H120 adjusted EBITDA of £9.1m was the main positive surprise for us in Ergomed’s full interim report released today. We have increased our adjusted EBITDA forecasts to £18.3m (up 8.6%) in 2020 and £20.1m (up 6.8%) in 2021. A strong order book (£151.4m, up 22.0% from the end of 2019) with high visibility into 2021, continued overall business growth and a strong balance sheet should allow Ergomed to successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, invest in organic growth and look for potential strategic acquisitions. Our valuation is upgraded to £409m or 845p/share.
Companies: Ergomed PLC
According to Ergomed’s H120 trading update, the business successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic in H120. Underlying revenues in the PrimeVigilance segment grew 36.0% (or 62.1% including the recent acquisition), while the CRO segment, unsurprisingly, saw a modest decline as a result of the widespread lockdowns. The growth prospects, however, remain intact in our view. Ergomed has proved to be a resilient business, which we attribute to a diversified and well-balanced pharma services offering (pharmacovigilance and CRO). Strong H120 sales and a record order book at 30 June 2020 should see Ergomed carry its strong momentum into 2020 and beyond. Net positive revisions to our estimates and a material expansion of peer multiples has led to a significant upgrade to our valuation to £345m or 713p/share.
Today Ergomed held its annual general meeting (AGM). As expected, no new financial details were provided, although the executive chairman released a statement with a general business update. Q120 trading was good with ‘solid overall growth in revenue’ and cash generation ‘remained strong’. In Q220, Ergomed continued to grow the order book across the business and maintained its ‘revenue growth trend’. Its staff successfully adapted to remote working conditions and no employees were made redundant or furloughed. The H120 trading update will be released in July 2020 as usual, but Ergomed stated within its AGM update (June 10) that it is confident the results will be ‘in line with current market expectations’.
We are initiating coverage on specialist pharmaceutical services provider Ergomed. We believe it should prove relatively resilient during the COVID-19 crisis and has the fundamentals in place to execute its growth strategy. Ergomed announced impressive audited numbers for FY19, with revenue up 26% to £68.3m and EBITDA up 5.5x to £12.5m. The FY19 announcement is effectively Ergomed’s fourth profit upgrade for FY19 and a small beat on recently reset FY19 expectations. Ergomed trades at a discounted EV/EBITDA of 10.1x vs the contract research outsourcing (CRO) sector average of 11.5x (FY20). We value Ergomed at £186m or 399p/share. Ergomed’s strong organic growth is benefiting from a clear strategic focus on high growth pharma sectors, margin control and order book growth (up 15% to £125m in FY19, giving 90% visibility to 2020).
Intention to float by Gemfields Group. No Capital Raise. Currently listed on JSE. (GML:JNB) at circa £122m. The Group's key producing assets, the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia (believed to be the world's single largest producing emerald mine) and the Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique (one of the most significant recently discovered ruby deposits in the world), are both expected to have long mine-lives with potential for expansion. Also owns the Faberge brand. Due Valentines Day 2020.
Companies: THR CPT ERGO FAB EKF FCRM EMR WPHO POLX OCI
Intention to float by Gemfields Group. No Capital Raise. Currently listed on JSE. (GML:JNB) at circa £122m. The Group's key producing assets, the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia (believed to be the world's single largest producing emerald mine) and the Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique (one of the most significant recently discovered ruby deposits in the world), are both expected to have long mine-lives with potential for expansion. Also owns the Faberge brand. Due Valentines Day 2020. The Proof Of Trust has announced its intention to list on the Standard Market. The Blockchain based business, owns patents to a protocol which facilitates dispute resolution based upon smart contract disputes. Transaction details TBC. Calisen Group. Potential Intention to Float. Owner and manager of essential energy infrastructure assets through its subsidiaries Calvin Capital and Lowri Beck . Consolidated FY Dec 18 revenue £162.1m and operating profit £25.4m. Raising up to £300m in primary plus partial vendor sale. Expected Admission February 2020 The Global Sustainable Farmland Income Trust will invest in a diversified portfolio of operational farmland assets located in major agricultural markets including the United States, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and certain countries within Latin and South America. Raising up to $300m. Due 28 February. Investment firm Nippon Active Value fund is seeking to raise up to £200m at an issue price of 100p per share via an IPO. The company aims to invest in a portfolio of quoted Japanese stocks with market capitalisations of up to $1bn. First day of dealings expected early February.
