Acal — Update 8 December 2015

discoverIE Group (LSE: DSCV)

Last close As at 28/02/2024

GBP6.84

−10.00 (−1.44%)

Market capitalisation

GBP660m

More on this equity

Research: TMT

Acal — Update 8 December 2015

Acal

Katherine Thompson

Written by

Katherine Thompson

Director

TMT

Acal

Specialist electronics strategy on track

Interim results

Industrial support services

8 December 2015

Price

275.5p

Market cap

£174m

€1.41/NOK13.0/DKK10.6/£1

Net debt (£m) at end H116

21.9

Shares in issue

63.1m

Free float

99%

Code

ACL

Primary exchange

LSE

Secondary exchange

N/A

Share price performance

%

1m

3m

12m

Abs

2.3

(4.0)

28.1

Rel (local)

3.9

(6.3)

34.7

52-week high/low

325.75p

192.00p

Business description

Acal is a leading international supplier of customised electronics to industry. It designs, manufactures and distributes customer-specific electronic products and solutions to 25,000 industrial manufacturers.

Next event

Trading update

February 2016

Analysts

Katherine Thompson

+44 (0)20 3077 5730

Dan Ridsdale

+44 (0)20 3077 5729

Acal is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

Acal reported H116 results in line with expectations. The strength of sterling continues to weigh on reported revenues and profits, but underlying demand remains strong in Design & Manufacturing and, outside the UK, Custom Distribution is seeing improving demand. The company continues on its path to move up the value chain, taking advantage of opportunities to consolidate the fragmented specialist electronics market.

Year end

Revenue (£m)

PBT*
(£m)

EPS*
(p)

DPS
(p)

P/E
(x)

Yield
(%)

03/14

211.6

6.9

13.1

6.80

21.0

2.5

03/15

271.1

12.4

16.4

7.60

16.8

2.8

03/16e

292.4

14.4

16.4

7.98

16.8

2.9

03/17e

306.9

15.8

17.7

8.30

15.6

3.0

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

H116: Strong growth at constant exchange rates

Acal reported H116 results in line with its recent trading update: y-o-y revenue growth of 18% on a reported basis and 30% at constant exchange rates. Group like-for-like growth was 2%, driven by strong Design & Manufacturing (D&M) demand (+4% like-for-like). Custom Distribution revenues were flat on a like-for-like basis, held back by weak demand in the UK. With more than 70% of revenues and 100% of profit contribution generated in euro or Nordic regions, the strength of sterling continues to suppress reported results.

FY16 guidance maintained; expect more M&A

Management sees no change to its earnings expectations for FY16. We have revised our forecasts to reflect H1 results, the continuing impact of currency and the recent Flux acquisition. Our FY16 EPS forecast is substantially unchanged and we increase our FY17 forecast by 1.1%. The company now generates nearly 50% of revenues from D&M (and close to 80% of profits), and is making good progress with its medium-term target to drive this up to 65% of revenues. While D&M is growing faster than Custom Distribution, we expect the key route to this target will be further acquisitions. With headroom in existing debt facilities of c £35m, the company has funds available to pursue this strategy and has several targets currently under consideration.

Valuation: Specialist focus drives performance

The stock is trading on a P/E of 16.8x FY16e and 15.6x FY17e, in line with its peer group. The company continues to make good progress in its strategy to move up the value chain and in the medium term, as Acal grows the proportion of revenue generated from Design & Manufacturing, we expect to see further operating margin expansion. In addition to the wider geographic coverage and cross-selling potential of recent acquisitions, we see scope for further share price upside from additional value-enhancing acquisitions. The stock is supported by a dividend yield of c 3%.

Review of H116 results

For H116, Acal reported year-on-year revenue growth of 17.6%; at constant exchange rates (CER) growth was 30% y-o-y, and on a like-for-like basis growth was 2%. Custom Distribution CER and like-for-like revenues were flat, while D&M CER growth was 95% with like-for-like growth of 4%. Custom Distribution growth was held back by continued weak demand in the UK; conversely, European demand was strong, in particular in France, Germany and Italy. Interest expense increased to £0.9m reflecting the increase in debt arising from recent acquisitions. The company incurred a reported tax rate of 25%. An interim dividend of 2.33p was declared, 6% higher than a year ago.

