Experian’s better-than-expected Q1 FY20/21 performance (-2% yoy on an organic basis) shows the resilience of the business model (with various countercyclical products) and the sustained demand in its key geographies (the US and Brazil). In Q2 FY20/21, management expects to deliver broadly similar results (flat to -5% yoy), but with an improved contribution from the laggard regions (the UK and EMEA / Asia Pacific). At the same time, it is likely to remain tight on cost management.
Companies: Experian PLC
Experian clocked strong organic revenue growth in FY19/20 (although the profitability target missed a tad). However, as expected, moving into the first full month of the COVID-19 crisis, its top-line slipped into negative territory – challenges are likely to persist at least during Q1 FY20/21 (ending in June 2020). Still, the company’s relatively stronger show (vs its competitors) and robust balance sheet are encouraging.
Experian maintained strong growth momentum in Q3 FY19/20, driven by ‘Data’ business across the key geographies, especially North America. Robust demand in Brazil also underpinned the group’s performance. Management has maintained the full-year guidance of 7-8% yoy organic revenue growth.
In Q2 FY19/20, Experian progressed well on the top-line front – both the B2B and Consumer Services were healthy. Although profitability and cash conversion was poor, management remains confident in bridging the gap in H2 FY19/20. For the full-year, organic revenue growth guidance has been moved towards the higher-end of the previous range. Other targets have been maintained.
Experian’s top-line growth moderated in Q1, largely due to the tough comparable in the‘Decisioning’ segment. Despite this soft start, management remains confident about the business prospects, maintaining its full-year guidance. We will tweak our estimates slightly, but do not expect a material change in the target price.
Experian maintained its strong organic revenue growth momentum in FY18/19. FX headwinds, however, impacted both the reported top-line and profitability. We expect the strong demand of the company’s recently launched products to last, at least in the near term. Positive data regulation in Brazil should also lend some support, in our opinion. We will revise our target price upwards.
The Q3 results came in ahead of our expectations, gaining strength from the robust US performance. Also, the UK provided much-needed support to its topline, led by positive B2B growth and moderating B2C losses. LatAm and EMEA/Asia also remained positive. Moving forward, regulatory risk (dealing with data privacy laws) seems to be the only risk in the US, whereas in the UK, we maintain our cautious stance given Brexit-led uncertainty stretching further. We have revised our estimates upwards. No change in the stock recommendation.
The company’s H1 FY18/19 results were ahead of our estimates. The robust performance of B2B got the much necessary support from B2C. Region-wise – North America grew in double-digits, whereas Brazil and the UK reported a mid single-digit growth. In the upcoming quarters, we expect North America to remain strong, Brazil to improve and Brexit-related winds playing a crucial role in shaping the UK’s performance. We have revised our estimates upwards. No change in the stock recommendation.
The company reported its Q1 FY18/19 results which came in ahead of our estimates. Both North America and EMEA/Asia continued to grow robustly, gaining additional support from Latin America. Despite the uncertain macro-economic environment, the company’s UK and Ireland operations improved further. Furthermore, the permission to operate under an open banking licence opened new pastures for growth. Considering the continuous strength in the US operations and the recovery in the UK region, we have raised our estimates. No change in our stock recommendation.
Experian reported FY17/18 preliminary results in line with our estimates. Although, B2C remained negative on a yoy basis, the quarterly trend showed signs of initial relief (in UK and Ireland, decline moderated on qoq basis, whereas North America turned positive in Q4), providing much needed support for the ongoing positive B2B momentum. Discounting for the higher than expected performance in B2C segment and a robust B2B performance, we have revised our estimates upwards but no change in our recommendation.
Organic growth came in above our estimates but below market consensus. B2B continued to march forward, whereas B2C remained the drag. Geographically, the US was the kernel of company’s growth, gaining support from improving Brazilian economic situation.
We maintain our conservative view on US, whereas Brazil remains the strongest pillar in Latin America. In the UK (Consumer Services), Experian’s strategy to monetize its increasing clientele through additional offerings seems to yield favourable initial results. No change in our stock recommendation.
Since Equifax announced a data breach in September 2017, legislators have been trying hard to penalize the lax attitude of data managers (including credit scoring companies). Recently, a bill was tabled in the Senate (Data Breach and Compensation Act), which proposes significant fines in the event of a data breach.
Looking into the fine print, the bill recommends a fine of $100 per customer whose personal information gets compromised (with an additional $50 for each piece of data put at risk per person). The total sanctions are capped at 50% of the company’s total gross revenue. Also, if a company fails to disclose the breach to regulators in a timely manner, or has insufficient cyber security in place, the cap will increase to 75%. If this legislation had been in place during the Equifax fiasco, the company would have incurred a fine of at least $1.5bn.
B2B was strong (c.80% of group revenue) but B2C business remained weak. We reiterate our earlier position of a gradual softness in the US economy. We also do not see any long-term benefits from the Equifax fiasco considering a history of customer stickiness (lack of substitutes/limited number of reputed players in the credit scoring business). Although the B2C business is estimated to benefit from a series of small but key steps, it will not return to the black anytime soon. No change in stock recommendation.
Experian reported FY16/17 results in line with our estimates. The lfl revenue growth came in at 4.0% (the same as our estimate; +5% lfl excluding the CCM business), driven by strong momentum in the B2B businesses (+7.0% yoy) – Credit Services (+6% yoy, c.55% of group revenue), Decision Analytics (+9.0%, c.14% of group revenue) and Marketing Services (+8.0%; c.10% of group revenue). However, the B2C business, Consumer Services, witnessed a 4% lfl decline (c.22% of group revenue), largely due to the ongoing transition over the past few quarters.
