M WINKWORTH: Yield Approaches 7% Despite Acceptable H1 2022, Quarterly Dividends Lifted 23% And Confidence Towards £2m Profit Forecast 

04 November 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for M Winkworth (WINK):

  • An acceptable H1 performance that would always struggle against the comparable (and exceptional) H1 but encouragingly matched the preceding H2.
  • The subsequent Q3 update provided reassuring ‘mini-budget’ commentary, reiterated an earlier £2.1m profit forecast and announced a further 23% quarterly dividend lift.
  • Claims of a leading SSTC market share may contradict statistics from Foxtons, with fresh leadership at the London rival set to create stiffer competition. 
  • A robust 25% margin plus £4m net cash left the accounts in good order, although cash conversion was impacted by rising intangible expenditure and more franchisee loans.
  • The gloomy outlook for the economy and housing market looks responsible for the possible 10-13x P/E and yield that approaches 7%. I continue to hold.

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CITY OF LONDON INVESTMENT: H2 2022 Profit Drops 20% And FuM Slides To $8.5b Although Yield Now Tops 8% And Run Of Net Inflows Extends To 4 Quarters

21 October 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for City of London Investment (CLIG):

  • Rough market conditions causing funds under management (FuM) to fall 17% to $9.2b led to H2 net fee income dropping 5% and H2 profit diving 20%.
  • A post-year update showed FuM sliding a further 8% to $8.5b, but also the fourth consecutive quarter of net FuM inflows that may signal clients re-appraising CLIG’s ‘value’ approach.
  • Buying SPACs at discounts to cash helped merger partner KIM outperform the original CLIM division with 6% five-year annualised returns versus 3-4%.
  • Revenue “100%” denominated in the stronger USD, handy cash conversion plus net funds and investments of £30m counterbalanced an H2 margin squeezed to ‘only’ 42%.
  • Near-term earnings could now be running at 36p per share, which should still support the 33p per share dividend and 8%-plus yield at 400p. I continue to hold.

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SYSTEM1: £100m Revenue Ambition Disappears Following Disappointing H2 Loss As Tender Offer Cancelled And Agitated Shareholder Initiates Strategic Review

24 September 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for System1 (SYS1):

  • A disappointing FY 2022 performance, with a Q4 sales warning alongside greater costs leading to a small H2 loss.
  • SYS1’s ‘Reasons to Believe’ have been diluted, and hint at reduced long-term expectations following the disappearance of a £100m revenue ambition.
  • The transition to new data and consultancy services continues, with such income representing 51% of total revenue for FY 2022 and possibly 70% for Q1 2023.
  • A fresh non-exec reveals the agitated shareholder who has initiated a strategic review, which in turn led to the sensible cancellation of a tender offer.
  • Net cash represents 31% of the market cap, with long-term multi-bagger potential presently obscured by weak legacy services and costs running ahead of new-product revenue. I continue to hold. 

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MOUNTVIEW ESTATES: Estimated NAV At £210 Per Share After H2 2022 Shows Average Sale Reaching £379k To Realise 66% Premium Over Allsop Valuation

02 September 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Mountview Estates (MTVW):

  • A steady FY 2022 performance, buoyed by an H2 that saw property sales achieve a record £379k average and realise a 66% premium to their 2014 Allsop valuation. 
  • The final dividend was lifted 11% while expenditure on new properties fell to a 13-year low after management expressed a desire to “not chase purchases at any price“.
  • Net debt remains very modest at just 5% of the property estate and reflects management’s concerns of forthcoming “difficult economic circumstances“.
  • Friction between major shareholders continues, with revised director-pay arrangements perhaps encouraging significant protest votes at the latest AGM.  
  • Net asset value remains at £101 per share, although the balance sheet could be worth £210 per share assuming all owned properties enjoy immediate ‘reversionary’ gains and are then sold at fair-market value. I continue to hold.

