposure, weakness in the high-margin Latin American region, and growth in lower-margin US product sales. Remedies are in hand to correct or minimise further impact and lift the trajectory back up going into FY17, however there are inevitable downgrades (-15%) to FY16 (February year-end) EBITDA. Target 400p (450p).
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The ‘Moving Forward Act', the strongest automotive safety bill in decades, has now been passed in the House of Representatives. The bill is focused on advancing safety technologies proven to reduce crash and harm and to make sure strong safety standards are in place to save lives. The bill, which now needs to be passed in the Senate, will mandate automatic braking, lane-keeping, blind-spot detection, event data recorders as well as DMS in all cars and trucks sold in the US from 2024. This aligns with the European General Safety Regulation, which passed into law in November 2019.
However, in the EU, the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) has requested a 2‐year delay for the introduction of the 2022 Euro-NCAP protocols due to the projected lengthy time that will be needed to recover from the effects of COVID-19. Euro NCAP has agreed, and a delay is now expected to the 2022 and 2024 rating. The new dates will give automakers and Tier 1 suppliers more time to incorporate the necessary changes given the events of recent months with a number of manufacturers announcing 12 month delays to new models.
Companies: Seeing Machines
The FY 2020 results are in line with our expectations and reflect the impact of the previously announced switch from large perpetual licences to recurring annual term licences during the year. Despite the COVID strictures, with its large global partnerships, D4t4 continues to close numerous lucrative data gathering and data management contracts with major blue-chips around the world. It is successfully converting a high proportion of its new sales to recurring revenue contracts, but this will sacrifice growth and earnings in FY 2020 and FY 2021. Nevertheless, with growing recurring revenue base, an exciting pipeline and a very strong balance sheet, D4t4 is very well positioned for continued long-term growth and security.
Companies: D4T4 Solutions
GB Group reported strong performance in FY20 and started taking measures to preserve cash in Q420. Trading in Q121 has been mixed and while management is unwilling to provide guidance for FY21, it has confidence that in the longer term it is well positioned to benefit from the acceleration in digital transformation that should drive demand for its identity data intelligence services. We have upgraded our EPS forecasts by 5% in FY21 and 3% in FY22.
Companies: GB Group
CentralNic’s capital markets day (CMD) on 24 June 2020 introduced the divisional management team and provided insight on each of the three key segments as they will report in FY20: Indirect (Wholesale, Registry); Monetisation (Team Internet); and Direct (Retail, Corporate). We have picked out what we believe are the four key themes from the CMD: FY20 performance, COVID-19 and seasonality; organic growth; M&A; and, pulling it all together, the benefit of scale. CentralNic continues to trade on an FY20 EV/EBITDA of 9.1x and a P/E of 15.8x, a material discount to its peer group, with our DCF indicating further share price upside. M&A could bring CentralNic’s multiples down further.
Companies: Centralnic Group
LoopUp has provided an update on trading to coincide with today’s AGM…in essence, the group continues to see activity “materially” above pre-COVID levels, and is confident of exceeding expectations for 2020. We choose to leave our forecasts (that we believe to be roughly in line with consensus estimates) unchanged for now, in advance of further detail likely with a fuller H1 update in early July.
Companies: Loopup Group
IMImobile has issued an encouraging trading update, highlighting resilience in the Group’s core cloud communications operation. Gross profit rose 20%, with core Cloud comms (c.90%/revs) up >30% (inc. 3C acquisition). We estimate underlying organic decline at -5% y/y, in the middle of our scenario based range (-15% to 7%) with slow decline implying stabilisation in underlying communication traffic volumes post-lockdown. This stabilisation has been driven by growth in core sectors offsetting decline in sectors adversely impacted by the pandemic. Significantly, demand for the Group’s IMIConnect platform (SaaS revenues model) has remained robust as customers look to accelerate Digital Communication strategies, whilst upsell of additional channels in Q1 is also likely to drive future additional volumes from the Group’s existing base. Net cash of £2m is only modestly light of previous N1S forecasts for H1’21 prior to lockdown (£6.3m) and implies positive FCF through the previous 9-month period. We keep forecasts under review at this stage. In the medium-term, we see a path based on undemanding assumptions to FCF of £15m, offering a 7% yield at current valuation. The Group trades on 12x FY’19 EV/EBITDA (c.10x FY (Mar)’20E EBITDA based on previous forecasts), below recent sector acquisition multiples whilst offering a higher proportion of recurring revenue and operating further up the CPaaS value chain.
