A strong exit for FOUR from Q4-20 is a key message we are drawing from its trading update this morning, with excellent momentum during the closing months of the year reflecting that the underlying model remains extremely healthy. The data points are weekly order intake lifting from a touch over 60% of the prior year in October to an average of 70% for the whole quarter and hence implicitly suggesting a c.75% level in the latter part of the quarter. Revenues at $US560m are 65% of the prior year – again, a positive number in the context of the pandemic and, taking account of two strong months at the start of FY2020E prior to the onset of the pandemic, also reflect the accelerating progress of the business in the second half. We note the strong recovery in Apparel which was apparent when the company last reported to the market, at which point this sector was operating at close to 2019 levels, with the distribution hub 100% utilised, and no doubt this will have contributed to the overall picture.
Companies: 4imprint Group plc
Companies: FOUR DOTD RBN SOM EVG EVE CGH
4imprint’s trading update indicates that order intake in Q4 was a little better than we had anticipated. Unaudited FY20 revenue was reported at c $560m, or 5% above our prior forecast. We remain circumspect around trading prospects for FY21, given the impact of the pandemic on corporate America and leave our forecast unchanged for now. The indicated year-end net cash balance at $39.8m (excluding lease debt) was well ahead of our projected figure ($22.5m in our modelling), and close to the $40.1m reported in October, implying that cash collections have held up strongly. We continue to view 4imprint as a high-quality investment proposition.
4imprint’s year-end update highlights a continued recovery in weekly order intake from 60% of 2019 in October to 70% in Q4 overall. FY 2020 sales are expected to be c.$560m, down -35% on 2019, and adj. PBT in line with the Board’s expectations. FY 2020 sales are, hence, 4% ahead of our previous forecast. We assume short-term marketing costs have also increased as the opportunity is taken to win market share, but upgrade FY 2020 adj. PBT from $0.8m to $2.8m. We leave our FY 2021 and onwards forecasts unchanged subject to further evidence on the shape and pace of a recovery. Net cash of c.$40m at December 2020 is ahead of our forecast $29m, suggesting a very strong working capital performance. We reiterate our view that the timing and pace of a recovery is very hard to predict, but we believe history will repeat, and that 4imprint will accelerate market share gains and profits can return to pre-COVID levels in 2023.
Companies: FOUR D4T4 XSG
4imprint is an easier to use, more convenient and better value alternative in a very large, fragmented market. Backed by an industry-leading marketing engine, these characteristics have enabled consistent market share gains, and yet share is still modest at 3%. In 2009, the market fell by 22% and 4imprint’s sales by 3% and EPS by 30% as the opportunity to invest in short-term marketing cost for long-term gain was grasped. In 2010, 4imprint’s sales rose by 15% and have averaged +18% p.a. since. The pandemic has hit 4imprint’s promotional products market hard, with industry sales down -44% in Q2, but the group has continued to invest in marketing throughout and is now accelerating spend, backed by its expertise and net cash balance. The timing and pace of a recovery is, of course, very hard to predict, but we believe history will repeat, and that 4imprint will accelerate market share gains and profits can return to pre-COVID levels in 2023.
FOUR's update today shows that the business continues to move forward notwithstanding the difficult general environment caused by Covid. The continuing recovery in order intake is encouraging, and combined with a rise in the size of orders, means that revenues have already reached two thirds of 2019 levels at the same point in the year. Apparel has recovered particularly strongly and is operating at close to 2019 levels, driving 100% utilisation of the Oshkosh distribution hub. Recovering volumes are not just being driven by existing clients, but also by new client acquisitions, as a stable band is being maintained around this ratio (27% in H1-20, 29% in FY-19). Cash, at $US40.1m, is up on the $US37.5m figure reported in early August, both reflecting progress made and providing a robust platform for further progress, while taking account of the challenges inherent in the Covid backdrop.
4imprint’s trading update indicates some encouraging signs, albeit within continuing general caution around the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy. Average order value is increasing as the proportion of apparel in the mix rises, with overall weekly revenue over the last four weeks around 65% of prior year. This is in line with the assumptions underlying our model and there are no changes to our forecasts. The group has a strong balance sheet, with $40.1m of cash at end October (lease debt only). We continue to view 4imprint as a high-quality investment proposition.
