Corporate life is full of tricky decisions, often having to weigh up various scenarios, each perhaps involving numerous competing forces and associated risks. Therefore it is nice when occasionally a ‘no-brainer’ comes along. Earlier today, Blancco announced that it had lifted its stake in its Japanese JV (FY19 PAT +£1.2m) from 51% to 80% by issuing 813,253 new shares at 132.8p (or £1.08m) to its local ‘mobile reseller / ITAD’ partner Aucnet (Ticker: 3964, Tokyo Stock Exchange, £271m market cap). Here Aucnet is 44.3% owned by Flex Corporation (Singapore based contract electronics manufacturer), and will continue to act as an important route to market in Japan, Asia and other parts of the world, retaining its 20% stake in the JV.
Companies: Blancco Technology Group plc
Registration document approved for Helios Towers. The Group provides essential network services, flexible infrastructure solutions and reliable power supply to mobile network operators in five African growth economies. Revenue increased 7 per cent. year-on-year to US$191m (H1 2018: US$178m), with Adjusted EBITDA up 15 per cent. year-on-year at US$99m (H1 2018: US$86m) for the six months ended 30 June 2019. Pricing rumoured at 115p to 145p implying valuation of up to $1.8bn. Expected Oct 2019.
Companies: IDEA MACP QUIZ TRMR SYM CLP JET2 CERP BLTG
In the world of corporate branding, you know you’ve cracked it when people start using your name as a ‘verb’ in everyday life. Google has achieved this in ‘Search’, Skype for video calls, Airbnb in house-sharing & Uber for ‘ride hailing’. Similarly ‘Blancco-ing’ a hard-drive, smartphone, server or PC is rapidly becoming engrained in the lexicon of IT professionals, who need to delete confidential files.
Watershed events by their very nature have the power to reshape entire industries. Take cyber-security, which this week saw the UK's data privacy regulator (ICO) slap fines of £183.4m & £99.2m for GDPR breaches on British Airways & Marriott Hotels respectively. Enormous sums of money that will surely send shivers down the spines of Boardrooms worldwide.
Beating expectations and securing large contracts with blue chip clients are two of the best ways of building a world class company. This morning Blancco achieved both. Not only landing a new 3 year $1.2m expansion agreement with an existing Fortune 500 software group to provide its Drive Erasure solution across their worldwide data centre footprint. But also saying that FY19 sales would be “marginally” and adjusted EBIT “comfortably” ahead of consensus. Driven by a whole host of macro trends – not least concerns over ID theft / cybercrime, tightening regulation (eg EU GDPR & PCI DSS, 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act, etc), the re-provisioning of 100ms of smartphones/servers every year and the desire to reduce corporate IT costs without compromising security.
Rarely does quality come cheap, or that’s the accepted wisdom. The FTSE though is an ’irrational beast’, failing sometimes to recognise ‘deep value’ opportunities right under its nose. Take Blancco, the world’s #1 data erasure & mobile diagnostics software developer. The company is expanding rapidly, operates in a fabulous untapped niche, and generates almost all its revenues from repeat business, ongoing contracts and/or SaaS. In turn providing excellent forward visibility, positive cashflows and improving profit margins. The perfect triumvirate for long term investors.
Blancco reported FY18 results marginally ahead of its recent trading update; despite the focus on stabilising the business and improving internal controls, profitability was maintained over the year. The new management team’s focus on three key markets (Mobile, Enterprise and IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)) and targeted investment in R&D should help the company maintain its market leadership and lead to a reacceleration of revenue growth.
As Nasdaq reaches nose-bleed levels, many fund managers are scratching their heads to find reasonably priced tech stocks. A lot depends though on where one looks. Cast the net a little further down the food chain and in our view Blancco, the world’s #1 data erasure & mobile diagnostics software developer, fits the bill.
Long term Blancco shareholders are undoubtedly a hardy bunch. An essential trait given the difficulties (some self-inflicted) the company has endured over the past 2 years. The good news is that the bleeding now seems to have stopped, with real progress being made under the new leadership team.
Blancco’s FY18 trading update confirms that despite weaker than expected revenue growth, work on reducing the cost base resulted in a better than expected operating margin of 11%. Positive cash flow in H2 reduced the net debt position to below our forecast. We have revised our forecasts to reflect lower revenues but stronger profitability, resulting in an upgrade to our normalised EPS forecasts of 49% for FY18e and 10% for FY19e. With the appointment of a permanent CFO, the new management team is now complete, and we expect more detail on strategy when the company reports FY18 results in September.
Kore Potash— advanced stage mineral exploration and development company whose primary asset is its interest in the Sintoukola Project, a potash project located in the Republic of Congo. ) Measured, Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource of 5,953Mt at an average grade of 22.0% KCl. Offer raising $13.14m with market cap of £56.4m. Due 29 March.
