See what's trending this week...
This quarter we use finnCap’s Slide Rule to provide both top-down and bottom-up analysis of the UK’s Technology and Telecoms sectors. Our findings are very reassuring: the Tech sector scores the best (across all sectors) when considering Growth and Quality – Taptica*, Frontier Developments* and dotDigital* in particular stand out on these metrics. Given these attractive characteristics and growth prospects, the Tech sector is unsurprisingly one of the most expensive – currently trading at 17.2x FY1 EV/EBIT and 23.8x FY1 P/E, versus 15.0x and 18.5x respectively for the wider market. Despite valuations appearing high, we believe there are value opportunities. For example, Proactis* features in finnCap’s QVGM+ portfolio (ranked 17/462) – the company offers attractive organic and inorganic growth, with earnings forecast to grow by 26% CAGR over the next two years, but despite this, only trades on 15x FY1 earnings and offers 8% FCF yield in FY2.
Companies: 7DIG ALT AMO ARTA BOTB BLTG CTP CITY D4T4 DTC DOTD ELCO FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IGP IOM KBT KCOM KWS LRM MAI MMX NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE SRT STR TRMR TAX TEP TPOP TRAK UNG VIP ZOO CYAN ONEV SSY ABAL WJA
Ten Lifestyle Hldgs. Technology-enabled lifestyle and travel platform providing trusted concierge services to the world's wealthy. Net revenue increased from £20 million in the year ended 31 August 2015 to £33 million in the year ended 31 August 2017, a compound annual growth rate of 29%. Offer and date TBA.
AfriTin Mining—Demerger from Bushveld Minerals (BMN.L). Offer TBA. Due 6 Nov. The Uis Tin project (Namibia) is considered the flagship tin asset within the portfolio, as this was once the largest open cast tine mine of its kind in the world .
Footasylum Ltd—UK-based fashion retailer focusing on the branded footwear and apparel markets announced its intention to seek admission to AIM. Expected value between £130m and £150m. Due Nov 2017.
Central Asia Metals (CAML) -RTO of Lynx Resources. Anticipated market capitalisation at Admission: £404.8m. Raising £113m at 230p. Acquiring the SASA zinc-lead mine in Macedonia from Solway Industries. Due 15 Dec.
OnTheMarket—Intention to float on AIM to raise c.£50m which will be used to fund the growth of the OnTheMarket.com portal, already the third biggest UK residential property portal provider. Expected valuation £200m to £250m.
Orogen plc, to be renamed Sosandar plc on Admission. Sosandar is an online womenswear brand specifically targeted at a generation of women who have graduated from younger online and high street brands, and are looking for affordable clothing with a premium, trend-led aesthetic. Offer to raise £5.3m with market cap of £16.1m, expected 2 November 2017
OG Graphite, brownfield development-stage graphite company focused on the reactivation of its wholly-owned Kearney natural flake graphite mine and mill located 280 km north of Toronto, Canada. Offer TBA, expected mid November .
Companies: MERC EME RQIH SOLG LRM AEG BEG
Lok’nStore* (LOK): Expanding the pipeline (CORP) | Revolution Bars (RBG): Revised forecasts (BUY) | OptiBiotix* (OPTI): SlimBiome supply agreement (CORP) | Velocity Composites (VEL): Strong H2 uplift delivers trading in line (CORP) | Lombard Risk Management* (LRM): Challenger bank selects AgileREPORTER (CORP)
Companies: LOK RBG OPTI VEL LRM
H1 was surprisingly challenging for the collateral management business, but management has sufficient visibility and confidence in the pipeline to reaffirm guidance for the company’s FY growth and profit expectations. A poor six months hampered by a fall in service revenue and contract delays does leave a mountain to climb in the second half, but the company feels it has sufficient momentum given the £9.2m contracted orderbook and record pipeline to achieve a demanding target. It is important that the operational accomplishments over the last 18 months are not lost in the gloom of an underperforming half: sales have moved up to a different level since 2016; operations are now truly global with growing success in Asia; a new development centre has been set up; and a partnership has been formed with Oracle. Given the board’s obvious confidence and the record pipeline, we leave our FY expectations and target price unchanged.
