For this Monthly, we are delighted that Rooney Nimmo and 24Haymarket have allowed us to reproduce a recent report they jointly published, entitled An analysis of UK exits (2015-2019), which provides a granular analysis by sector of the activity in our dynamic private companies world. We hope you find the insights of interest.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB ARIX CLIG ICGT NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RECI SCE TRX SHED VTA
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
Much has been written about the effects of the virus on the world and on the stock market. Here is one analyst’s take on some of the likely impacts on the way we should look at companies. This article was originally produced as a blog, “10 Changes Post Virus”, which was published a few weeks ago.
Companies: AGY ARBB ARIX DNL GDR NSF PCA PIN PHNX PHP RE/ RECI STX SCE SIXH TRX SHED VTA
In this note, we provide investors with a detailed Q&A with Volta’s Directors and Manager on the key issues as we see them today. These are structured into risk management (exposed sectors where loans are typically >30% below par make up just 10% of the portfolio, solvency is strong and there appears to still be a liquid market at a modest discount for many assets). We consider Volta’s re-investment opportunities and focus on the revised dividend prospects. Volta marks to market most of its assets and thus captures both “real” losses and investor sentiment (ca. two thirds of March’s losses), which may reverse over the next year or two.
Companies: Volta Finance
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
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB ARIX BUR CMH CLIG DNL GDR HAYD PCA PIN PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SHED VTA
Much of the UK’s privatisation programme took place between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s: subsequent sales have been few. Undoubtedly, privatisation attracted many private investors to the market, many for the first time.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB ARIX BUR CLIG DNL FLTA GDR NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE SIXH TRX SHED VTA
In this note, we remind investors of Volta’s attractions and risks, focus on how it generates the cash to pay the dividend, and look at some of the issues from the latest Report and Accounts. The core to paying the dividend, and its long-term sustainability, is generating cash from the underlying 700 borrowers, a broad diversification by counter-party, geography and economic sector. Currently, a near record level of income yield is being generated. While recent months have seen both forex and sentiment volatility with a range of positive and negative capital movements, the long-term performance will be driven by cash generation. The discount appears anomalous given Volta’s track record.
We recently published a paper, Share ownership: For the many, not the few, based on a statistical survey of share ownership, produced jointly with Argus Vickers, the share analysis service. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has now issued its equivalent survey. This paper compares its results with ours. Although there are, inevitably, differences in the detail, the two surveys reach the same conclusions.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB CLIG DNL FLTA GDR MCL NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RECI RMDL STX SCE TON VTA
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is due to publish its most up-to-date survey on share ownership in mid-January, which identifies the beneficial owners and decision- makers of the stock market. Hardman & Co has worked together with the share analysis service, Argus Vickers, to jointly produce its own survey, which anticipates the conclusions of the ONS survey but goes into much greater detail. Our work does not use a sample of 200 quoted companies as the ONS historically has, but rather includes everyUK quoted company. The ONS samples share registers every two years; our study uses six-monthly data points. Our survey also extends to shareholders on NEX; the ONS does not.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB BUR CMH CLIG DNL FLTA GDR MCL NSF PCA PIN PHP RECI RMDL SCE SIXH SHED VTA
Volta’s (VTA’s) 12-month NAV total return (TR) at end-October 2019 (-3.5%) is below its five-year average of 11.2%. This mostly comes from the declining prices of collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), with the average price of Volta’s USD CLO debt decreasing by 11.5pp of par value y-o-y). The ytd return was mildly positive at 3.1% after a harsh Q418. While market sentiment weighs on valuations, the underlying loan collateral performs well (assisted by record-low default rates), generating strong cash flows (in total, Volta has received €38m in interest and coupons ytd, up 11% year-on-year). Volta’s investment manager steadily increases exposure to long-dated equity tranches at the expense of debt tranches in response to the cycle turn.
The trade-off in the risk/reward for gold and gold mining equities is improving, as central banks push the current iteration of the post-World War II Bretton Woods financial order towards its limits.
Companies: AVO AJB AGY ARBB BUR CLIG DNL DPP FLTA GTLY GDR MCL MUR NSF PCA PIN SRE PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE TON SHED VTA W7L
In this note, we remind investors of Volta’s many attractions, and examine what would be required for the Volta 9%+ yield to be seriously threatened. We note the broad diversification of underlying cashflows, the consistency of income and monthly returns, and the manager’s excellent track record. We also explore the business dynamics in a downturn and how investor sentiment may be less volatile with increased cov-lite documentation. The discount appears anomalous relative to peers given Volta’s track record and the issues identified above.
