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Marshall Motor Holdings MMH describes its first half performance as robust with continuing underlying profit before tax up 1.2% on last years first half record of £16.2m. Like for like new unit sales to retail customers fell by 5.9% and used sales were down by 0.3% although strong growth in margins of 7.2% helped to increase used revenue by 5.2%. Total underlying profit before tax suffered a robust 11.7% drop and reported profit before tax was down by a slightly less robust 7.1%. The interim dividend remains robustly flat at 2.15p per share.
LoopUp Group plc LOOP which specialises in premium remote meetings has traded strongly in the half year to the 30th June in what the joint CEOs describe as a transformational period. Group revenue rose by 39% and organic revenue by 22% on a constant currency basis. It also maintained its track record of “negative net churn’ which is apparantly a very good thing because when translate into everyday basic English it actually means “net growth – in its long-term established customer base”. So why cant they say so in the first place, have a remote meeting and leave jargon to the jargon specialists
H&T Group plc HAT the pawnbroking business appears to be thriving but not booming which is perhaps a good sign as to the state of the economy. The half year to the 30th June is described as solid, with profit before tax showing a rise of 10.9% and basic earnings per share rising from 11.7p to 13.51p. The personal loan book surged by 81% and the interim dividend is nudged upwards from 4.3p per share to 4.4p.
Antofagasta plc ANTO benefited from the rise in the copper price during 2017 and is increasing its total dividends for the year by 177% with a recommendation for a final dividend of 40.6 cents per share, which brings the total payout for the year to 50.9 cents. EBITDA rose by 59% to $2.6 billion and the EBITDA margin rose to 54%, the highest since 2012 when the copper price was 30% higher. Like for like earnings per share increased by 119%.
Computacenter CCC is increasing it 2017 dividends by 17.6% after breaking records on all fronts. Group revenue rose by 16.9%, adjusted profit before tax rose to record levels with a rise of 22.9% (28.2% on a statutory basis) and adjusted earnings per share broke another record with a rise of 65.1%. France again performed ahead of management expectations,with an 80% rise in adjusted operating profit whilst Germany delivered another record performance and the UK re-established positive sales momentum with a rise of 8.8% in full year revenue.
Close Bros. Grp CBG is increasing its interim dividend by 5% to 21p. per share after a good first half performance which produced a 6% increase in adjusted operating profit. The company says that it is well positioned for the full year with all sectors of its business having performed well in the six months to the 31st January.
Fevertree Drinks FEVR is recommending a final dividend of 7.64 p. per share for the year to 31st January, bringing the total for the year to 10.65p compared to last years 6.25p., an increase of some 50%. 2017produced continued strong growth across all regions, channels, flavours and formats, with the UK delivering an exceptional performance and group revenue rising by 66% with a gross profit margin of 53.5%.
Tasty plc TAST continues to suffer the same fate as the rest of the UK restaurant industry and despite a 9.7% increase in revenue for the year to 31st December it has continued to close more restaurants since the start of the new financial year and does not have any plans to open any new ones in 2018.
H&T Group HAT 2017 was a milestone year which produced a strong trading performance. The final dividend is to be increased by 14.1% after a 45% increase in profit before tax and a 32.1% rise in EBITDA, all of which is enabling the company to look to the future with confidence.
Buy H&T Group #HAT says VectorVest. Resilient business with an attractive risk profile compared to rival offerings.
Founded in 1897, Sutton-based H&T Group (HAT.L), through its subsidiaries, primarily provides pawnbroking services from 108 stores across the UK. The company also offers various services, including sale of new and second-hand jewellery; sale of gold scrap; third party cheque cashing; and payday advances, which are short term cash loans repayable on the customer’s next pay date. Other services include unsecured loans; cashplus, a prepaid debit card; foreign exchange currency service; and LogBook Loan product, which includes referring a customer to third party, providing loans secured on personal vehicles.
