StatPro has received a recommended all-cash offer at 230p per share (a 54.9% premium to the closing price) from Confluence Technologies, a private equity-backed (TA Associates) US-based provider of solutions to the global asset management industry. The offer is recommended by the board and supported by shareholders representing 65.2% of the shares. At the interims, management confirmed its focus on driving sales, having established the building blocks for growth (consolidation of the Revolution platform, new divisional structure) over the last few years.
Companies: Statpro Group
For the purposes of the Takeover Code, Edison Investment Research is deemed to be connected with SCISYS 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.
StatPro produced a solid set of interim results, with organic annualised recurring revenue (ARR) growth accelerating to 3.2% from 1.1% at end-2018. The EBITDA margin continued to expand and the group has a widening range of growth drivers in place. After many years of development on the group’s Revolution cloud platform and new divisions in place, which also creates opportunities in the data space, the focus is increasingly shifting onto driving sales. Given the group’s c £57.3m recurring revenue book, the rating (c 16x FY20e) looks attractive, especially in light of the active M&A backdrop in the financial software sector.
StatPro’s interim results reflect growth in Annualised Recurring Revenue (ARR) and EBITDA which result from increasing margins, improved growth in new contract numbers and fewer cancellations. Although there is some influence on the shape of the reported numbers from restatements and some exceptional items, it is clear that progress has continued in the first half. The new divisional structure has given the businesses renewed impetus and it was clear from a number of announcements during the first half that the Group is benefitting from contract wins and extensions which include conversions from Seven to Revolution. The Group also announced an important strategic partnership with J.P. Morgan. We note the increasing momentum behind ARR and profitability growth. The new contracts, partnerships and the integration of acquisitions are underpinning our full year estimates. We update numbers mainly to reflect adjusting items and IFRS 16 as detailed below. We expect StatPro to continue to reflect progress in its strategic delivery and profitability as it adds new contracts and converts more of its existing clients to using the Revolution platform. We also note the £2.5 million of mooted cost savings from that latter process in the coming years.
Interswitch, a Nigeria-based payments firm, has hired advisers to resurrect plans for a stock-market listing in London and Lagos later this year, which may value the financial technology company at $1.3bn to $1.5bn.
Companies: MBT DVO SOG bmn INQO ATM GBP SMS PXS CKT
StatPro has announced that it has secured a conversion from its legacy StatPro Seven software to its cloud-based StatPro Revolution service with a large insurance company. This resulting three-year contract has a minimum value of £1.5 million representing a 77% increase in annual subscription. This large contract with an existing key client brings a good uplift in annual revenue and represents another conversion from Seven that remains within the Group while further endorsing the cloud-focused strategy. As StatPro moves towards the end of its programme of converting legacy Seven contracts into Revolution contracts, the announcement says that there are approximately £5 million of legacy StatPro Seven annual software subscriptions remaining to be converted. The Group remains on course to complete the full conversion of most of those remaining clients over the next two years. As previously flagged, as the process draws to a close, StatPro will be in a position to realise savings in IT costs as well as gaining improved revenues. We make no changes to estimates at present but note this further underpinning of our numbers for this year and next.
Positive newsflow continues, with StatPro announcing a significant £1.5m conversion from its legacy Seven suite to its modern Revolution cloud platform. This follows the recent news of a partnership with JP Morgan’s Data and Analytics business and the acquisition of an ESG research and index business. The deal is significant since it is a large contract with a key client, has an attractive 77% conversion premium and signals that the group is moving towards the end stages of conversions of its legacy Seven contracts. In our view, the shares continue to look undervalued, given the group’s c £56m recurring revenue book and the attractive rating (c 14x FY20e), especially in light of the active M&A backdrop in the financial software sector.
StatPro has announced a partnership with JP Morgan which it believes will be a significant contributor to growth in the future. We see the announcement as both another endorsement of StatPro’s cloud-based Revolution platform and an important new distribution channel for the Group. Initially for five years, the partnership will develop Risk and Performance Attribution capabilities for portfolio managers through J.P. Morgan's data and analytics platform. When launched, the service will be immediately available to J.P. Morgan’s European and Asian multi-asset clients and there will be an early adopter programme for its clients in North America. JP Morgan’s clients will have access to StatPro’s Revolution platform in tandem with JP Morgan’s Fixed Income Benchmark Indices. While we make no immediate changes to estimates given that this partnership has only just been announced, we expect it to support our current estimates as it gets under way.
StatPro has this morning announced the acquisition of a business active in the provision of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) ratings and indices. The deal offers a good fit with the group’s existing client base and product range, and is expected to be modestly earnings-enhancing in the first full year of ownership. We note a similar recent purchase by the London Stock Exchange. We upgrade our 2020E earnings estimates slightly to reflect the deal.