Companies: TRB MXCT ROCK ERGO TMT SNT TXP KAPE IHC SAA
Calisen Group. Potential Intention to Float. Owner and manager of essential energy infrastructure assets . Consolidated FY Dec 18 revenue £162.1m and operating profit £25.4m. Raising up to £300m in primary plus partial vendor sale. The Global Sustainable Farmland Income Trust will invest in a diversified portfolio of operational farmland assets located in major agricultural markets including the United States, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and certain countries within Latin and South America. Raising up to $300m. Due 28 February. Investment firm Nippon Active Value fund is seeking to raise up to £200m at an issue price of 100p per share via an IPO. The company aims to invest in a portfolio of quoted Japanese stocks with market capitalisations of up to $1bn. First day of dealings expected early February.
Companies: TERN HMI QTX IND DXRX ERGO FARN AUG AVG
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Companies: Bango plc
Gateley’s H1 update is highly impressive, confirming a year on year improvement in activity levels in September and October and a strong sense of optimism at the beginning of H2. The Platforms continue to drive new business, whilst operating margins have benefited from cost actions taken in response to the pandemic (H1 PBT will show growth year on year). In light of the confident tenor of the statement, we reintroduce headline forecasts this morning, assuming stable revenue this year - which would be a considerable achievement - with profits returning to pre-pandemic levels by FY23.
Companies: Gateley (Holdings) Plc
In an encouraging H1 update, Gateley has detailed that the Group’s activity levels and revenue generation continue to follow an improving trend with monthly activity during September and October being in excess of prior year. Sales in H1 2021E are expected to be not less than £50.0m (-3.5% on H1 2020) but adj. PBT is expected to be not less than £7.0m, up from £6.6m as cost-reduction initiatives benefited. Net cash was £9.6m at October 2020. We have reinstated forecasts, assuming H2 sees some increase in costs as salaries normalise and a bonus is accrued before more normal growth rates resume. Similarly, we assume dividends resume with a final in FY 2021E. We reiterate our view that Gateley’s proven model provides good growth prospects, supported by the addition of high-quality staff and acquisitions, strengthening the range of services offered.
In its trading update, management confirmed that adjusted FY20e PBT is expected to be c €52m, a 27% increase y-o-y and 12.7% ahead of our prior estimate, with revenues of €367m, 0.5% ahead of our prior estimate. FY20e margins of 14.2% vs 12.5% in FY19 are driven by improved operational leverage and tight cost control, together with COVID-19 related cost reduction (eg marketing, travel). Having pared back our forecasts at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we now upgrade our FY20 estimates for a second time to reflect the significantly stronger margins in H220e, raising our FY21 estimates and introducing our FY22 estimates. We have also incorporated the US$32m acquisition of the LA-based marketing services business, gnet. With substantial financial resources following its £100m placing in May, management remains focused on its M&A agenda.
Companies: Keywords Studios plc
Boku has released a trading update confirming that EBITDA is likely to be ahead of consensus expectations for FY20. As most of the upside is due to COVID-19-related cost savings, we have upgraded our FY20 EBITDA and EPS forecasts by 10% and 15%, respectively. We leave our FY21/22 forecasts unchanged, pending a more detailed trading update in January that will cover the busy December holiday season.
Companies: BOKU, Inc.
Pressure Technologies has announced that it has raised £7.5m through a Placing, via an accelerated bookbuild, and PrimaryBid offer at 60p/share, a 4% discount to the closing midmarket price on 27th November 2020. The net proceeds of the fundraise will be used to accelerate growth in the fast developing hydrogen market, build the group’s capability in Integrity Management and to strengthen the balance sheet. As Nomad and Broker to the fundraise we are restricted and can therefore provide factual comment only. The Placing and PrimaryBid offer are subject to shareholder approval at a General Meeting to be held on 17th December 2020.
Companies: Pressure Technologies plc
President Trump likes to project himself as a highly successful businessman, but surprisingly little is known about his true financial position. Various articles, including a 2016 in-depth analysis by The Wall Street Journal, have speculated about his income and asset base. All sorts of claims and counter-claims have been made about his wealth – by Trump himself, pitching his fortune at some $9bn, and by journalist Timothy O'Brien, suggesting that it is as “low” as $150m-$250m. It is doubtful whether we shall ever know the truth, but we can use Trump’s UK corporate filings to gain an insight into his businesses in Scotland.
