Solid State* (SOLI): Interim results, distribution shows strong growth (CORP) | Europa Oil & Gas* (EOG): Holmwood planning update (CORP) | President Energy* (PPC): Open Offer result (CORP) | Stride Gaming (STR): Back to form (BUY) | Stride Gaming (STR): Back to form (BUY) | Telecom Plus (TEP): Optimism at interims (BUY) | Renew (RNWH): Solid foundation for continued growth (BUY)
Companies: SOLI EOG PPC STR TEP RNWH
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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 SYME WJA
Byotrol* (BYOT): EPA approval – now to exploit the IP (CORP) | Trifast^ (TRI): Currency drives results ahead of expectations. (BUY) | Water Intelligence* (WATR): Growth continues to accelerate (CORP) | Wentworth Resources (WRL): Operational update (BUY) | Imaginatik* (IMTK): Proposed placing (CORP) | iomart* (IOM): Textbook delivery (CORP) | Telecom Plus (TEP): Sturdy prelims, future growth (BUY)
Companies: BYOT TRI WATR WRL IOM TEP SYME
TEP’s trading update for the year to March 2017 highlights modest growth as expected, with a total dividend of 48p (25p final dividend) in line (49pE). FY18 forecasts are trimmed 3% at adjusted PBT level, to remain in line with FY17, with better quality customers taking all possible services – at a higher cost of acquisition but better prospective year 2 margins. With the positive outlook that a narrowing of the gap between standard variable energy tariffs and aggressively priced introductory deals has led to an encouraging upward trend in Q4 to March, prospects for restored growth in revenue (FY18) and profit (FY19) are strong. Improved incentivisation of the self employed salesforce, after a few years of lower growth, is complemented by the imminent addition of Home Insurance, adding sales momentum and increased customer interest as utility prices rise. With the double upside to the £70m tender offer in summer, and the June release of FY19 forecasts illustrating growth following greater detail available at prelims, the future is brighter for TEP. Target 1360p reiterated.
Companies: Telecom Plus
Enterprise-focused niche applications of tech illustrate how, while trends appear to be fluctuating away from the current poster children of fintech and the Internet
of Things, in fact these developments are refining appropriate application of existing technologies.
Companies: 7DIG AMO ARTA BVC BOTB CTP CITY D4T4 DTC DOTD ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IGP IOM KBT KCOM KWS LRM MAI MMX NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TAX TEP TPOP TRAK UNG VIP ZOO ONEV SSY SYME WJA
The sale of the Opus Energy stake to Drax Group is expected to complete during calendar 1Q17, injecting £71m into the balance sheet. With manageable net debt/EBITDA close to 1x, the board expects to return all proceeds to shareholders through a tender offer around the time of prelims, expected June 2017. Telecom Plus’ interims had reported performance in line with mildly tweaked forecasts. While 3 of the "big 6" utility providers committed to price freezes through winter, the implication is for price rises subsequently, from the beginning of TEP’s FY18 (y/e March). The collapse of GB Energy shows that the cheapest utility providers’ business models are unsustainable, which compounds interest from willing and concerned consumers, and re-incentivises the self-employed sales force, as the competitive landscape rebalances. With positive catalysts lining up to lift the share price, we lift our twelve-month target price to 1360p.
ICT evolution is driven by technological development as advances are made which both meet and shape customer requirements. Our 2011 note No such thing as a telco described the modern reality in that former ‘telcos’ now deliver varying elements of a range of managed services. We built on this theme last year, exploring in further detail their evolutionary paths, operating fundamentals, and cashflow yield similarities. In the consumer environment, demand for bundles of technology is complemented by demand for content. Across the pond, the mooted combination of AT&T and Time Warner typifies the bundled need of ‘pipe’ and content, since unbundled alternatives such as FaceTime and WhatsApp can be easier and clearer to chat over, and Amazon and Netflix are easier to watch anywhere. In the UK, BT’s defensive actions cover delivery, content and capabilities, acquiring EE yet also buying football rights. While TV was long ago added to triple play to become quad play, voice is now merely an app, and fixed and mobile seen as just dumb pipes: it's the content that will influence consumer choices. Growth of TV and film as well as music and gaming over IP leads to UK small cap opportunities. In context of the drive to maximise value from pipes and access by offering content and data, we look at some amongst the potential tech small cap beneficiaries: Amino*, Keyword Studios, ZOO Digital*, 7digital*, KCOM* and CityFibre*.