StatPro has acquired ECPI, a small private Italian environmental, social and governance (ESG) research and index business, from its management for a total consideration of c €2.9m (c £2.6m). While the deal is small, we believe there is significant potential to add value by cross-selling the products to StatPro’s large global client base. In our view, the shares continue to look undervalued, given the group’s c £56m recurring revenue book and the attractive rating (c 14x FY20e), especially in light of the active M&A backdrop in the financial software sector.
Alumasc Group plc, the prem ium building products, system s and solutions group, has announced its intention to m ove from the Premium Segment of the main market to AIM. Expected market cap of £33.4m. Expected 25 June 2019
Argentex a UK-based forex service provider founded in 2011 by its current management team which operates as a Riskless Principal for nonspeculative and forward foreign exchange as structured financial derivatives is looking to join AIM. Offer TBC, expected 25 June
Companies: IRR PCIP ANA SLNG SOG ALS BST KWS EMAN ASO
Following a solid performance in 2018, StatPro’s AGM statement confirms that the Group has traded in line with expectations during the first part of the current financial year. This is consistent with the outlook comment in the March FY 2018 results announcement which said that the Group had good visibility into H1 2019 with a solid business pipeline. We also note recent positive announcements on contracts – the latest of which was made earlier this week when the Group announced a three year extension for £2.44 million with a Top 20 Fund Administrator. Management had previously said that StatPro was seeing further growth from its fund administration clients in the first quarter of 2019. In his statement, Chairman Rory Curran reiterates two particular areas of focus: improving EBITDA margins – aided by the move to the new divisional structure – and ensuring that the Delta integration is a success. We leave estimates unchanged while noting the supportive contract announcements.
Trading remains in line and we have maintained our forecasts, which imply 2.7% FY19 organic revenue growth. Management’s two key priorities for FY19 are 1) improving EBITDA margins in all areas of the business and 2) ensuring the Delta integration is a success. In the longer run, margins stand to benefit from the group’s increasing scale and costs dropping out as the group’s three software platforms are consolidated over the next few years. In our view, the shares continue to look attractive, given the group’s c £56m recurring revenue book and the declining rating (c 15x FY20e), especially in light of the active M&A backdrop in the financial software sector. We note that Axioma, a StatPro competitor in the risk space, was recently acquired by Deutsche Börse for $850m or c 8.5x sales.
StatPro has announced a useful extension to a contract with an existing customer – a total of €1.2m over three years from a Revolution Delta client. The news does not cause us to revisit our estimates, but provides a useful boost to forecast security, and demonstrates both client satisfaction and the positive tailwind of ongoing regulatory change. We look forward to hearing more around the time of the AGM later in May.
Induction Healthcare Group plc—a healthcare technology company focused on streamlining the delivery of care by Healthcare Professionals looking to join AIM. Expected raise of £14.58m at 115p, market cap of £34.07m. Expected 22 May 2019.
SDX Energy plc—a North Africa focused oil and gas company, announces its intention to complete a Canadian plan of arrangement under section 192 of the Canada Business Corporations Act and will have shares de-listed from the TSX-V and admitted to trading on AIM. Expected 28 May 2019, anticipated market cap of £76m
Renold plc—a leading international supplier of industrial chains and related power transmission products, announced that it will cancel the listing of the Company from the premium segment and apply for admission on AIM. Expected 06 June 2019.
Alumasc Group plc, the premium building products, systems and solutions group, has announced its intention to move from the Premium Segment of the main market to AIM. Expected market cap of £33.4m. Expected 25 June 2019
Companies: SOLG SCLP SYM TRB ONC SOG JAY PTSG RAI VP/
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The FY 2020 results are in line with our expectations and reflect the impact of the previously announced switch from large perpetual licences to recurring annual term licences during the year. Despite the COVID strictures, with its large global partnerships, D4t4 continues to close numerous lucrative data gathering and data management contracts with major blue-chips around the world. It is successfully converting a high proportion of its new sales to recurring revenue contracts, but this will sacrifice growth and earnings in FY 2020 and FY 2021. Nevertheless, with growing recurring revenue base, an exciting pipeline and a very strong balance sheet, D4t4 is very well positioned for continued long-term growth and security.
Companies: D4T4 Solutions
The ‘Moving Forward Act', the strongest automotive safety bill in decades, has now been passed in the House of Representatives. The bill is focused on advancing safety technologies proven to reduce crash and harm and to make sure strong safety standards are in place to save lives. The bill, which now needs to be passed in the Senate, will mandate automatic braking, lane-keeping, blind-spot detection, event data recorders as well as DMS in all cars and trucks sold in the US from 2024. This aligns with the European General Safety Regulation, which passed into law in November 2019.
