Kromek (KMK.L): New R&D project in cancer surgery
Companies: Kromek Group Plc
Both the US and UK operations are fully back up and running and by the end of calendar 2020 we see Kromek being back on a pre-Covid-19 trajectory. Additional funding has been secured post balance sheet date to see the business through the intervening period. Our forecasts remain withdrawn for now but we see no diminution of market opportunity.
‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Ditto for radiation detection expert Kromek, which was hit by a ‘perfect storm’ in the Spring, after the pandemic forced hospitals to postpone operations, borders to close and governments to impose national lockdowns. In turn, hitting the firm’s 3 core markets, namely Medical Imaging (SPECT, BMD), ‘dirty bomb’ detection (D3S) & Airport Screening (baggage scanners).
Many of the world’s best and most important products (eg Space exploration, nuclear medicine/power & the internet) were originally invented by the military. It’s happened again – but this time to combat airborne pathogens like Ebola, SARS/MERS and all manner of other biological nasties doing the rounds. You see on 10th December 2018, Kromek was awarded a $2.0m contract by DARPA (research arm of US Dept. of Defense) to develop a vehicle-mounted bio-threat detector. The idea being that this should be able to rapidly identify (within 1 hour) any dangerous germ that might have been released into the environment, say by terrorist groups, organised criminals &/or rogue states.
Kromek has received a material order from DARPA to further develop a biopathogen detector totalling $5.2m. This is an incremental market opportunity for the company and the majority of the contracted value is likely to be recognised in the company’s new fiscal period to April 2021.
Hospital expenditure should logically rise during pandemics, right? Yes, but not always straight away. Indeed, total US healthcare spend actually fell 18% annualised in Q1’20, as operating theatres were converted into ICUs and non-critical procedures postponed to free up resource for COVID-19 patients. It’s a similar picture worldwide, and why J&J recently said that its medical device division was experiencing contract delays. The important takeaway being that these orders are not lost, and should come back in future quarters – probably post any 2nd infection wave in the Autumn.
Customer orders in Q4E have moved to the right as a result of the COVID-19 crisis leading to a revenue shortfall in FY20E. While these orders are deferred and not cancelled, precise visibility over their future timing is limited and we are withdrawing forecasts for FY21E. Kromek's strong balance sheet adequately fully absorbs the shortfall in cash flow and we aim to reinstate forecasts by the time the company reports its final results.
Caribbean Investment Holdings. Incorporated in Belize . CIHL primarily operates financial services businesses through its subsidiaries The Belize Bank Limited and Belize Bank International Limited, both located in Belize and international corporate services through Belize Corporate Services Limited. CIHL shares are also traded on the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Lord Ashcroft holds 75%. No capital raise. Due 28 April. £36m . 2019 net profit US$ 10.7m
Companies: PANR TON PRSM TAM KMK RBGP LID MERC BARK TM17
Kromek intends to secure a manufacturing licence for the production of ventilators to assist the global response against the COVID-19 virus. Production on commercial terms will not have a material effect on FY20E but a production ramp-up in to early FY21E could be a meaningful feature in the new fiscal period.
Rarely has Britain ever invented such world-beating technology as that developed by Kromek. Indeed its next generation radiation detectors are disrupting 3 major verticals - Medical Imaging (eg BMD & SPECT), Nuclear Detection (D3S) and Security Screening (Airport baggage/bottles) – each worth >$100m pa.
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GB Group (GBG) expects to report underlying revenue growth of 10% y-o-y for H121, with a one-off contract in the US making a material contribution to revenues. Combined with strict cost control this resulted in adjusted operating profit growth of 26% y-o-y and a £32m h-o-h reduction in net debt. With management guidance for revenue well ahead of our and consensus forecasts for FY21, we have upgraded our revenue and EPS forecasts for FY21–23. Despite COVID-19 related pressure on new business in the short-term, we view GBG as well placed to benefit from the accelerated shift in the digitalisation of business processes.
Companies: GB Group PLC
FY’20 results are slightly ahead of our expectations, and cap an excellent period with strong news flow. KidneyIntelX has now launched at Mount Sinai and is cleared to report results in all 50 US states. We continue to believe KidneyIntelX could represent the future standard-ofcare for early detection of chronic kidney disease progression and kidney failure in patients with Type II Diabetes, affecting an estimated 11m. Focus is now on building out the platform with expanded indicated uses, win national reimbursement and drive testing adoption. One significant catalyst ahead is Medicare coverage, which come as early as H1 2021 under new proposed rules. Whether or not this rule is finalised, the company is moving forward towards broader insurance payor coverage. In this note, we have refreshed our forecasts and valuation reflecting the deployment of IPO proceeds.
