Small Cap Value Report (Wed 1 May 2019) - RHL, CTH, CGS, PSN, NXT, BLTG, CNCT

Wednesday, May 01 2019 by
52

Good morning, it's Paul here!

My flu seems to have mostly cleared up overnight, so there's a fighting chance that I might actually be able to produce a proper report today. Apologies for my lamentable performance on Monday & Tuesday.


7-8am initial skim

Redhall (LON:RHL)

 Profit warning due to contract delays.

Full year (ending 30 Sep 2019) results likely to be "materially below" previous expectations.

Uncertainty over contracts, but makes positive noises on pipeline.

Doesn't interest me at all.


Caretech Holdings (LON:CTH)

Half year trading update - is in line with expectations.

Net debt has roughly doubled to £297.5m, following a major acquisition called Cambian.

Says that it expects to be able to pass on cost increases to its customers (local authorities).

The sector doesn't interest me (outsourced public services).


Castings (LON:CGS)

Trading update for year ended 31 Mar 2019.

Results expected to be ahead of market expectations.

Strong customer demand in H2, partly due to customer stockpiling (re Brexit, presumably).

Improved margins & productivity. Price increases passed on. Other management initiatives starting to bear fruit.

My view - the numbers look attractive here - a low PER of 11.5, decent & well-covered divi yield of 3.9%, and a strong balance sheet. Nice company.

Although a performance boost now from customer stockpiling is likely to unwind at some point in future.


Persimmon (LON:PSN)

This enormously cash generative housebuilder sounds happy with things;

Since the start of the year the new build housing market has proved resilient with high levels of employment and low interest rates continuing to support consumer confidence.

With mortgage lenders continuing to offer attractive products, the level of customer activity has been encouraging with visitor levels to site, sales conversion rates and cancellation rates all running in line with our expectations.
Overall, sales reservations remain in line with our expectations and we currently anticipate achieving a similar level of legal completions in the first half as last year.



Next (LON:NXT)

Good Q1 trading update, helped by nice weather in April.

Leaving full year forecasts unchanged for now.

Trend continues of online sales more than offsetting decline in…

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Redhall Group plc is engaged in providing manufacturing and specialist services. The Company's segments include Manufacturing and Specialist Services. Its Manufacturing segment encompasses the design, manufacture and installation of bespoke specialist plant and equipment typically in the nuclear defense, nuclear decommissioning, oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical, pharmaceutical and food sectors. It is also involved in the design and manufacture of integrity fire and blast resistant doors, window and wall systems. It serves the nuclear, oil and gas, defense, marine, industrial, pharmaceutical, architectural and water industries. Its Specialist Services segment comprises activities in installation and maintenance of the telecommunications network infrastructure, design, manufacture and installation of process lines in food and pharmaceutical markets and specialist surface finishings to Astute class submarines. Its marine business provides surface finishing. more »

LSE Price
1.6p
Change
 
Mkt Cap (£m)
n/a
P/E (fwd)
n/a
Yield (fwd)
n/a

CareTech Holdings PLC is a provider of social care services. The Company's segments include Adult Services (Adult) and Children Services (Children). The Adult Services segment consists of the Adult Learning Disabilities (ALD) and Mental Health (MH) divisions. The Children Services segment consists of Young People Residential Services (YPR), Foster Care (FC) and Learning Services (Learning). ALD provides solutions for people living in their own homes, residential care or independent supported living schemes. MH includes a community-based hospital, adult residential care homes, independent supported living and community outreach. FC provides for both mainstream and specialist foster care across England and Wales for children with disabilities. YPR includes facilities for children with learning difficulties and emotional behavioral disorders, and small specialist schools. Learning comprises employment and training services to young people and adults. more »

