A strong finish to FY20
Companies: Frontier Developments Plc
Guidance beaten for FY20; upping our target price
Guidance upgraded and new IP license; Buy
Companies: OMI SAR GDR TEK FIPP SCLP IOG FDEV AVCT
Multi-year deal signed with F1 franchise
Alibaba's buys a stake in Klarna; Zoom falls despite earnings beat; Improbable's losses hit £63.7m
Companies: CDM FDEV KWS SUMO TM17
Interim results: All on track
January 2020 Trading Update
Companies: FDEV ATQT TEG ERIS FRAN IMMO AEE AMS MBH SSTY
Xbox Series X to launch holiday 2020
Companies: BIDS FDEV CDM SUMO TM17 KWS GFIN
We continue to take a selective stance on stocks within the small cap Technology space. The sector’s equity performance was lacklustre over 2019, rising 4% and keeping pace with the All-Share index (relative to multi-year periods of outperformance) as investors took a cautious stance on geopolitical and macro risk. We believe cautious sentiment is likely to dominate trade during the first half of 2020 and maintain our preference for consumeroriented players, consistent with our Arden Thematic Technology framework. Our top picks for 2020 are CDM, EVRH*, SUMO and VNET.
Companies: CALL CDM FDEV KWS SUMO TM17
Frontier Developments issued a trading update this morning which included several developments from its portfolio of games. Planet Coaster which has been PC exclusive since its launch in November 2016 will come to consoles (Xbox One and PS4) in Summer 2020.
We attended the Frontier Development capital markets day for institutional investors and analysts at the group’s offices in Cambridge yesterday. Whilst there was no new material information provided at the event, various senior managers provided valuable insight into the high-level detail of planning and execution which goes into making a game. The current managerial set-up and capacity the group has in Cambridge, validates the recent move into third-party publishing which we highly favour.
Frontier Development confirmed the successful release of Planet Zoo on PC yesterday as planned. The game debuted at number one on the global bestseller Steam chart following its 12pm (GMT) release. The release marks the group’s 4th franchise and is expected to help offset the expected decline in sales from JWE as it moves into its second year of sales. We’ve forecasted Planet Zoo sales to account for 33.9% of total sales in FY20. Whilst this accounts for less than the 42.1% we forecast for JWE sales in FY20, the group is expected to benefit from an uptick in gross margin from 60.9% to 65.4% in FY20, as a result of Planet Zoo being own-IP.
Shares of Nintendo surged on Friday after the Japanese gaming company said Thursday that its second-quarter operating profit more than doubled amid strong sales for the recently launched Switch Lite device. By Friday's market close in Japan, Nintendo's stock skyrocketed 7.46%. Between the Switch Lite's launch on Sept. 20 and the end of the quarter, Nintendo said it sold 1.95 million units of its handheld-only device. Sales figures for the Switch Lite - a stripped down and lower-priced version of Nintendo's flagship Switch console - are being closely watched by the market.
Companies: BIDS CDM FDEV GFIN KWS SUMO TM17 UNG
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The group’s H1 trading update is reassuring, with a strong first half, pointing to a continuation of previously indicated trading patterns. Revenue and profit has been resilient, while cash flow has been strong, returning to normalised patterns having repaid PAYE and VAT and also its final dividend in September. H1 trading benefited from a strong order book heading into the lockdown and due to some delays in order intake over recent months has an order book around 7% less than last year. Management is cautiously optimistic, but still considers that the trading outlook remains uncertain, so guidance remains withdrawn. As such, we look to the December interims to resume forecasts, when order visibility will be clearer.
Companies: Solid State plc
IG Design Group’s H1 trading update for the six month period to 30 September has delivered both top and bottom line performance ahead of management expectations, driven by a strong recovery in Q2. Group revenues rose by 40% including the CSS acquisition. Excluding CSS, sales were just 8.3% down, having been down 11.7% on an LFL basis in Q1. Customer orders now exceed 80% of full year revenue forecasts. This robust sales performance has been accompanied by significant deleverage with period end net debt of $23.2m, compared with $106.1m last year. CSS is now fully integrated and focussed on delivering sales opportunities, with cost synergies ahead of schedule. While H1 performance suggests forecast risk is weighted to the upside, management prudently highlights caution on the FY21E outturn given the continuing Covid backdrop and associated risks, hence our unchanged forecasts at this stage.
