Nanoco is now focused on generating value from three core areas: nanomaterials for the sensor market, where it has a framework agreement with STMicroelectronics; quantum dots for TV displays where a number of development projects are underway; and pursuit of the patent infringement litigation against Samsung. Noting that net cash consumption is now c £0.3m per month, which management, led by Brian Tenner, estimates gives a cash runway to December 2022, we have reinstated our estimates.
Companies: Nanoco Group PLC
Since announcing the termination of the formal sale process in April, Nanoco has reshaped its activities while remaining focused on the commercialisation of its patented nano-material technology. Having defined the scope of the company’s activities, management has reassigned costs to maintain a cash runway to at least the end of calendar year 2022. As part of this programme and in line with the board’s succession planning, CEO Dr Michael Edelman has stepped down. Although our estimates remain under review, we hope to see fresh guidance when the FY20 results are announced in October.
In May Nanoco announced it had taken actions to extend the cash runway from July this year to calendar year Q221. Since then it has signed a five-year framework agreement with STMicroelectronics covering multiple infrared sensing applications, won a development contract for a new technology application in the display sector and secured third-party funding for its patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. Having achieved these key goals, the company has now raised £3.4m to extend the cash runway to at least the end of calendar year 2022. While our estimates remain under review, we hope to see fresh guidance from management in the new financial year.
In February Nanoco announced that it had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The lawsuit alleges that Samsung has wilfully infringed the patents relating to Nanoco’s unique synthesis and resin capabilities for quantum dots. Nanoco is seeking a permanent injunction from further acts of infringement and unspecified but significant monetary damages. Nanoco has now secured litigation finance for the lawsuit from a very large US litigation finance specialist, removing the need for Nanoco and its shareholders to fund the process. Our estimates remain under review.
Nanoco has signed a framework agreement with STMicroelectronics (ST). This covers both development work and commercial supply of nano-materials for use in multiple infra-red sensing applications over a five-year period. While the agreement underpins the operational cash runway, which was recently extended to Q221, there is still significant uncertainty regarding future revenues, so our estimates remain under review.
Nanoco has announced that it has terminated the formal sale process of the company. It has taken actions to extend the cash runway from July this year to calendar Q2 2021. This is valuable as it creates time to progress active commercial opportunities delivering nano-materials for sensing and display applications, to pursue the IP infringement lawsuit against Samsung and secure medium-term funding. Given the uncertainty regarding future revenues we are not reinstating estimates even though the Takeover Panel restrictions are no longer in force.
Nanoco has announced that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The lawsuit alleges that Samsung has wilfully infringed the patents relating to Nanoco’s unique synthesis and resin capabilities for quantum dots. Nanoco is seeking a permanent injunction from further acts of infringement and unspecified but significant monetary damages.
For the purposes of the Takeover Code, Edison Investment Research is deemed to be connected with Nanoco plc. Under Rule 20.1 Edison must not include any profit forecast, quantified financial benefits statement, asset valuation or estimate of other figures key to the offer, except to the extent that such forecasts, statements, valuations or estimates have been published prior to the offer period (as defined in the Takeover Code) by an offeror or the offeree company (as appropriate) in accordance with the requirements of the Code.
Consequently we have removed our estimates until the Offer Period ends.
Although Nanoco’s major US client will not progress to volume production in the foreseeable future, commissioning work continues on the new production capacity, which is scheduled to complete by December. Once that is completed, the facility will be able to produce high-quality infra-red nanomaterials for use in a number of electronics applications. It could therefore be used to service future demand from the US customer or potential new customers in the electronics or display industries with which Nanoco is in the early stages of discussion. The current market capitalisation appears to assign little value to these assets at a time when there appears to be renewed market interest in quantum dots.
Nanoco’s announcement that its project with the major US customer will not continue when the current contract expires in December 2019 is clearly a severe setback and we have therefore cut our FY20 estimates substantially. We note though that the customer’s decision relates to a change in strategy rather than issues with the performance of Nanoco’s materials or services. The company has a strong IP base and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with an estimated 12 months of cash to explore new commercial options including with its US customer. Following Friday’s share price drop, the £20m market capitalisation appears to assign little value to these assets.
Nanoco hit all the key milestones for its US customer during H119, including completing the build and fit out of the expanded Runcorn facility dedicated to the production of nanomaterials. It therefore earned the contracted milestone revenues in full and secured a contract extension reaching to December 2019 to commission and stress test the facility to be ready to commence volume production in calendar H219.