LSE Price
360p
Change
-1.6%
Mkt Cap (£m)
399.1
P/E (fwd)
8.6
Yield (fwd)
3.2

Castings P.L.C. is an iron casting and machining company. The Company caters to both domestic and export markets. Its segments include Foundry operations and Machining. The Company has over three trading operations, including Castings (Brownhills), William Lee Limited and CNC Speedwell Limited. Castings (Brownhills) supplies spheroidal graphite (SG) iron castings to a range of manufacturing industries from its mechanized foundries. William Lee Limited supplies SG iron castings from its foundries in Dronfield, Derbyshire. CNC Speedwell Limited is a machining operation primarily focused on the prismatic machining of iron and aluminum castings from its sites in Brownhills and Fradley. It produces ductile iron castings, SG iron castings, austempered ductile iron (ADI) castings, Simo castings and nickel (Ni)-resist castings up to approximately 40 kilograms in weight using over four Disamatic molding machines and approximately three horizontal Green Sand molding machines. more »

LSE Price
397.9p
Change
-0.0%
Mkt Cap (£m)
173.7
P/E (fwd)
12.0
Yield (fwd)
3.8



  Is LON:RHL fundamentally strong or weak? Find out More »


19 Comments on this Article show/hide all

MrContrarian 1st May 1 of 19
10

My morning smallcap tweet: Bould sinks from the ashes of Photonstar.

Bould Opportunities (LON:BOU), Castings (LON:CGS), Augean (LON:AUG)

Bould Opportunities (BOU) [was Photonstar LED Group] open offer at 0.0125p, a 79% discount, to deliver on the new strategy as a cash shell. "This is a material discount to the Company's current share price, but equally represents a material premium to the Company's cash per share." SP a year ago 0.55p, 5 years ago 7p. Epic value destruction. What's not to like?
Castings (CGS) guides FY results ahead of market expectations due to strong demand which included some customer stock building, Credit to co for highlighting that - it may unwind if due to Brexit.
Augean (AUG) guides FY profit materially ahead of market expectations due to higher landfill volumes, increased radioactive waste profit and strong performance of both the treatment and North Sea businesses.

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simoan 1st May 2 of 19
3

Hope you're feeling better soon, Paul. I wish you well today because it's that time of the month when scanning the RNS'es quickly first thing on Investegate means you're wading through "Total Voting Rights" announcements.  What a pain!

BTW I see "our friend" John has officially stepped down from the Tracsis (LON:TRCS) board today. They've also announced another small acquisition.

Also a decent trading update from Nichols (LON:NICL) which is one of mine.

All the best, Si

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rmillaree 1st May 3 of 19
1

Persimmon (LON:PSN)

I have sold out of Persimmon , i was a little worried their results may have peaked and that the right to buy freeby easy money may not continue flowing into the future at prior peak levels. Looks like everything is down a wee tad but certainly there doesn't seem to be any sign of the doom and gloom i was fearing. Looks like board are trying to restore reputation too - that may take some time. Still looks cheap as chips on pe of under 8 with reasonably "flat earnings" if we project similar into the future. I think i will remain firmly on the sideline though - when things do go its up in this sector we are unlikely to get any warning - then again perhaps Gordon Brown (no more boom and bust) was correct but just a tad early ! - thankfully my lips aren't for reading with the online nature of this forum.
All we need today is a Taxi for Carter - hopefully the same one that arrived and took Selby away so efficiently

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smatthews1 1st May 4 of 19
3

Hi Paul, regarding your comment about the logistics sector, do you put Clipper Logistics (LON:CLG) in this catagory as well? seems to be in the right space taking up the demand for online shopping. My main concern is around the general operating margin in that sector has always been pretty poor..

Thanks
Sean

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Camtab 1st May 5 of 19
1

I am interested to see the environmental stocks have started to move since the Extinction Rebellion action last week. ITM up from 20 to 28. Might just be a fancy but you never know investors might have woken up. I do hold a few for the sake of transparency.

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Fishcake 1st May 6 of 19
2

Not sure I'd count on Persimmon's reputation:
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48113301
...not that all volume housebuilders aren't all the same

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garbetklb 1st May 7 of 19
18

We've been having building work done in Edinburgh (large attic conversion) & I've spent a lot of time on site as I'm doing some of the work. We had an excellent team of joiners, who worked as sub-contractors, & I talked to them a fair bit about building quality & standards.
They were very complimentary about the design & standards for Housing Associations - and said the contracts were well managed & supervised.
For the big builders building on own account, they were very critical of pretty much all aspects. Time pressure on sub-contractors and poor supervision leads to all sorts of corners being cut - especially in less visible areas, notably insulation. Persimmon were singled out as being the worst of the lot.
Maybe we were lucky but, of all the people we had on site, the joiners came across as the most informed with regard to the overall building process, so I valued their opinions.