4imprint’s first half trading was heavily affected by the commercial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic as it spread across the US. With uncertainty over the speed and extent of the reopening of the US economy, projections for the remainder of the year (and for FY21) are more tentative than usual. Despite the difficult trading circumstances, 4imprint retains a strong, cash positive balance sheet, and has low fixed costs and capital requirements. We believe that it retains its long-term attractions in a large, fragmented market and should rebuild quickly as the economy recovers
This morning's results from FOUR starkly reflect the impact of the pandemic on the company's mid-sized US corporate customer base and on demand generally in the US economy, with gross margins eroding from 32.5% to 29.1% and underlying PBT of $US0.25m a fraction of the H1-19A $US19.8m. Just shy of half a million orders processed in the first half compares with nearly 800,000 in the comparative period in 2019. All of this said, however, these results reflect both the start of improving trends during the latter part of the period and, more importantly, vigorous action by management to preserve cash and manage the cost-base effectively. On the former point, order counts, which stood at 20% of the prior year during the most intense phase of the lockdown in the US, have now moved through 50%, while showing steady upwards progress.
4imprint’s order volumes are starting to recover as the US economy reopens. The company has been diligent at updating the market and the latest update shows order levels improving towards 50% of prior year, having dipped as low as 20% in early April. Cash conservation measures are having the desired effect and the group still had $28.1m cash (with lease debt only) at the end of May, despite having paid out $9.4m as a one-off lump sum into the pension scheme as scheduled. Based on assumptions over the speed and extent of the recovery but in the absence of formal management guidance, we have reinstated provisional forecasts.
We are encouraged by FOUR's update this morning and by the news that order counts have risen significantly, from 20% of the prior year highlighted in the previous (April 7th) RNS to 50% now, with good momentum as now the vast majority of US states have to a greater or lesser degree moved out of lockdown. Cash remains comfortable at $28.1m, and the company's strategy stayed on track during the lockdown with the payment of $US9.4m in a lump sum contribution to the defined benefit pension plan as planned.
4imprint (FOUR.L): Corp | Braemar (BRMS.L): Corp | Circassia Group (CIRCI.L): Corp | ClearStar (CLSU.L): Corp
Companies: 4imprint Group plc (FOUR:LON)Braemar Shipping Services plc (BMS:LON)
In previous downturns, 4imprint’s financial strength and marketing skills have enabled the group to take share and exit in a stronger position. The competition is largely significantly smaller, more local operators that do not have the same financial reserves or marketing expertise. The speed and scale of the COVID-19 downturn is likely to see this trend to an even greater degree. 4imprint has detailed that the lockdown directives in the US and UK have resulted in orders running at c.20% of 2019, and this limited level of activity is likely to continue. Marketing costs typically account for c.75% of operating costs, meaning the cost base can be quickly aligned to market conditions and management has stated the marketing portfolio has been radically re-shaped in a very short space of time, resulting in a mix that is appropriate to current circumstances in terms of both type and cost but equally provides a firm platform to take full advantage of improving conditions when they occur. At the end of Q1, the group had cash of over $50m and no debt; it will also not pay the final dividend, which would have cost $16m. The Board has not fundamentally changed its dividend policy, and it will reassess its position in coming months as the situation becomes clearer. No forward guidance is provided at this stage, and we consequently place our forecasts and target price under review for the time being. However, we maintain our view that 4imprint has the financial strength and proven market-leading business model to exit the current downturn in a stronger market position, providing the basis for the shares to regain previous highs.
4imprint has updated the market for the current impact of COVID-19 on its business, which has changed markedly in the last few days. When we reported on the FY19 results on 3 March, order intake was up 13% y-o-y. Since 10 March, the disruption to the US economy has started to take hold and order levels have dropped significantly. The extent and duration of this phase is uncertain, and we have therefore withdrawn our forecasts for now. The group has a high degree of control over its variable costs in marketing spend and an exceptionally strong balance sheet, with cash of $51m at the end of February and no debt.