Companies: Renalytix AI Plc
An H1 update to September reveals a robust performance notwithstanding a challenging macro backdrop - sales (ex. Coral) are just “slightly lower” y/y, indeed if also excluding an intentional move away from hardware-based Support, we estimate core revenue grew c.+7%. This was underpinned by continued strong growth in US SecPay: +80% y/y, now ~32%/group sales, while in the UK, we estimate sales fell by c.-11%. Here, Covid impacted transactional sales (rather than any permanent loss of business) such that a future recovery is likely in our view. Despite the lower sales and GP, it‘s impressive to note profitability is expected to be in line with 1H20 (AOP: £3.4m) following tight cost management. Looking ahead, there’s reason to be optimistic, as in US SecPay, large enterprise tenders that were paused in H1, may resume in H2. Meanwhile in the UK – and despite the headline sales figure – business activity is already reassuringly strong: total new business won grew 8% y/y in H1, this includes the major £4m/6yr contract with Capita and TfL announced in August. In addition, closing net cash of £12.9m (£2m FCF) continues to offer strategic options. We reiterate that this a high quality company, with a robust and cash generative UK business, while leadership position in a nascent and fast growing US market.
Companies: Eckoh plc
Proactis has delivered finals to July in line with the August trading update, revealing EBITDA of £11.8m from revenue of £49.6m and pre-IFRS16 net debt of £45.1m (net bank debt of £37.1m). The focus remains on annual recurring revenue (ARR), total contract value (TCV), and bePayd, with positive news on all three: core ARR increased by 1.3%, TCV won in the period surpassed all previous highs despite COVID, and bePayd engaged with early adopters. While COVID has had an effect on sales cycles, the application of the UK and NL mid-market sales methodology across a consistent target market in France, Germany and the US has already demonstrated results with contract wins and the establishment of a record pipeline. The group has reshaped in favour of efficiency and visibility, delivering credibility with proof of execution and offering substantial upside. Target 80p reiterated, with a long run target of 180p applying reasonable peer group multiples to maiden FY22 forecasts.
Companies: PROACTIS Holdings PLC
This new Q3 update is a welcome addition to QTX reporting calendar, particularly as it reveals impressive resilience through the pandemic; far better performance than originally thought. Management expects FY 2020 revenue and FCF to be in line with consensus forecasts but with earnings substantially ahead. There is a caveat on the impact of the second wave of COVID-19, but so close to YE the risk is relatively low and we raise our forecasts appropriately. Fleet is the driver; despite the impact of lockdowns on new subscriptions in Q2, the subscription base has grown 11% YoY across the 9 months to 168k, fuelling 7% YoY growth in Fleet revenue. The annualised subscription base has risen 5.3% from £20.8m at YE to £21.9m in September, comfortably underpinning our FY 2021 forecast.
Companies: Quartix Holdings Plc
Expected profitability in H1E will be consistent with the level delivered in the interim period last year, albeit at a substantially higher margin. Order flow had seen some disruption from COVID-19 in fiscal Q1E and into Q2E but the September cycle for RFPs and order wins has been encouraging. Our FY21E forecasts are unchanged, and with the stock at the bottom of its trading range, we maintain our buy recommendation.
Companies: Shearwater Group plc
Positive update today – reporting that as a consequence of recent SITS contract wins, careful cost management and the efficiency of remote delivery, TRB is tracking “comfortably ahead” of current profit estimates. As a consequence, we upgrade EBITDA and AOP to £14.8m and £11.5m, equivalent to 8% and 10% upgrades respectively. FCF is tracking better also, as implied by current net cash: £11.2m – already exceeding our FY20 estimate. Accordingly, we upgrade u/l FCF (i.e. ex the royalty dispute) to £5.7m. Also announced today - Q3 ARR now stands at £44.5m, up £1.3m on 2H20. While only using 3 months of data, we highlight that this run-rate equates to +12% annualised growth i.e. a significant step-up vs. the +3% y/y achieved to 2H20. To us, this is a clear reflection of how TRB’s on-prem SITS product continues to sell, TRB’s significant cloud hosting opportunity with existing customers and lastly, we’re also starting to see the financial benefits from Tribal Edge, as the first module went live earlier this year. In view of progress, we also make modest upgrades to FY21 estimates, whilst leaving scope for outperformance, should current momentum be maintained. On valuation, whilst the share price has recovered somewhat, TRB still trades on a 7% earnings yield or alternatively, just 2.7x ARR. On either metric, this looks attractive vs. peers…so would suggest TRB’s very real growth opportunities are still not priced in.