Perfomatrix PLC, a global end to end Performance Marketing technology and services company headquartered in the UK, is looking to join AIM in early April 2018, offer TBC
Crusader Resources, an ASX-listed public company incorporated in Australia, which is primarily focused on the exploration and development of gold assets in Brazil. POSTPONED
SimplyBiz, a Financial Services Firm, looking to join AIM raising £30m via placing and £34.6m via a sale of existing ordinary shares at 170p giving a market cap of £130m. Expected 4 April
Polarean - Medical drug-device combination company operating in the high resolution medical imaging market. Offer raising £3m at 15p with market cap of £11.01m. Due 29 March
Companies: ARK EMIS WRES TLY GFIN BLTG IRON
Blancco’s H118 results reflect the non-recurrence of one-off licence deals signed in H117 as well as a period of restructuring. Despite the weak H1, management has a sufficiently strong sales pipeline that it expects to meet previous guidance for FY18. The company is now in better shape for the soon to be appointed new CEO to drive sustainable, cash-generative revenue growth.
The phenomenal take-up of cloud services is turning the IT industry on its head. Here corporate networks and in-house data centres are being replaced by third-party hosted (eg Amazon, Google and Microsoft) services, streamed from almost anywhere on the planet.
The stock continues to tumble and now trades at roughly a quarter of its share price just 12 months ago.
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Xpediator delivered a solid performance in FY20A, with +3.7% revenue growth and Adj PBT of £7.2m (+41% YoY) in line with our forecasts. After an initial slowdown in activity in the early stages of the pandemic, trading recovered strongly towards the end of FY20A, which has continued into FY21E. With Xpediator confirming it remains in line with expectations for FY21E, we leave these largely unchanged (Adj PBT remains at £7.7m). We release new forecasts for FY22E (Adj PBT £8.5m), which reflects continued growth in the business. With the stock trading on a FY21E EV/EBITDA of c5.8x, we reaffirm our Buy rating.
Companies: Xpediator Plc
SigmaRoc has this morning announced that it has acquired two Belgian ready-mixed concrete businesses for €13m. These will be added to Stone and the aggregates assets at Granulats du Hainaut to form a second heavy construction materials platform in Belgium. We expect this platform to grow over time as there should be significant opportunity for a nimble and efficient operator like SigmaRoc to become an important independent supplier to the market. We will update our estimates on full year results next week. We raise our target price to 86p to reflect the incremental EBITDA likely from this platform in the year ahead.
Companies: SigmaRoc Plc
XPD is a profitable and well-established pan-European freight management and logistics operator. We selected the Group as one of our Top Picks for 20211. XPD has reported 2020a adjusted PBT up nearly 40% y-o-y. Margins expanded to 3.3% from 2.4%, driven by better trading, particularly in freight forwarding in Q4, and with cost savings from restructuring. XPD has rebuilt its senior management team, completed recently by Michael Williamson joining as CFO. The fundamentals are sound with £6.8m of net cash. Q1 2021e trading is reportedly ahead of management expectations but at this stage our estimates assume cautious growth through the year. More strategically, as Covid-19 disruption clears, we think UK and European customers will refocus on supply chain resilience, and Central & Eastern European (CEE) countries will become even more attractive as manufacturing venues. This strongly favours XPD’s capacity and expertise. Generally, as an experienced pan-European operator, XPD has plenty of opportunities to accelerate growth. Organically in forwarding, pallet networks and support services for haulage sub-contractors, and through selected acquisitions. Reflecting a more positive outlook for earnings, our valuation is lifted from 45p to 70p, c.20% upside to the current share price. XPD also offers an attractive dividend.
In this report we provide an update on the developing customer interest for Ilika solid-state micro-batteries for medical devices and smart machinery sensors and the valuable IP it is building in Goliath cells for future EVs and cordless appliances. We illustrate there are few rivals for its millimetre sized batteries and few with a longer history in larger cells. We ascribe a higher value now to Goliath following recent progress in EV markets and validation for solid-state from leading car makers VW and Toyota and the much higher market capitalisation commanded by QuantumScape. TP now 320p (c£450m market cap).
