Gresham House Strategic (GHS) describes itself as a ‘strategic public equity’ fund, meaning it takes a private equity-style approach to investing mainly in listed companies, buying significant stakes and engaging proactively with holdings to create and unlock value through operational, strategic and management initiatives. It currently has 18 holdings (15 equities and three convertible loan notes) spread across a range of industries, but all based in the UK. Performance has been strong in the past year (NAV TR +22.6% and share price TR +52.5% over 12 months to 31 January 2020), with a large contribution from top holding Augean (share price +224% in 2019). The management team at Gresham House argues that this validates the strategy, and the narrowing in the discount over the past 12 months (from c 25% to 2.3% in late 2019) suggests the market is beginning to appreciate what GHS offers.
Companies: Gresham House Strategic
Techniplas –global producer and support services company providing highly engineered and technically complex components, making the supply chain to original equipment manufacturers more efficient. FYDec17 rev $515m.
Loungers plc—the operator of 146 café/bar/restaurants across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, announces its intention to seek admission on AIM, offer TBC
Companies: MTR IMO NWF PPS RFX GHS SQZ WATR CNC
Path Investments (PATH) -RTO of a 50 per cent. participating interest in the producing Alfeld-Elze II gas field located 22 kilometres south of Hannover in Germany. Offer TBA. Due late Aug.
Kropz PLC-Intention to float by the emerging plant nutrient producer with an advanced stage phosphate mining project in South Africa and exploration assets in West Africa
Companies: MDZ GHS MCON 7DIG VOG THAL IOG IRV SDX SWG
Gresham House Strategic (GHS LN) is currently rather unloved, trading on a 30%+ discount, which is also the widest since its inception in 2015.
GHS is an investment company that applies private equity (PE) techniques, together with a “value” philosophy. At its half-year-end in September, it had a focused portfolio with 12 investments representing 75% of NAV; since then, it has spent or committed further capital, bringing its available cash balance to £3m. It aims to distribute half of realised gains through either dividends or share buybacks. To this end, it paid a 15p maiden dividend in FY17 and bought back 1% of its shares. It is currently trading on a 26% discount to NAV; management aims to close this gap over time.
Belluscura— Provider of premium medical devices at value prices to address part of the global unmet need for affordable, premium quality medical devices. Raising £7.5m to £10m. Offer TBA. Due early Dec
Ten Lifestyle Hldgs - Technology-enabled lifestyle and travel platform providing trusted concierge services to the world's wealthy. Net revenue increased from £20m in the year ended 31 August 2015 to £33m in the year ended 31 August 2017, a compound annual growth rate of 29%. Offer raising £32.2m at 134p with market cap of £104.8m, expected 29 Nov 2017.
Miriad Advertising—Global video advertising company incorporated in 2015 and is engaged in the development of native invideo advertising . 2016 rev £0.7m and £7.3m operating loss. Offer TBA
Keystone Law Group— full service law firm with over 250 self-employed lawyers . Due 27 Nov. Raising £10m at 160p. Mkt Cap £50m. Revenue of £25.6 million and EBITDA of £2.1 million. In FYJan17.
Beeks Financial Cloud -niche cloud computing and connectivity provider for automated (algorithmic) trading in Forex and Futures financial products . Raising £7m. Mkt Cap c.£24.5m. Due 27 Nov. FYJun17 rev £4m. Profitable at operating level.
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.
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: WYG VLG GHS APC SND FOG IRR SDX PMI
Gresham House Strategic* (GHS): Discounted value in a market opportunity (CORP) | WYG (WYG): Loss or delay of new contracts, lower volumes (BUY)
Companies: Gresham House Strategic WYG
Tobago. Interests of approximately 90,000 gross acres. Production c. 1,300 boepd. Raising £1.45m. Expected mkt cap £7.5m. Due 26 June. I3 Energy –Schedule 1. Independent oil and gas company with assets and operations in the UK. Offer TBC, 7 June
Verditek— Schedule 1 update. On Admission, the Company's subsidiaries will be involved in advanced solar photovoltaic, filtration and absorption technologies specialising in providing environmental services. Issue price 10p. Admission in Early June
Tiso Blackstar Group—Schedule 1 update. Media, entertainment and marketing solutions group/ £160m mkt cap. Admission only. Expected late June.