Companies: Lombard Risk Management
Predicting the exact moment when large contracts land is never easy, but made doubly difficult if customer purchasing decisions are impacted by outside forces. This has been the case for LRM in the first half, as several chunky orders have been pushed to the right ahead of new MiFID II rules being introduced on 3 Jan’18. Not least, one significant collateral deal, worth £3.25m in license fees alone, which is now anticipated to be signed in late Q3, or early Q4.
Stride Gaming (STR): Changing pace (BUY) | Lombard Risk Management* (LRM): Strategic alliance with Euroclear (CORP) | Wentworth Resources (WRL): Payments received (BUY) | Petra Diamonds (PDL): Annual results (BUY) | Amino Technologies* (AMO): German contract win (CORP) | MP Evans (MPE): Excellent interim results (BUY)
Companies: STR LRM WRL PDL AMO MPE
InnovaDerma* (IDP): Sun’s out (CORP) | Savannah Resources* (SAV): Portuguese lithium exploration update (CORP) | Keywords Studios (KWS): Pedal to the metal (BUY) | Lombard Risk Management* (LRM): A Smart move by Lombard Risk (CORP)
Companies: IDP SAV KWS LRM
After such an outstanding close to FY17, it was almost inevitable that Q1’18 was going to be somewhat quieter for new license orders. This happens most years (see below) as the pipeline is naturally replenished following a strong Q4. Typically leading to a 35%- 45% vs 65%-55% revenue split across H1:H2. We suspect FY18 will be no different, albeit perhaps pitched towards the bottom of the range.
The new management team has more than delivered in the first of the two year plan to transform LRM into a profitable and cash generative, leading-edge software supplier to the global financial services industry. That plan is predicated on the belief that development costs were not too high for the size of business, but rather the business was too small for the proper investment required to develop regulatory and compliance solutions for Tier-1 banks. Funds raised last summer are being utilised to step up sales to a more sustainable level, and this will allow the operational gearing of a software business to deliver profit and cash. In this first year we have seen revenues and earnings beat even upgraded expectations, and the £7.0m year-end net cash position is impressive after excellent H2 cash generation. The share price has responded but has a long way to go, and we increase our target price to 18.75p in line with the progress on delivery.
‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ was a phrase famously coined by US President Ronald Reagan back in 1984. 33 years on, it could equally apply to today’s hugely impressive FY17 prelims from Lombard Risk
Abzena (ABZA): TNT009 bought by Bioverativ for $400m (BUY) | Europa Oil & Gas* (EOG): Placing and open offer (CORP) | STM* (STM): A strong base with optionality (CORP) | Trakm8* (TRAK): Telematics contract win underpins FY 2018 (CORP) | Lombard Risk Management* (LRM): Lombard delivers the promised growth (CORP) | Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB1): In-line trading update (HOLD) | Ideagen* (IGP): New hires demonstrating the sales focus (CORP)
Companies: ABZA EOG STM TRAK LRM MAB1 IGP
See what equity research was trending this week...
Global Ports Holding—Intention to float on Standard List. International cruise ports operator. Seeking $250m raise including $75m primary offer.
Dorcaster—Schedule One Update. Admission now expected 3 May. RTO of Escape Hunt raising £14m at 135p
Verditek— Intention to float on AIM. On Admission, the Company's subsidiaries will be involved in advanced solar photovoltaic, filtration and absorption technologies specialising in providing environmental services. Raising £3.5m. Admission in May.
Eddie Stobart Logistics— Schedule 1. Admission expected 25 April but capital raising details TBC.
ADES International Holding— Intends to join the Standard List in May raising up to $170m plus a vendor sale. Provider of offshore and onshore oil and gas drilling and production services in the Middle East and Africa. Admission expected in May.
Tufton Oceanic Assets– Offer extended to 9 May to enable investors to complete further due diligence.
Companies: RBD SGI LRM VNET EMH SYS1 ALT BIRD MAGP
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Oxford Metrics has delivered solid 1HMar20 results, with sales of £15.0m (PY: £16.1m) and adj. PBT £0.3m (PY: £1.7). Within this, Yotta demonstrated continued ARR progression (up +15% to £6.8m) while at Vicon, the division added additional bluechip customers, further validating its industry leading position. Progress was, however, held back by lockdown restrictions. £1.1m of expected orders slipped to post period, but have now largely been fulfilled. Had they occurred as expected group sales would have been flat y/y. Looking ahead, CV19 related uncertainty leads us to withdraw forecasts. At this stage we expect disruption to be short-lived. As such – and considering OMG’s persuasive track record - we continue to view the company as a long-term winner in this growth industry.