Exhibit 1: Half-yearly results summary

H115

H116

Y-o-y

Revenues

120.9

142.2

17.6%

Design & manufacturing

38.6

65.9

70.7%

Custom distribution

82.3

76.3

-7.3%

Gross profit

37.4

44.9

20.1%

Gross margin

30.9%

31.6%

0.6%

Normalised operating profit

Design & manufacturing

4.6

7.7

67.4%

Custom distribution

3.1

2.6

-16.1%

Central costs

(1.9)

(2.3)

21.1%

Total

5.8

8.0

37.9%

Normalised operating margin

Custom distribution

3.8%

3.4%

-0.4%

Design & manufacturing

11.9%

11.7%

-0.2%

Total

4.8%

5.6%

0.8%

Acal adj. operating profit*

5.5

7.7

Acal adj. op. margin*

4.5%

5.4%

0.9%

Reported operating profit

1.0

5.8

480.0%

Reported op. margin

0.8%

4.1%

3.3%

Normalised PBT

5.0

7.1

42.0%

Normalised net income

3.9

5.4

39.2%

Normalised EPS (dil) - continuing

7.0

8.1

15.4%

Reported EPS (dil) - continuing

(1.1)

5.4

Net cash/(debt)

(14.0)

(21.9)

56.4%

Source: Acal, Edison Investment Research. Note: *Excludes exceptionals and amortisation of acquired intangibles, includes share-based payments.

Exhibit 2: Comparison of reported and constant exchange rate results

£m

H116

H115

H115 CER

Reported y-o-y

CER y-o-y

Revenues

Design & manufacturing

65.9

38.6

33.8

70.7%

95.0%

Custom distribution

76.3

82.3

76.0

-7.3%

0.4%

Total revenues

142.2

120.9

109.8

17.6%

29.5%

Operating profit

Design & manufacturing

7.7

4.6

4.1

67.4%

87.8%

Custom distribution

2.6

3.1

2.8

-16.1%

-7.1%

Unallocated

-2.6

-2.3

-2.2

13.0%

18.2%

Total operating profit

7.7

5.4

4.7

42.6%

63.8%

Operating margin

Design & manufacturing

11.7%

11.9%

12.1%

-0.2%

-0.4%

Custom distribution

3.4%

3.8%

3.7%

-0.4%

-0.3%

Total operating margin

5.4%

4.5%

4.3%

0.9%

1.1%

Source: Acal

Currency translation continues to affect reported results

The continued strength of sterling versus the euro and the Nordic currencies has affected reported revenues and operating profit (see Exhibit 2). During H116, the average £/€ rate strengthened by 12% and sterling versus a revenue-weighted average of DKK/SEK/NOK strengthened 16%. The company notes that 73% of sales are in euro and Nordic currencies, with 100% of profit contribution (ie operating profit before unallocated costs, which are mainly sterling denominated) in those currencies. Acal’s H116 results translated at H115 rates would have been 9.4% higher at the revenue level and 18.2% higher at the operating profit level, increasing the operating margin by 40bp.

The company continues to manage its transactional exposures tightly using forwards to hedge material exposures from order to payment, thereby protecting its gross margins.

Since the end of H116, sterling has continued to strengthen against the euro and Nordic currencies, so there could be further pressure on reported revenues and operating profits in H216.

Business update

The company updated its key strategic and performance indicators, showing the progress it has made towards its mid-term targets. Management broke down the cross-selling achieved a) by D&M businesses selling their product through Acal BFi: £1.5m of H116 revenues compared to £0.3m a year ago; and b) Acal BFi products being sold to existing Acal BFi customers: £6.9m compared to £4.4m a year ago. This is a key area of focus and, in addition to the attractive margin characteristics of D&M businesses, is a factor in the company’s acquisition strategy.

Exhibit 3: Key strategic indicators

Key strategic indicators (KSIs)

FY10

FY14

FY15

H116

Mid-term target

Increase Design & Manufacturing revenue*

c 5%

18%

37%

46%

65%

Increase cross-selling & web-generated sales**

0%

2.7%

4%

6%

4-5%

Build sales beyond Europe

0%

5%

12%

16%

20%

Source: Acal. Note: *As percentage of group revenues. **Per annum.

Exhibit 4: Key performance indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

FY10

FY14

FY15

H116

Mid-term target

Organic sales growth

-16%

2%

3%

2%

Well ahead of GDP

Increase underlying operating margin

-0.3%

3.4%

4.9%

5.4%

6-7%

Attractive ROTCE*

-

24%

24%

23%

>25%

Generate strong free cash flow

-

86%

76%

74%

>75% of PBT

Generate long-term value for shareholders (TSR)

-

42%

19%

6%

Upper quartile

Percentile (vs FTSE small cap index)

27th

21st

34th

Upper quartile

Source: Acal. Note: *Return on trading capital employed (excludes goodwill).

Flux acquisition takes Acal close to 50% of revenues from D&M

In early November, the company announced it had acquired Flux AS, a Danish designer and manufacturer of magnetic components. Flux sells into the industrial and space markets, with a specialism in high-reliability products. Acal paid DKK39m/£3.7m on a debt-free/cash-free basis, funded from its existing debt facility. In CY14, Flux generated revenues of £8.5m and PBT of £0.7m. On an underlying basis (taking account of currency and discontinued products), profit was closer to £0.5m. This acquisition increases the proportion of revenues from D&M to close to 50%.