ScotGems—Admission due 26 June. Seeking £50-£100m. To investing in a diversified portfolio of Small Cap Companies
listed on global stock markets
DP Eurasia—Intention to float from the exclusive master franchisee of the Domino's Pizza brand in Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan and Georgia . £20m primary raise plus a partial vendor sale.
Film Finances—Sky News reports that ‘movie financing company with credits including the Hollywood hits La La Land and Nocturnal Animals is plotting a blockbuster premiere on the London stock market that will value it at several hundred
million pounds.’ Expected ‘during the summer’.
AIB—Intention to float from AIB, Ireland's leading retail and commercial bank . The Minister for Finance intends to sell approximately 25% of the Ordinary Shares of AIB. Prospectus and announcement of the price range due in mid-June 2017.
Curzon Energy—Report on Proactive Investors of intended LSE float this year with acquisition of coal bed methane assets in Oregon. Looking to raise £3m plus.
NLB Group—financial and banking institution based in Slovenia, with a network of 356 branches. Seeking Ljubliana Stock
Exchange listing with GDRs on the LSE. Expected mid June.
Flying Brands (FBDU.L)—Prospectus approved by FCA. RTO of Stone Checker Software, supplier of technology solutions in the field of kidney stone analysis and prevention. Has raised £550k at 3p. Subject to GM on 15 Jun.
AEW UK Long Lease REIT—Intention to Float. Up to £150m raise. Admission early June. UK specialist and alternative property
Kuwait Energy— $150m raise plus vendor offer. Admission due June. 2p reserves 810.0 mmboe
Companies: DUKE CZA HUW DEMG AMBR DX/ GHS WPHO ARS UKR
Strong and accelerating performance combines with a large discount to NAV, presenting an opportunity for investors. The four reasons for the discount are all likely to diminish over the current year with a consequent impact on the valuation. With a growing dividend as the portfolio matures, and an attractively valued portfolio generating healthy cash flows and growing at twice the market rate, it is not surprising the NAV is growing. We see 29% upside from the current share price.
With strong investment performance in improving micro-cap ‘value’ markets, the NAV discount has reached 22.4%. As the company becomes fully invested over the next 12 months and the existing investments mature, facilitating further profits on realisation and returns to shareholders, we believe the discount will narrow, creating a compelling opportunity for investors. The manager agrees, with further director and investment team share purchases in May. Results are due on 8 June.
The maiden dividend from this company applying private equity techniques to investing in smaller quoted companies provides a 1.8% initial yield. As 50% of realised profits are distributed as part of the strategy, this is set to grow sharply going forwards. The balance of the distribution (initially c£310k) will be applied to a share buyback. The share buybacks will reduce the 23% discount to the growing NAV. We expect investors to benefit from strong returns this year.
Gresham House Strategic* (GHS): Mind the gap (CORP) | LiDCO* (LID): Trading update (CORP) | Allergy Therapeutics (AGY): Acarovac Quattro to start Phase I trials (BUY)
Companies: GHS LID AGY
i3 Energy Investment—According to its investor Glenwick (GWIK.L) i3 will seek an AIM admission once its license has been approved by the UK Oil & Gas Authority
Walls & Futures REIT — Has raised £1m at £1 to acquire, refurbish or develop residential properties in the UK . Due to arrive on ISDX on 29 November
Diversified Oil & Gas— Schedule One now out. $60m to be raised. Expected admission 6 December.
Creo Medical Group —UK based medical device company focused on surgical endoscopy, a recent development in minimally invasive surgery. Admission due 7 December. Fundraising details TBA.