Companies: 7DIG AMO ARTA BVC BOTB CTP CITY D4T4 DTC DOTD EGS ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IMG IGP IOM KBT KCOM KWS LRM MAI MMX NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TAX TEP TPOP TRAK UNG VIP WAND ZOO ARC ONEV SSY SYME WJA
Mobile money has been slow to deliver but investors need to stay engaged as there are plenty of reasons as there are plenty of reasons for success. Mobile penetration and network coverage are growing inexorably and where communication leads, transactions follow, as e-commerce has proven. Banking and payments lead the way but it will embrace other financial services too, from insurance to cross-border remittance. Slowly but surely, mobile money is coming of age.
Companies: 7DIG AN AMO ARTA BVC BOTB CTP CITY D4T4 DTC DOTD EGS ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IMG IGP IOM KBT KCOM KWS LRM MAI NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TAX TEP TPOP TRAK UNG VIP WAND ZOO ARC ONEV SSY SYME WJA
Telecom Plus: Customer quality step change (BUY) | Aureus Mining: Refinancing, debt standstill and change of management (U/R)
Companies: Telecom Plus AUREUS MINING
This quarter's topic: Feasting on Red Tape. 2016 harbours every chance of being a stultifying year, given the imminent local and London mayoral elections, the looming hurdle of Brexit, the summer doldrums, the bizarre potential outcome of the US presidential election and then the home strait to Christmas. Excuses for inactivity abound with regard to spending IT capex budgets.
Companies: 7DIG AN AMO ARTA BVC CTP CITY DTC DOTD EGS ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IGP IOM D4T4 KBT KCOM KWS MAI NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TEP TPOP TRAK UNG WAND ZOO ARC ONEV SSY
Utilitywise*: Strong interim results (CORP) | Trifast^: Positive year-end trading update (BUY) | M.P. Evans: Appealing blend of value, growth, stability (BUY) | Telecom Plus: Full-year trading update (BUY) | Independent Oil & Gas*: Blythe acquisition (CORP) | Connect: Leveraging the strengths of the group (BUY)
Companies: UTW TRI MPE TEP IOG CNCT SHG
This quarter’s topic: Automotive Technology. With the Mobile World Congress approaching at the end of this month and likely to feature so many automotive applications to the extent it should perhaps be renamed the Mobile World of Cars, we examine the growing impact of technology in the automotive industry, from telematics to connected cars and autonomous vehicles.
Companies: 7DIG AN AMO ARTA BVC CITY CNS DTC DOTD EGS ELCO FDSA FDEV GBG IDEA IDOX IGP IOM D4T4 KBT KCOM KWS MAI NASA NET PHD QTX QXT RCN 932 SEE SIM SPE TEP TPOP TRAK UNG WAND ZOO ARC CTP SSY
Telecom Plus: Prelims on track (BUY) | Hayward Tyler*: Full-year results (CORP) | Minera IRL*: FY 2014 results (CORP) | Firestone Diamonds: Project update (BUY) | Proteome Sciences*: Placing to raise £2.5m (CORP)
Companies: TEP HAYT MLD FDI PRM
Byotrol*: Trading update (CORP) | MP Evans: Strong operational performance drives upgrade (BUY) | Telecom Plus: Non cash set back (BUY)
Companies: BYOT TEP MPE
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Gamma is acquiring around 80% of HFO Holding AG (HFO), one of the leading SIP Trunk providers in Germany, for an initial consideration of €20.4m in cash with an option to purchase the remaining shares over the next three years. In line with its stated strategy, Gamma can invest and use its commercial strength and expertise to accelerate HFO’s growth and replicate the Group’s success in the UK by developing a market leading position in Germany. Noting net debt of €2.9m when the deal closed, the implied historical EV/EBITDA multiple of about 10x compares with Gamma’s equivalent of 18.7x. We estimate that the deal will be 4% earnings enhancing in the first full year of ownership and our estimate upgrades reflect that. The European markets for cloud telephony in which Gamma is now represented will ultimately overtake the UK in size, providing Gamma with significant future growth potential. We view this acquisition as another significant step in Gamma’s strategic aim to expand into Europe via exposure to another lucrative market opportunity.
Companies: Gamma Communications
U.S. futures and European stocks dropped on Friday as investors mulled a reported conflict among policy makers over a stimulus package for the single-currency region, as well as political upheaval in France.
The Stoxx 600 Index fell after Bloomberg News reported the European Central Bank is facing a potential rift over how much their emergency bond-purchase program should stay weighted toward weaker countries such as Italy. The euro fluctuated following French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to name a new prime minister after asking his government to resign. Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc slumped after the British jet-engine maker said its exploring options to raise funds to strengthen its balance sheet.
The dollar was slightly down, posting its first weekly drop in a month, while American cash equity and bond markets were shut for Independence Day. President Donald Trump will attend an early July 4 celebration at Mount Rushmore with thousands of guests who won't be required to wear masks, while his U.K. counterpart Boris Johnson urged Britons to act responsibly as pubs prepare to re-open and the government lifts quarantine rules on travel for 60 countries.
