Friday, October 26, 2012

Fri 26 Oct - ZTF, TRT, TNI, ASC, DEB, BMY, DTG

Good morning. Zotefoams (ZTF) issues a positive trading statement, indicating a "satisfactory outcome for the year". Shares look fully priced on a forecast PER of 18.6.

Transense Technologies (TRT) issue a positive sounding AGM statement, with sales up almost 4 times vs last year's comparable period from July-October. Sounds great until you note that sales last year were only £1m for the entire year! And the mkt cap is £17m. This company has been promising jam tomorrow for as long as I can remember.

For the avoidance of doubt, I'm now out of Trinity Mirror (TNI), because of the step change in seriousness of the hacking allegations. So am happy to sit on the sidelines until it becomes clear what the potential liabilites amount to. I remain of the view that the underlying business is extremely cheap, but with a potentially large & unquantifiable set of liabilities out there, it's almost impossible to value right now.

Disappointing that this issue had to blow up now, as on fundamentals the shares looked ready to push up to 100p+. I can't see that happening now, due to the latest hacking stuff, so risk/reward has (at least in the short term) worsened. I shall continue to monitor with interest, and once we have some clarity, might well buy back in.

Very few results this morning, so that's about it. So as I missed a report yesterday, will give a quick run down of anything of interest from yesterday, as follows.

Results from online clothing retailer ASOS (ASC) were good, but the valuation really is terrifically stretched. 39.6p EPS, and the shares (even after recent sharp falls) at 2198p are still on a PER of 55 - that's way too high in my opinion. But this business has always looked expensive, even when I sold my 0.5m shares in it at (drum roll!) 9p (argghhhh!!!), because they looked fully priced. That was a long time ago admittedly, but demonstrates the point that when you find a really exceptional growth company, the valuation is largely irrelevant in the early stages.

Solid results from Debenhams (DEB), with EPS up 14% to 9.8p. At 118p that puts their shares on a PER of 12. Sounds reasonable, although bear in mind there is also about 29p/share in net debt too. So that increases the cash-neutral PER to about 15 (I know it's simplistic to calculate it that way, as you should really strip out interest cost from earnings, but as a quick rule of thumb I find it helpful).

I see that DEB are copying Next's trick of constantly buying back their own shares, in order to drive up EPS. It's worked very well for Next over many years, so not something to be sniffed at.
As with many retail shares, I feel that DEB shares have had a good run & are now up with events.

Interims from Bloomsbury Publishing (BMY) looked unexciting, with basic EPS down from 3.3p to 2.2p. It's an H2 weighted business, and it strikes me that the outlook statement lacked conviction, so think this could be vulnerable to more disappointments, hence am avoiding it.

I also missed a positive trading update from Dart Group (DTG) the low cost airline and haulage business. They indicated on 24 Oct that they would exceed market expecations. The shares do seem cheap, on a PER of around 5. Be careful with their balance sheet though - the cash pile is actually prepayments by airline customers, so it's not Dart's money!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul,
    I am trying to work out note 16 on Dart Group's financial statement y/e march 2012 where it states £99.7m of cash is paid over to various counterparties as collateral against relevant risk exposures.Could you help explain what that means in layman's terms?