Business as usual

GB Group 8 June 2017 Update
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GB Group

Business as usual

FY17 results

Software & comp services

8 June 2017

Price

388.50p

Market cap

£590m

Net cash (£m) 31 March 2017

5.2

Shares in issue

151.8m

Free float

97%

Code

GBG

Primary exchange

AIM

Secondary exchange

N/A

Share price performance

%

1m

3m

12m

Abs

9.4

28.4

22.9

Rel (local)

7.3

25.5

3.8

52-week high/low

406.0p

215.0p

Business description

GB Group (GBG) has complementary identity data intelligence offerings of verification, capture, maintenance and analysis, enabling companies to identify and understand their customers.

Next events

AGM

26 June 2017

Analysts

Bridie Barrett

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Dan Ridsdale

+44 (0)20 3077 5729

GB Group is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

Following April’s trading update, GB Group’s (GBG) FY17 results held no major surprises, with the fraud, risk management and location services continuing to underpin strong growth. The incoming CEO plans to continue to execute the group’s internationalisation strategy and investment will be managed to maintain EBITA margins at c 20% over the medium term; while marginally lower than our FY19 assumption, we raise our EPS forecasts by c 4% in FY18 and c 2% in FY19 reflecting a lower expected tax rate.

Year end

Revenue (£m)

EBITA*
(£m)

PBT*
(£m)

EPS*
(p)

DPS
(p)

P/E
(x)

Yield
(%)

03/16

73.4

13.4

13.2

8.2

2.1

47.4

0.5

03/17

87.5

17.0

16.5

9.9

2.4

39.2

0.6

03/18e

117.1

23.3

22.6

12.0

2.5

32.4

0.6

03/19e

133.4

27.0

26.4

13.6

2.8

28.6

0.7

Note: *EBIT, PBT and EPS (fully diluted) are normalised, excluding amortisation of acquired intangibles, exceptional items and share-based payments.

Tax boost to FY17 earnings

Revenues of £87.5m (+19% y-o-y, of which 12% was organic) and EBITA of £17.0m (+27%) were in line with April’s trading update. The group benefited from a tax credit (versus the 21% tax charge we had forecast) as a result of movements to its deferred tax asset and the increased use of patent box tax relief, which boosted the group’s earnings; adjusting for this, adjusted EPS was in line with our forecast. All service lines – bar ID Engage, which is experiencing some competitive pressure – grew strongly, particularly the fraud and risk management products. A dividend of 2.35p (+13% y-o-y) has been proposed.

Incoming CEO; global aspects unique

CEO Chris Clark joined GBG in April, replacing Richard Law. Although early in his tenure, he outlined his initial views on the group and its strategy, which is unlikely to see a major change in direction, with the focus remaining on driving the globalised nature of both the data sets and customer base, features he considers unique to the group. Management plans to hold EBITA margins at the 20% level as it steps up investment to integrate the product offerings and expand its capabilities in the faster growing segments; we update our forecasts to reflect this although, net of a slightly lower tax rate, we increase our FY18 and FY19 EPS forecasts by c 4% and c 2% respectively.

Valuation: Organic and acquisition prospects

43% of GBG’s revenues are coming from fraud and risk management services. On an FY18e P/E of 32x, the shares are already factoring in the group’s superior growth prospects to other identity management groups (average FY17 P/E of 25x), but trade at a discount to the wider internet security peer set (average FY17 P/E of 45x). We believe the organic opportunities open to the group support the rating at these levels and, with an active acquisition strategy and a strong M&A track record, there is room for further growth-driven share price upside.

FY17 results summary – tax benefit boosts earnings

Revenue growth of 19% to £87.5m and adjusted EBITA of £17.0m, up 27%, had been pre-announced in April’s trading update.

