Restrictions relating to COVID-19 have had a mixed effect on Boku’s H120 performance, with the Payments business benefiting from increased demand for digital content, while some Identity customers saw weaker demand for their services. Despite this, Boku reported adjusted revenue growth of 9% y-o-y and, demonstrating the operational leverage of the business, adjusted EBITDA growth of 84% y-o-y. With guidance unchanged for FY20, we maintain our EBITDA forecasts.
Companies: BOKU, Inc.
Boku expects to report H120 revenues of at least $24.7m. The Payments business has benefited from increased demand for digital content during lockdown, whereas the Identity business has seen weaker demand due to COVID-19 disruption. Management expects to at least meet consensus EBITDA estimates for FY20, with growth in adjusted EBITDA of at least 65% for the year. We have made minor changes to our forecasts to reflect the relative strengths of the two businesses.
Boku has announced plans to acquire Fortumo, a direct carrier billing (DCB) competitor, for an enterprise value of $41m. While not large in volume terms, Fortumo’s focus on smaller merchants attracts higher take rates and, combined with its low-cost Estonian operations, results in a highly profitable business. The acquisition is being funded by the recent equity raise (23.6m shares at 85p) and new debt. We estimate that the deal is immediately earnings enhancing, and strengthens Boku’s already dominant position in the DCB market. While no cost or revenue synergies are currently factored in, in the medium term there is potential for Boku to take advantage of Fortumo’s lower cost base, and for Fortumo to benefit from Boku’s carrier relationships and scale.
Boku’s five-month trading update confirmed that lockdowns have resulted in increased demand for home entertainment, driving new users to Boku’s Payments business. Management is confident of meeting market expectations for FY20 and we maintain our current estimates. We note, however, that if demand from new users can be sustained there could be upside to our forecasts.
Boku has made material progress in signing contracts to access data for its Identity business. Building from the three countries covered when the business was acquired at the start of 2019, Identity now has connections to mobile operators in 51 countries. This is a major step forward in the process of attracting multi-national customers to sign up for mobile identity verification services from Boku.
Boku has developed and operates a platform that connects mobile carriers with merchants. This supports direct carrier billing (DCB), which serves as an alternative payment method for companies selling digital content, and identity verification services, which enable merchants to sign up and transact with users while meeting regulatory requirements and avoiding fraud. Boku has signed up the leading merchants in key digital content categories (music, app stores, games) and, after a period of investment to connect merchants and mobile network operators (MNOs) to its platform, is seeing strong volume growth. Boku has c 210 employees, with its main offices in the US, UK, Germany and India.
In this video, CEO Jon Prideaux discusses the highlights of the company’s FY19 results. He outlines the underlying performance of the Payments business and explains the opportunity to address the digital wallet market. He gives an update on progress in the Identity businesses since acquiring Danal at the start of 2019. He outlines the company’s short- and medium-term priorities, and explains how COVID-19 could potentially drive higher volumes for the Payments business.
Boku reported FY19 results that were largely in line with its January trading update. The Payments division doubled adjusted EBITDA in FY19 highlighting the scale benefits of this business, while the Identity division saw a reduced EBITDA loss on revenue growth of 26%. As COVID-19 is currently having limited net impact on the business, we make only minor changes to forecasts. We note that increased volumes in the Payments business, as people seek digital entertainment while self-isolating, could drive upside to our FY20 forecasts.
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Bioventix reported a strong set of full-year results, that were 8% above expectations, assisted in part by a c.£0.2m (+3%) FX benefit, which helped offset the obvious drag on performance in Q4 due to the impact of COVID-19 on routine testing in hospitals. A 53p special dividend was proposed, resulting in a full-year dividend of 141p, up 18%. Due to the COVID-19-related disruption to testing, which only exacerbates the poor visibility to customer royalty streams, we are withdrawing forecasts until normality returns. That said, the business remains in very good shape, with evidence that: (i) high sensitivity troponin is gaining momentum; (ii) physical antibody sales growth remains robust (+34%); and (iii) progress in its development pipeline (particularly pollution monitoring programme) is being made. The business is expected to remain cash generative, and with c.£8.1m of cash at 30 June, the company is a strong position to weather this period of disruption before returning to growth.