Since their privatisation in 1989, the 10 water companies have faced a periodic review every five years; it is undertaken by Ofwat, and prescribes customer prices, along with the investment requirements. As part of the ongoing review, PR19, Ofwat will publish its Final Determination numbers on 11 December 2019; they will apply as from April 2020, although water companies do have the option to seek a reference to the CMA.
Companies: AJB AGY ARBB CLIG DNL DPP FLTA GTLY GDR KOOV MCL MUR NSF PCA PIN PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE SIXH TON SHED VTA W7L
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on Volta Finance.
We currently have 98 research reports from 4
Trading in the royalty partner portfolio over Q1/21 shows a material rebound from May, which has been sustained to date, as the portfolio as a whole returns to more normalised trading. Consequently, Duke's cash receipts, while down 20% YoY currently, are set to step up in H2/21 as forbearance measures largely expire and deferred royalties realised. This bodes well for a rebound in earnings and a return to cash paid dividends. A share price down over 55% since Feb 20, standing at p/book of 0.56x H1/20A's NAV p/s thus appears overdone. We await further clarity on the portfolio before reissuing forecasts, thus leave our recommendation U/R.
Companies: Duke Royalty
Acquisition of Berkeley Burke (Financial Services) Ltd and Berkeley Burke Employee Benefit Consultants Ltd for £2.9m maximum consideration (£1.4m initial plus £1.5m deferred and contingent on revenue hurdles). In addition to the acquisitions announced today, the company has received credit committee approval from RBS International for a new £5.5m acquisition facility, further strengthening the potential for STM’s acquisitive growth strategy. The execution of both the due diligence and the deal itself is impressive in the current climate, and the deal adds £0.3m of PBT in 2021E, with a minimum of £0.6m expected from 2022E. We reiterate our 53p price target.
Companies: STM Group Plc
Opportunities which have presented themselves in the wake of the COVID pandemic have been too good to ignore. Two assets have been acquired for £17m with 5%+ NIY; one having material reversionary potential. An attractive forward funding opportunity has been born out of COVID uncertainty with ULR stepping in to fund the £20m development of two assets pre-let to Amazon and DHL. March’s equity placing has now been fully deployed, and a new £151m loan facility provides additional £40-50m headroom. The structural trend towards e-commerce has been catalysed by COVID. ULR offers exposure to this resilient, attractive segment with a 5%+ yield and potential capital gains from rent reversion.
Companies: Urban Logistics REIT Plc
We believe now is an interesting time to invest in Northgate, with a new executive board and a capable management team in place who have already delivered progress on an ongoing turnaround as we await a full strategic review. The group now has a clear and well communicated capital allocation strategy in place and improved earnings quality, in our view. We believe that the growth opportunity in the UK, the value of the Spanish business and the progress made to date with the turnaround are not being reflected in the share price, which is currently 15.9% below book value (414p per share in FY19A rising to 468p in FY22E). We use a variety of valuation methods including P/B, SOTP, DDM and DCF modelling and arrive at an average implied share price of 450p, 29.0% above the current share price.
Companies: Redde Northgate Plc
S&U motor finance sales are recovering even as credit criteria have been tightened. There is still uncertainty about the impact of the wind down of employment support schemes and how collections will recover following repayment holidays, but S&U expresses cautious optimism on the latter point. The current year results will be significantly affected by lower sales and higher arrears but management indicates the group is still profitable, is maintaining its high customer service levels and has liquidity headroom to respond once it is sensible to target stronger growth.
Companies: S&U Plc
29 July interims showed a 7.1% EPRA EPS increase, rising NAV and a continued rise in DPS. Illustrating the growth, rents rose 20.4%, and adjusted EPRA earnings rose 29.0%. On 9 July, PHP launched a £120m proposed placing, at a point in the REIT’s development that is underpinned by a strong and broad pipeline. The placing was expanded to £140m as a result of investor appetite. The short-term pipeline stands at £128m, and there is also growth from active management of existing assets. We consider this REIT has significant per share value growth potential, through capital deployment, rent rises and financing cost efficiencies.
Companies: Primary Health Properties Plc
Duke delivered significant YoY growth in H1/20A results, as earlier efforts to broaden the royalty portfolio came through this year. This strong growth will continue with recent debt & equity raises forward funding investments to income levels of £15m by FY21E. Met with an enhanced, but now stabilised cost base, operational leverage should drive continued strong adj EBIT growth (to £13m, at a c85% margin) and further DPS rises.
L&G reported an operating profit from continuing divisions (excluding Mature Savings and General Insurance businesses) of £1,128m, -2.2% yoy. The COVID-19-related cost was £129m. LGR posted a growing operating profit to £721m. Net profit amounted to £290m vs. £874m a year before, being affected by the reduced discount rate used to calculate LGI reserves. The Solvency II ratio stood at 173%. The Board recommended an interim dividend of 4.93p/share, stable relative to H1 19.
