Augean (AUG LN) Strong H1 PBT growth; material reduction in net debt | Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW LN) Impressive 8% annualised discretionary flows in Q3 | Burford Capital (BUR LN) H1 results – c.15% up on a strong comp – increasing estimates and TP | Earthport (EPO LN) Continued progress with operational changes | EKF Diagnostics (EKF LN) Exclusive agreement with Asahi Kasei expands US products portfolio | IDOX (IDOX LN) Framework in place for improved future performance | Marston’s (MARS LN) Positive Q3 update goes a long way to allay forecast and DPS concerns | Rathbone Brothers (RAT LN) Solid H1 earnings, but still modest organic net inflows | Victrex (VCT LN) Another strong volume performance, FY guidance maintained
Companies: AUG BRW BUR EPO EKF IDOX MARS RAT VCT
Eckoh (ECK LN) Another year of strong progress | Victrex (VCT LN) Well on track after record H1
Companies: Eckoh Victrex
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Victrex has reported record Q1 volumes with a positive performance in the Industrial business offsetting a slightly weaker performance in Medical. Volume strength should not be extrapolated (interestingly the large Consumer Electronics order played a part in the outperformance) but we expect to increase our FY volume forecast somewhat, implying a 4% to 5% EPS upgrade to FY18 (the statement acknowledges some limited scope for outperformance). For FY19, an increasing currency headwind is likely to temper forecast momentum (we estimate a £10m headwind in that year following a £10m+ benefit in the current year). Overall a strong start to the year and despite recent currency movements, the shares are looking increasingly attractive after a period of s/p weakness with a dividend yield close to 5% inc specials.
Strong start to FY18, record Q1 volumes
Curtis Banks Group (CBP LN) Upside from strategic initiatives not yet recognised | ECO Animal Health Group (EAH LN) Marketing authorisation for Aivlosin® in Canada | IDOX (IDOX LN) Year end update and Board change | Microsaic Systems (MSYS LN) New phase of research agreement with global partner in biopharma | Safestyle UK (SFE LN) Tougher trading & further margin pressure drives another 10% d/grade | Zotefoams (ZTF LN) Strategic partnership with Nike
Companies: XAR VCT IDOX SFE ZTF EAH MSYS CBP
At our 3D Printing and Advanced Manufacturing lunch on Monday three companies updated us on the developments and significant opportunities for their business in this exciting new area. We were pleased to welcome speakers from Xaar, Victrex and unlisted group Metalysis. Each company gave a 15-20 minute overview of their existing activities in 3D printing and how they are continuing to develop their offer to capitalise on the strong growth and value creation opportunities ahead. Brief summaries are listed below, with more details inside, along with the slides presented by each company. All three of the groups have strong prospects and we are happy to arrange further contact.
Companies: Xaar Victrex
Victrex has announced a material reduction in its effective tax rate as a result of the Patent Box legislation. New guidance is for a tax rate of 12% (from 20% to 21% previously). This implies a consensus EPS upgrade of c.8%+ and a cash benefit will also be felt from 2018. Alongside this announcement, it has been confirmed that new CEO Jakob Sigurdsson has joined as CEO-designate, effective 1st September. Jakob will join the Board on 1st September. Dave Hummel will remain on the Board until the AGM in February and will retire from the company on 31st March 2018. The Board remains comfortable with current trading expectations. One implication of the new tax guidance, we believe, is an increased likelihood of a special dividend in 2018, as well as 2017, where a special is already highly likely and included in our forecasts. We increase our TP by 7.5% to 2150p and remain at HOLD, but supportive of this high quality business.
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Whether we know it or not, advanced materials are a core component in the everyday life of the everyday person. They are the key material in items we often disregard, such as printer inks and lotions, to objects which defy the laws of gravity like the Airbus A380 and London’s Shard. Furthermore, these materials are not only essential to many objects and structures, but, due to their superior qualities, are the key to the advancement of many industries. One such example is the use of carbon fibre which offers five to ten times more rigidness, stiffness, and strength than its aluminium counterpart. As a result of these impressive qualities, motorsport and athletics have improved ten-fold since their mainstream use and new records are broken every year.
Companies: AGM AUTG BIOM BOY CAR CKT EMH EXO GRPH HAYD IKA ITX CRPR MGAM NANO OXIG SYN SCE SYM VCT ZEN HDD
Positive interims confirm a strong performance from the core business, which saw volume increase by 19%, more than offsetting the anticipated decline in consumer electronics demand. Volume and PBT increased by 5%, both representing 50% of our FY forecast. With further currency benefits to come and a normal H2 weighting, forecast upgrades might have been expected, but ongoing uncertainty over consumer electronics holds back this prospect for now. More positively, the special dividend (50p+ this year) now looks to be cemented and currency gains (£10m+ benefit o PBT) are also firming for FY18. The shares have passed our 2000p Target Price, and we are therefore at HOLD at this stage, but we remain strongly supportive of the medium term investment case.