However, in the EU, the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) has requested a 2‐year delay for the introduction of the 2022 Euro-NCAP protocols due to the projected lengthy time that will be needed to recover from the effects of COVID-19. Euro NCAP has agreed, and a delay is now expected to the 2022 and 2024 rating. The new dates will give automakers and Tier 1 suppliers more time to incorporate the necessary changes given the events of recent months with a number of manufacturers announcing 12 month delays to new models.
Companies: Seeing Machines
GB Group reported strong performance in FY20 and started taking measures to preserve cash in Q420. Trading in Q121 has been mixed and while management is unwilling to provide guidance for FY21, it has confidence that in the longer term it is well positioned to benefit from the acceleration in digital transformation that should drive demand for its identity data intelligence services. We have upgraded our EPS forecasts by 5% in FY21 and 3% in FY22.
Companies: GB Group
CentralNic’s capital markets day (CMD) on 24 June 2020 introduced the divisional management team and provided insight on each of the three key segments as they will report in FY20: Indirect (Wholesale, Registry); Monetisation (Team Internet); and Direct (Retail, Corporate). We have picked out what we believe are the four key themes from the CMD: FY20 performance, COVID-19 and seasonality; organic growth; M&A; and, pulling it all together, the benefit of scale. CentralNic continues to trade on an FY20 EV/EBITDA of 9.1x and a P/E of 15.8x, a material discount to its peer group, with our DCF indicating further share price upside. M&A could bring CentralNic’s multiples down further.
Companies: Centralnic Group
Touchstar is a supplier of mobile data computing solutions and managed services to a variety of industrial sectors. This morning, the group has provided a trading update to coincide with its AGM.
Encouragingly, the business continues to perform in line with the trends seen at the time of the full year results in May and the Board anticipates Touchstar will be profitable in the six months to 30 June. Cash generation is again reported to have been good, with ‘significantly higher cash balances' expected to be reported than at the beginning of the year (FY 2019A £850k). The group has drawdown a CBIL of £150,000, which provides additional liquidity alongside its undrawn banking facilities of £300,000. Looking ahead, the order book is a more normal level than last reported at over £500,000 at the end of June, which compares to an exceptionally strong £1.2m at the beginning of the year.
FY20 results: inline with guidance
ECSC Group plc* (ECSC.L, 71.5p/£7.2m) | Trackwise Designs plc (TWD.L, 90.5p/£20.0m) | Transense Technologies plc (TRT.L, 59.5p/£9.7m)
Companies: ECSC Group Trackwise Designs
LoopUp has provided an update on trading to coincide with today’s AGM…in essence, the group continues to see activity “materially” above pre-COVID levels, and is confident of exceeding expectations for 2020. We choose to leave our forecasts (that we believe to be roughly in line with consensus estimates) unchanged for now, in advance of further detail likely with a fuller H1 update in early July.
Companies: Loopup Group
CentralNic's CMD gave us new positive insights into the company's investment case. CentralNic's organic growth is stronger than we thought, the Direct division generates high ROI, the monetisation market was shown to be critical to the domain name market, Team Internet's market leadership was further reinforced and acquisition opportunities were shown to be larger than anticipated. These investment views are not reflected in CentralNic's low valuation multiples, in our view.
Blackbird plc* (BIRD.L, 19.25p/£64.7m) | Mirada plc* (MIRA.L, 92.5p/£8.2m) | Tern plc* (TERN.L, 10.75p/£29.0m) | Checkit plc (CKT.L, 39.5p/£24.5m)
Companies: BIRD MIRA MIRA TERN CKT
Gresham continues to show strong progress in difficult times. 18% yoy organic growth in Clareti ARR is amongst the fastest growth of any UK software company. It is being achieved because Gresham has built a disruptive product that is now replacing incumbents at Tier 1 financial institutions around the world. These results underpin our FY20 EBITDA expectations. The implied valuation of Clareti’s ARR is <6x revs, which we think offers value for an emerging leader.
Companies: Gresham Technologies
We are introducing our Best Ideas for 2019 and also review the performance of last year’s picks. We suggest ten solidly financed stocks with good business dynamics that ought to be considered for core portfolio holdings and six UK domestically focused stocks that our analysts believe should perform strongly in the event that uncertainties unwind. We also introduce a new style of research from N+1 Singer which presents a Company’s dynamics and metrics in a clear and concise manner and concentrates on the pivotal issues affecting that Company and an investment decision.
Companies: BCA CLIN CLG CBP DNLM EAH STU FCRM FUTR GTLY INS GLE NICL SDL SPR TRI
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).
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