Companies: Legal & General Group Plc
Frontier IP has announced it has invested £50k in a £500k convertible loan financing of PulsiV. Frontier IP has a 18.9% equity holding in PulsiV, which was last valued at £0.9m on the balance sheet. Whilst the commercial terms of the loan are unknown, it is not expected to have any material difference to the balance sheet at this stage. This direct investment by the Group is in line with a wider strategy to use proceeds of the recent fundraising to support portfolio companies financially to accelerate portfolio growth. PulsiV is taking significant steps to commercialising its technology and a solar microinverter prototype developed in collaboration with Bosch is expected to move into field trials of the “Engineered by Bosch” product in the nearfuture. Funding will enable PulsiV to step up development of its technology for use in a wider range of industrial applications, at least one of which is nearer to market. The potential of the micro-inverter market is vast, estimates of the global solar inverter market ranges from $2.4bn to $7.3bn per year.* Proceeds are expected to fund the development of its technology into a wider range of industrial applications. We note that PulsiV continue to be in discussions with potential investors to raise further funding in the form of equity, an event outlined in our January initiation as a near-term catalyst for Frontier IP’s valuation of its equity holding. Frontier IP expect this equity fund raise to be at a substantial valuation premium to the current book value of PulsiV (last reported at £0.9m on Frontier IP’s balance sheet). There is no indication given as the size of any potential uplift, but any increase in the Company’s book value will be reflected in the Group’s results to 30 June 2020 financial year. If achieved it would demonstrate that positive momentum from an excellent FY’20 period has continued into the new financial year.
Companies: Frontier IP Group Plc
With 90% of contracted rental income paid directly or indirectly by the UK or Irish governments and the balance primarily coming from co-located pharmacies, rent collection remained robust through H120, contributing to a strong H120 financial performance. Primary Health Properties (PHP) is well on track to meet its fully covered 5.9p (+5.4%) FY20e DPS target, which will mark the 24th year of uninterrupted growth.
We have knitted together the impact on the investment companies from what is now widely considered to be the most severe pandemic in a century. The collapse in asset prices over the latter part of March, brought the curtain down on an up-market that lasted more than ten years. In amongst this, there were pockets, such as the technology sector, that held up well. For many industries, the worst is still to come, as we brace ourselves for the sharpest contraction to global growth since the US great depression.
Companies: ASL SDV ASIT BGEU BRLA CCPE DPA IEM JMF JZCP JUKG EPIC PSHD CSH RIII CCPG BLP TMPL BPCR SEQI AIF SMT CIFU SQNX FAIR ICON RSE CRS GWI USF DIGS
What’s new: Purplebricks Group results for the year to 30 April 2020, show the Australian and US units as discontinued; but include the Canadian unit sold for C$60.5m (i.e. £35m) in July. Investors will focus on the UK unit which revealed:
11% fall in UK revenue to £80.5m (FY19: £90.1m), as the number of instructions fell 23% (impacted by early Covid uncertainty and lockdown), but the average revenue per instruction “ARPI” rose 12% to £1,394;
UK gross profit margin improved to 64.1% (FY19: 63.0%);
UK marketing costs to revenue improved to 25.6% (FY19: 29.6%);
Spend on Digital capacity pushed UK operating costs 32% to £26.2m (FY19: £19.9m), as new management team pursued initiatives which are being “delivered at pace with significant opportunity for further innovation.”
UK adjusted EBITDA fell 53% to £4.8m (FY19: £10.2m).
Companies: Purplebricks Group Plc
Tinexta’s Q220 results were much better than consensus expectations, as all business units produced improved organic growth trends versus Q120, in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown, and cost control helped improve profitability. The group is well positioned to benefit from structural growth drivers, including the digitisation of economies. We increase our EBITDA forecasts for FY20 by 7.6%, taking us 6.6% above management’s reiterated and recent guidance for FY20.
Companies: Tinexta SpA
The Biotech Growth Trust (BIOG) is managed by Geoff Hsu, who is able to draw on the considerable resources of specialist healthcare investor OrbiMed Capital. While biotech stocks have rallied strongly following the coronavirus-led stock market sell-off earlier in 2020, the manager believes they could have further to go. He is confident that a successful COVID-19 vaccine will be developed and positive fundamentals are supportive for the biotech sector’s future performance. Repositioning of BIOG’s portfolio during FY20 has been accretive to the trust’s returns in recent quarters; it has now outperformed its benchmark NASDAQ Biotechnology index over the past one, three, five and 10 years, and investors have also enjoyed very solid absolute total returns of more than 20% pa over the past decade.
Companies: The Biotech Growth Trust
FY20 Interim results
Companies: Litigation Capital Management Ltd.