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Steves cups 1st May 8 of 19

In reply to post #473106

Cam tab
To be fair all the alternative energy, environmental, infrastructure type stocks have been moving up over the last 4 months or so. Shame because I was going to top up John Laing Environmental Assets (LON:JLEN) after the placing but it and others gave got away from me.

It is interesting and has achieved scant coverage but the oils and energy/oil major have been investing in this area now for sometime eg Lightsource BP and Iberdrola

Steve

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Damian Cannon 1st May 9 of 19
4

Really liking the new format Paul. It's very useful getting an early-doors idea of what might be potentially worthy of comment. This also means that at the very least a short report is likely to appear every day!

Also don't beat yourself up about being ill - it happens to the best of us.

Damian

Blog: Ambling Randomly
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ken mitchell 1st May 10 of 19
2

Just to say that Hargreaves Lansdown still haven't paid the 2 Somero (L0N:SOM) dividends due on 26th April in to client accounts. Apparently they have received a cheque in dollars from Somero. I phoned for an update and they are apparently working on it. I've only recently switched some of my ISA to Hargreaves as had read that they were very good and with excellent customer service. Hope that is the case and this is a one off. Other brokers did pay the Somero dividends on time.

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bobsandy12 1st May 11 of 19

Great stuff Paul and good to hear you are on the mend.Just back from abroad to be deluged with admin and of course more frustration on Brexit.so not much to add other than some seem to be moving on sizeable stakes in Plus.....any views even though I recall you not being high on Israeli cos?

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ACounsell 1st May 12 of 19

In reply to post #473176

AJ Bell (LON:AJB) had the same issue though according to my communication with them the problem has been sorted and these dividends should appear within c. 10 days. We shall see! To be fair this is pretty rare issue as AJ Bell (LON:AJB) service is generally excellent. I only wish I had applied for shares at their IPO across the various family SIPPS & ISAs as it was heavily over subscribed and the shares I managed to get have leapt from £1.60 at IPO to £4.19 today. To make matters worse in advance of last weeks trading update I sold half my holding at £3.56 thinking the valuation was getting a bit rich and we could see a pull back. Wrong again as missed out on another c. 18% increase with the PE now above 50 - what do they say about running your winners! Interested to hear the views of any other AJ Bell (LON:AJB) holders.

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Gromley 1st May 13 of 19
10

The Connect (LON:CNCT) results are mostly as expected I think (actually a slight variant results at Smiths are slightly better and Tufnells slightly worse.) With the share price unchanged on the day, it seems the market agrees with me.

I can certainly understand anyone not being particularly interested to look further – in the good times it only enjoys an operating margin of around 2.5%. However, I still think there is an interesting prospective turnaround situation here and I’m just waiting for ‘a sign’.

A quick scan though at the StockReport today threw up one surprise , the massively poor Altman Z-score.

5cc9d96dbbf9220190501-cnct-001.png



I have to say that I’m generally sceptical of this measure so I thought I would have a dig and see why the score is so bad.

5cc9d97ce1e7820190501-cnct-002.png


Are liquid assets a significant proportion of the assets? Stocko describes the test as being the ratio working capital / total assets. In fact the calculation seems to be (Current Assets less Current Liabilities) / Total assets.
Connect has a negative figure here as it receives revenue before paying out costs, although the extent can vary dependent on the timing of the year end. – Significant revenues come in weekly, whilst costs are paid monthly as I understand it. It’s the nature of connects business that this figure is negative (unless they were to choose to hold idle cash in the bank). Certainly it makes them inherently slightly more risky, but I don’t see it as an indication of distress in this case.

Do reinvested earnings make up a significant portion of the assets? Retained Earnings / Total Assets – Connect scores -0.56 vs a threshold of -0.1355. I can understand the argument that perhaps they have over paid in dividends in the past, but I am not totally sure I can see the risk that this presents for a mature business like connect. (Happy though for views on that)

Are assets relatively productive in terms of earnings? Well they made a statutory loss last year, so this comes out as a fact negative. At the ‘underlying’ earnings level however this would be healthily positive if you accept the “one offs” as just that (in this case I do) you can consider this metric safe.