Companies: AVO ARBB ARIX CLIG DNL FLTA ICGT PCA PIN PHP RECI STX SCE TRX SHED VTA YEW
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
FY2020E has been a challenging year on a number of fronts and a significant loss is expected on revenues down 12% at c.£25m and also impairment charges of c.£14m. Nevertheless, the Group enters FY2021E in better underlying shape, with benefits to follow from reorganisation and restructuring, and investment in sales, engineering capability and systems. This provides a platform to capture growth, albeit that no recovery is expected in the next 12 months in the oil & gas market, now c.35% of FY2021E revenue. Efforts to diversify both its customer base and end markets have been successful, with growing opportunity in the defence, industrial and hydrogen sectors in particular. Our forecasts anticipate profitable growth in both FY2021E and FY2022E, leaving the shares on forward PERs of 21.8x and 12.1x for FY2021E and FY2022E respectively.
Keystone Law has announced a trading update indicating that the Group has performed well through the second half of the year and that like-for-like performance has returned to near pre-COVID levels. This results in the Group expecting to see results “comfortably ahead of current market expectations” for FY21 which we see as a strong message and reiterate our buy rating.
Companies: Keystone Law Group Plc
Appreciate is the UK's leading voucher, gift card, and e-code provider, working with brands from Iceland to Halfords to Boots. It sells its pre-paid products to corporates as well as directly to consumers. It also runs the UK's largest Christmas Savings scheme, having helped some 2.7m families put money aside for Christmas expenses over the years.
In Appreciate, we see a business that's undergone significant change and modernisation since 2018. Under its highly competent and dynamic management team it has transformed from a Christmas savings business that physically produced hampers, to a pure play financial services business with material growth prospects in the longer term.
Companies: Appreciate Group plc
Oxford University and AstraZeneca announced the first interim analysis from the Phase III study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which was found to be 70% effective in preventing COVID-19. This follows similar announcements from Moderna, and Pfizer/BioNTech in the previous two weeks, and the caveats we mentioned at the time remain the same. While all of these results have been highly encouraging, we reiterate that they do not diminish the urgent need for COVID-19 treatments and testing, which will be required for years to come. We consider Synairgen, Avacta, genedrive, Omega Diagnostics and Open Orphan to offer good buying opportunities.
Companies: AVCT ODX SNG GDR ORPH
Braemar’s associate AqualisBraemar (AQUA-OSL) announced an acquisition and equity raise yesterday that was very well received by investors. The AQUA share price finished the day up +25%, meaning Braemar’s stake (which is on the balance sheet at £7m) is now worth £13.4m. This provides increased support to Braemar’s valuation and a significant potential source of funds if the stake were to be realised in the future. In the meantime, it provides a useful and increasing source of dividend income (prior to yesterday’s deal, we had forecast £0.6m dividend income p.a.) and we continue to highlight the strategic progress the new management team at Braemar is making and the very significant valuation gap to closest peer Clarkson (December 2021 P/E 22x).
Companies: Braemar Shipping Services plc
Rhino’s second series of 5-year bonds offers exposure to a private company with an enticing set of characteristics, combining significant growth potential with proven ability to deliver over a 40-year history. Having spent several years shifting its business model away from capital-intensive production towards closely controlled licensing, and then investing heavily in increasing exposure at the top level of international rugby, Rhino is in a position to generate significant free cashflow to service this 5.5% coupon and offer attractive growth potential, further strengthening debt serviceability ratios.
Companies: Rhino Rugby Bonds Plc
RBG Holdings has updated on significant transactions completed in the Group’s Convex and LionFish divisions since its last market update in mid-September. With the Group’s legal division – RBL – continuing to trade well, management now have considerably improved visibility on financial performance, and so reinstate guidance with an expected FY20E revenue range of £24m-£26m (FY19A: £23.7m). For FY21E we anticipate revenue in the range of £26m-£29m We take this opportunity to reinstate our forecasts for both FY20E and FY21E; revenues of £24.6m / £26.9m, adj EBITDA £6.8m / £8.9m, adj EPS 5.0p / 6.8p respectively. Our forecasts are cautiously positioned towards the bottom end of guidance, with scope for upgrades when discretionary litigation asset sales or Convex transactions complete. On our FY21E forecast of 6.8p adj EPS, a mid-teens multiple of 15x PER implies the shares could be worth 100p.
Companies: RBG Holdings Plc