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On January 8th 2018, HAT published a trading update for Y/E 31st Dec 2017. The company said a strong Q4 performance for pawnbroking and retail has led to expectations for full year PBT to come in above current market expectations. The pledge book increased 11.6% to £46.1m as a result of the higher gold price, the concession format and an increase in loans on quality watches. Personal Loans increased by 94.7% to £18.3m as a result of expansion in the group’s longer term, lower interest rate loan product. CEO John Nichols said demand for products “remains strong and we look to the future with confidence.”
Although HAT enjoyed an excellent year, it was the brief November dip in the share price that triggered value alerts across VectorVest metrics during Q4 2017. The dip showed as a consequential increase in the GRT (forecasted Earnings Growth Rate) chart, and despite increases since then, HAT still logs a GRT of 19.00%, which VectorVest considers to be very good. GRT reflects a company’s one to three year forecasted earnings growth rate in percent per year. Added to this the stock scores highly across RT (Relative Timing) and RV (Relative Value) metrics, plus the DY (Dividend Yield) of 2.7 % is above the current average of 2.63% for all the stocks in the VectorVest database. Although a fair RS (Relative Safety) rating of 0.99 (scale of 0.00 to 2.00) means that the opportunity is only for those traders who can manage risk proactively, in terms of value HAT is rated at 467p per share, so is undervalued at today’s price of 355p per share.
The chart of HAT.L is shown above using my normal format. Earnings per share EPS is shown as the blue line study in the window below the price. EPS has grown strongly and smoothly over the last year. The share is undervalued by VectorVest and is on a Buy recommendation. Former resistance has become support as shown by the horizontal line on the chart. This is positive for the share. Technicians will have noticed the gap up on the 8th January which normally precedes a strong upward move.
Summary: As can be seen previously, specialist lending companies feature regularly among top VectorVest growth company picks. HAT certainly occupies a unique space in this regard: the company is 120 years old, and is the go-to pawnbroker for those needing to raise cash against personal valuables. The other services and loan offerings provided by HAT gives it greater resilience and an attractive risk profile compared to rival offerings, something VectorVest believes will help to close the current valuation gap in the run up to FY results mid March. Buy.
Dr David Paul
January 9 2018
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H&T Group HAT expects profit before tax for the full year to 31st December will be above market expectations following a strong fourth quarter in pawnbroking, with quality watches doing particularly well. The pledge book increased by11.6% on a year ago following the higher gold price and the personal loans book rocketed by 94.7%, after the introduction of a lower interest rate, long term product
Micro Focus International MCRO is increasing its interim dividend by 16.4% for the half year to the 31st October and afrer completion of its complex acquisition of HPE Software on the 1st September. The interim figures include results from HPE. as from 1st September. Revenue rose by 80.7% and pre tax profit by 28.7% ( or 33.8% at constant currency rates). Basic earnings per share fell by 9.5% but on an adjusted basis rose by 16%. Micro Focus is confident that its industry leading margins will ensure that it can deliver on its strategy which will be enhanced by further acquisitions.
System 1 group SYS1 (formerly Brainjuicer) After a fall of 9% in first half gross profit, trading in quarter three has continued to be worse than expected and expectations for gross profit for the full year are that it will show a 20% decline on the previous year. Profit before tax for the full year will be only a little over breakeven point. The cas position is however sound with a balance of £4.6m and no debt
Bango BGO saw total End User Spend for the year to 31st December, grow by by 105%, from £132m to 271m. It has also now entered into partnership with Netflix to launch carrier billing for Netflix customers in Mexico, making carrier billing available to over 12 million Mexican customers.
Mattioli Woods MTW The six months to the end of November has produced another period of strong and sustainable growth with EBITDA margins for the first half substantially ahead of the 20% target.
Smith & Nephew SN does not have much to say for itself in its third quarter update except that after a rise in revenue of only 3%, the outlook for the full year is that it will now be at the lower end of guidance range.