Net of £498k finance costs, adjusted PBT of £16.5m (up 25% y-o-y) was in line with our forecasts. However, GBG’s adjusted EPS of 13.1p (up 24% y-o-y), which was considerably ahead of our forecast (9.7p) was flattered by a £668k tax credit as a result of changes to deferred tax entitlements, R&D and patent box tax relief (which allows companies to apply for a lower rate of corporation tax for earnings related to its patented inventions). In our calculation of adjusted EPS for FY17 we use an adjusted tax rate of 21%, which implies an adjusted EPS of 9.9p (+20% y-o-y). Although our measure of EPS is conservative, we believe it gives a more meaningful picture of the group’s underlying longer-term earnings pattern.

Reported PBT of £10.1m (up 8% y-o-y) captures a higher charge for amortisation of acquired intangibles of £4.0m following the acquisition of ID Scan during the year, as well as associated exceptional costs relating to its acquisition of £1.4m and share-based payments of £1.0m.

Operating cash flow of £16.3m (FY16: £13.4m) equates to an 87% cash conversion, slightly down on FY16 (91%) owing to the strong growth experienced in Asia and from the financial services sector where payment cycles tend to be longer. The group is setting up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) in the region, which should improve the payment cycles (as the organisation would be registered in China and can deal in local currencies).

Exhibit 1: Summary financials

£000s

2016a

2017 forecast

2017 actual

Variance to forecast (%)

% change (y-o-y)

Total revenue

73,401

87,500

87,468

0

19

Gross profit

55,795

66,926

67,166

0

20

Gross margin

76.0%

76.5%

76.8%

0

EBITDA

14,772

19,200

18,734

(2)

27

Total EBITA

13,428

17,000

17,006

0

27

EBITA margin

18.3%

19.4%

19.4%

0

6

Amortisation of acquired intangibles

(2,501)

(2,540)

(4,022)

58

61

Share based payments

(1,245)

(1,600)

(994)

(38)

(20)

Exceptional items

(94)

(1,200)

(1,410)

18

NM

Share of associate

-

Reported operating profit

9,588

11,660

10,580

(9)

10

Finance charges

(270)

(500)

(498)

0

84

PBT - adjusted

13,158

16,500

16,508

0

25

PBT - reported

9,318

11,160

10,082

(10)

8

tax

(178)

(3,630)

668

FX

1,096

-

3,685

236

Net profit

10,236

7,530

14,435

92

41

EPS (p) - adjusted, diluted (Edison basis)

8.2

9.7

9.9

2

20

EPS (p) - adjusted, diluted (GBG basis)

10.6

9.7

13.1

35

24

EPS (p) - reported, basic

7.4

5.9

8.2

38

13

Net cash

8,673

2,490

5,181

108

(40)

Source: GB Group (actuals), Edison Investment Research


Divisional analysis and outlook

Total revenue growth of 19% reflects very strong 33% growth from IDP (Identity Proofing) and a solid 8% growth from IDS (ID Solutions). Across the portfolio fraud and risk management (which was also boosted by the acquisition of ID Scan) continue to perform very strongly, as did Identify Registration and Loqate solutions. The ID Engage services were the only area of weakness during the year, affected by an intense competitive climate. Adjusting for the prior year revenues related to Gov.uk/verify and the impact of acquisitions (Loqate and ID Scan), organic growth was 12% across the year.

EBITA margin of 19.4% increased y-o-y despite the £2m losses from GBG’s recently launched Gov.uk/verify service, which has been slower to take off than initially expected. Excluding this investment, underlying EBITA margins were closer to 21.8%.