The friction at the ECB highlights the risk to markets should promised stimulus measures fall short. Investors continue to weigh policy support and upbeat economic data against relentless new outbreaks of the virus. U.S payrolls figures Thursday fuelled optimism of a V-shaped recovery in the world's biggest economy, even as Florida reported that infections and hospitalizations jumped the most yet, and Houston had a surge in intensive-care patients. Emerging-market stocks posted the biggest weekly gain in a month.
Elsewhere, crude oil dipped but remained on track for a weekly gain.
Companies: TGL JSE IAE ADME BP/ DGOC ENOG NTQ NTOG PMO RBD ROSE RDSA UKOG TRIN
Material acceleration of strategic plan
Companies: Melodyvr Group Plc
This is a positive trading update for a period impacted by the pandemic restrictions and uncertainty. The COVID-related global slowdown caused an 8% LFL YoY revenue decline to $166.5m in H1, but an improving gross margin and management’s temporary cost controls have protected earnings sufficiently to be ahead of H1 LY (adj. EBITDA of $16.0m). ‘Profit in cash’ (adj. EBITDA less capex and lease payments) is also ahead of the $2.6m seen LY. In fact, cashflow has been very healthy, net cash rising from $48.2m to $55.7m in the period, notably boosted by collections from the divested automotive business. A pleasing aspect of H1 is the continuing growth in higher-margin IoT services, up 12% YoY despite COVID. Easing of restrictions in H2 should see a return to more usual revenue and profit levels, and our FY 2020 earnings growth expectations remain unchanged despite revenue falling YoY – thanks to the cost savings management implemented. Looking further out to next year, a return to revenue growth and continued profit improvement is anticipated for FY 2021, due to pent-up demand and greater IoT adoption on concerns over physical restrictions in future pandemics. At the interim stage, Telit is well positioned to continue to deliver its impressive track record for earnings growth (we expect 9% adj. EBITDA growth this year and 19% next). Currently on an EV/EBITDA multiple of just 3.3x, the shares are deeply undervalued for a stock delivering such consistent profit progress with a very solid balance sheet in these uncertain times.
Companies: Telit Communications
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
Warren Buffett once said that as an investor, it is wise to be ‘fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful’. Fear is not in short supply right now.
Companies: OPM ALU ANCR BLV CONN CRC STU GATC HAT LEK MMH MCB MWE NXR NTBR NOG PAF PEG RFX SRC TEF TEG TPT VTU WYN XLM
Telit has moved to preserve its profit levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. The widespread lockdown of unknown duration is likely to slow some of its YoY revenue growth, and we trim our FY 2020 revenue expectations, although we do still continue to expect LFL growth (excluding the two months of Automotive in FY 2019). Despite its significant cash reserves from the disposal, management is prudently adopting a cost-reduction plan to ensure the company’s earnings are maintained at the targeted level. Notably this involves a temporary 15% salary reduction for senior management and a reduction in all areas of discretionary spending, including opex and capex. Strategic plans (such as long-term product development and the movement of production outside China) will be unaffected. We are pleased to hear the supply chain remains steady with minimal disruption in module production as the lockdown across Asia is partially lifted. At this stage, we leave FY 2021 forecasts unchanged, given a strong market position.
CAP-XX Ltd* (CPX.L, 3.1p/£10.1m) | Gfinity plc* (GFIN.L, 1.675p/£12.0m) | MTI Wireless Edge Ltd* (MWE.L, 38.5p/£33.8m) | Newmark Security plc* (NWT.L, 1.05p/£4.9m) | Mirada plc* (MIRA.L, 95.0p/£8.5m)
Companies: CPX GFIN MWE NWT MIRA
Gamma’s AGM statement contains a sensible degree of caution around the impact of COVID-19 on the economic backdrop, mixed with its continuing growth story. The group is seeing strong demand for Cloud PBX and UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) products in the UK but notes some slowdown in new orders and a lengthening of sales cycles. The business model has successfully moved to home working and, with a high (93%) proportion of recurring revenue, the outlook remains bright. We take a prudent view in reducing our revenue estimates although the impact on EBITDA is more muted. The Group has a strong balance sheet, is cash generative and retains its previously announced dividend payment.
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
Bill McDermott stood down on Friday after a decade building up SAP as the world's leading enterprise software company, handing the task of completing its transition to cloud computing to new co-CEOs Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein. SAP announced the management overhaul, with immediate effect, after rushing out third-quarter results that showed it gaining traction in its drive to offer a more streamlined range of services and boost profitability. The company’s stock has climbed 21% this year. It’s up 75% in the past five years, topping rival Oracle, which is up 46%, and the S&P 500′s 54% gain.