TP ICAP plc TCAP admits that it is not looking forward to quarter four’s revenue figures as trading conditions are expected to remain challenging after quarter 3 produced only modest growth of 3% compared to the first nine months of the year produced 9% growth. The Chief Financial officer is leaving the Board immediately with out waiting for a successor to be found. A temporary successor has been appointed although the present occupant has agreed to stay until the end of year if only to help with a smooth transition.
H&T Group HAT The strong trading performance seen in the first half has been maintained in the second half and full year profit before tax will be above market expectations.
Northamber NAR The Chairman’ optimism over positive and worthwhile progress at the time of the interim results in March, has evaporated after revenue for the full year suffered what is described as a “slight’ loss of over 10%. However, the second half decline was not as severe as that in the first half and the pre tax loss for the full year has decreased substantially from £1,2330,000 to £999,000.
Croma Sec. Sol. Grp. CSSG Trading in the current financial year is appreciably ahead of last year with revenue growth of 15.9%. EBITDA is up by 35% and earnings per share stand at 2.13p
Good Energy (GOOD) has set the date for general meeting requisitioned by rival renewable electricity supplier Ecotricity, which wants Dale Vince and Simon Crowfoot to join the board. The general meeting will be held on 6 September. Good Energy still believes it would be unwise to have the representatives of its rival on the board.
Via Developments (VIA1) has paid a £412,500 non-refundable deposit on a residential development site in Latimer Road, Luton. Funding still has to be secured for the £8.25m purchase price.
Early Equity (EEQP) has taken a 4% stake in Malaysian multi-level marketing business Early Infinity, which has a distribution agreement with healthcare products supplier Yicom, where Early Equity owns 32.1%. The purchase was funded by the issue of 10 million Early Equity shares. The plan is for Early Equity to buy up to 30% of Early Infinity. Five million Early Equity shares have been issued at 0.6p each to raise £30,000.
Karoo Energy (KEP) has published the competent persons report on the Kalahari Karoo basin shale gas play. There is insufficient data to estimate shale gas or quantify the associated risk. The Lower Ecca shales are broadly correlatable with the source rocks in the broader basin. The low, unrisked estimate of gas initially in place (GIIP) is 310 bscf and Karoo has a 93.475% working interest. The advice is that further exploration is required to improve the understanding of maturity trends and confirm the depths of the Lower Ecca shale.
Lombard Capital (LCAP) has issued a further £55,000 of 7.5% convertible unsecured loan notes 2018, taking the total to £100,000. The conversion price is 10p a share and there are ten warrants for each £1 loan note exercisable at the same share price. There is planning permission for 200 apartments.
Clinigen (CLIN) has approached Quantum Pharma (QP.) about a proposed cash and shares offer. Due diligence has to be undertaken before there is a firm bid. Clinigen is taking advantage of the work that Quantum management has done in selling non-core operations and improving the performance of the rest of the business. Quantum says the interim figures will be brought forward to 22 August.
DX (Group) (DX.) has ended discussions with John Menzies over the merger with its distribution division because suitable terms could not be agreed. There had already been a change in the proposals but this was not enough to make the deal go through. This will mean that DX requires to raise additional funds. The four people that Gatemore Capital wanted to be appointed to the board when it requisitioned a general meeting, later withdrawn, are being proposed as directors and Bob Holt will be leaving the board. Trading in the shares remains suspended.
Oozi Cats has been kicked off the board of Telit Communications (TCM) after it turned out that he withheld information about an indictment against him in the US when the company floated 12 years ago. There have been fears about the cash position of the business but the directors’ have tried to reassure investors. Telit plans to appoint three UK-based non-executive directors.
Tracsis (TRCS) has reassured investors that it should hit market expectations for 2016-17. This means that pre-tax profit will be better than the £6.9m reported in the previous year. Tracsis had warned that the second half would have to be strong in order to make the forecast and this has happened. There was £15m in the bank at the end of July 2017. A reorganisation of the traffic and data services division should improve margins this year. The full year results will be reported in November.