Exhibit 2: Divisional revenues

£m

2016a

2017 forecast

2017 actual

Variance to forecast (%)

% change (y-o-y)

Risk management

19.8

27.6

39

Fraud management

8.4

10.8

29

Employment checks

5

5.9

18

Total IDP

33.2

44.5

44.2

(1)

33

Registering identities

18

21.8

21

Building relationships (engage)

12.3

10.4

(15)

Locating people

9.9

11.0

11

Total IDS

40.2

43.0

43.3

1

8

Total revenues

73.4

87.5

87.5

0

19

Adjustment for organic growth calculations:

Acquisition impact: Loqate and ID Scan

(6.7)

Gov.uk/verify

(1.6)

(0.1)

Adjusted organic revenues

71.8

80.7

12

IDP EBITA

6.6

8.8

8.4

(5)

26

IDP EBITA margin

20.0%

19.7%

18.9%

IDS EBITA

7.7

9,3

9.3

1

21

IDP EBITA margin

10.5%

10.6%

10.7%

Group/other)

(0.9)

(1.0)

(0.7)

(33)

(24)

Total EBITA

13.4

17.0

17.0

0

27

EBITA margin

18.3%

19.4%

19.4%

0

6

Source: GB Group

Outlook and forecasts

Chris Clark, the incoming CEO replacing Richard Law, joined the group in April. Although still early in his tenure, his initial assessment is that the group should continue to build on its core strengths, in particular:

Further expanding the international footprint by rolling out more of its product sets on a wider basis; three of GBG’s products are currently available internationally and revenues from outside the UK increased to 31% in FY17 (26% in FY16).

Continuing to expand its access to global data sets, increasingly important for companies as they internationalise and already a unique feature of the group; GBG draws on 426 data sets (FY16: 338) across 190 markets.

Adding capabilities, both organically and by acquisition.

Chris Clark also sees an opportunity to strengthen GBG’s brand awareness and, by improving the integration of its product portfolio and technologies, extend the cross-sell of services into its customer base. Once the group reaches its targeted 20% EBITA margin (which we forecast during FY18), it intends to maintain margins at around this level by stepping up investment in these areas, as well as expanding its capabilities in the faster growing areas of fraud and risk management.

With the exception of ID Engage (which accounted for 12% of revenues in FY17), we expect the other product areas to continue to grow strongly. No specific guidance has been provided, although 70% of GBG’s revenues recurring in nature, organic growth remained strong in H217 and the deferred income balance of £19m increased 38% y-o-y (of which 19% is from the acquisition of ID Scan), consistent with continued solid growth.

We make no changes to our revenue forecasts, although we trim our FY19 EBITA margin forecast in FY19 from 20.5% to approximately 20% to reflect a slightly higher level of R&D expense. We also lower our notional tax charge from 21% to 19% to take account of the likely ongoing benefit from the patent box tax relief, which means overall a slight increase to our EPS forecast in FY18 (4%) and FY19 (2%). We summarise our forecast changes in Exhibit 3 below and present forecasts in full at the back of this report.

Exhibit 3: Summary forecast changes

£000s

2018e

2019e

 

Previous

New

Change (%)

Previous

New

Change (%)

Revenues

117,093

117,093

0.0

133,352

133,352

0.0

EBITA

23,300

23,300

0.0

27,300

27,000

(1.1)

PBT

22,550

22,550

0.0

26,700

26,400

(1.1)

EPS (p) - normalised, diluted

11.5

12.0

4.4

13.4

13.6

1.8

EPS (p) - reported

7.5

7.2

(4.4)

10.9

10.8

(1.0)

Source: Edison Investment Research

Valuation: Widening opportunities underpins P/E premium

The shares performed strongly over the last three months and now trade on P/Es of 32.4x FY18e and 28.6x FY19e, and an EV/EBITA of 25.1x and 21.6x respectively. While the shares are already factoring in the group’s superior growth prospects to other identity management groups (which trade on an average P/E of 25x FY1), with 43% of revenues now coming from fraud and risk management services we believe this rating should be taken in the context of the wider internet security peer set, which trades on an average P/E of 45x FY1.

