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Hellenic Petroleum

Q4 strong ops performance, weaker margins

Flash note | Oil & Gas | 23 Feb 2018

Hellenic Petroleum reported Q4 adjusted EBITDA of EUR 170m, a 20.9% decrease y-o-y, 7.7% below our Q417 estimates. This reduction was primarily due to lower benchmark margins partly offset by strong operational performance with refining utilisation at 111% (input over nominal capacity), exports (+12%) and a 14% increase in domestic marketing net sales driven by aviation and bunkering. FY17 adjusted EBITDA growth was strong at +14% with record production (15Mt) and sales (16.1Mt). Our last published valuation, using a mix of 2018e P/E, EV/EBITDA and DCF metrics, stands at EUR 9.3/share.

mVISE

Bullish 2020 guidance after strong 2017

Flash note | Technology | 23 Feb 2018

mVISE has released preliminary 2017 results, showing a 78% increase in revenue (Gesamtleistung, which includes capitalised items) to EUR 16.1m and an 82% increase in EBITDA to EUR 2.0m, both 5% above consensus. Q4 revenues and EBITDA of EUR 5.9m and EUR 1.4m, respectively, reflected robust performances in managed services operations and at integration platform elastic.io, as well as the first-time inclusion of SHS Viveon’s consulting business, which added c EUR 1.0m to EBITDA. The board expects strong incentives for German firms to invest in digital transformation to continue to sustain market growth. New 2020 revenue and EBIT margin targets of EUR 35m and 15%, respectively, imply an organic revenue CAGR of 32% and a 15-20x increase in EBIT, based on 2017 consensus. In our view, upside from the SHS Viveon acquisition, the high operating leverage of the group’s SaaS businesses and the outlook for strong demand lend a high degree of credibility to these targets.

MagForce

US NanoTherm IDE approval a major milestone

Update | Pharmaceutical & healthcare | 23 Feb 2018

MagForce has received IDE approval to start its first pivotal clinical trial evaluating NanoTherm focal ablation therapy for prostate cancer in the US. This is a major milestone for the company. Prostate cancer in the US presents a significant market opportunity (representing ~60% of our rNPV) and makes sense strategically as a first US indication. The start of this trial will broaden the geographic and therapeutic reach of NanoTherm therapy beyond Europe, where it is already approved for brain cancer. Our updated valuation is EUR 302.6m.

Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust

Looking ahead with differentiated portfolio

Review | Investment Companies | 16 Feb 2018

Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST) has recently passed its three-yearly continuation vote, underlining investor confidence in the rebuilt portfolio of specialist and alternative funds. Medium-term NAV total returns are now in line with the informal annualised target of c 8% over rolling three-year periods, and in FY17 (to 30 September) all the underlying strategies – hedge funds, private equity, property, specialist sector and specialist geography – contributed positively to returns. In an environment of increased market volatility, the differentiated nature of many of the underlying assets could provide a source of diversification for investors, and a progressive dividend policy underpins the current yield of 1.8%.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Optimistic outlook for Latin American equities

Review | Investment Companies | 15 Feb 2018

BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) is managed by Will Landers, who has 26 years of experience at BlackRock. He is optimistic on the outlook for Latin American equities in 2018, due to relatively attractive company valuations and improving economies in the region, especially in Brazil, where he describes the recovery as “slow and sure”. He says that in 2017, emerging market equity performance was led by Asian companies and there is potential for Latin American companies to catch up if investors have confidence in the improving economic outlook. After a recent improvement in investment performance, BRLA’s NAV total return is now outperforming the benchmark over one, three and five years.

Ebiquity

Disposal of AdIntel

Flash note | Media | 14 Feb 2018

Ebiquity has announced the proposed disposal of its Advertising Intelligence (AdIntel) business to Nielsen for GBP 26m (a multiple of 1.2x sales and 5.9x operating profits). The AdIntel business is platform-based and made up the bulk of the group’s Market Intelligence segment. The disposal will allow Ebiquity to focus investment and resources in growing its tech-enabled consultancy practices (MVM and MPO), which have historically been faster growing. The pre-close trading update indicates that after a difficult H117 in the US, progress has been made and growth ex-US has been good. Our forecasts are currently being updated.