Companies: Oxford Metrics
AGM statement as expected; Resume with a Buy
Companies: Cloudcall Group
COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on virtually every industry, on a global basis. Enterprises of all types and sizes are racing to adapt their models to the “new normal”. The more thoughtful are looking not just to effect change, but to improve how change happens, to become more flexible and more nimble as organisations. Sopheon has today announced some major developments to its Accolade platform which look to assist the group’s customers in this endeavour. This note describes the changes to the product range, and draws on a recent customer webinar used by Sopheon to highlight the evolving challenges to enterprise innovation management.
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.
Companies: Nanoco Group
The Panoply’s trading update reveals the business entered FY 21E with a £15m order backlog and that the group expects to report a strong trading performance for Q1 21E, having recorded £9.5m of new contract wins since the start of the year. A further positive is confirmation of a $5.2m contract win with a global philanthropic organisation by the group’s FutureGov unit (included within the £9.5m total). Against an ongoing backdrop of COVID19 driven uncertainty, this is a very positive announcement in our view. Noting that c70% of group turnover is now generated by public sector clients, we continue to believe The Panoply is well-placed to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and we maintain estimates following the release.
Companies: The Panoply Holdings
Avation is a lessor of 48 commercial aircraft to a diversified airline client base. Intra-day yesterday, the group announced that, as a result of the present uncertain backdrop caused by COVID-19, the Board had withdrawn from the previously announced strategic review and formal sale process, and that it was no longer in active discussions with any interested parties. The key reasons behind this were 1) the present uncertainty meaning that an attractive valuation was seen as unlikely to be achieved at this present moment in time and 2) the distraction of the process in the day to day operational activities of the business.
Petards supplies advanced security and surveillance systems to the Rail, Defence and Traffic Technology markets. Intra-day yesterday, the group confirmed that its RTS Solutions subsidiary had secured a multi-year renewal agreement for the provision of software support services to one of its major rail customers.
Touchstar is a supplier of mobile data computing solutions and managed services to a variety of industrial sectors. This morning, the group has released full year results to 31 December 2019, alongside providing an update on progress against the present COVID-19 backdrop. In line with the market updates provided in February and April, group revenue in the year increased by 3.2% to £7.1m, whilst revenue from continuing operations, excluding the Onboard business that was disposed of in the year, increased by 7.2% to £6.7m, driven by traction being gained with new products and services. The gross margin in the year increased by 280bps to 53.9% reflecting the greater proportion of software and service income. This resulted in a trading loss after tax before exceptionals of £89k, which post exceptionals of £412k that predominantly related to the disposal of OnBoard, resulted in a loss after tax of £501k. As previously reported, the year-end net cash position stood at £850k, which reflected an increase of £554k in the year; this post £1.1m of new product development expenditure and cash costs associated with the disposal.
Companies: AVAP TST PEG
Watchstone has this morning announced a proposed second return of cash to shareholders, totalling a further £18.4m/40p per share. The rationale for this second tranche relates to the Board having previously allocated a cash buffer of £20m for any possible fines or penalties arising from the now lapsed SFO investigation. Subject to shareholder and court approval, this further return is anticipated to be made on or around 31 July 2020. Shareholders approved the first £50.5m/110p per share return of cash on 27 April 2020, which remains subject to court approval on 11 June 2020 and is scheduled to be paid on or around 30 June 2020.
Companies: Watchstone Group
Following the announcement of a business restructure and temporary cost reduction measures to reduce costs by A$12m, we have updated our forecasts for Seeing Machines. We believe that the significant measures taken by the management offset a weaker revenue outlook, as the impact of COVID-19 looks likely to continue for longer than anticipated. The net result is a similar to previous expectations in terms of cash, which we believe remains sufficient to see the company through FY22 ahead of profitability in FY23. The long-term effects of the business restructure is expected to be positive for shareholder value as demonstrated by our DCF based valuation which increases to 7.2p (from 7.0p).