Investors should also bear in mind the group’s acquisition strategy and track record. GBG has made 10 acquisitions over the last five years, adding capabilities, data sets and client reach, as well as driving revenue and cost synergies; DecTech (acquired in April 2014), for instance, has seen growth accelerate from 5-10% to 20-30% since acquisition, and has facilitated the launch of new products internationally (eg the fraud bureaus). The acquisition of ID Scan (June 2016) was also in line with this strategy and ID Scan reports an enlarged pipeline since it has been integrated into the group and was earnings accretive in its first full year. More recently, PCA Predict, which complements GBG’s existing address intelligence services, is also expected to be earnings accretive in its first year despite a planned increase in investment.

The global market for identity data intelligence services remains fragmented, which we believe will provide GBG with a steady pipeline of acquisition opportunities. At the year-end GBG reported £5.2m of net cash. Since the year-end it has paid £66m (cash) for PCA Predict (please see our May update note for more information on this acquisition), financed in part with a £58m share placing. In addition, during FY18 it will satisfy earnouts related to the ID Scan acquisition of approximately £7m. Inclusive of these payments we forecast year-end net debt of £0.1m. The group also has undrawn bank facilities in place of approximately £40m.

Exhibit 4: Financial summary

£'000s

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018e

2019e

March

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

PROFIT & LOSS

Revenue

 

 

41,835

57,283

73,401

87,468

117,093

133,352

Cost of Sales

(14,473)

(16,448)

(17,606)

(20,302)

(28,822)

(32,797)

Gross Profit

27,362

40,835

55,795

67,166

88,271

100,554

EBITDA

 

 

7,849

11,844

14,772

18,734

26,200

30,305

Operating Profit (before amort. and except.)

7,164

10,790

13,428

17,006

23,300

27,000

Acquired intangible amortisation

(1,110)

(1,986)

(2,501)

(4,022)

(3,500)

(3,000)

Exceptionals

(1,080)

(1,629)

(94)

(1,410)

(2,200)

0

Share of associate

(159)

(10)

0

0

0

0

Share based payments

(747)

(971)

(1,245)

(994)

(1,750)

(1,699)

Operating Profit

4,068

6,194

9,588

10,580

15,850

22,301

Net Interest

(79)

(266)

(270)

(498)

(750)

(600)

Profit Before Tax (norm)

 

 

7,085

10,524

13,158

16,508

22,550

26,400

Profit Before Tax (FRS 3)

 

 

3,989

5,928

9,318

10,082

15,100

21,701

Tax

(474)

(1,127)

(178)

668

(4,510)

(5,280)

Profit After Tax (norm)

5,597

8,314

10,395

13,206

18,040

21,120

Profit After Tax (FRS 3)

3,515

4,801

9,140

10,750

10,590

16,421

Average Number of Shares Outstanding (m)

109.6

119.1

122.7

131.6

147.6

152.5

EPS - normalised (p)

 

 

5.1

7.0

8.5

10.0

12.2

13.8

EPS - normalised and fully diluted (p)

 

4.8

6.7

8.2

9.9

12.0

13.6

EPS - (IFRS) (p)

 

 

3.2

4.0

7.4

8.2

7.2

10.8

Dividend per share (p)

1.7

1.9

2.1

2.4

2.5

2.8

Gross Margin (%)

65.4

71.3

76.0

76.8

75.4

75.4

EBITDA Margin (%)

18.8

20.7

20.1

21.4

22.4

22.7

Operating Margin (before GW and except.) (%)

17.1

18.8

18.3

19.4

19.9

20.2

BALANCE SHEET

Fixed Assets

 

 

26,985

51,238

59,364

105,653

175,953

172,298

Intangible Assets

23,329

45,296

54,113

98,753

169,153

166,003

Tangible Assets

1,519

2,829

2,234

2,856

2,756

2,251

Other fixed assets

2,137

3,113

3,017

4,044

4,044

4,044

Current Assets

 

 

23,775

33,186

36,189

48,187

66,455

85,443

Debtors

 

 

11,929

17,408

23,774

30,569

47,290

54,493

Cash

11,846

15,778

12,415

17,618

19,165

30,949

Other

0

0

0

0

0

0

Current Liabilities

 

