Edison Investment Research is terminating coverage on GFT (GFT). Please note you should no longer rely on any previous research or estimates for this company. All forecasts should now be considered redundant.
Companies: 0O2W GFT GFT
GFT has lowered its FY17 guidance due to delayed decision making at its two largest investment banking customers – Deutsche Bank (DB) and Barclays. GFT said that management changes at the banks have resulted in deferred orders. However, investment banking revenue outside these two customers has been guided upwards, as has the group’s retail banking segment. But these factors were outweighed by the revenue declines at the two investment banks, and management has cut its FY17 revenue guidance by 6% to €425m, while EBITDA comes back by 13% to €42m.
GFT remains on target and thematic trends are broadly the same. Underlying Q1 revenue growth was solid at 13.3%, helped by 3% more days in the period, and management guidance was maintained. GFT’s retail banking activities remain buoyant, benefiting from digital banking projects in continental Europe and the group’s first retail banking project in the US, while the investment banking backdrop remains challenging, not helped by Brexit and the political changes in the US. With the sustained healthy outlook in digitalisation across the retail banking sector and the prospect of a recovery for the investment banking market (since these businesses need to invest in IT to sustain growth), we believe the shares are looking increasingly appealing on c 13x our FY19e earnings.
While GFT reported FY16 revenues and EBITDA slightly ahead of our forecasts, the shares fell in response to unexpectedly weak FY17 guidance and higher than expected debt. The guidance reflected the challenging investment banking backdrop, which has been holding back profits in the UK and North America. Nevertheless, GFT’s retail banking activities remain buoyant, benefiting from digital banking projects in continental Europe, and management expects group growth to return to trend levels from FY18 on digitisation strength and recovering investment banking markets. Hence, we believe the shares look attractive on c 14x our FY18 earnings.
Q3 numbers were in line with expectations and management has maintained both its FY16 and long-term guidance. The backdrop remains broadly unchanged, with demand for IT projects (predominantly digitisation) in the European commercial banking sector outweighing weakness in the Anglo Saxon investment banking markets. A recovery in the latter is largely dependent on improvements in the financial performance of investment banks. However, we note the investment banking sector needs to invest in IT to remain competitive. Given that the outlook is sustained, we believe the shares are attractive on c 13x our FY18 earnings.
GFT reported a solid Q1, with constant currency organic growth of 7.6%. This was slightly below the long-term trend, as the group saw some deferrals in Anglo Saxon regions due to poor results in the investment banking sector and uncertainty relating to the imminent UK vote on the EU. Nevertheless, management expects orders to pick up later this month and in Q3, regardless of the outcome of the BREXIT vote. We have edged our forecasts up with the inclusion of Habber Tec Brazil, which GFT acquired in early April. In our view, if management can continue to maintain the momentum, the stock looks attractive, trading on c 17x our FY17e EPS.
FY15 was another year of solid growth at GFT, with organic revenue growth of 18% at constant currencies. This was achieved in spite of the turmoil in the European investment banking sector, as participants needed to invest in compliance projects and outsourcing trends remain favourable. In our view, if management can continue to maintain the momentum, the stock looks attractive, trading on c 18x our FY17e EPS.
GFT's shares have fallen sharply recently, tracking a steep fall in Deutsche Bank’s shares, along with broad declines across the banking sector. We note that Deutsche Bank generates c 40% of GFT’s revenues. At the time of the Q3 results, GFT said it expects stable revenues from Deutsche in FY16, with the growth coming from other parts of the business. GFT is on Deutsche’s strategic partner list, and GFT handles complex IT projects for Deutsche, along with maintenance of its core business. Competition in this space is low. The IT area at risk in the case of cost-cutting is the commodity IT business, which GFT is not involved in, and is mostly handled by large IT service providers (including the India-based majors). GFT's shares traded at c €32 in early December and, in the wake of the share price de-rating, now look significantly more attractive, trading on c 15x our maintained FY17 earnings.
GFT continued to grow apace, with organic revenue growth (excluding Rule Financial) of 19% in Q3. Margins continued to expand with the adjusted operating margin rising by 100bp to 11.0% over Q2. While FY15 growth has mainly come from investment banking, the pipeline for 2016 is focused on several large retail banking projects. Given management’s increased guidance, we have upgraded our EPS by forecasts by 2% in FY15 and 4% in FY16 and FY17. In our view, if management can continue to maintain the momentum, the stock still looks attractive, trading on c 22x our FY16 EPS.