Nanoco’s contract extension for work with its US customer fully underpins our FY19 estimates and gives the business a c £3m+ head start entering FY20. Our forecasts are unchanged, but progress with this major customer has shone a bright light on Nanoco’s IP and execution credentials. Discussions are now ongoing with a number of parties, which could drive upside to our near-term estimates.
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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
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
Gamesys Group’s Q320 trading update is ahead of expectations with pro forma revenue growth of 31% and an improved financial position. As in previous quarters, the company increased the active player base responsibly and benefitted from new game launches. We increase our revenue forecasts for FY20–22 by 5.7–7.0%, and EBITDA forecasts by a slightly lower 2–3% as management further invests in growing a sustainable and repeatable business, while ensuring revenue growth is done responsibly. This follows an EBITDA upgrade of 7.8% for FY20 at the time of the interim results. For FY21e, the free cash flow yield is 9.2% and the dividend yield is 2.9%.
Companies: JP7 GYS JKPTF
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
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
AGM statement as expected; Resume with a Buy
Companies: CloudCall Group PLC
Benefiting from the pandemic-driven surge in sofa shopping, Asos has released strong FY20 results. However, the strong trading performance in FY 20 and a good start to FY21 were not enough to relieve management’s cautious view on the outlook.
The recent return rate has started to climb back from the bottom in April and the macro-economic consequence of COVID-19 may start to weigh on consumer demand. We should see the sales growth pace and profitability normalising in the coming months.
Companies: ASOS plc
H1 results were ahead of our estimates. However, excluding select factors, profits were well above our expectations. Sumo’s strong underlying results positions it to outperform current market expectations. In addition, Sumo announced the acquisition of Pipeworks, which we estimate could drive 18% earnings accretion even based on conservative forecasts. Given the relatively modest share price reaction, Sumo now trades at a lower multiple than prior to the acquisition.
Companies: Sumo Group Plc
Gamesys Group’s interim results reporting pro forma adjusted EBITDA growth of 17% exceeded consensus expectations, demonstrating the strength of its strategy of growing the player base responsibly, while aiming for a high player retention rate. The improving financial position has resulted in the introduction of a new dividend (company commentary implies 36p/share for FY20) earlier than anticipated by us and consensus. We have increased our FY20 EBITDA forecast by 7.8%.
Companies: GYS JP7 JKPTF
CAP-XX Ltd* (CPX.L, 4.5p/£19.9m) | Gfinity plc* (GFIN.L, 3.8p/£28.9m) | MTI Wireless Edge Ltd* (MWE.L, 44p/£38.7m) | Newmark Security plc* (NWT.L, 1.175p/£5.5m)
Companies: CPX GFIN MWE NWT
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
essensys’ FY’20E prelims highlighted strong US performance. Group sales rose 9% y/y to £22.5m (recurring: +19% to £19.4m) underpinned by the US, were 59 new site adds drove recurring sales up +45% y/y to £8.1m. Lockdown saw some sales cycle elongation, yet Group recurring sales were stable h/h, 19 new sites were added in H2 and pipeline includes 47 new contracted Connect sites to deploy. Outlook remains positive, and reintroduced N1Se numbers forecast 15% CAGR in recurring sales to FY’22E. We also explore the adjacent addressable opportunity presented by the essensys STEP product which we estimate to be worth £90m pa in London alone (US market many multiples of that). Valuation at 2.9x EV/sales is at a c.50% discount to peers exhibiting similar attractive SaaS metrics and top-line visibility.
Companies: essensys PLC
Audioboom plc* (BOOM.L, 177.5p/£24.9m) | Starcom plc* (STAR.L, 0.85p/£3.0m)
Companies: Audioboom Group PLC (BOOM:LON)Starcom Plc (STAR:LON)
Interims reveal a particularly strong trading period for the group, with underlying organic sales growth accelerating to +20% c/c (previously mid-single digit), underpinned by both strong trading in the US (+c.50% u/l) and the UK (+11%). Additionally, Eckoh benefitted from a large perpetual Coral licence deal, bringing reported sales growth to +37%. In our view, these results speak to the strong proposition, opportunity and momentum Eckoh across its markets. We leave FY u/l forecasts unchanged but acknowledge they look more than achievable. Currently trading on a 5% FCF yield, rising to 6% in FY21E, we think Eckoh offers a unique investment opportunity.
Companies: Eckoh 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