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Reach plc today provides a strong Q4 trading update highlighting upgraded FY’20E AOP expectations of £130m-£135m ahead of consensus (cons: £124.3m) and record growth in Digital. Digital sales growth has recovered strongly since Q2, accelerating to 25% y/y (Q3: +13%; H1: -1%) benefitting from both higher traffic through implementation of Group engagement initiatives and yield recovery as advertisers in CV19 impacted verticals return. Print circulation revenue decline moderated to 11.7% y/y in Q4 (Q3: -12.6%), a significant deceleration from the -18.2% y/y in H2 and modestly better than our H2 forecasts. Continued focus on audience engagement, the quality of audience data and insights, and further extension of locally focused digital content we see driving further gains online, with Digital sales still on track to double on a four year view. We are upgrading forecasts, increasing FY’20E sales, AOP and adj FCF by 2%, 6% and 5% respectively, with upgrades filtering into future periods. A 17% FY’21E FCF yield sits well in advance of global peers (3%-7%), with a 10% FCF yield generating an intrinsic valuation of 315p/share.
Companies: Reach plc
Cornish Metals (TSX-V: CUSN) intends to list on AIM. The Company is proposing to raise £5 million by way of private placement of new Common Shares (the "Fundraising") to advance the United Downs copper-tin project. The Company expects that Admission will become effective in February 2021. The Company's Common Shares will continue to be listed and trade on the TSX-V in Canada. Further media reports that Dr Martens, the British Boot brand is planning an IPO on the LSE. It is currently owned by PE group, Permira who is expected to sell down its stake at the IPO. March 2020 YE the group had revenues of £672m and EBITDA of £184m. Deal size TBC. VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc, a closed-ended investment Company focused on making sustainable energy infrastructure investments, today announces intends to launch an initial public offering of shares on the Official List (Premium) of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Due by Early Feb. Moonpig, the digital greeting card company, is planning an IPO with a potential valuation of £1bln, according to multiple media reports. Further details expected to be announced over the next two weeks.
Companies: ZPHR PANR PRSM SENS CYAN G4M ITX CRCL FEN ZIN
AMTE Power, a developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery cells for specialist markets, announced its intention to seek admission to trading on AIM. Admission is expected to take place during March 2021. The Company intends to raise approximately £7m by way of a placing of new ordinary shares in the capital of the Company. Timing TBC. Samarkand Group Limited, the cross-border eCommerce technology and retail group opening up the world's largest market for brands and retailers, intends to IPO on the Apex Segment Aquis Stock Exchange Growth Market. Admission is targeted for March 2021. Cellular Goods a UK-based provider of premium consumer products based on biosynthetic cannabinoids announced its intention to join the main market (standard) this Spring. Target valuation £20m raising c. £8m “to finalise the development and launch of a range of the Company's premium-quality consumer products based on biosynthetic cannabinoids, which is fully compliant under UK law.” NextEnergy Renewables to launch an IPO on the Main Market. NREN is a differentiated renewables investment Company that aims to capture the most attractive private renewables and energy transition infrastructure investment opportunities globally. Targeting a £300m raise. NREN is targeting total returns of 9-11 per cent. per annum (net of all fees and expenses but including the Target Dividend and capital appreciation) . The Company's target dividend yield for the first full financial year to 31 December 2022 is 5.5 pence. Due Early March 2021. Auction Technology Group is considering an IPO on the Main Market. The Group operates six world-leading online Marketplaces and proprietary global auction platform technology for curated online auctions. In FY20 the Group delivered pro forma revenue of £52.3m, supported by notable underlying year-on-year growth from both Standalone ATG Group and Standalone Proxibid Group (12.4 per cent. and 40.4 per cent., respectively). For the same period, the Group delivered a strong profitability performance of £22.3m pro forma Adjusted EBITDA representing a pro forma Adjusted EBITDA margin of 42.6 per cent. Expected March 2021. Digital 9 Infrastructure launch an initial public offering on the Specialist Fund Segment of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, by way of an initial placing and offer for subscription for a target issue £400m. Digital 9 Infrastructure plc is a newly established, externally managed investment trust. The Company will invest in a range of digital infrastructure assets which deliver a reliable, functioning internet. The IPO Prospectus is expected to be published in March 2021. Team PLC announced their plans for an AIM IPO. Team owns Theta Enhanced Asset Management Ltd, trading as Team Asset Management. This is a Jersey-based active fund manager providing discretionary and advisory portfolio management services to private clients, trusts and charities. Assets under management were GBP291m in