HBM Healthcare Investments

Positive developments for private/public fund

Review | Investment Companies | 14 Feb 2018

HBM Healthcare Investments (HBMN) reported profits of CHF72m for the third quarter of its financial year, buoyed by the takeover of long-term holding Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA). The Switzerland-based fund invests globally in public and private healthcare companies and private equity funds, and is working to build its private company exposure back up towards long-term average levels following a strong period of IPOs and trade sales. The managers take a risk-aware approach to what can be a volatile sector, and have been taking profits on the back of clinical successes, as well as hedging c 20% of the listed equity exposure through a short position in an ETF tracking the NASDAQ Biotechnology index. The discount to NAV has narrowed in line with the general trend for investment companies, but remains wider than those of peers whose sole or main focus is listed equity markets. HBMN’s shares currently yield 4.3%.

Liquefied Natural Gas

Moving towards FID in 2018

ADR Outlook | Oil & Gas | 13 Feb 2018

Liquefied Natural Gas’s (LNGL) Magnolia development is up to 30 months ahead of other US-based greenfield liquefaction plants in regulatory approvals, putting it in prime position for buyers/traders looking to take advantage of the expected rebalancing of the LNG market in 2022-23. With low capex/opex/gas prices, the project has the potential to be very lucrative for partners selling to Europe/Asia. As a result, we now expect LNGL to sign tolling agreements and move towards FID in 2018, with first production in 2023. We have updated our valuation, which falls from US$3.79/ADR (A$1.25/share) to US$3.23/ADR (A$1.00/share). On a longer-term basis, this valuation should grow as the project is de-risked by tolling agreements and moves towards first LNG.

Liquefied Natural Gas

Moving towards FID in 2018

Outlook | Oil & Gas | 13 Feb 2018

Liquefied Natural Gas’s (LNGL) Magnolia development is up to 30 months ahead of other US-based greenfield liquefaction plants in regulatory approvals, putting it in prime position for buyers/traders looking to take advantage of the expected rebalancing of the LNG market in 2022-23. With low capex/opex/gas prices, the project has the potential to be very lucrative for partners selling to Europe/Asia. As a result, we now expect LNGL to sign tolling agreements and move towards FID in 2018, with first production in 2023. We have updated our valuation, which falls from A$1.25/share (US$3.79/ADR) to A$1.00/share (US$3.23/ADR). On a longer-term basis, this valuation should grow as the project is de-risked by tolling agreements and moves towards first LNG.

Game Digital

Agreement accelerates experiential strategy

Flash note | Consumer Support Services | 12 Feb 2018

The agreement to roll out BELONG gaming arenas and retail concessions in Sports Direct’s (SD) nationwide estate accelerates Game Digital’s (GMD) strategy to move from a seller of games to a provider of gaming services. This capitalises on the move in consumer spend from products towards experiences and positions the company more strongly in the high-growth e-sports market. A high level of control retained by GMD indicates that the relationship should be positive for all shareholders.

Smith & Nephew

Challenges being addressed

QuickView | Pharmaceutical & healthcare | 12 Feb 2018

Smith & Nephew’s (S&N) FY17 revenues of $4.77bn and trading profit of $1,048m were slightly below consensus estimates despite a strong Q4, which saw a reported 5% y-o-y growth. EPS exceeded consensus estimates. S&N’s emerging market business retained its star billing for growth across all its geographies. A core focus of the business now appears to be improvement via the newly named, but broad-ranging APEX cost reduction and efficiency programme. Last year’s announcement on the retirement of its CEO seems to have taken on a slow and steady route to CEO transition, with the high-level commitment, involvement and execution on the APEX programme.

Edel

Booking record growth

Update | Media | 12 Feb 2018

Edel’s results to September 2017 were comfortably ahead of earlier guidance, revised post year-end. Revenues were boosted by good demand at Optimal Media, particularly for vinyl records, increased music streaming and by a good performance in cookery and health-related books. The capital investment programme is boosting market positioning while the earlier refinancing has reduced the interest burden. The group is majority family-owned with limited market liquidity, which partly explains the modest rating. The shares trade at a discount to global entertainment content and publishing companies, and carry an attractive yield.