Companies: MVR TRAK CPX CALL ECK IMMO LOOP NET SEE TCM TRCS QTX VRE
Oil posted the biggest weekly plunge since 2008, capping its most dramatic week in recent memory as major producers prepare to drench the market with supply just as the coronavirus crushes demand. But prices jumped following the close, after President Donald Trump said the U.S. would fill the nation's strategic reserve. Losses for the week totalled 23% after the collapse of talks between members of the OPEC+ group triggered the biggest crash in a generation. Instead of reaching a deal to cut output to mitigate the fallout from the virus, producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia embarked on a war for market share and pledged to pump more.
Companies: TGL TXP VLU EGY GTE CNE DGOC ENQ SQZ UKOG TRIN TLW PHAR
Pebble Beach Systems is a leading developer and provider of playout automation and IP-based solutions to over 150 customers across the global broadcast industry. Its portfolio of proprietary software solutions is central to the playout of uninterrupted broadcast, for both live and pre-recorded content, and importantly enables broadcasters to automate and streamline multi-channel playout. Via its cloud-based solutions, the company also supports broadcasters and operators as they transition from traditional hardware-based infrastructure to IP-based systems, for a more flexible playout environment. As the industry enters a pivotal decade for the transition to IP, Pebble Beach Systems is well positioned to benefit from the increased traction across the market. FY19 results show adjusted PBT growth of 89%, EBITDA growth (LFL, pre IFRS16) of 47% and revenue growth of 22%, with net debt continuing its descent, now down to £8.4m (FY18: £9.4m). While COVID-19 introduces uncertainty over growth, and we do not yet offer forecasts, the group’s existing customer base is benefiting from Pebble Beach’s automation and remote support as end-user demand for TV booms. We look forward to the post crisis environment to establish forecasts and map the continuation of the evident momentum demonstrated in FY19.
Companies: Pebble Beach Systems Group
Panoro Energy (PEN NO)C: Initiating coverage | 88 Energy (88E LN/AU): Acquisition in Alaska | BP (BP LN): Transaction in Alaska with Hilcorp renegotiated | Columbus Energy Resources (CERP LN): Oil discovery in Trinidad | Premier Oil (PMO LN) and Rockhopper Exploration (RKH LN): Sea Lion farm out (Falklands) exclusivity period extended | BP (BP LN): 1Q20 results | Equinor (EQNR NO): Dry hole in Norway | Getech (GTC LN): Business update | Hurricane Energy (HUR LN): Business update in the UK North Sea |IGas Energy (IGAS LN): Shutting some production in the UK | Lundin Energy (LUP SS): 1Q20 results | OKEA (OKEA NO): 1Q20 update in Norway | OMV (OMV AG): 1Q results | Premier Oil (PMO LN): Court approves schemes of arrangement | Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA/B LN): 1Q20 results and dividend reduction | RockRose Energy (RRE LN): Operational update in the UK | UK Oil & Gas (UKOG LN): £1.275 mm equity raise | Caspian Sunrise (CASP LN): Operating update in Kazakhstan | Exillon Energy (EXI LN): February and March production in Russia | Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG LN): 1Q20 update in Kazakhstan | PetroNeft (PTR LN): Operations update | Genel Energy (GENL LN): Update in Kurdistan – While negotiations are ongoing the KRG will not exercise the notice of an intention to terminate the Bina Bawi PSC | ShaMaran Petroleum (SNM CN): Business update in Kurdistan | Tethys Oil (TETY SS): Production reduction in Oman | Total (FP FP): Dry hole in Lebanon | Aminex (AEX LN) and Solo Oil (SOLO LN): Licence extension in Tanzania | Far Limited (FAR AU): Update in Senegal | Lekoil (LEK LN): Final payment with Nigerian partner rescheduled | Orca Exploration (ORC.A/B CN): FY19 results | Savannah Energy (SAVE LN): Financial and operating update in Nigeria | San Leon Energy (SLE LN): Special dividend | Seplat Petroleum (SEPL LN): 1Q20 results
Companies: 88E AEX PEN BP/ CASP CERP EQNR EXI FAR TTA HUR GENL GTC IGAS LEK LUPE NOG OKEA OMV ORC.B PMO PTR RKH RDSA RRE SAVE SLE SEPL SNM TETY SOLO UKOG
The Board has finally decided to suspend its final dividend for 2019/20 and all dividends for 2020/21. This move is structural and not really linked to the Covid19 crisis in that it is to invest in FTTP and 5G, and to fund a major new 5-year modernisation programme.
These announcements are a first buy signal although the recovery will take time and the group must now stabilize its revenues which will not be easy given the Covid19 pandemic context.
Companies: BT Group