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Carr's Group

Delivering growth

Outlook | Consumer staples | 11 Dec 2018

Carr’s Group is building market-leading positions in high-value, growing sectors in global agricultural and engineering markets, increasing its international footprint and differentiating itself through innovative technologies such as low-moisture feed blocks and highly specialised robotic arms for use in hazardous environments such as the nuclear industry. This strategy delivered a 49% rise in adjusted PBT during FY18. It also reduces the group’s exposure to variations in UK weather and government farming policy.

Deutsche Beteiligungs

Building future potential

Review | Investment Companies | 07 Dec 2018

Deutsche Beteiligungs (DBAG) reported FY18 net income of €33.6m, at the top of management's guidance range, with a 7.8% dividend-adjusted NAV return for the financial year. While net income was lower than in FY17, a €1.45 per share FY18 dividend has been proposed, representing a 3.6% increase on the prior year. FY18 saw DBAG reinvesting and growing its investment portfolio, agreeing seven new investments and one disposal, following an exceptional FY17 during which six new investments and seven divestments were agreed. DBAG has broadened its expertise outside of its traditional core sectors and, at end-FY18, 31% of the portfolio was represented by consumer goods, information technology, media & telecoms, real estate and healthcare companies. Relatively immature investments (younger than two years) now account for over half of DBAG's invested capital, and this contributes to a conservative outlook for FY19 while providing more promising medium-term prospects.

Atossa Genetics

Multiple opportunities to address breast health

Outlook | Pharmaceutical & healthcare | 07 Dec 2018

Atossa Genetics’s endoxifen programs are advancing in their respective breast health programs. The firm recently reported positive safety data from its Phase I study on topical endoxifen in men, and it completed enrolment for its Phase II endoxifen study in women with elevated mammographic breast density (MBD). It is also advancing an oral endoxifen formulation in women refractory to tamoxifen, and is applying its intraductal microcatheter (IDMC) with cancer drug fulvestrant. Our rNPV-derived equity valuation is $23.9m, or $3.66 per share.

CREALOGIX Group

Executive Interview - Crealogix

Edison TV: | Technology | 07 Dec 2018

CREALOGIX, listed on the Swiss stock exchange, develops and implements software solutions that enable digital banking for ‘the digital bank of tomorrow’. The group’s products are front-end solutions that integrate with the customer’s back-end systems and are typically used by traditional banks to enable their journey to digitalisation, through the provision of a sophisticated, modern, omni-channel offering to their clients. CREALOGIX’s primary target customers are traditional retail, commercial and wealth banks that need to upgrade their legacy in-house systems to maintain competitiveness, reduce cost, differentiate and provide greater flexibility in a constantly evolving (swiftly digitalising) marketplace.In this video, CFO Philippe Wirth gives an overview of the business, including the key FY18 financials and the switch to the group’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. He discusses the acquisitions of Innofis and Elaxy and also the winning of industry awards. Mr Wirth describes the group’s digital banking platform and discusses the impact of Brexit. He explains the key drivers of the business and outlines why management is optimistic on the outlook.

VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund

Fundamentals suggest promising outlook

Review | Investment Companies | 05 Dec 2018

VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF) is a large, well-established Vietnam specialist investment fund, differentiated by its focus on private deal sourcing. NAV total returns have been particularly strong over the last three years, and are ahead of VN Index and peer returns over the last 12 months, when markets have been volatile. VOF’s share price discount to NAV has narrowed, but it remains wider than the peer group average. The board has taken steps to address the discount, moving VOF’s listing to the LSE’s Main Market in 2016, starting a dividend programme in 2017, and agreeing a reduced management and incentive fee structure in 2018. The board recommends that shareholders vote against discontinuation at the forthcoming AGM, highlighting the promising outlook suggested by market fundamentals, as well as the manager’s strong track record.

The Merchants Trust

High and growing dividend yield

Review | Investment Companies | 26 Nov 2018

The Merchants Trust (MRCH) is managed by Simon Gergel, chief investment officer of UK equities at AllianzGI. He says the current uptick in volatility in the UK stock market is providing a lot of opportunities for active stock pickers, with a wide divergence between the valuation of shares in companies with steady growth characteristics and those whose earnings outlook is less clear. Although MRCH’s annual dividend has increased in each of the last 36 years, growth in the years following the global financial crisis has been modest. However, the manager says the refinancing of a large tranche of the trust’s high-cost debt in January 2018, coupled with higher levels of portfolio income, means the board has increased confidence in growing the dividend at a faster rate, from a starting yield of more than 5%.