November, up from GBP140m in December 2019 . The Company is seeking to raise no less than £5 million. The Placing will be priced on a pre-money valuation for the Company of £7m. Targeting March Admission. Virgin Wines UK Plc recently set out their plans for an AIM IPO. Virgin Wines is a direct-to-consumer online wine retailer that sells products to retail customers in the UK through two subscription schemes and a pay-as-you-go offering. The Group also sells a range of beers and spirits and operates a B2B sales channel for corporates. Deal details TBC but media reports suggest a £100m valuation. Targeting 2nd March Admission Fix Price announces its intention to float on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Fix Price is one of the leading variety value retailers globally and the largest in Russia, with more than 4,200 stores. Fix Price has revenues of RUB 190.1bn, RUB 142.9bn and RUB 108.7bn for 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA for the same years was RUB 36.8bn, RUB 27.2bn and RUB 14.2bn, respectively. The Offer would consist of an offering of GDRs by certain existing shareholders of the Company. Great Point Entertainment Income Trust PLC announced its prospectus has been approved by the FCA. Great Point Entertainment Income Trust PLC is a newly established, externally managed closed-ended investment company. The Company will provide project finance to content makers and commissioners in the global television and film production industry via senior loans secured against pre-sold intellectual property (IP) rights. GPEIT's investment objective is to provide Shareholders with dividend income and modest capital growth through exposure to media content finance. According to media reports, Deliveroo, are expecting to release their IPO plans on 8th March. The company raised more than $180m in January with a valuation of more than $7bn.
Companies: OTMP MNO FNX NSCI CNIC CHAR RBD CLP DXSP CUSN
Upon Admission to AIM, Nightcap will acquire The London Cocktail Club Limited (the "London Cocktail Club"), which is an award winning independent operator of ten individually themed cocktail bars in nine London locations and one location in Bristol. Offer TBC. HSS Hire Group, HSS.L transfer from Main to Aim. Mkt Cap c. £70m. Recently raised £52.6m. Leading supplier of tool and equipment for hire in the United Kingdom and Ireland and has provided equipment hire services in the United Kingdom for more than 60 years, primarily focusing on the B2B market. VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc, a closed-ended investment Company focused on making sustainable energy infrastructure investments, today announces intends to launch an initial public offering of shares on the Official List (Premium) of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
Companies: PMI RMM SUN BOIL ITM TRMR MLVN 88E IME ANP
I wake up in my DFS (DFS) bed with a Gin and Fevertree (FEVR) hangover, place a trade on my phone through CMC Markets (CMCX), have a quick go on my Hornby (HRN) train set, eat half a box of Hotel Chocolat (HOTC), all before heading out in my brand spanking new Joules (JOUL) wellies to my local Metro Bank (MTRO) branch. All of these well-known consumer brands share a common theme in that they are all listed or quoted on the London Stock Exchange. It’s been a year so far reminiscent of 2014 when we saw a flurry of large brands rush for the IPO door such as Pets at Home (PETS), Saga (SAGA), AA (AA) and Poundland (PLND). Most looking for a private equity exit. The IPO adventure of these companies tends to be fairly boiler plate: the valuation is a battleground between the exiting private equity house and incoming institutional investors, the book is many times covered and the scale backs are eye watering. But what makes these companies more alluring to investors than a company nobody has ever heard of which in fact may be profitable, dividend paying and ultimately, on a lower valuation?
Companies: CMCX CSP VMUK WJG ACRL ASCL
De La Rue remains challenged. New management has to navigate a difficult Currency market and consequent concern over its finances. The swift response in terms of a turnaround programme is a positive start, accelerating cost cutting initiatives and cash management measures, including suspension of the dividend. Restoring stability and rebuilding confidence in the investment case is likely to take some time.
Companies: De La Rue plc
Reach’s trading update highlights revenue growth tracking comfortably ahead of market expectations going into December. Digital sales, underpinned by strengthening customer engagement, has accelerated substantially to +16.2% y/y in the 5-months to 22 November (H1’20: -1.0%), and is strongly ahead of N1S H2 forecasts (+2.7% y/y). Print sales were in-line, with increased cross-promotion across Reach’s portfolio leading to stabilisation in HY y/y trends (H2 to date: -19.7%; H1: -20.1%). Management also report a ‘significant’ reduction in costs in-line with the Group’s transformation strategy, which combined with a higher Digital weighting, has pushed up AOP margins ‘materially’ on a sequential basis. As a function of this strong update, we upgrade FY’20E sales, AOP and adj FCF forecasts by 1%, 7% and 8% respectively. FY’21E FCF yield of 22% (pre-pension contributions) is materially ahead of global peers (4%-7%); a yield of 10% generates an intrinsic value of 310p/share.