Companies: IG Design Group plc
Zytronic’s year end update highlights the impact of the pandemic on the year to 30th September. Sales reduced to £12.7m (FY19: £20.7m) but, encouragingly, EBITDA for the year was positive. Cash at the year end was £14.0m (FY19: £13.1m), which has increased by £1.6m since 31st March. Uncertainty remains over demand levels, particularly within the Gaming and Financial sectors, but the Group is in a strong financial position with a strong balance sheet and well invested operations. We will reinstate forecasts as visibility improves. A further update will be provided alongside the Group’s preliminary results, which are expected to be published in early December.
Companies: Zytronic 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.
Companies: boohoo group Plc
Solid State’s post-close trading update states that, despite the coronavirus pandemic, it expects to announce revenues and adjusted profits for H121 that are similar to those for H120, which was a record first-half performance for the group. Although management notes some delays in order intake and a shortening of client order scheduling related to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, it currently anticipates that FY21 performance will be similar to that for FY20.
Q3 figures beat expectations with a strong volume/mix and a significant acceleration in emerging markets. Even so, no return to FY20 guidance.
Companies: Unilever PLC
Reckitt reported stronger than expected Q3 20 revenue growth of 13.3%, on an lfl basis, to £3.5bn, driven by strong growth in Health (+12.6%) and Hygiene (+19.5%). Factoring in FX headwinds of 6.4pp, reported growth came in at 6.9%.
Management upgraded FY20 top-line growth expectations to low double-digit (vs high single-digit earlier) while keeping EBITDA guidance unchanged (350bp margin contraction vs FY 19). Following the strong Q3 performance, we will raise our estimates as well as the target price.
Companies: RBN RB/ RB 3RB RBGPF
Transense Technologies (Transense) is a developer and manufacturer of sensor technology and equipment. The recent transfer of the assets and licensing of iTrack IP is game changing as far as the future is concerned and leaves Transense with two existing sensor divisions, plus a royalty income stream which we conservatively forecast to grow from a current run rate of c.£0.6m pa to £2.3m in FY2023 and strong cash generation. Q1 2021 results indicate a near breakeven position and having reached an important inflexion point in its development we consider Transense to be an extremely attractive investment opportunity at the current share price.
Companies: Transense Technologies PLC
CAP-XX Ltd* (CPX.L, 4.5p/£19.9m) | Gfinity plc* (GFIN.L, 3.8p/£28.9m) | MTI Wireless Edge Ltd* (MWE.L, 44p/£38.7m) | Newmark Security plc* (NWT.L, 1.175p/£5.5m)
Companies: CPX GFIN MWE NWT
Trackwise Designs has signed a three-year product manufacture and supply agreement with a UK electric vehicle OEM. The agreement is potentially worth up to £38m in total, subject to pricing revisions, and will generate up to £5.0m in revenues in FY21. This will be the first full series production of flexible circuits incorporating Trackwise’s Improved Harness Technology (IHT). The agreement represents a step change in sales as total revenues for H120 were £2.4m, of which IHT was only £0.3m.
Companies: Trackwise Designs Plc
Trackwise Designs has developed a proprietary, proven technology, IHT, for manufacturing extremely long, flexible circuits that can replace conventional wiring harnesses. This disruptive technology is applicable to many industries including electric vehicles (EVs), medical devices and aerospace. Trackwise has already manufactured prototypes for customers in each of these sectors and received its first series production order from an EV manufacturer this September. Since IHT is an adaptation of the proven technology Trackwise uses for making advanced printed circuits, IHT has the transformative potential of a new technology but with much less risk.
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).
Companies: ABBY BDEV BWY BKG VTY CRN CSP CRST GLE GLV INL MCS PSN RDW SPR TW/ WJG
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).
Companies: WJG BKG CSP CRST MCS INL BDEV RDW GLE SPR TW/ PSN VTY GLV CRN ABBY BWY
The covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the share price of property companies, with 31% wiped off the value of their total market capitalisation during the first quarter of 2020.
Companies: AEWU CREI CSH BOOT INL HLCL THRL SUPR RESI RGL DIGS GR1T SOHO PHP EBOX ASLI UTG AGR UAI BLND UANC CAL SHED CWD WHR EPIC WKP GRI YEW HMSO PCA CCRGF NRR
Zytronic’s interims, as expected, confirm a reduction in revenue and profitability consistent with the lower level of order intake towards the end of CY19. Encouragingly, sales and order intake improved considerably in February and March. This momentum has been frustrated by the impact of COVID-19, causing supply and logistical issues as well as an inevitable drop in demand. The Board acknowledges the challenge of providing anything beyond very short term guidance. We have therefore withdrawn our forecasts at this stage and will review the situation as visibility improves. We believe Zytronic is well positioned to emerge strongly as and when demand normalises.