Companies: Seeing Machines
Synairgen (SNG.L): Preliminary 2019 results | Yourgene Health (YGEN.L): COVID-19 testing service launch and business update
Companies: Synairgen Yourgene Health
Success breeds success. Take B2B software developer Rosslyn, who over the past few years has meticulously built a leading Big Data & spend analytics SaaS platform (RAPid), supporting an illustrious roster of 100+ clients (many global multi-nationals). Topped off with the synergistic acquisition of Langdon in Sept’19, & becoming EBITDA positive in FY’20 for the 1st time ever - thanks to increasing ARR (+12% to >£6m vs £5.4m LY) & favourable operational leverage (81% gross margins).
Companies: Rosslyn Data Technologies
This morning's announcement from PEN highlights significant mitigations of some of the Covid-19 risks identified in its recent Report & Accounts, notably where cash and working capital are concerned. From this perspective it is highly reassuring that major invoices to the tune of £2m in relation to PEN's contract with General Dynamics (GD), delayed by the practical issues around milestone meetings during the pandemic crisis, have now been raised, with help from virtual technology, and that written confirmation has been received from the client that the equipment milestone has been met. Formal agreement by GD to the £1.5m pricing adjustments which PEN had applied for is also excellent news, and as a result a contract which initially was expected to be valued at £7.3m is now worth at least £13.5m, with more potentially to go for. Moreover, on the back of the re-scoping of last year's Middle East contract and the GD agreement combined, over £4m of positive working capital is expected to flow into the current year, resulting in a significantly improved cash situation.
Companies: Pennant International Group
1HMar20 sales flat at £2.3m, MRR also flat at £340k. Net loss £-2.0m (PY: £-1.9m), period-end net debt £0.14m. On MRR - a new customer win and also upsells were offset by customer churn. New sales generation has been slower than planned. In response, INX has reduced staff headcount by 20%, starting in January. Covid has negatively impacted business performance – meaning longer sales cycles and higher DSOs. Encouragingly therefore, cash collection improved post period-end (to £0.3m). Further, two upsells have been secured, meaning YTD upsell value is up +10% y/y. Despite this progress, prudently, INX has decided to further reduce costs, with the objective of obtaining a monthly breakeven performance. This, combined with the company’s renewal pipeline and cash position, is said to provide sufficient funding for the current year. The board is however mindful of the sustainability of the changes made and as such, is in the early stages of reviewing its longer-term strategic options to introduce fresh capital. Forecasts remain U/R.
Companies: I-Nexus Global
Walker Greenbank is a higher-end interior furnishings business with well-established global brand names and manufacturing facilities in the UK. This morning, the group has provided a further update on the business in relation to COVID-19 following its previous announcement on 25 March. In addition, and in line with recent FCA/FRC guidance, full year results to 31 January 2020 have been rescheduled to 30 June (previously expected 23 April).
With cash ahead of expectation in a year of transformation, PTY has reported inline results for the year to December 2019, with revenues standing at £80.4m and £0.1m adj. PBT. Net cash at £0.9m is ahead of our expectation prior to the company's pre-close update by some £1.9m, a significant beat.
Dillistone's update this morning is, on the whole, reassuring. Although the economic implications of COVID-19 will likely materially affect FY2020E results, as with many businesses seeing a significant reduction in demand for products and services, it is too early to determine the quantum. As such, we remove our FY2020 estimates that previously looked for an EBITDA contribution of £1.6m and adjusted PBT to £0.1m.
Companies: WGB DSG PTY
The Panoply’s trading update for the year to March 2020 confirms that H2 trading was solid, and that the Board expects to report revenue and EBITDA in line with market expectations. The group’s financial position remains robust and will be enhanced by cash collections from the solid 20E trading performance. The Panoply is actively involved in the response to the COVID19 pandemic, with the business being only minimally impacted so far. Overall, we believe the announcement contains a number of positive messages. However, with ongoing macro-driven uncertainty over the medium/ longer-term outlook, we revise forecasts. Our FY 21E and FY 22E EBITDA estimates are reduced by 37% and 21% respectively.
The Coronavirus pandemic is a human tragedy of vast proportions – as well as the terrible human toll, COVID-19 has led to economies across the globe going into physical lockdown and financial freefall. Entire populations are adapting to the “stay at home” edict, to safeguard the vulnerable – and some of these changes will lead to long-lasting or perhaps permanent changes in the way we live or work. This note describes some of our client companies whose business models are well adapted to these changes, or who might see a change in long-term structural demand.
Companies: AMO BGO FDM GAMA KAPE LOOP TERN ZOO