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BIOVENTIX: H1 2022 Reveals Dividend Up 21% And ‘Exciting’ Tau Biomarker Although Cash At 6-Year Low Now Reduces Special-Payout Prospects

26 August 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Bioventix (BVXP):

  • An unspectacular H1 performance, albeit accompanied by a 21% dividend lift, after further pandemic disruption left revenue down 8% and adjusted profit down 9%.
  • Muted progress from vitamin D and other established antibodies continues to leave near-term growth dependent on the fast-selling troponin product. 
  • The “exciting” potential of a Tau biomarker alongside the BVXP website selling pyrene test kits suggest positive developments within the research pipeline.
  • Net cash at £5m is the lowest for six years, and combined with standstill earnings seems likely to reduce the size of any FY 2022 special payout.
  • Troponin’s finite income and a resultant sum-of-the-parts valuation do not indicate an obviously compelling £33 share price. I continue to hold.

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ANDREWS SYKES: FY 2021 Discloses UK Hire Revenue Rebounding 17% To Deliver 34% Margin While Dividend Yield Remains Near 5% Despite Potential FY 2022 Heatwave Bonanza

18 August 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Andrews Sykes (ASY):

  • An encouraging performance, with profit recovering 35% following the pandemic to almost match the record set during FY 2018.
  • Additional reporting disclosures revealed ASY’s main UK Hire division enjoyed sales rebounding 17% and a wonderful 34% margin.
  • European operations expanded to 27% of group revenue following very strong progress, although Middle Eastern woes included an extra £1m provision. 
  • The books remain in good shape, with useful cash generation lifting net funds to £29m and perhaps increasing the possibility of another special dividend. 
  • An estimated 13-14x P/E and near-5% yield hardly seem expensive given the appealing financials, potential for an FY 2022 heatwave bonanza and scope for further European expansion. I continue to hold.

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TASTY: £8m Market Cap Could Still Be Remarkably Cheap After FY 2021 Reiterated 5-6 New Restaurants Despite ‘Prevailing Economic Uncertainties’

04 August 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Tasty (TAST):

  • The absence of pandemic restrictions ensured a bumper H2 performance that TAST acknowledged may not be repeatable during the current year.
  • Higher wages, rising utility costs, “prevailing economic uncertainties” plus a June update that did not refer to H1 trading could be other signs of FY 2022 not being that profitable.
  • Rent reductions of 27% now appear to be temporary, and explain why total lease obligations remain in excess of £50m.
  • Repaying an emergency loan, appointing a new executive alongside plans to open 5-6 new restaurants confirm management’s mindset has moved from ‘survival’ to ‘recovery’.
  • Although the £8m market cap could be remarkably cheap if TAST ever sustains a modest margin on decent sales, other shares could offer more dependable returns. I continue to hold.

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FW THORPE: Record H1 Results Reveal Thorlux Orders Up 25% And Another Special Dividend As Companies Scramble For Energy-Efficient Lighting

01 August 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for FW Thorpe (TFW):

  • A record H1 performance bolstered by the acquisition of Spanish firm Zemper and complemented by another special dividend.
  • Progress at Thorlux continues to be modest, but a new MD, an order book up 25% alongside growing demand for energy-efficient lighting support future optimism.
  • Dutch profit was assisted by the absence of earn-out provisions, with new manufacturing facilities at Famostar underpinning “continued rapid sales growth“. 
  • Net cash remained significant at £37m after extra stock investment suggested component shortages were no longer as severe as they once were.
  • A P/E of 27 seems generous, but could reflect significant ‘ESG’ attractions as TFW showcases its environmental credentials to quoted companies scrambling for LED lighting. I continue to hold.

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M WINKWORTH: Outstanding FY 2021 Heralds Promising FY 2022 Following 23% Q1 Dividend Lift And Prospect Of Sales Again Exceeding Lettings

08 July 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for M Winkworth (WINK):

  • Extraordinary levels of activity” due to pandemic stamp-duty reductions ensured an outstanding FY 2021 with underlying profit up 167%.
  • Talk of sales income again exceeding lettings income plus lifting the Q1 2022 dividend by 23% underpinned a promising FY 2022.  
  • Earnings at the company-owned Tooting office may have slumped during the year, although the effective return on the branch’s valuation remains impressive.  
  • A super 34% margin, net cash at more than 20% of the share price and trade receivables at just 7% of revenue leave the accounts in good order.
  • A possible 9-12x P/E and 6% yield match WINK’s past rating as investors presumably worry about potential problems within the housing market. I continue to hold.