ECO Animal Health Group (EAH LN) 2017 significantly ahead of expectations | Midatech Pharma (MTPH LN) New take on valuation and direct sales strategy | RhythmOne (RTHM LN) Good results/momentum – delivering on execution | Victrex (VCT LN) Positive H1 underpins FY profit and special dividend expectations
Companies: VCT MTPH EAH RTHM
In our second edition of “Trend spotting” we note how in the last three weeks the defensive rotation trend has gathered pace and further evidence has emerged of the “relative fading” in the UK economy. However we now see early signs of the “risk on” trend starting to reassert itself in equity markets and we look at small cap laggards plus European exposure as ways to play this.
Companies: GNS NTG SPH TRI XAR BOY VCT GHH CHH DPH INS HILS RPS LWB EKF UDG SYNT MYSL IMO BCA JUP KMK
Attractive corp tax regime, and dovish on energy, infrastructure, and bank regs
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A number of REITs have the ability to thrive in current market conditions and thereafter. Not only do they hold assets that will remain in strong demand, but they have focus and transparency. The leases and underlying rents are structured in a manner to provide long visibility, growth and security. Hardman & Co defined an investment universe of REITs that we considered provided security and “safer harbours”. We introduced this universe with our report published in March 2019: “Secure income” REITs – Safe Harbour Available. Here, we take forward the investment case and story. We point to six REITs, in particular, where we believe the risk/reward is the most attractive.
Companies: AGY ARBB ARIX BUR CMH CLIG DNL HAYD NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RE/ RECI SCE SHED VTA
Treatt demonstrated its strength and resilience in H120, as so far the COVID-19 pandemic has not had any adverse impact on trading performance. Of course, this is in part due to the categories in which Treatt operates, with some of its products being used in household cleaners, which have witnessed a global spike in demand. Nevertheless, the steady performance is testament to the management and culture of the business, which have been able to withstand the unexpected and exogenous shock. H219 and H120 were affected by a global weakness in citrus raw material prices, which in turn affected revenue growth. Citrus prices have now started to firm and we expect growth in this category to return in H2. We leave our forecasts mostly unchanged but roll forward our DCF and hence our fair value rises to 560p (from 530p previously).
Following trading updates on 27 April and 14 May, we are introducing forecasts for FY 2021, confident that the demand for disinfection products is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels. Byotrol’s strong order book (>£2m) at the end of April and improving supply chain management for biocidal ingredients, as countries exit lockdown measures, also underpin our confidence. We forecast a 67% increase in revenues to £10m with adjusted EBITDA and pre-tax profit of £1.1m (£0.25m) and £0.7m, respectively. With the pandemic likely to have resulted in a secular shift towards improved disinfection prevention and the prospect for upgrades on further IP licence agreements, we reiterate our target price of 9p, at which level the stock would trade on 3.8x sales
Following our headline ’Settled!?’ on 25/06/2020, our new headline looks a bit revanchist as we had expected that Bayer ‘just’ wanted to manage expectations by pointing to the fact the mechanism has to be approved by the judge. The judge’s doubts on the planned mechanism for the glyphosate-related cases might sweep current management away. Or the company gets a different name.
Cronin gives exposure to the commercial opportunities from the digitization of chemistry in discovery & manufacture, streamlining chemical processes, expediting compound development and optimising molecular design. It serves the pharmaceutical, academic & chemical research sectors. Its first product is DigitalGlassware™, with scope to develop an autonomous synthesis engine, Chemputer™. Cronin has a sound balance sheet with cash of £3.27m at FY2017 and made a loss of £1.58m. We initiate with a Buy and a target price of 4.75p
We’re just over three months in to 2019 and we’ve seen a 10% UK market rally, retracing much of the Q4 decline, such is the nature of fickle market sentiment. That said, many of the issues we wrote about three months ago that were impacting markets remain: notably Brexit, trade wars, geopolitics and global monetary policy. The 2019 rally thus far feels somewhat fragile, with competing forces of optimism on a potential trade deal which could underpin the rally, against the deterioration in underlying economic data that could ultimately undermine the recent market gains. In this context, we look at what the lead indicators and the market are telling us about the industrial cycle and the stocks most exposed to various industrial trends. The Q4 derating in short cycle industrials and autos had been vicious and while these sectors have seen a more solid footing in 2019, with earnings downgrades being priced in, it will likely take a trough in lead indicators before short cycle stocks can start to perform again and re-rate relative to the market.