GFT Group produced another strong performance in Q2, to sustain 23% organic growth over H1. Following the disposal of its resourcing division, GFT is now an IT services pure-play focused on the financial services sector. The group’s adjusted operating margin rose to 10.0% in Q2 and we anticipate further margin expansion with revenue growth and profit recovery at Rule Financial. Noting management’s increased guidance and the strong pipeline for FY16, we have upgraded our EPS by forecasts by 11% in FY16 and 7% in FY17. Hence, the stock continues to look attractive, trading on c 17x our FY16 EPS.
GFT Group has disposed of emagine, its staffing business. The disposal transforms GFT into an IT services pure-play focused on the banking sector. GFT has also made a small acquisition in Spain, which boosts its presence in Spain and Mexico, strengthens its offerings in the digital banking space and adds new service offerings in digital communication and marketing. The impact of the deals is a modest upgrade for our EPS forecasts. We continue to believe there is a good likelihood of earnings upgrades, in light of the current conservative guidance, and this helps to underpin the current valuation of c 20x our FY16 EPS.
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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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Thruvision has reported results for the six months to end-September 2020, showing a steady financial performance, with cost control enabling EBITDA break-even to be achieved in the half year, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. H1 FY21 revenues were steady year-on-year at £4.7m, with gross margin being held at 48%. Net cash has increased from £5.0m at 30 September 2020 to £7.8m at 20 November, following payment from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which made a substantial £2.9m follow-on order in the half year. Near-term uncertainty means management are not in a position to provide full-year guidance for FY21, but they report a strengthening sales pipeline and their growing confidence in medium-term prospects is evidenced by investment in sales and pre-sales resource in both the US and Europe to support increased demand.
Companies: Thruvision Group PLC
Strong trading has continued through October and we raise FY21 revs forecasts by 6% to £56m. With much of the upside from lower margin SMS, we leave profits forecasts unchanged. H2FY20 revenue growth was impacted by the pandemic and dropped to 9% after 2.5 years of 15% growth. Our new FY21 forecast imply a return to c. 18% growth as dotdigital makes a strong recovery and benefits from the shift to omnichannel online marketing driven by booming e-commerce. FY20 growth was strongly assisted by International revenues up 19% and Functionality up 16% and yet there is still plenty of room for growth here with the former just 31%/revs and the latter just 30%. We see a significant and extended growth runway leading to consistent progress for the company over the foreseeable future.
Companies: dotDigital Group 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
Today's news & views, plus announcements from Compass Group, CRH, Carnival, AO World, Pets at Home, Appreciate Group*, ImmuPharma and IG Design.
*We have also initiated coverage on Appreciate Group, with the note linked in this edition.
Open Orphan PLC, a specialist pharmaceutical services company, and the world leader in the testing of vaccines and antivirals using human challenge studies, continues to make excellent progress towards maximising the capacity utilisation of its unique clinical facilities and services capabilities.
Companies: Open Orphan Plc
Moderna announced the first interim analysis from the Phase III study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which was found to be c.95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease. This follows a similar announcement from Pfizer/BioNTech last week, and the caveats we mentioned at that time remain the same. AstraZeneca-Oxford University are also due to announce initial results this month. While these results are highly encouraging, we reiterate that they do not diminish the urgent need for COVID-19 treatments and testing, which will still be required for years to come, and we outline why. We consider Synairgen, Avacta, genedrive, Omega Diagnostics and Open Orphan to offer good buying opportunities.
Animal Health is a vast market with multiple long-term growth characteristics and opportunities. In this report we have outlined valuations, M&A activity and the key growth drivers in two animal health subsectors: companion animal health and livestock health. Although the commercial positioning of the eight companies covered in this report (Animalcare, Anpario, Benchmark Holdings, CVS Group, Dechra, ECO Animal Health, Genus and Pets at Home) differ significantly, all have exposure to positive market trends.
Companies: GNS ANCR CVSG DPH BMK EAH ANP PETS
Last year, Venture Capital Trusts raised the second-highest amount since their launch in 1995, according to the Association of Investment Companies. This is good news for smaller companies seeking growth finance. Changes to pension regulations mean that VCTs are expected to continue to attract investors. Individual qualifying companies can receive up to £10m from VCT investors.
Companies: KEYS NBI MPM PTY BOO W7L