IDOX (IDOX) is acquiring electoral back office software provider Halarose for £3.5m in cash and £1.5m in shares. This will boost the market share of IDOX in the UK elections market and there should also be cost savings.
Wilmcote Holdings (WCH) is the latest shell backed by Marwyn to join AIM. The £15m raised will be used to seek significant acquisitions in the chemicals sector. The share price rose from 120p to 132.5p. Former Synthomer boss Adrian Whitfield is chief executive.
Market research firm System1 Group (SYS1) stunned the market with a profit warning that sent its shares down nearly one-third. The former BrainJuicer announced at its AGM that the lack of a repeat of a large contract last year means that gross profit could be up to 11% lower in the first half of this year. On top of this costs are rising. The interim figures are likely to show breakeven compared with a £2.8m profit in the first half of the previous year. Full year pre-tax profit could fall by up to 15% from last year’s level of £6.3m.
Bushveld Minerals Ltd (BMN) says that a study carried out in conjunction with the Industrial Development Corporation shows strong vanadium redox flow battery technology in Africa with the market peaking by 2025-2030. Global electrolyte demand is likely to peak at the same time at 1200-1800 MWh. There is potential for Bushveld to supply 200MWh of storage per annum and a study is being undertaken for a potential vanadium electrolyte production plant in South Africa. Vanadium mining and related battery technology is the focus for Bushveld. There was a small net cash position at the end of February 2017.
Malvern International (MLVN) reported a reduction in interim loss from £460,000 to £395,000 as revenues slumped from £2.07m to £1.65m. Malaysian revenues fell but operating costs were reduced. There is £360,000 in the bank. The loss in Singapore has been reduced and that was before EduTrust certification, which is required to enrol international students, was reinstated. There has been year-on-year growth of 17% in London revenues and the loss was sharply reduced. House broker WH Ireland is not publishing forecasts at the moment.
Pawnbroker H&T Group (HAT) reported a 62% increase in first half pre-tax profit to £6.2m and the interim dividend was raised by 10%. H&T has been compared with Ramsden (RFX) but the mix of operations and revenues is very different.
Connemara Mining (CON) has raised £200,000 via a placing at 1.75p a share and each new share has a warrant to subscribe for an additional share at 3.42p each. Patrick Cullen has been appointed as chief executive of the gold and zinc explorer.
Red Leopard Holdings (RLH) is in talks to acquire a coal project in Colombia. Red Leopard will have to issue shares with a minimum valued of $180m in order to acquire the La Luna project. Trading in the shares is suspended.
Stem cell services and insurance provider WideCells Group (WDC) has raised £750,000 at 14p a share and the cash will be used to finance growth in the three operating divisions. Positive news has helped to boost the share price over the past two months. This includes the granting of a research licence by the UK Human Tissue Authority. The CellPlan insurance product is on sale and a digital platform is being developed for the educational division, WideAcademy.
Myanmar Strategic Holdings Ltd (SHWE) has raised $423,000 at $10 a share, while $3.9m of loan notes have been converted into shares. The focus is on hospitality and education sectors. The company already operates three hostels in Myanmar and it has acquired the rights from Pearson to open English language centres. Last year, revenues were $330,000 and the loss was $2.38m. Dealings are due to commence on 22 August.
Pembridge Resources (PERE) is set to move from AIM to the standard list on 21 August. It has raised £2.27m at 1.6p a share. The move will provide more time for Pembridge to build up a portfolio of mining investments without worrying about doing this within the timescale required on AIM.
Quarto (QRT) has ended bid negotiations with an unnamed bidder less than a fortnight after revealing the talks. One of the stumbling blocks was the regulatory approval required by the bidder and the book publisher’s management did not want to be distracted from trading by a bid that could take a long time to come to fruition. This is despite the fact that the bid proposal was at an attractive premium.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) has located the three historic entry points to the Gubong gold mine in South Korea. This will enable access to five of the veins that were previously mined when the gold price was much lower.