Xbrane Biopharma

Biosimilar focus after successful partnering

Outlook | Pharmaceutical & healthcare | 23 Nov 2018

Xbrane now focuses on developing high-margin biosimilar products. In July, Xbrane did a deal with STADA on Xlucane, its Lucentis biosimilar and gained an upfront fee of EUR 7.5m; management estimates that Xbrane’s 50:50 profit share could be worth up to EUR 100m per year. STADA will market Xlucane. Xbrane aims to start clinical development in Q119. In drug delivery, Spherotide bulk sales to Iran were SEK14m to June 2018. In Europe, the key market, Spherotide development requires a partner to fund trials. The Chinese deal with CR Pharma completed in February, bringing a SEK13m fee. Our valuation has been revised to SEK581m.

IQE

Capitalising on market transitions

Outlook | Technology | 23 Nov 2018

IQE is benefiting from multiple megatrends as it supplies epitaxy for the photonics chips that transmit data in the volumes required for full adoption of the Internet of Things and provide the accurate visual information required for autonomous vehicles, Industry 4.0, augmented reality and virtual reality. This is driving a second wave of growth, with an estimated 66% increase in PBT forecast between FY16 and FY19. Our DCF analysis indicates that the share price is undervalued if photonics growth resumes in Q219 and is sustained over a five-year period, in line with management guidance.

Worldwide Healthcare Trust

Expecting a less turbulent industry environment

Review | Investment Companies | 22 Nov 2018

Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH) is managed by Sven Borho and Trevor Polischuk of specialist healthcare investor OrbiMed. The managers are positive on the outlook for healthcare stocks in 2019, following a volatile period for global equities so far in 2018. They see reduced political pressure on the sector following the US mid-term elections and believe there will be more of a focus on company fundamentals. The managers cite a series of novel therapeutic products under development, which could meaningfully bolster the revenues and earnings of companies that can successfully bring these drugs to market. In addition, they suggest that an increase in mergers and acquisitions could also focus investor attention on the healthcare sector’s potential.

CREALOGIX Group

International expansion continues

Outlook | Technology | 21 Nov 2018

CREALOGIX has established a strong track record of delivering software solutions to the banking industry in Switzerland and is transitioning the business to international markets. FY18 numbers were below expectations, mainly due to the faster than anticipated switch to SaaS, which spreads out revenue. International revenues represent 57% of the total (50% in FY17). CREALOGIX acquired the 80% remainder of Elaxy BS&S in July, having acquired Innofis to target the Middle Eastern markets earlier this year. The stable, cash-generative nature of Elaxy BS&S balances the higher-risk, stronger growth profile of Innofis. Given the attractive industry dynamics, and with CREALOGIX ideally positioned to capitalise on these, the shares look attractive on c 21x our FY20e EPS.

Focusrite

The song remains the same

Outlook | Consumer Support Services | 21 Nov 2018

The investment case for Focusrite is not so much its trading growth, impressive though that is with 19% pre-tax growth in FY18, but its ability to sustain expansion into the future. Both in category terms, with the professional and app-based products developing their markets, and geographically, with Asia taking over as the fastest growth region, management demonstrates its longer-term aspirations and capabilities. In our view, the inconvenience of US tariffs is likely to be temporary and does not affect long-term value, which we define as 457p per share.

La Doria

A tough environment

Update | Food & Drink | 21 Nov 2018

The consumer environment remains tough for La Doria and the adverse weather conditions for the seasonal tomato campaign have led management to slightly edge down its FY18 profit outlook earlier this year. During 9M18, underlying sales were up 2%, which represents a slowdown from the +3.7% in H1. This was caused by a deceleration in growth in the “other lines” of the trading business during Q3, ie the non-core part. Management is forging ahead with its four-year investment plan and the Acerra plant has now closed. We trim our forecasts in line with the revised outlook and our fair value moves to EUR 15.40 from EUR 16.10.