Does fair value compare favourably to its liabilities This compares Market Cap with liabilities and in the case of Connect again this is a big fat fail – the market cap is only 37% of the gross liabilities. A first observation this seems like a bizzare test – “the share price is low therefore it’s a bad risk” rather putting the cart before the horse. However, there is in fact some logic to this I think, If they needed to raise cash from sharholders to meet liabilities it would be a massive struggle. However, Connect is such a cash generating machine (even during it current difficulties) that this point seems entirely moot. Besides they have only drawn c. 50% of their committed borrowing facilities which are in place until 2021.

So really it seems to me that the incredibly poor Altman score is a big “over-reaction” in this case. But I almost hope that the market is put off by the apparently “parlous” state of their finances – on such misunderstandings are value opportunities born.

So today’s HY results (which I acknowledge I have hardly mentioned here!) reinforce for me the view that Connect would be a pretty ‘safe’ investment at these prices, but until successful resolution of the issues with restructuring and Tufnells are more clearly embedded there really is no reason to be invested here yet.

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LovelyLovelyGorgeous 1st May 14 of 19
1

In reply to post #473221

Fantastic post - its a great lesson to me on how to DYOR !

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rmillaree 1st May 15 of 19
10

Connect (LON:CNCT)
Hello Gromley
In fact the calculation seems to be (Current Assets less Current Liabilities) / Total assets.
Connect has a negative figure here as it receives revenue before paying out costs, although the extent can vary dependent on the timing of the year end. – Significant revenues come in weekly, whilst costs are paid monthly as I understand it. It’s the nature of connects business that this figure is negative (unless they were to choose to hold idle cash in the bank). Certainly it makes them inherently slightly more risky, but I don’t see it as an indication of distress in this case.

I totally agree with the Altman scores that this is a "heed the ball" basket case with regard to balance sheet strength - it looks pretty similar to Flybe/HMV/Game/the old SCS - in that at its most simplistic if you owe more out than you have as easily available assets to cover those liabilities you could be in trouble big time anytime - the most obvious endgame would be their main suppliers removing their line of credit.

Lets look at the balance sheet

Plant  20 mill - necessary for business operations.

current assets 186 mill - of this 16 mill is inventories and 127 mill of trade receivables - i would exclude these 2 from calcs as they have to offer credit and have stock to continue trading as a going concern

This leaves 25 mill cash and 16 mill assets for resale - lets say £41 mill of cash -poss £5 mill more if the interest in joint venture has value

We have current liabilities of £238 mill - some debt and some trade payables and another 49 mill of loans over 12 months. so they owe out £287 mill in total with only .

so if only 20% of who they owe the £290 mill to wanted their dosh back immediately i can't see any way the company could cover this type of "cash call" from available resources. 

This isnt a problem if the market cap means they can easily have a rights issue - but £95 mill market cap isnt enough - literally one credit scare and i could easily see the share price at under 10p immediately. 

The only reason to invest would be if near term profits and cashflow are enough to dig them out the hole - at £287 mil owed out current profits look nowhere near enough to give any expectation that they can make a dent on that. Ok they may not need to but they may have to. Being honest i can't see any reason why anyone would lend this company money or give credit based on this balance sheet.

To me on a score of 1/100 i would give this 1 out of 100 for balance sheet strength - probably nil if i hadn't decider the starting point was 1.

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martinji 1st May 16 of 19
2

In reply to post #473176

For interest I checked back to my last set of Somero dividends at HL. It was 6 calendar days between pay date and HL crediting it to me. So I'd expect this one to turn up in the next couple of days.

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Gromley 1st May 17 of 19
9

Excellent counter rmillaree, always good to get the contrary view.

Generically I agree with a lot of what you say, however, I would differ on how the specifics apply here,

On one point though, whilst I think caution is very important, I think one needs to contextualise.

so if only 20% of who they owe the £290 mill to wanted their dosh back immediately i can't see any way the company could cover this type of "cash call" from available resources.
Whether they want their dosh back immediately is wholly immaterial, for it to become an issue they would also have to have some right to immediacy.

