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 MIO 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 FO 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
On a 26% discount to NAV of 1,025p yet targeting a 15% annualised return and having made a clear statement on dividend distribution (distributing 50% of net realised profit as a dividend, with 15p indicated from net realised profit YTD for a 2% yield), GHS shares present an attractive investment opportunity. The management objective remains the construction of a concentrated portfolio of mainly quoted smaller companies acquired on compelling multiples, with a three- to five-year holding period and significant engagement envisaged to maximise returns.
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Litigation Capital Management has announced FY20 results with gross profit up 7% to A$21.7m and PBT of A$9.2m, slightly behind expectations albeit the Group had already flagged that delays to 3 cases during the year would result in resolutions in FY21, thereby impacting FY20 results. That said, excellent strategic progress through the year and good news flow as well as increasing scale suggests more value to come. Reiterate buy
Companies: Litigation Capital Management Ltd.
To achieve YoY revenue growth over H1/20A despite the challenges of Covid-19 and its impact on the travel sector is testament to Equals' resilience and increasing focus on B2B and International payments services. While weaker gross profit and EBITDA margins have impacted profitability in H1/20, we see potential for an earnings recovery in H2/20 given cost reduction measures currently being undertaken. This should lead Equals to cash breakeven in Q4/20 and FCF positive by early FY21.
Companies: Equals Group Plc
FY20A results largely reflect a period prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, yet show Duke entering a more challenging FY21E with momentum. Yesterday's trading update demonstrated another notable rise in quarterly cash receipts for Q2/21, as royalty partner trading continues to improve. As some partners' forbearance measures will expire this month, Q3/21 receipts should continue this upwardly momentum. This opens the door to a return to cash dividends at some future point. Today, Duke also confirms it is now seeking new royalty partners, alongside follow-ons.
Companies: Duke Royalty
Interim results demonstrate YoY growth and a resilient outcome that has exceeded management's expectations from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is testament to the degree of recurring revenue generated across the business. FY21 trading looks to be more challenging, as notably lower new insurance sales post-lockdown will translate into lower premium income. A number of organic opportunities are being worked on to fill the shortfall. Rising UK redundancies and their impact on policyholder retentions creates great uncertainty, hence our forecasts remain withdrawn and recommendation remains Under Review.
Companies: Personal Group Holdings Plc
Sigma Capital (“Sigma”) has partnered with global alternatives manager EQT to deliver and manage a £1bn GDV private-rented sector (“PRS”) housing fund focused on Greater London. EQT will invest £300m equity, complemented by debt (including a Homes England facility), to build 3,000 homes in 5 years. Sigma will generate fee income as development manager, a recurring fee income stream from managing completed assets, as well as participation in returns via a minority co-investment (£16m) and a profit share. We estimate that the fee income alone is worth £45m to Sigma in the first five years: 50% of the current market cap. Crucially, this is a step up in AuM bringing a high quality long-term recurring earnings stream. We will reforecast following interim results (expected tomorrow) to provide full context.
Companies: Sigma Capital Group Plc
In June, faced with the task of replacing its longstanding portfolio manager, Alistair Mundy, Temple Bar Investment Trust’s (TMPL’s) board reiterated its commitment to a value style of investing. The board has now opted to hand the management contract to Nick Purves and Ian Lance of RWC Partners, two managers with considerable experience of managing income portfolios using a value-style approach. Value investing, where managers buy stocks that are valued more cheaply than market averages – based on measures such as price/earnings, price/book and yield – is deeply out of favour. The RWC team says that value stocks have never looked more unloved in the 30- odd years that they have been managing money. In their view, this makes it imperative that TMPL investors keep faith with the strategy and it also means this is an attractive entry point for new investors. One important change, however, is a cut to TMPL’s dividend to a level that the RWC team believes will be more sustainable.
Companies: Temple Bar Investment Trust
In line interim results to 30 June 2020 show the strength of this business amid a difficult environment. This is the first step in what should be an exciting growth trajectory toward a larger, scaled up business with high recurring revenues and ownership of the full supply chain in the personal injury and clinical negligence market for clients requiring long-term, risk-adjusted returns. We reiterate our TP of 50p, noting further upside potential as acquisitions are completed.