Companies: RGM MFX OGN ZAM GHS IAE CTAG LSAI
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Ramsdens has reported a strong set of trading results in the last twelve months to March 2020. COVID lockdown has led to store closures, which will lead to weaker trading over the following months. However, Ramsdens has a very solid balance sheet, is diversified and is well positioned to re-open stores and continue its growth. We use an 8x multiple on last 12 months to March 2020 earnings as a reflection of a normalised earnings base which reduces our target price to 162p from 180p. At this target price Ramsdens would trade on a CY20 P/B of 1.5x. This target price offers 15% upside and we re-iterate BUY.
Premier Miton have reported their H1’20 results, which have shown delivery of key operational milestones during the period and strong performance despite the COVID-19 fears. Since the end of March, markets have recovered and net flows have been positive in April, meaning AUM has reached £9.9bn. We believe this shows the resilience of the business and that the benefits of the merger are coming through. As delivery continues we believe Premier Miton will see a significant re-rating as the shares currently trade on just 9.7x CY20 P/E, a significant discount to peers and historic levels of 12.5x. We reiterate our BUY rating and DCF based target price of 152p, implying 52% upside.
Companies: Premier Miton Group
The Renewables Infrastructure Group - £120m capital raise
Marwyn Value Investors - Proposed share acquisition by manager and crystallisation of carried interest
DP Aircraft I - 5% ownership stake in Norwegian
Companies: Renewables Infrastructure Group Marwyn Value Investors
In this note, we analyze the indebtedness of 35 international E&Ps publicly listed in the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden and the USA. For each company, we look at (1) cash position, (2) level and nature of debt (including covenants), (3) debt service and principal repayment framework and (4) Brent price required from April to YE20 to meet all the obligations and keep cash positions intact. We also estimate YE20 cash if Brent were to average US$20/bbl from April to YE20. While the oil demand and oil price collapse are of unprecedented historical proportions and the opportunities to cut costs much more limited than in 2014, most companies (with a few exceptions) entered the crisis in much better position than six years ago, with stronger balance sheets and often already extended debt maturities. In addition, this time around, many E&Ps have already been deleveraging for 1-2 years and are not caught in the middle of large developments that cannot be halted. The previous crisis also showed that debt providers could relax debt covenants for a certain period as long as interest and principal repayment obligations were met. This implies that as long as operations are not interrupted and counterparties keep paying their bills (Kurdistan), the storm can be weathered by most for a few quarters.
With (1) Brent price of about US$50/bbl in 1Q20, (2) reduced capex programmes, (3) material hedging programmes covering a large proportion of FY20 production at higher prices and (4) limited principal repayments in 2020, we find that most companies can meet all their costs and obligations in 2020 at Brent prices below US$40/bbl and often below US$35/bbl) from April until YE20 and keep their cash intact, allowing them to remain solvent at much lower prices for some time. In particular, Maha Energy and SDX Energy are cash neutral at about US$20/bbl. When factoring the divestment of Uganda, Tullow needs only US$9/bbl to maintain its YE20 cash equal to YE19. Canacol Energy, Diversified Gas and Oil, Independent Oil & Gas, Orca Exploration, Serica Energy and Wentworth Resources are gas stories not really exposed to oil prices and Africa Oil has hedged 95% of its FY20 production at over US$65/bbl.
Companies: AKERBP AOI CNE CNE DGOC EGY ENOG ENQ GENL GKP GPRK GTE HUR IOG JSE KOS LUPE MAHAA OKEA ORC.B PEN PHAR PMO PTAL PXT RRE SDX SEPL TETY TGL TLW TXP WRL
Despite the disruption caused by COVID, Harworth has continued to make good progress across each business area. Liquidity has also been enhanced with an increase in the RCF announced at the end of April.