Most individuals would be in trouble if their mortgage provider demanded immediate repayment of the full sum, but mostly I don't think lose any sleep over the prospect.

The bank loan elements of the liabilities  (c. £100m of the total ) is tied up until 2021 already - certainly there would be default circumstances where the banks can demand early repayment, but I don't believe that represents a likely circumstance - obviously more cautious investors could wade through the detail.

The other big ticket item in the liabilities is trade payables £179m as per these interims. Sounds like a very large number in the context of the companies market cap, but in fact is about 1.5 months turnover (you've caused me to spot a slight irregularity here, in that the company states the average payment terms at 31 days but as that was from the finals, there may just be a timing issue here.)

Certainly if the business were to stop dead , then this would become immediately repayable and cause a major problem. Firstly though, there are not any clouds to suggest such a likelihood and in any case if the business stops dead then the share price goes to zero (and not below)

To be honest this is a non-issue from a liquidity point of view, there is no realistic prospect that that the terms of trading that see Connect paid by customers before they pay suppliers so the only circumstance where this becomes an issue is if the business folds for other reasons (and in that case "debt" is actually good for shareholders.)


My problem with getting too "worst case scenario"  with balance sheets is that in the worst case, most of the numbers on the balance sheet prove not to be true and significant liabilities not previously on the balance sheet suddenly appear.

Being honest i can't see any reason why anyone would lend this company money or give credit based on this balance sheet.

I quite agree, but I can see why someone would lend to them on the basis of their dependable cash-flows.

I'm sure we wont reach agreement with regards connect, but that's all good, the share price would not be where it is if everyone had my sunny disposition ;-)


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rmillaree 1st May 18 of 19
2

Connect (LON:CNCT)

Ok let’s take an example Gromley - say they owe their biggest supplier 30 mill and that supplier goes pop - they then have the issue of finding a new supplier who will give similar credit. That could be a real issue. Look at the recent liquidation of Palmer and Harvey for an example of the knock on consequences that can happen from a situation one probably wouldn’t have really have even thought could be an issue beforehand where there wasn’t anyone else stupid enough to offer over generous credit terms simply to get a bit of business on wafer thin margins. 

Note I am not saying practically speaking I expect anything to go wrong it’s just that the balance sheet here really is ultra pants from my viewpoint and this seems to tally with the Altman numbers not that I am any disciple of that method which I do find to be  a bit pessimistic at times.

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Gromley 2nd May 19 of 19
2

In reply to post #473251

Indeed a significant 'supplier' failure could be an issue (although as they [ Connect (LON:CNCT) ] are a distributor I don't think that means quite the same thing.) I also don't actually they are getting 'credit' as such, 30 days or whatever is just payment terms - I don't think there is any prospect of terms becoming CoD.

I do, however, agree the point that any disruption (over and above the disruption they have managed to do to themselves) could be tricky, but as it stands they have plenty of breathing room within their financing terms.

How 'safe' they are is of course relative, but for my money (which isn't invested here 'yet') they are nor nearly as risky as the Altman suggests.


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 Are LON:RHL's fundamentals sound as an investment? Find out More »



About Paul Scott

Paul Scott

I trained as an accountant with a Top 5 firm, but that was so boring that I spent too much time in the 1990s being a disco bunny, and busting moves on the dancefloor, and chilling out with mates back at either my house or theirs, and having a lot of fun!Then spent 8 years as FD for a ladieswear retail chain called "Pilot", leaving on great terms in 2002 - having been a key player in growing the business 10 fold. If the truth be told, I partied pretty hard at the weekends too, so bank reconciliations on Monday mornings were more luck than judgement!! But they were always correct.I got bored with that and decided to become a professional small caps investor in 2002. I made millions, but got too cocky, and lost the lot in 2008, due to excessive gearing. A miserable, wilderness period occurred from 2008-2012.Since then, the sun has begun to shine again! I am now utterly briliant again, and immerse myself in small caps, and am a walking encyclopedia on the subject. I love writing a daily report for Stockopedia.com on most weekday mornings, constantly researching daily results & trading updates for small caps. Cheese! more »

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