More acquisitions in the pipeline

To reach its medium-term target of 65% of sales from D&M, the company intends to make additional acquisitions. Management stated that it has several potential targets under consideration and, taking into account its £70m revolving credit facility with £20m accordion, has headroom of £35m for acquisitions. The company has already built up a strong position in the magnetics market, and we would not be surprised to see further acquisitions in this space. Other areas of interest include fibre optics, power and cabling.

Outlook and changes to forecasts

The company sees no change in expectations for FY16 earnings. We have revised our forecasts to reflect H1 results and the Flux acquisition.

Revenues: we have incorporated Flux, assuming a revenue contribution of c £7.5m in FY17. We have reduced our growth assumptions for both Custom Distribution and D&M to reflect ongoing sterling strength.

Operating profit: the reduction in operating profit from lower Custom Distribution revenues is compensated for by the contribution from Flux as well as an increase in our forecast margins for D&M, based on the performance in H116.

EPS: our FY16 EPS forecast is substantially unchanged; for FY17 we increase our forecast by 1.1%.

DPS: we have marginally increased our FY16 dividend forecast from 7.95p to 7.98p.

Net debt: taking into account the £3.7m paid for Flux, our net debt forecasts increase for both FY16 and FY17. As at the end of FY17 (which includes a full year of Flux), we estimate a net debt/EBITDA ratio of 1.2x, well below the 2.0x limit the company would be comfortable to move to with further acquisitions (assuming healthy pay down).

Exhibit 5: Changes to forecasts

£m

FY16e old

FY16e new

Change

y-o-y

FY17e old

FY17e new

Change

y-o-y

Revenues

294.7

292.4

-0.8%

7.9%

305.8

306.9

0.3%

4.9%

Custom distribution

160.1

157.6

-1.5%

-7.1%

164.5

159.2

-3.2%

1.0%

Design & manufacturing

134.6

134.9

0.2%

33.0%

141.4

147.8

4.5%

9.6%

Gross margin

31.5%

31.6%

0.1%

0.5%

31.5%

31.6%

0.1%

0.0%

Underlying operating profit

15.7

15.5

-1.2%

15.7%

17.0

17.2

1.1%

11.1%

Underlying operating profit margin

5.3%

5.3%

0.0%

0.4%

5.6%

5.6%

0.0%

0.3%

Normalised operating profit

16.48

16.30

-1.1%

16.4%

17.8

18.0

1.0%

10.6%

Normalised operating margin

5.6%

5.6%

0.0%

0.4%

5.8%

5.9%

0.0%

0.3%

Normalised PBT

14.38

14.38

0.0%

16.0%

15.74

15.82

0.5%

10.0%

Normalised net income

11.0

11.0

-0.2%

10.2%

11.94

12.07

1.1%

9.5%

Normalised EPS (p)

16.5

16.4

-0.2%

0.2%

17.5

17.7

1.1%

7.9%

Reported EPS (p)

9.8

10.4

6.0%

107.5%

11.4

11.7

3.0%

12.3%

Net (debt)/cash

(22.0)

(25.7)

16.8%

35.2%

(20.1)

(24.3)

20.8%

-5.6%

Source: Edison Investment Research

Exhibit 6: Financial summary

£m

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016e

2017e

Year end 31 March

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

PROFIT & LOSS

Revenue

 

 

264.8

257.8

177.4

211.6

271.1

292.4

306.9

Cost of Sales

(189.6)

(179.9)

(123.0)

(148.6)

(186.7)

(200.1)

(209.9)

Gross Profit

75.2

77.9

54.4

63.0

84.4

92.4

97.0

EBITDA

 

 

9.1

10.2

7.4

9.1

16.6

19.2

20.9

Operating Profit (before am, SBP and except.)

7.7

8.7

6.1

7.7

14.0

16.3

18.0

Operating Profit (before am. and except.)