Geographically, North America clocked 5% organic growth (vs our estimate: 4.3%), on the back of positive demand in both Credit and Marketing Services (+8.0% yoy in each segment). The Decision Analytics business remained flat as new-business wins and the strength in scoring and analytics was offset by the non-renewal of a customer contract earlier in the year. Consumer Services ended the year in the red with a 2% lfl decline.
UK & Ireland (+1% lfl, c.19% of group revenue) performed in line with our estimates. Growth in B2B businesses (Credit: +3%, Decision Analytics: +5% and Marketing: +5%) was largely offset by the 9% decline in the Consumer business (currently undergoing a transitioning phase), the company has built a free membership base of over 1.7 million members.
In the LatAm region (17% of group revenue), the lfl revenue increased by 9.0% (vs our estimate: 7.6%), on account of continued strength from countercyclical products in Credit Services (+6.0% yoy). Marketing and Decision Analytics businesses also registered a positive momentum during the year (+39.0% and +34.0% respectively).
Asia Pacific/EMEA (c.8% of group revenue) grew by 9.0% during the year (vs our estimate: 7.4%), driven by the strong performance in Decision Analytics and Marketing services (+21% and +16%, respectively). While Decision Analytics capitalised on new client wins and the strong demand for decisioning and fraud-prevention software, Marketing Services leapt due to good growth in Data Quality and Targeting services. Credit Services declined by 3% due to headwinds in the Nordics and South Africa, partially offset by positive growth in APAC and Southern Europe.
The adjusted EBIT margin (excluding the Cross-Channel Marketing business) was 27.7%, up 60bp for the year, reflecting the phasing of investment in strategic growth initiatives and FX tailwinds. The company repurchased shares worth $353m during FY16/17 and announced an interim dividend of $0.415 per share (+4% yoy). Management’s guidance for FY17/18 is for mid single-digit organic revenue growth, capex at 8-9% of revenue and share repurchases of $600m.
Experian reported Q3 FY16/17 results slightly below our estimates. The lfl revenue increased by 4.0% (vs Q2: +5.0%, Q1: +5.0%; our estimate: +5.0%), largely driven by strong growth in credit services (+6.0% yoy; c.50% of group revenue) and the decision analytics business (+10.0% yoy; c.13% of group revenue).
North America’s organic revenue growth slowed to 3.0% (vs Q2: +5.2%, Q1: +5.0%; our estimate: +5.5%) due to tougher Q3 FY15/16 comparables in the consumer services business (Q3: -5.0%, Q2: -1.0%). However, this softness was more than offset by good demand for credit services and new contract wins in the marketing services business.
Despite ongoing macro headwinds in Brazil, the Latin America region delivered another strong performance during the quarter (Q3: +8.0%, Q2: +5.7%, Q1: +8.0%; vs our estimate: +7.4%). The growth largely emanated from counter-cyclical credit bureau products and increased demand for data and analytics services from large banks and retailers.
In the UK & Ireland, organic revenue advanced by 2.0% (vs Q2: +0.6%, Q1: +1.0%; our estimate: +0.1%) as the growth in the services (+5.0% yoy) and decision analytics businesses (+12.0% yoy) was partially offset by a decline in the consumer services business (-12.0% yoy).
EMEA/Asia Pacific region clocked lfl revenue growth of 6.0% (vs Q2: +6.7%, Q1: +9.0%; our estimate: +9.0%) on the back of sustained demand for credit decisioning software and fraud prevention services. Fx headwinds (-2% yoy; largely due to weaker GBP vs USD) eclipsed the 2.0% positive scope impact, resulting in total reported revenue growth of 4.0%.
On a YTD basis, the company spent $324m on net share repurchases (vs a full year target of $400m). For FY16/17, management guided for mid-single-digit organic revenue growth, stable margins and further progress in the benchmark EPS.
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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
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
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
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
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.
Companies: Water Intelligence 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.
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
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.
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
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)
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
Elixirr has acquired Coast Digital, a UK-based digital marketing firm, for a maximum consideration of £3.8m. The initial consideration of £3.4m represents a multiple of only 3.9x historic EBITDA compared to Elixirr’s current 11.1x. Coast will extend Elixirr’s existing digital capability and provide significant cross-selling opportunities, exactly in line with the group’s strategy as detailed at the IPO. We have upgraded FY 2020 EPS by 1% and FY 2021 by 7% and our target price from 336p to 356p. We reiterate our view that Elixirr’s entrepreneurial culture and focus on helping clients build businesses, new products and client experiences are key differentiators and very much in tune with client needs.
Companies: Elixirr International Plc
The Westminster Foundation has delivered on its promise to provide a sanitisation tunnel to Freetown International Airport in Sierra Leone. The sanitisation tunnel is a proven method to deliver a 360-degree sanitisation of people and objects in five seconds, killing up to 90% of pathogen microbes. It is just one of the protective mechanisms installed at the Freetown Airport to boost passenger confidence in travel to and from the region. Recall that WSG operates a complete airport security management contract for the Freetown Airport. The renewable contract is for an initial 15 years (start date 2012), valued at over US$4m/year.
Companies: Westminster Group plc
The H1 results were well flagged in the 15th April update. H1 PBT is significantly ahead of last year at £1.3m (H1’19: £0.8m). Driver traded profitably through April to June. Whilst guidance is suspended, with the pipeline maintained, we believe the Group will continue to trade profitably through H2. As flagged in the H1 update, there is no interim dividend, with management seeking to preserve cash. The balance sheet is strong, with net cash of £3.3m at 31st March (improved to c.£5.5m post period end). We believe the medium term outlook is positive, with new CEO Mark Wheeler focused on improving profitability and growing the business. Delays in construction projects as a result of COVID-19 should support near term levels of dispute work, whilst an expected increase in infrastructure spending supports the medium term outlook.