 

(17,861)

(30,784)

(32,559)

(44,444)

(58,665)

(63,568)

Creditors

(17,861)

(24,305)

(30,927)

(36,436)

(50,657)

(55,560)

Contingent consideration

0

(5,733)

(1,050)

(7,122)

(7,122)

(7,122)

Short term borrowings

0

(746)

(582)

(886)

(886)

(886)

Long Term Liabilities

 

 

(2,066)

(7,506)

(6,593)

(15,940)

(23,040)

(19,040)

Long term borrowings

0

(3,643)

(3,160)

(11,499)

(18,599)

(14,599)

Contingent consideration

0

(895)

0

0

0

0

Other long term liabilities

(2,066)

(2,968)

(3,433)

(4,441)

(4,441)

(4,441)

Net Assets

 

 

30,833

46,134

56,401

93,456

160,703

175,132

CASH FLOW

Operating Cash Flow

 

 

9,355

11,684

13,397

16,305

21,500

28,005

Net Interest

(79)

(266)

(282)

(498)

(750)

(600)

Tax

65

(337)

(248)

(2,193)

(4,510)

(5,280)

Capex

(1,144)

(2,011)

(1,762)

(2,227)

(2,700)

(2,650)

Acquisitions/disposals

(1,443)

(18,672)

(12,263)

(36,840)

(74,000)

0

Financing

416

10,954

790

24,788

58,000

0

Dividends

(1,632)

(1,955)

(2,277)

(2,775)

(3,093)

(3,691)

Net Cash Flow

5,538

(603)

(2,645)

(3,440)

(5,553)

15,784

Opening net debt/(cash)

 

 

(6,308)

(11,846)

(11,389)

(8,673)

(5,233)

320

HP finance leases initiated

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other

0

146

(71)

0

0

0

Closing net debt/(cash)

 

 

(11,846)

(11,389)

(8,673)

(5,233)

320

(15,464)

Source: GB Group (historics), Edison Investment Research (forecasts)

Edison is an investment research and advisory company, with offices in North America, Europe, the Middle East and AsiaPac. The heart of Edison is our world-renowned equity research platform and deep multi-sector expertise. At Edison Investment Research, our research is widely read by international investors, advisers and stakeholders. Edison Advisors leverages our core research platform to provide differentiated services including investor relations and strategic consulting. Edison is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Edison Investment Research (NZ) Limited (Edison NZ) is the New Zealand subsidiary of Edison. Edison NZ is registered on the New Zealand Financial Service Providers Register (FSP number 247505) and is registered to provide wholesale and/or generic financial adviser services only. Edison Investment Research Inc (Edison US) is the US subsidiary of Edison and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison Aus) [46085869] is the Australian subsidiary of Edison and is not regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. Edison Germany is a branch entity of Edison Investment Research Limited [4794244]. www.edisongroup.com

DISCLAIMER
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United Kingdom

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NSW 2000, Australia

Frankfurt +49 (0)69 78 8076 960

Schumannstrasse 34b

60325 Frankfurt

Germany

London +44 (0)20 3077 5700

280 High Holborn

London, WC1V 7EE

United Kingdom

New York +1 646 653 7026

295 Madison Avenue, 18th Floor

10017, New York

US

Sydney +61 (0)2 8249 8342

Level 12, Office 1205

95 Pitt Street, Sydney

NSW 2000, Australia

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Frankfurt +49 (0)69 78 8076 960

Schumannstrasse 34b

60325 Frankfurt

Germany

London +44 (0)20 3077 5700

280 High Holborn

London, WC1V 7EE

United Kingdom

New York +1 646 653 7026

295 Madison Avenue, 18th Floor

10017, New York

US

Sydney +61 (0)2 8249 8342

Level 12, Office 1205

95 Pitt Street, Sydney

NSW 2000, Australia

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