Companies: Tribal Group plc
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY.L): Initiation of field trial | Sensyne Health (SENS.L): Research agreement with Milton Keynes University Hospital
Companies: Allergy Therapeutics plc (AGY:LON)Sensyne Health Plc (SENS:LON)
AGM statement as expected; Resume with a Buy
Companies: CloudCall Group PLC
Gaming Realms is a creator and licensor of innovative games for mobile, with operations in the UK, U.S. and Canada. Flagship brand Slingo® is a highly popular and unique game genre which combines elements of slot, bingo and table gameplay. These games are licensed by some of the biggest online gaming operators in the world, including DraftKings, Sky Betting & Gaming and GVC, and distributed directly to operators or via global partners such as Scientific Games & Relax Gaming using the company's proprietary Remote Game Server platform.
Companies: Gaming Realms PLC
Microsoft has begun marketing LiveData as its ‘preferred solution’ to migrate Hadoop data into the cloud. The announcement represents a culmination of years of development work from WANdisco and finally proves beyond doubt the capabilities of its technology. As highlighted previously, we expect this launch to drive a significant uptick in financial performance. The exact timing and pace of this uplift is uncertain, but the company has reaffirmed the guidance given to the market at its interims.
Companies: WANdisco Plc
LoopUp has announced a very strong H1 period, in line with the previous trading update and reflecting a number of months of exceptional performance. This is allowing the business to invest in the major identified new opportunity, to provide telephony within Microsoft Teams, where the early signs are extremely positive. We look forward to further detail on the Teams pipeline and sales levels over time.
Companies: LoopUp Group PLC
FY19 revenue increased 16.9% to £19.4m following a strong H2/19, c9% ahead of forecast. New products released included Concurrent's first AI board, aimed at the military market. Order intake was strong, especially during H2/19, continuing into 2020. Inevitably COVID-19 has caused uncertainty about H2/20 activity levels and potential delays from customers, though there has been no immediate slow-down. Concurrent is a supplier to some of the world's most prominent defence companies in the UK and US and continues to supply these customers uninterrupted. Given COVID-19 related uncertainty we have taken a prudent view and trimmed our FY20 revenue (and consequently PBT forecasts). With over £10.5m cash and no debt, a strong order book and top tier customers, Concurrent is continuing to invest in R&D and progress its plans to add new software and hardware product ranges and enter new markets.
Companies: Concurrent Technologies Plc
Concurrent has delivered a strong H1/20 trading performance during a volatile period, with revenue of £9.2m (H1/19: £9.5m). Though COVID-19 caused initial uncertainty around FY20 activity levels, Concurrent is a supplier to some of the world's most prominent defence companies in the UK and US and was thus designated an essential defence supplier. Activity levels therefore continued throughout COVID-19 lockdown, with the defence market representing 68% (H1/19: 58%) of revenue in the period. Following strong order intake during H1/20 (record order book in May 2020) we have increased our revenue expectations by £1.7m to £18.7m for FY20. With £10m cash and no debt Concurrent is continuing to invest in R&D and progress its plans to add new hardware and software product ranges into new markets such as AI, software and services.
Mirriad Advertising’s H120 numbers show strong top-line progress, up 109% on H119 and 26% ahead of H219. H120 revenues were up over 185% year-on-year in China and Singapore, with market confidence rebuilding. There are very promising new agreements in place with US media owners, with early moves in large adjacent markets, such as music video. There are advanced negotiations ongoing with Tier 1 entertainment platforms. These prospects significantly increase the attraction of Mirriad’s proposition to advertisers. Cash burn is now under £1m per month, with end-August cash of £13.3m (no debt). Market forecasts for FY20–22 are unchanged.
Companies: Mirriad Advertising plc