Somero issued a profits warning on 7th June citing unusually poor weather, followed by an in-line trading update on 11th July. However reports from US Concrete and others report ongoing poor weather in certain locations and so guidance for the remainder of the year in today’s update will be followed closely, as will anything about longer-term trends.
The main news for me today is the Petards (PEG) results.
Revenue of £20.0m is above expectations of £18m.
Normalised pre-tax profit up nearly 60%.
Small contract win separately announced today (as I speculated), with work commencing immediately.
Order book up and further orders expected.
Net funds down only £0.3m despite £1.25m acquisition.
Second half weighting for FY2019.
Warning of reduced defence business in FY2019.
Order book (at year end) is only modestly higher at £19m vs £18m of which the forthcoming year is up from £12m to £13m.
Gross margins down.
Normalised EPS not reported and I cannot immediately compare to forecasts.
I would expect a modest rise in the share price this morning. However I already have a moderate position and due to the negatives highlighted above I will be holding off adding until there is an unjustified price fall or further positive news.
Norcros (NXR) – FY trading update
In-line update. This is reassuring giving that they carry some debt and pension liabilities.
I had reduced my position at a higher price over concerns whether FY results could be achieved and so will be looking to re-add this morning. Note that despite its relatively small size, this is not an AIM stock.
Petards describe themselves as a “developer of advanced security and surveillance systems”. Their three product areas are Rail (CCTV and other sensors), Traffic (ANPR systems) and Defence. They presented at Mello Chiswick 2018 where the presentation by Paul Negus (Group Business Development Director) went down particularly well with attendees.
The largest part of the business at present, and almost certainly the part with the most potential, is the rail sector. Here (as in traffic) they claim to the be dominant supplier in the UK. In the presentation they list several UK contracts they have won or hope to win in the near term.
In the medium and longer term they should have good strategic opportunities to grow outside the UK. Adoption of cameras on trains and other equipment such as selective door opening are becoming common in the UK but are in their infancy in Europe and many other parts of the world. Since their immediate customers are mostly global train builders they have an opportunity to also become the dominant supplier of this equipment in Europe and elsewhere as adoption increases.
In terms of margins, they believe these should start improving as they move from custom development to integrate with each manufacturer’s systems to selling more of a completed product.
On the negative side they provide cameras to support driver-only operated trains which are a a meeting ongoing resistance from the rail unions.
Since September 2018 there have been no contract win announcements, and although during the same period in 2017 there was only one contract win announced, this will have been a disappointment to some.
For the past three years they issued their full-year results bang in the middle of March and there was some expectation they would do so again this year. It wasn’t until the 25th March that they announced that they would come out tomorrow, 10th April. There is always the suspicion that bad results take longer to prepare than good ones and that perhaps they were hoping to soften the blow of missing expectations by being able to announce a contract win.
It is therefore unsurprising that the share price has been drifting down recently, however if results are in-line, with a positive outlook, then they look good value. Stockopedia reports a forward PE of 10 and a PEG of 0.5 and there is potential for improving margins to improve their quality score plus long term growth opportunities.
Expectations are for a turnover of £18m vs £15.6m in 2017, with an normalised EPS of 2p vs 1.78p.
I hold shares in Petards and am likely to add on neutral or positive news tomorrow.