Companies: Frenkel Topping Group Plc
HSBC’s future should be clarified as soon as the US and China come back to the negotiation table. This will not happen before the US elections are over. In the meantime, HSBC will continue to be instrumentalised and its share price will remain under pressure.
Companies: HSBC Holdings Plc
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
The impressive full year 2019 results included some eye-catching numbers, including a record PBT of £40.1m (nearly 3x FY18 @ £14.3m), £620m of reserves acquired over 16 legacy deals, and $842m of (estimated) Contracted Premium in the Program business – on track to breach $1bn in FY20 as previously guided and $1.5bn-$2bn in 2022-2023.
Companies: Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd.
As anticipated, Record has confirmed a material uplift in AUME following the rebound in financial markets from April. We upgrade FY21E forecast EPS by +18%, with higher staff costs offsetting some of the benefit. We expect AUME growth to be more modest from herein. While no performance fees have been recognised over Q1/21 and will be harder to achieve due to Covid-19, any future recognition would have a materially positive impact on earnings. Covid has temporarily paused new client wins, but we expect further additions to come as conditions improve.
Companies: Record Plc
Mercia’s FY20 results reflect continued progress, delivering on management’s three-year strategy. AUM climbed 58% to £0.8bn, while FUM rose 73% to £658m. Following the acquisition of the NVM VCT fund management business, the company is operationally profitable on a monthly basis, with annual revenues exceeding operating costs for the first time in FY20. Net assets rose 12% to £141.5m, with the direct investment portfolio stalled at £87.5m reflecting the impact of COVID-19 fair value adjustments and a £15.7m net investment. The group remains well-placed for a downturn with £30m of unrestricted balance sheet cash and £320m of group cash. Post period end the group exited The Native Antigen Company, with £5.2m in cash (8.4x return, 65% IRR) expected. Despite the group’s progress, Mercia’s shares continue to trade at a material discount to NAV (0.60x), even before considering the embedded value of the third-party fund management business (> 4.5p at 3% of AUM).
Companies: Mercia Asset Management Plc
COVID-19 and a further cut to power price assumptions saw NAV per share fall to 309p in H120 (FY19: 337p). However, PPP performed well, bidding momentum has picked up recently and John Laing Group (JLG) expects ‘modest’ NAV growth in H2. New CEO Ben Loomes highlighted digital connectivity and energy transitions as potential future investment themes, and will set out further details in November. We cut our FY20 NAV per share forecast by 14% to 308p. The share price stands at an 8% discount to FY20e NAV per share.
Companies: John Laing Group Plc
Trident Royalties Plc (AIM: TRR) has, this morning, announced the acquisition of a 1.5% Net Smelter Royalty (NSR) over the resourcestage Lake Rebecca Gold Project located in the highly prospective Eastern Goldfields province in Western Australia. The royalty package is being acquired from a private seller for a total consideration of A$8.0 million (c. US$5.63 million), comprising of A$7.0 million in cash and A$1.0 million in new ordinary shares in Trident. The acquisition is Trident’s fifth overall and its third gold deal. As per strategic guidance the company is moving fast assembling a diversified portfolio with a paying cashflow stream from iron ore and copper production and several strategic gold royalties with the potential for near term revenues. The market is paying attention with TRR shares up 49.8% since its IPO on AIM in June this year. There is clearly more to come with c. US$7.5 million of uncommitted cash as well as the potential for debt funding and the ability to use equity as acquisition consideration. The Lake Rebecca Gold Project operated and wholly owned by Apollo Consolidated (ASX: AOP), is located 150km ENE of Kalgoorlie in the Eastern Goldfields Province of the Yilgarn Craton. The Project, envisaged as a simple open pit operation, is close to existing gold infrastructure namely Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited’s (ASX: SAR) Carosue Dam Operation whose processing plant is in the process of being upgraded to increase throughput to 3.2 Mtpa.
Companies: Trident Royalties Plc
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