Companies: ARS CYAN HYR LIT SOM ABBY AMS AMER ANX ATYM AVON BLVN PIER BUR CGS CAML CALL CSRT TIDE DTG DEMG EMR FPO FST GTLY GENL INCE GRI GEEC HDY HMI HAYD HEAD HILS HTG HUR IBPO INDI JHD JOG KEYS KCT KGH LAM LOK MACF MNO MANO MOD MKLW OXIG PCA PANR APP PXC PHC PMO RBW RMM REDD RSW RNO RKH RBGP ROR SUS SCPA SHG SOLG TRAK TRI VNET VTC ZOO ZTF
Airbus secures €15bn credit facility but partially restarts production in France & Spain, Cummins suspends production and FY20 guidance as customers shutdown
Companies: CGS HAYD HEAD HTG OXIG RSW RNO ROR TWD TRI ZTF GHH
Japanese PMI falls to lowest level since 2009, GE Aviation cuts 10% of workforce, Kone downgrades 2020 outlook
Companies: CGS HAYD HEAD HILS JHD OXIG RSW RNO TWD ZTF SOM GHH
US & German manufacturing PMI hits lowest readings since 2009, UK manufacturing PMI heads below 50, BorgWarner expects material financial impact from customer production halts
Companies: AVON CGS HAYD HEAD HILS JHD RNO SCPA TWD TRI ZTF SOM GHH
In October 2019 Applied Graphene’s (AGM’s) management announced it was re-aligning resources around dispersion and application technology to better support product development with customers presenting the nearest-term revenue opportunities. This focus supported six customer launches of coating products containing AGM’s graphene dispersion during calendar year 2019. These launches are for both mass-market and specialist applications. As a result of the ensuing uptick in product sales, revenues so far for FY20 are already 20% higher than the whole of FY19.
Companies: Applied Graphene Materials
Adrian Potts, the CEO of Applied Graphene Materials (AGM), discusses the company’s commercial progress over the course of the past 12 months, which saw the launch of a number of coatings products based on AGM’s graphene dispersions. These products include industrial anti-corrosion products from Blocksil and Alltimes Coatings and retail products from Halfords and Hycote. He also highlights the progress made in the composite and functional materials markets and why initiatives to develop water-based dispersions are key to enlarging the addressable market. Finally, he explains how management has strengthened its routes to market and the actions the company has taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
Applied Graphene Materials is a leading innovator in the manufacture and application of graphene. The company has developed a proprietary ‘bottom-up’ process for the production of high specification graphene and owns the intellectual property and know-how behind this process. The company’s immediate commercial focus is on the coatings market, where products based on AGM’s graphene dispersions can provide demonstrably improved corrosion protection versus incumbent technologies.
Exclusive Masterbatch Distribution Agreement
Companies: Haydale Graphene Industries
Treatt has had another successful half year, and the COVID-19 pandemic has, to date, had no adverse effect on the business. As previously stated, the sharp fall in citrus prices during FY19 has continued into H120, hence H1 revenue is down 5.6% at constant currency. There was good growth in the other parts of the business, with tea and health & wellness as the standout performers. Building work on the new UK site has slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and at this stage guidance is for relocation to be in 2021, ie a c three- to six-month delay vs previous guidance of Q420. Our forecasts and fair value remain unchanged at 530p.
Eden Research has reported results for the 12-months to December 2019. As previously announced, revenues for the year were £2.0m within which product revenues grew to £1.7m (2018A £1.6m); the operating loss was £1.4m. During 2019 the company received its first approvals for its second product, Cedroz and signed a number of distribution agreements. Post-period end, Eden signed an exclusive evaluation agreement with Corteva Agriscience, a leading agricultural inputs company. We believe the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to impact the ability to actively market Eden's products and could delay additional product authorisations in key regions. Given these uncertainties, we are withdrawing our forecasts and move our recommendation to Under Review.
Companies: Eden Research
Against a backdrop of generally negative company announcements, Hardide bucked the trend by releasing solid interim results for the 6 months ended March 2020, noting limited impact to date from COVID-19 and a positive trading outlook. Furthermore, the allimportant move to new facilities and corresponding capacity expansion is both on track and on budget. Several of Hardide’s end markets will clearly be feeling the impact of COVID-19. However, we feel the importance of Hardide’s technology to its customers by extending the useful life of components and its diversity of end markets across multiple sectors including oil & gas, aerospace, flow control, power generation and precision engineering is enabling it to weather the storm. We leave our forecasts unchanged and see potential for an upgrade should end markets maintain strength and H2 margins match those of H1.