Companies: Bioventix Plc
Positive update today, reporting that trading in FYJun21 has begun well. As a result – and also thanks to DOTD’s strong revenue visibility – revenue guidance is already being upgraded. Consequently, we lift FY21E sales by 6% to £53.0m, so now expecting +12% y/y growth. To put this into context, growth fell to +9% in 2H20. We find this rapid recovery to more typical growth levels highly encouraging. Guidance for profit and cash is reiterated, meaning we leave both profit and cash forecasts unchanged. Somewhat obviously, this requires us increasing our cost assumptions….and if these don’t fully materialise, provides upside risk. Cash continues to build, now £27.7m as at Q1 – we might expect this to be strategically deployed, to enhance what is impressively consistent organic growth.
Companies: dotDigital Group plc
This morning's announcement of another insurance client win caps a week of excellent newsflow from WATR. Since the company entered this colossal ($US13bn-plus) sector, strong insurance-derived growth has been achieved in this area, helped by WATR's status as the only national player to provide pinpoint services identifying water leaks while minimizing damage claims. Beyond this morning's announcement, this has been a week to remember for WATR, with a strong Q3 update on Oct. 14th generating c.8% '20 /'21 profit upgrades followed by the news at the start of the week of a successful fundraise delivering just shy of $US5m which can be put to work generating growth for the company and its shareholders. As the fifth such win, this morning's announcement is a reminder of the very good traction the company has achieved with the US insurance majors. Our 550p fair value estimate includes the annuity-style earnings stream from the franchise businesses in a Sum of the Parts structure. We note the company's conclusion that demand is high for its solutions and also the fact that WATR is an “essential service provider” in the Covid context. Beyond this morning's encouraging news, we also note the recent award of the Green Economy Mark from LSE and the company's consistent track record of 30%+ CAGR in recent years.
Companies: Water Intelligence plc
Driver Group’s year end update highlights an expected full year PBT outturn of £2.5m (£1.3m/£1.2m H1/H2) after adjusting for costs relating to the departure of Gordon Wilkinson. Whilst this represents a slight decrease on the prior year, given the impact of COVID-19, this is an impressive result. Geographic diversity continues to benefit the Group, with a strong performance in the UK and Europe offsetting a weaker result in the Middle East and APAC regions in FY20. Forecast guidance remains suspended given the uncertain near term outlook, but the Group continues to generate profit and cash. Strategic progress is also being made, with the Group taking opportunities to both hire new staff and further expand its geographic presence, not least opening a new office in New York and forming a strategic partnership in Africa. Management has also delivered a restructuring of the Middle East and APAC regions, in order to drive a more profitable business and provide a platform for younger talent to progress. The balance sheet remains robust, with net cash of £8.2m at the year end.
Companies: Driver Group Plc
Water Intelligence ("WI") has announced a new national contract with a leading insurance company in the United States. The new win is the third in H2 and confirms the growing recognition among major US insurance companies that WI is a trusted national partner to minimise water-related claims. The Group's two October wins will further accelerate growth from the B2B channel. The latest win is the sixth nationwide contract for American Leak Detection ("ALD") with a top US insurance company, reflecting ALD's position as the only nationwide pinpoint, minimally invasive leak detection specialist. Despite the disruptions posed by CV-19, WI has performed well in 2020E and this new win reinforces the Group's impressive growth trajectory. We maintain our Buy recommendation and believe shares could continue to rerate closer to 600p.
Franchise Brands has provided a Q3 trading update with a strong rebound in trading across the Group. The B2B division has recovered from the lockdown impacted Q2 and system sales have grown by an average of +8% per month since June. In September, B2B system sales for the month were +9% higher than the same month in the prior year. The B2C brands have recovered at different speeds, driven by new franchisee recruitment. ChipsAway and Ovenclean (89% of B2C income in 2019) are trading at pre-CV19 levels. Franchise Brands remains in a strong position with a solid balance sheet and liquidity position. The Group is confident of meeting market expectations for FY2020.