Companies: Ilika plc
The UK market showed a continued recovery in the first quarter albeit the indices are still well short of their all-time peaks, unlike many of their international peers. The FTSE 100 has risen by 1,186 points (21.4%) since the end of October and the FTSE 250 by 4,304 points (25.0%). The comparable performance since the start of the year is less spectacular- the FTSE 100 has risen by 253 points (3.9%) and the FTSE 250 has risen by 1,070 points (5.0%). The factors behind the sustained rally are familiar. The belief that the roll-out of the vaccine and some relaxation of lockdown limitations will lead to a significant economic recovery, compared to the collapse seen in the first half of 2020, due to lockdowns. Indeed, the recent economic picture is becoming more optimistic than previous expectations. According to the ONS, the economy grew a little more than initially estimated in Q4 last year. This means GDP for 2020 as a whole contracted by 9.8%, revised up marginally but still the worst contraction on record. Markets, in general, have focused upon the potential scope and extent of the recovery. The sectors and stocks that have outperformed have been seen as ‘recovery’ plays with a rotation from stocks seen as ‘lockdown’ winners into those set to benefit from the ‘unlocking of society’ and/or exposed to the consumer. We expect 2021 will continue to be a “stock-picker’s” market. The sharp increase in the household savings ratio in Q4 highlights the scope for a recovery driven by expenditure. As further lockdown limitations are lifted, evidence of this growth will help to underpin the more optimistic outlook for Q2 and beyond.
Companies: AMYT ARBB BPC BAG BVC BEG BONH BLVN BRSD CML CWK CRPR EYE ECHO FDM FAR FA/ GPH GSF HUW INSE JDG KAPE KP2 MACF MPAC MNZS NESF NBI OTMP OBD PREM QFI RUA SCS SEN SOS SUR TON TOU TXP TGL TCN UEM VLS WYN
Clean FY20 EPS beat our expectations by 5%, but the real story of these results is that EBITDA came in ahead of our November 2019 forecast. EBITDA rose 64% through acquisitions, but management has extended its record of improving the returns of acquired businesses. We raise our EBITDA forecasts by c.10% across the forecast period to reflect only the recent Belgian transactions. We raise our target price to 92p per share, set at 10x EV/EBITDA. With these acquisitions now in place, the group has reached critical mass with four platforms and strong enough cash flows to self-fund acquisitions and other opportunities.
AFC announced another exciting strategic partnership this time with Altaaqa operating one of the world’s largest rental fleets of mobile diesel modules with 2GW of capacity. We believe the growth potential from this could be material, and further underlines the exciting future ahead. We re-iterate our positive stance and remain comfortable with our 191p target valuation.
Companies: AFC Energy plc
Spectra Systems Corporation, a leader in machine-readable high speed banknote authentication, brand protection technologies, and gaming security software, has this morning announced that it has received a notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its technology relating to the disinfecting of banknotes from SARS-2 and other biohazards (BDS-1000 Banknote Disinfection System – and not to be confused with Aeris which cleans and disinfects and is targeted at central banks). Patent applications have been made in other countries also.
Companies: Spectra Systems Corporation
AfriTin* (ATM LN) – By-product potential at the Uis tin mine
Alba Mineral Resources (ALBA LN) – Phase 2 drilling underway at the Clogau St David's mine
ITM Power (ITM LN) - First Green Hydrogen for Glasgow Project planned capacity doubled to 20MW
Companies: ATM ALBA ITM
While SIMEC Atlantis faces policy driven uncertainty it continues to make progress and there are signs for optimism in our view. In particular the progression of CCUS options at Uskmouth make the project attractive from a national policy point of view, potentially delivering a negative emissions solution while providing flexible generation and spinning reserve.
Companies: SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd.
This morning Avon released its post-close trading statement for H121, which shows strong top-line growth and order intake. Trading continued to show progress, in line with management expectations for Q221, continuing the Q121 performance noted at the AGM. Management expects to meet FY21 consensus expectations, with growing momentum during H221 as new contract volumes build. We trim our above-consensus FY21 EPS estimate by 4% and maintain FY22, which are reported in US$ from the current year. Avon’s shares trade at a healthy premium to UK defence peers, warranted by top-line growth, high returns and strong cash flows.
Companies: Avon Rubber p.l.c.