Gresham continues to show strong progress in difficult times. 18% yoy organic growth in Clareti ARR is amongst the fastest growth of any UK software company. It is being achieved because Gresham has built a disruptive product that is now replacing incumbents at Tier 1 financial institutions around the world. These results underpin our FY20 EBITDA expectations. The implied valuation of Clareti’s ARR is <6x revs, which we think offers value for an emerging leader.
Companies: Gresham Technologies
ECSC Group plc* (ECSC.L, 71.5p/£7.2m) | Trackwise Designs plc (TWD.L, 90.5p/£20.0m) | Transense Technologies plc (TRT.L, 59.5p/£9.7m)
Companies: ECSC Group Trackwise Designs
SDL held an introductory session for the Group’s new SLATE proposition (launched in June). Good traction has been seen within the Group’s existing base presenting an attractive upsell opportunity, whilst also enabling expansion of the Group’s TAM with a market-leading, highly automated and immensely scalable solution. Management estimate SME and ‘off-grid’ translation projects to be a market worth in excess of $10bn, with SLATE allowing the Group to target these areas in a more meaningful way. The new product fits with SDL’s strategic objectives of building deeper relationships with existing customers and building leadership in Language technologies. N1Se conservatively forecast Language Tech segment revenue growth of +4% and +6% for FY’20E and FY’21E. Outperformance in FY’21 by £2m of sales (FY’21E LT growth: +10% y/y) could deliver £1m uplift to EBITDA and FCF we estimate (+3% and +4% vs current forecasts). N1Se FY’21E forecasts currently generate an FCF yield in excess of 8%, with risk to the upside.
A strong interim period to January 2020 delivered the expected £26m revenue as reported in the February trading update, with a 31 January net cash balance also of £26m – EBITDA of £5.6m (post IFRS16), and adjusted PBT of £4.6m highlighting a strong performance. The Group has unchanged strategic ambitions – organic growth and M&A, both in evidence in Rail Technology & Services (RT&S) with 13% organic growth and the post period end acquisition of iBlocks. We withdrew forecasts last week due to the impact of COVID-19 on the 2H-weighted Traffic & Data Services business, given the exposure to cancelled large scale summer events, and uncertainty over traffic surveys; however, the potential for the Group is unchallenged when the world normalises. New contract wins, new product launches, new acquisitions and a hearty balance sheet continued to offer significant upside in 1H and post period end. Target price 900p remains based on our FY21 forecasts, which in theory should be consistent with previous forecasts and we look forward to reinstating numbers when the virus dust settles.
LoopUp recently updated on the first four months of 2020, which have seen an exceptional level of customer activity and new client wins. This is largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated shift towards remote working with additional use of conference calls, but the group has also recently implemented an increased focus on Professional Services, which in our opinion could boost long-term potential. This note focuses on current activity levels within the business, the opportunity within Professional Services and the attitude of investors towards remote meetings companies.
Oxford Metrics has delivered solid 1HMar20 results, with sales of £15.0m (PY: £16.1m) and adj. PBT £0.3m (PY: £1.7). Within this, Yotta demonstrated continued ARR progression (up +15% to £6.8m) while at Vicon, the division added additional bluechip customers, further validating its industry leading position. Progress was, however, held back by lockdown restrictions. £1.1m of expected orders slipped to post period, but have now largely been fulfilled. Had they occurred as expected group sales would have been flat y/y. Looking ahead, CV19 related uncertainty leads us to withdraw forecasts. At this stage we expect disruption to be short-lived. As such – and considering OMG’s persuasive track record - we continue to view the company as a long-term winner in this growth industry.
Companies: Oxford Metrics
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
The Coronavirus pandemic is a human tragedy of vast proportions – as well as the terrible human toll, COVID-19 has led to economies across the globe going into physical lockdown and financial freefall. Entire populations are adapting to the “stay at home” edict, to safeguard the vulnerable – and some of these changes will lead to long-lasting or perhaps permanent changes in the way we live or work. This note describes some of our client companies whose business models are well adapted to these changes, or who might see a change in long-term structural demand.
Companies: AMO BGO FDM GAMA KAPE LOOP TERN ZOO