Companies: Franchise Brands plc
Another insurance win, announced by WATR this morning, underlines the national presence of its subsidiary American Leak Detection, which has helped to make it the go-to player for providing pinpoint services at once identifying water leaks and minimizing damage claims across the whole of the United States. The new client is a major insurance company, the second in two weeks, third in H2-20 and the sixth in the three years since the company effectively entered the space as part of management's long-term growth strategy. WATR has been growing fast, generating 30% CAGR in recent years, and the insurance channel has been a notable component of this growth, at over 30% in each of the past five years. These wins, combined with the Company's recent fund-raise, reinforce this trajectory, even from a larger base.
Yesterday's well-subscribed placing at 8p provides VDTK with £3.5m of extra funding to enable the company to grow by financing working capital during the ramp up of production at its Lainate plant on the back of orders – to date, orders amounting to €2.6m in value to have come through the door since the appointment of new CEO Rob Richards in May 2020. Key orders included contract wins in diverse areas, ranging from the Australian mining sector to oil & gas, agriculture and marine applications; with a focus in the first instance on off-grid applications where the rationale is extremely visible, given the contrast between VDTK's lightweight product and the heavier and relatively fragile conventional product, with VDTK's product offering its clients a meaningful cost-advantage.
Companies: Verditek Plc
ORPH has signed a contract with the UK Government for the development of a COVID-19 human challenge model. This will involve manufacture of the challenge virus and a first-in-human characterisation study. The contract begins immediately and is likely to be worth c.£10m. The government has also reserved the first three slots to test vaccines using the challenge study at a total cost of £7.5m. We revise our forecasts and increase our SOTP target price to 28p (range 25-31p), reflecting ORPH’s world-leading position in traditional challenge models, and now COVID-19 challenge models, with additional upside from the potential development of new challenge models, the monetisation of valuable challenge model data and the potential sale of its non-core pharmaceutical assets.
Companies: Open Orphan Plc
Open Orphan has announced a contract with the UK Government to develop and perform the UK's first COVID-19 (COVID) human challenge studies. The multi-faceted agreement provides strong endorsement and validation of hVIVO's capabilities, with material revenues driving forecast upgrades and further upside risk to earnings as pipeline conversion continues and industry awareness and penetration of challenge studies accelerates.
Companies: OPORF ORPH CRO VENN
ANGLE plc (AGL.L): Acceptance of FDA submission | Feedback plc (FDBK.L*): Partnership agreement | Open Orphan (ORPH.L): Human Challenge Study Model contract with UK Government
Companies: AGL FDBK ORPH
Avacta (AVCT.L): Adeptrix COVID-19 Diagnostic Test update | Diaceutics (DXRX.L): New contract win
Companies: Avacta Group plc (AVCT:LON)Diaceutics Plc (DXRX:LON)
FY20 results reflect a year of trading in-line with earlier expectations, until being significantly interrupted in Q4/20 by the impact of Covid-19. Despite this, 1pm remained profitable throughout, despite accepting forbearance requests and prudently lifting bad debt provisions for the future. Post-period, there has been a noticeable pick-up in trading as the UK economy recovers, which 1pm is currently positioning itself for. A P/TNAV of 0.55x materially undervalues 1pm, hence we remain at “Buy”.
Companies: 1 PM Plc
Interim results to 30 June reflected a step-up in research activity post-June fundraise as it seeks to take its first pre|CISION targeted chemotherapy into clinical trials in early 2021. With period-end cash of £54.5m, Avacta has a cash runway into 2023, providing the necessary working capital to deliver a rapid SARS-CoV2 antigen test, take AVA6000 into the clinic, as well as its first Affimer immunotherapy and the next pre|CISION pro-drug into the clinic. Avacta is aiming to have validated its rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen test in Q4 2020, the exact timing of which is dependent on pilot batch product from BBI Solutions. However, it is increasingly clear that there is a need for mass screening tests to isolate and remove infectious people, with Avacta’s test at the forefront. We have made changes to FY 2020 forecasts, introduce FY 2021 forecasts and a target price of 310p with a range of 211-796p.
Companies: Avacta Group plc
RELX issued a fairly sound 9 month trading statement despite the Exhibitions division remaining highly impacted by the current pandemic. More than 4/5 of the business are continuing to hold up well, which we consider a positive.
The FY20e outlook is unchanged for the three largest divisions while Exhibitions continue to suffer.
Some downgrade adjustments are expected to our forecasts, mostly due to Exhibitions, but we intend to reiterate a positive recommendation on the stock.
Companies: RELX PLC