Wickes to demerge from Travis Perkins and list on the Main Market. Expected 28 April. Advance Energy to complete an RTO on AIM indirectly acquiring up to 50% of Carnarvon Petroleum Timor which holds a 100 per cent. working interest and is the contractor under the Buffalo PSC, offshore Timor-Leste. Carnarvon Petroleum Timor is a subsidiary of ASX listed company, Carnarvon Petroleum Limited. The net proceeds of the Placing of approximately £20.01m (approximately US$27.51mm) will be used to fund the Acquisition. Due 19 April. NFT Investments plc is an investment company that specialises in non-fungible tokens (NFT). Has applied for admission to the Access segment of the AQSE Growth Market. No funds being raised. Due 16 April. Thor Explorations (TSXV:THX) seeking a secondary listing on AIM. The Company is targeting Admission during Q2 2021. Segun Lawson, President & CEO, stated: “Thor Explorations has advanced significantly, in both project development and capitalisation since the acquisition of Segilola in 2016. This year, the Company is well positioned to achieve two major milestones with the commencement of gold production at Segilola in Nigeria and a maiden resource at Douta in Senegal, as well as continuing to progress our highly prospective Nigerian exploration portfolio on the Ilesha Schist belt.” MAST Energy Developments (MED) is to IPO on the Standard List on 14th April 2021 under the ticker MAST. The company has raised £5m giving a market capitalisation on listing of c. £23m. MED is currently a 100% subsidiary company of AIM quoted, Kibo Energy*. MED was established to acquire and develop a portfolio of flexible power plants in the UK and become a multi-asset operator in the rapidly growing Reserve Power market. PensionBee has confirmed its intention to float on the High Growth Segment of the Main Market of LSE. The online pension provider had approximately 130,000 Active Customers and £1.5bn of assets under administration, in each case as at 28 February 2021. The Offer will comprise new Shares raising gross proceeds of approximately £55m and existing Shares to be sold by certain existing small minority shareholders of up to £5m. None of the founders, directors or members of senior management of PensionBee are selling any existing Shares. Expected in April. Imperial X (AQSE:IMPP) to join the Main Market (standard). It is also proposed that on Admission to the Official List, the Company will change its name to Cloudbreak Discovery Plc. With effect from Admission, Imperial X will hold equity positions and royalties in a variety of projects in the natural resources sector across multiple jurisdictions, primarily in the Americas and Africa. The Company is proposing to raise up to £1.5m by way of placing of new Ordinary Shares to support further prospect acquisitions. Current Mkt cap £4.7m Expected April 2021. Proposed move to AIM from the main market (standard) by Emmerson (EML.L) to provide Emmerson with access to a market and environment which is more suited, in the Board's view, to the Company's current size and strategy ahead of pivotal period for the Company with the commencement of mine construction at the Khemisset Potash Project expected by end of 2021. Follows recent award of Mining Licence granting Emmerson exclusive right to develop and mine the potash deposit and £5.5m raise to fund ongoing project development work. NextEnergy Renewables to launch an IPO on the Main Market. NREN is a differentiated renewables investment Company that aims to capture the most attractive private renewables and energy transition infrastructure investment opportunities globally. Targeting a £300m raise. NREN is targeting total returns of 9-11 per cent. per annum (net of all fees and expenses but including the Target Dividend and capital appreciation) . The Company's target dividend yield for the first full financial year to 31 December 2022 is 5.5 pence. Due Early March 2021. Digital 9 Infrastructure launch an initial public offering on the Specialist Fund Segment of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, by way of an initial placing and offer for subscription for a target issue £400m. Digital 9 Infrastructure plc is a newly established, externally managed investment trust. The Company will invest in a range of digital infrastructure assets which deliver a reliable, functioning internet. The IPO Prospectus is expected to be published in March 2021. Fix Price announces its intention to float on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Fix Price is one of the leading variety value retailers globally and the largest in Russia, with more than 4,200 stores. Fix Price has revenues of RUB 190.1bn, RUB 142.9bn and RUB 108.7bn for 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA for the same years was RUB 36.8bn, RUB 27.2bn and RUB 14.2bn, respectively. The Offer would consist of an offering of GDRs by certain existing shareholders of the Company. Great Point Entertainment Income Trust PLC announced its prospectus has been approved by the FCA. Great Point Entertainment Income Trust PLC is a newly established, externally managed closed-ended investment company. The Company will provide project finance to content makers and commissioners in the global television and film production industry via senior loans secured against pre-sold intellectual property (IP) rights. GPEIT's investment objective is to provide Shareholders with dividend income and modest capital growth through exposure to media content finance.
Companies: ARG ADT UKOG PHAR UNG CYAN FA/ SNX VRE SHED
In the past few weeks, all the listed multi-national pharmaceutical companies have reported results for 2020, which has given us the opportunity to update our industry statistics and drug database. This report provides the first, snapshot publication of global and US rankings of the top 20 drug companies for 2020. Comparisons are made with historical data to show how different company strategies have evolved. In addition, summary analysis has been provided for the sales evolution of therapeutic biopharmaceutical drugs, which saw sales rise 5.6% to $245bn, representing 26% of the market, driven by antibody-derived drugs.
Companies: AVO ARIX BBGI CLIG DNL FLTA ICGT OCI PCA PIN PXC RECI STX SCE TRX VTA YEW
Kevin Freeguard, Gattaca
Companies: Gattaca plc
CyanConnode has announced an excellent year end trading update with revenue for the year exceeding market expectations, at an all-time high and more than double the 15 month previous period. With material growth pencilled in for FY22 and substantial market opportunities beyond, we believe the Group has turned the corner and see strong share price performance over the next 6-12 months and likely earnings upgrades. Reiterate buy.
Companies: CyanConnode Holdings plc