 

7.4

8.1

5.5

7.1

13.4

15.5

17.2

Amortisation of acquired intangibles

(0.3)

(0.8)

(0.7)

(1.0)

(2.1)

(2.6)

(2.6)

Exceptionals

(4.6)

(3.4)

(3.4)

(0.9)

(5.2)

(1.9)

(2.2)

Share-based payments

(0.3)

(0.6)

(0.6)

(0.6)

(0.6)

(0.8)

(0.8)

Operating Profit

2.5

3.9

1.4

5.2

6.1

11.0

12.4

Net Interest

(0.3)

(0.9)

(0.5)

(0.8)

(1.6)

(1.9)

(2.2)

Profit Before Tax (norm)

 

 

7.4

7.8

5.6

6.9

12.4

14.4

15.8

Profit Before Tax (FRS 3)

 

 

1.9

2.7

0.7

4.2

4.3

8.8

9.9

Tax

(0.2)

(0.6)

1.4

(0.5)

(1.4)

(2.2)

(2.5)

Profit After Tax (norm)

5.8

6.4

4.6

6.0

10.0

11.0

12.1

Profit After Tax (FRS 3)

1.7

2.1

2.1

3.7

2.9

6.6

7.4

Average Number of Shares Outstanding (m)

39.1

39.2

39.2

43.1

57.6

63.1

63.1

EPS - normalised & diluted (p)

 

 

14.2

15.7

11.3

13.1

16.4

16.4

17.7

EPS - IFRS basic (p)

 

 

4.3

5.4

(4.8)

3.0

5.0

10.4

11.7

EPS - IFRS diluted (p)

 

 

4.2

5.1

(4.7)

2.8

4.8

9.8

10.9

Dividend per share (p)

5.4

5.8

6.2

6.8

7.6

8.0

8.3

Gross Margin (%)

28.4

30.2

30.7

29.8

31.1

31.6

31.6

EBITDA Margin (%)

3.4

4.0

4.2

4.3

6.1

6.6

6.8

Operating Margin (before am, SBP and except.) (%)

2.9

3.4

3.4

3.6

5.2

5.6

5.9

BALANCE SHEET

Fixed Assets

 

 

27.7

32.5

30.9

33.1

88.6

89.8

87.6

Intangible Assets

21.1

25.7

24.2

25.5

69.9

70.8

68.2

Tangible Assets

3.8

3.5

3.1

3.5

13.8

14.1

14.5

Deferred tax assets

2.8

3.3

3.6

4.1

4.9

4.9

4.9

Current Assets

 

 

98.3

86.8

81.8

92.7

127.3

123.8

125.6

Stocks

25.3

25.7

19.3

19.4

39.8

43.3

45.4

Debtors

59.3

48.8

44.7

48.3

60.2

64.9

68.1

Cash

13.6

12.3

17.8

18.1

26.7

15.0

11.4

Current Liabilities

 

 

(63.9)

(58.8)

(50.9)

(58.3)

(62.1)

(67.2)

(70.7)

Creditors

(58.8)

(53.6)

(46.6)

(51.5)

(61.9)

(67.0)

(70.5)

Short term borrowings

(5.1)

(5.2)

(4.3)

(6.8)

(0.2)

(0.2)

(0.2)

Long Term Liabilities

 

 

(10.8)

(11.4)

(10.3)

(19.0)

(61.1)

(56.1)

(51.1)

Long term borrowings

(1.8)

(0.8)

(1.7)

(9.5)

(45.5)

(40.5)

(35.5)

Other long term liabilities

(9.0)

(10.6)

(8.6)

(9.5)

(15.6)

(15.6)

(15.6)

Net Assets

 

 

51.3

49.1

51.5

48.5

92.7

90.3

91.4

CASH FLOW

Operating Cash Flow

 

 

0.5

9.1

5.7

6.1

6.6

13.4

17.4

Net Interest

(0.3)

(0.9)

(0.6)

(0.8)

(1.6)

(1.9)

(2.2)

Tax

0.5

(1.1)

(1.4)

(0.9)

(3.3)

(3.9)

(4.3)

Capex

(1.3)

(1.4)

(1.3)

(1.4)

(2.5)

(3.0)

(3.3)

Acquisitions/disposals

(4.4)

(3.9)

(0.5)

(9.2)

(37.3)

(6.4)

(1.2)

Financing

0.0

0.3

5.7

0.1

52.7

0.0

0.0

Dividends

(2.0)

(2.2)

(2.3)

(2.7)

(3.6)

(4.9)

(5.0)

Net Cash Flow

(7.0)

(0.1)

5.3

(8.8)

11.0

(6.7)

1.4

Opening net cash/(debt)

 

 

13.9

6.7

6.3

11.8

1.8

(19.0)

(25.7)

HP finance leases initiated

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Other

(0.2)

(0.3)

0.2

(1.2)

(31.8)

(0.0)

0.0

Closing net cash/(debt)

 

 

6.7

6.3

11.8

1.8

(19.0)

(25.7)

(24.3)

Source: Acal, Edison Investment Research

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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

245 Park Avenue, 39th Floor

10167, New York

US

Sydney +61 (0)2 9258 1161

Level 25, Aurora Place

88 Phillip St, Sydney

NSW 2000, Australia

Wellington +64 (0)48 948 555

Level 15, 171 Featherston St

Wellington 6011

New Zealand

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