Tremor has announced that December trading materially exceeded its prior estimates, as its platform’s momentum has continued to accelerate since its last update on 30 November. Tremor now expects FY20 revenue and EBITDA to be in the range of $404-408m for revenue (from $390-400m), and $58-60m for EBITDA (from $50-52m). This leads us to upgrade our FY20 and FY21 revenue forecasts by +2-3% to $406m and $479m, and upgrade our FY20 and FY21 EBITDA by +16% and +10% to $59m and $68m. As Tremor’s platform benefits from strong operational gearing, this drives upgrades to EPS of +28% in FY20 and +16% in FY21. Our net cash then increases by $11m in FY20 to $96m, and despite including $10m of buyback in FY21, our FY21 net cash increases by $12m to $117m as we partially unwind conservative working capital assumptions. This is the fourth upgrade to our Tremor forecasts since COVID-19 impacted the advertising market and Tremor in Q2 20, and Tremor subsequently adopted a prudent approach to its FY20 guidance. We continue to mirror this conservatism in our FY21 EBITDA of $68m, which compares with H2 20 EBITDA of $57m, and our FY21 EBITDA includes additional investment as Tremor looks to gain share within a market growing at over 20% pa. From p9 we also highlight that Tremor is demonstrating the same trends as its US ad tech peers Magnite, PubMatic, and The Trade Desk, with each forecasted to see +15-35% organic revenue growth and +10-60% organic EBITDA growth in FY21, as they focus on expanding in connected TV. However, Tremor is trading at a major discount to its US peers on all metrics, such as FY21 EV/EBITDA of 9x vs 41x, 29x and 104x, and at a discount to the finnCap Tech 40 on 17x with +9% EBITDA growth. As Tremor continues to deliver and exceed expectations, we do not expect that its current valuation will be sustainable due to market or external interest, and we upgrade our target price to 800p based on 20x FY21 EBITDA.
Companies: Tremor International Ltd.
CentralNic has made a small acquisition of SafeBrands, an online brand protection software provider and corporate ISP based in Paris, for a cash consideration of up to €3.6m (0.9x FY19 revenue). €3m is payable upfront and €0.6m will be paid subject to meeting FY20 performance objectives. SafeBrands operated at close to break-even in FY19. Separately, CentralNic has also reorganised its Corporate division, rebranding it as the Enterprise division. Based on our estimates, the company trades on an FY21e P/E multiple of 15.8x and 9.8x FY21e EV/adjusted EBITDA. We expect earnings-accretive M&A to bring multiples down further as CentralNic consolidates a globally fragmented market of sub-scale, cash-generative businesses.
Companies: CentralNic Group Plc
Tremor’s listed peer Magnite has announced that it intends to acquire SpotX for $1.17bn in cash and shares, or c10x SpotX FY20 net revenue of $116m. After Tremor upgraded its FY20 net revenue to $180m in its January trading update, 10x net revenue would imply a Tremor valuation of $1.8bn or 1,000p per share. The SpotX transaction enables Magnite to grow its scale within connected TV and digital video advertising, and will provide Magnite with $67m of FY20 net CTV revenue, or almost triple Magnite-SpotX’s Q4 20 net CTV revenue to $42m compared to $15.3m for Magnite standalone. In comparison, we expect Tremor to report over $15m of net CTV revenue in Q4 20 and $35m for FY20 as Tremor’s momentum in CTV has continued to accelerate. However, before the Magnite-SpotX transaction, Magnite’s market cap was over $4.8bn compared with Tremor’s market cap of $1.0bn. As Tremor continues to deliver and exceed expectations, we do not expect that its current valuation will be sustainable due to market or external interest, and today’s transaction highlights that M&A is taking place around the growth in CTV and digital video that Tremor is capitalising upon. On 12-month forward forecasts, Tremor is currently trading on 13x EV/EBITDA with conservative EBITDA growth of +15%, which compares to US peers Magnite, The Trade Desk, and PubMatic on 61x, 114x, and 53x 12-month forward EV/EBITDA with EBITDA growth of +10-60%.