by John Woolfitt, Atlantic Capital Markets
Time To Go Back To The Beach In Spite of Covid-19?
Fundamentals & Statement Summary
With over 20% share of online sales in the short haul beach holiday market, On The Beach (LON: OTB) are one of the UK’s largest online beach holiday retailers. The group’s long-term mission to become Europe’s leading online retailer of beach holidays is fuelled by significant opportunities for growth on the back of innovative technology, low-cost base and a strong customer-value proposition.
On Tuesday June 30th, OTB announced interim results for the 6 months to March 31st, and said that prior to the escalation of COVID-19 in Europe, it had been trading well. In the first four months of FY20 and following the collapse of the Thomas Cook Group, OTB priced its offerings competitively, and saw total holiday sales grew by 29% for Summer 2020 departures. H1 revenue of £21.4m was down 66% on prior year due to COVID-19 related cancellations, with adjusted PBT down £13.4m to £2.3m due to a significant reduction in demand from mid-February when COVID-19 began to spread to Europe. Net debt of £13m excludes £68.8m of customer monies held in a ring-fenced trust account, and following a successful share placing on 22 May 2020, the group cash position was £50.5m, plus a £75m RCF facility which, at 31 May 2020, remained undrawn.
CEO Simon Cooper commented on the excellent progress in the first four months of the financial year, with the Thomas Cook collapse “driving record levels of brand awareness and achieving sales growth of almost 30% for holidays departing in Summer 2020.“
He added “The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a rapid slowdown in demand for foreign travel followed by the total closure of airspace across Europe by mid-March. Our staff responded brilliantly to ensure that the Group delivered the highest possible customer service standards in the most difficult of circumstances”….”The flexibility and asset light nature of our business model together with our recently strengthened balance sheet and the actions we have taken since the middle of March means we are well placed to capitalise on the inevitable structural changes in the market post COVID-19. As a result, the Board continues to look to the future with confidence.”
Chart and Technicals
Source: FactSet and Hargreaves Lansdown
The inevitable ‘Covid cliff fall’ that characterises the charts of many stocks at present started at the end of February 2020, with the group losing 66% of its value during the following 25 or so days. A strong recovery during March saw OTB shares regain the 50-day moving average, currently at 290p, which it has held onto since April 16th. Provided the stock continues to hold the 50-day moving average, there is every reason to expect OTB shares to regain the benchmark 200-day moving average (purple indicator), currently at 358p, by the end of July 2020.
Summary and Atlantic View
While some may view OTB as a contrarian trade, our dealing team are attracted to OTB’s resilient performance before and during the COVID-19 crisis. The group responded strongly and took full advantage of the Thomas Cook collapse, leading to 30% growth in summer holiday sales pre-Covid, largely due to its innovative business model and low cost base. Added to this OTB have a strong cash position, boosted by strong shareholder support for the May 2020 placing. In summary, Atlantic Capital Markets are backing a long trade position on OTB, governed very much by the technical picture (358p initial target), and while the uncertain backdrop warrants running a tight stop loss, we are of the view that OTB is better placed than its peers to grow market share as the world starts to move again. In this case, it is time to go back to the beach!
To take advantage of this trading idea, speak to a member of our dealing team on 01872 229000 or visit the Atlantic Capital Markets website here