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S & U: Record Dividend Delivers 6% Yield After FY 2022 Results Signal Higher Expected Write-Offs And Risk Of ‘Adverse Economic Environment’

28 June 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for S & U (SUS):

  • A “lower than normal” bad-debt provision underpinned a record full-year profit, which in turn supported fresh highs for net asset value (NAV) and the dividend.
  • Very mixed signals are emerging from the main motor-loan division, with encouraging collection rates offset by “a more heightened risk of an adverse economic environment” and higher expected write-offs among new loans.
  • Further surplus cash from the motor-loan division was redirected into the property-loan subsidiary, which reported a bumper performance and prompted optimistic near-term management predictions.
  • ROCE levels remain modest and suggest SUS’s inherent value is biased towards the asset value of its loan book rather than annual earnings.
  • Despite current-year profit running “above budget“, the £21 shares trade at 1.24 times NAV and offer a 6% yield. I continue to hold.

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CITY OF LONDON INVESTMENT: FuM Drops 13% To Below $10b After H1 2022 Discloses 49% Margin, Welcome Special Dividend And (Finally!) Some New Client Money

19 June 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for City of London Investment (CLIG):

  • The Karpus merger ensured impressive headline progress, but this H1 performance was almost identical to the preceding H2 as funds under management (FuM) remained at $11b.
  • Wishful thinking perhaps, but two consecutive quarters of net FuM inflows following consistent FuM outflows may signal clients re-appraising CLIG’s ‘value’ approach.
  • Rough market conditions during the subsequent H2 will test CLIG’s investments, with FuM dropping 13% to below $10b not indicating obvious outperformance.
  • A wonderful 49% margin and net cash of £25m funding a welcome £7m special dividend suggest the accounts can survive any further market weakness.
  • Although the possible P/E is 11 and the yield tops 7%, the shares have been rated modestly for years as major new clients remain extremely elusive. I continue to hold.

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MINCON: FY 2021 Reveals H2 Mining Sales Up 30% And ‘Outstanding’ Greenhammer Tests Yet Obvious ‘Moat’-Like Financials Remain Highly Elusive 

02 June 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Mincon (MCON):

  • A better-than-expected performance, bolstered by a record H2 and perhaps a cracking Q4 following less pandemic disruption.
  • Positive progress was recorded at all three product divisions, with higher commodity prices pushing H2 mining sales up 30%.
  • Encouraging development news included the long-awaited Greenhammer system delivering “outstanding” test results and potentially becoming available to purchase this year. 
  • Despite the long-term commitment to first-class product manufacturing, MCON’s financials sadly still lack signs of an obvious ‘moat’.
  • The shares do not appear outrageously expensive, assuming H2 extrapolations and upbeat FY 2022 trading do indeed support a 15x P/E. I continue to hold.

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TRISTEL: Pandemic-Disrupted H1 2022 Reveals Product Cull And Profit Reclassification With Dividend Held And Share Price Now 50% Lower

30 April 2022
By Maynard Paton

Results summary for Tristel (TSTL):

  • An underwhelming pandemic-disrupted performance, with the dividend held for the first time since FY 2013 as hospital customers delayed resuming normal purchasing activity.
  • Progress was complicated by the understandable culling of numerous ‘non-core’ products, although the associated reclassification revealed TSTL’s surface disinfectants to be less profitable than previously declared.
  • Sector “lobbying” within the United States for EPA-approved disinfectants might have created a new “commercial opportunity” for TSTL’s DUO foam. 
  • Brexit stock-piling, share options and US costs offered a wide range of profit outcomes, but cash flow remained respectable and bolstered net cash to a useful £9m. 
  • A 50% lower share price on a possible 32x multiple is not an obvious bargain, especially if patent expiries, automated competition or single-use medical equipment cause disruption. I continue to hold.

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