Companies: Harworth Group
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB ARIX BUR CMH CLIG DNL GDR HAYD PCA PIN PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SHED VTA
There has been much comment on the fact that equity markets in the US and Europe have been shrinking for some years now, certainly in terms of the number of quoted companies, if not in total market capitalisation (MCap). This paper has been written with the assistance of the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) and focuses on the evidence for such in the London market and, in particular, that for smaller and midcap companies. It assesses that evidence and considers explanations. Finally, we ask why it matters, and assuming that it does, what practical steps can be taken to reverse the trend. Successful public markets have been a key part of the United Kingdom’s economic success for generations, even centuries, and we should not allow them to wither on the vine.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB ARIX ASAI DNL GDR HAYD NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE TRX TON SHED VTA
We believe RECI’s 21% discount to NAV reflects a reduction in investors’ confidence, reflecting the uncertain outlook, security values and potential impairments. When considering if this discount is excessive, we note i) a relatively low-risk profile, ii) strong liquidity means RECI can optimise recovery returns, iii) restructuring is a core competency, iv) realised losses to date are just 2.1p, v) bond valuations are expected by RECI to be repaid at par, but priced at 17% below par, and vi) borrowers have been injecting equity into their deals. The stable 3p 4Q dividend and unchanged policy show confidence and re-investment returns rising.
Companies: Real Estate Credit Investments
The Merchants Trust (MRCH) is managed by Simon Gergel at Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI). Aiming to continue to provide a high and growing level of income, he is adjusting the trust's portfolio in the wake of dividend cuts sparked by the negative economic effects of COVID-19. If there is an income shortfall in this financial year, MRCH is well positioned to maintain its dividend, with revenue reserves of more than 1x the last annual payment. It has not been an easy period for value managers over the last decade as growth stocks have led the charge; however, Gergel has outperformed the UK market over this period in both NAV and share price terms. The board reduced MRCH's gearing in late January 2020, which was opportune timing ahead of the recent significant stock market weakness.
Companies: Merchants Trust
Today's news & views, plus announcements from VOD, POLY, SMDS, BLND, BYG, WEIR, DC, SNR, SHI, INTU, IHR, CNC, ARE, INCE
Companies: INTU SHI INCE
Trading Update – Showing Resilence
Companies: Manolete Partners
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: AGR CSH ESP DIGS IHR LXI PHP RESI SIR SUPR THRL SOHO BBOX SHED WHR
AFH Financial released an AGM statement suggesting that trading for FY20 remains in line with expectations. In the first four months of FY20 AFH has continued to see inflows at Q4’19 levels. The company also expects to see continued consolidation and a growing need for financial planning. Although the current market uncertainty has hit the industry, we believe that AFH is less affected than others by market movements due to its protection broking revenues and initial advice fees totalling 40% of revenues. We leave our forecasts and TP unchanged. These show AFH trading on 10.8x FY20 P/E falling to 9.7x in FY21, and yielding 2.8% rising to 3.1%. BUY.
Companies: AFH Financial Group
Given the substantial share price decline for Ramsdens in the last month, following clear risks to near term earnings, we revisit the group’s valuation and suggest a potential impact to earnings from the COVID-19 related lockdown. The analysis shows that Ramsdens has a solid balance sheet with a number of clear valuation supports and will be able to withstand the extreme conditions that are likely to occur over the coming months. We use an 8x multiple on FY20 earnings as a reflection of a normalised earnings base which reduces our target price to 180p from 258p. At this target price Ramsdens would trade on a FY21 P/B of 1.6x and yield 4.5%. This target price offers 114% upside and we retain BUY.
Mattioli Woods has issued a trading update around the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We are reassured to hear that trading for the first 9m of FY20e (to Feb-20) was in line with expectations. There is likely to be a revenue impact, from falling asset prices and limits to normal business activity, however, it is not possible to quantify this just yet. A number of proactive measures are being taken to adjust the cost base to mitigate the short term impact, including reduced senior management team/variable compensation. We would highlight that c.55% of MW’s revenue is not linked to the value of client assets, providing a degree of insulation to asset prices. We make no forecast changes at this stage, but will monitor events and make any adjustments when there is greater certainty
Companies: Mattioli Woods