ABC arbitrage — FY23 results in line with market conditions

ABC arbitrage (PAR: ABCA)

Last close As at 20/04/2024

3.83

0.02 (0.39%)

Market capitalisation

229m

More on this equity

Research: Financials

ABC arbitrage — FY23 results in line with market conditions

ABC arbitrage group (ABCA) reported net income of €16.5m in FY23, 43% lower than FY22, but in line with market conditions. Financial markets in 2023 were characterised by lower volatility than in the previous three years, affecting ABCA’s volatility-based strategies. At the same time, mergers and acquisitions volume was 30% lower year-on-year, mostly due to higher borrowing costs, limiting acquisition arbitrage opportunities. In 2023, ABCA also had a temporary halt in its activities in digital assets following difficulties in the ecosystem. Looking ahead, ABCA maintains the ambitions laid out in its Springboard 2025 plan, and confirms its intention to pay a minimum dividend of €0.30 per annum, implying a yield of 7.8% on the current share price.

Milosz Papst

Written by

Milosz Papst

Director, Financials

Financials

ABC arbitrage

Results update

Financials

28 March 2024

Price

€3.83

Market cap

€227m

£0.857/€

Shares in issue

59.6m

Free float

52.6%

Code/ISIN

ABCA/FR0004040608

Primary exchange

Euronext Paris

Secondary exchange

N/A

Share price performance

%

1m

3m

12m

Abs

(1.2)

(21.6)

(37.9)

Rel (local)

(4.2)

(27.2)

(45.8)

52-week high/low

€6.2

€3.6

Business description

ABC arbitrage is a quantitative trading and asset management business specialising in a range of market-neutral arbitrage strategies (liquidity, statistical, risk and derivatives arbitrage). The company also manages third-party capital.

Next event

€0.10 ex-dividend date

23 April 2024

Analysts

Milosz Papst

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Michal Mordel

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

ABC arbitrage is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

ABC arbitrage group (ABCA) reported net income of €16.5m in FY23, 43% lower than FY22, but in line with market conditions. Financial markets in 2023 were characterised by lower volatility than in the previous three years, affecting ABCA’s volatility-based strategies. At the same time, mergers and acquisitions volume was 30% lower year-on-year, mostly due to higher borrowing costs, limiting acquisition arbitrage opportunities. In 2023, ABCA also had a temporary halt in its activities in digital assets following difficulties in the ecosystem. Looking ahead, ABCA maintains the ambitions laid out in its Springboard 2025 plan, and confirms its intention to pay a minimum dividend of €0.30 per annum, implying a yield of 7.8% on the current share price.

ABCA FY23 results versus Edison forecasts

€m

FY23

FY23 Edison

Versus Edison

FY22

Y-o-y

Net revenue

39.3

45.6

-15%

61.2

-36%

Net income

16.5

18.1

-9%

29.2

-43%

Earnings/share (€)

0.28

0.30

-8%

0.49

-43%

Return on equity

11%

11%

-0.6pp

18%

-7.4pp

Source: ABC arbitrage, Edison Investment Research

ABCA’s net revenues came in at €39.3m, down 36% y-o-y and below our estimate, stemming from both lower fees earned on third-party assets and lower revenues from managing own capital. The results were below ABCA’s ambitions (return on equity of 11% vs 15% ambition) but broadly in line with 2019 results, which were characterised by similar market conditions. ABCA’s assets under management (AUM) remains broadly stable at €336m (March 2024), reflecting a lack of new third-party capital inflow as ABCA’s strategies were difficult to market successfully in 2023. Nevertheless, the performance of ABCA funds in these adverse conditions was recognised with the 2024 Hedgeweek European Award for Best Multi-Strategy Hedge Fund <US$500m. At the AGM, the board will propose to not pay a final dividend, which implies €0.30 total DPS from FY23 profits and 108% payout ratio (EPS of €0.28).

According to management, in the first three months of 2024 market conditions remained broadly similar to 2023, with below average volatility and corporate actions struggling to pick up. As at March 2024, third-party AUM remains broadly stable. ABCA expects an improvement in its gross revenues, predominantly due to regulatory approval received in early February, allowing it to deploy its expertise in digital assets once again. Management believes that the expected decline in interest rates in 2024, coupled with central banks retaining sizeable balance sheets, may drive markets towards all-time highs despite mounting geopolitical and economic risks, and it plans to maintain its Springboard 2025 plan (for more details see our July 2023 initiation note). Nevertheless, the company is focused on improving profitability in the current unfavourable conditions.

General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by ABC arbitrage and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by ABC arbitrage. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright: Copyright 2024 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

Australia

Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

The research in this document is intended for New Zealand resident professional financial advisers or brokers (for use in their roles as financial advisers or brokers) and habitual investors who are “wholesale clients” for the purpose of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 (FAA) (as described in sections 5(c) (1)(a), (b) and (c) of the FAA). This is not a solicitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe, or underwrite any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. For the purpose of the FAA, the content of this report is of a general nature, is intended as a source of general information only and is not intended to constitute a recommendation or opinion in relation to acquiring or disposing (including refraining from acquiring or disposing) of securities. The distribution of this document is not a “personalised service” and, to the extent that it contains any financial advice, is intended only as a “class service” provided by Edison within the meaning of the FAA (i.e. without taking into account the particular financial situation or goals of any person). As such, it should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.

United Kingdom

This document is prepared and provided by Edison for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation for investment in any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. A marketing communication under FCA Rules, this document has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

This Communication is being distributed in the United Kingdom and is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments, i.e. investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005, as amended (the "FPO") (ii) high net-worth companies, unincorporated associations or other bodies within the meaning of Article 49 of the FPO and (iii) persons to whom it is otherwise lawful to distribute it. The investment or investment activity to which this document relates is available only to such persons. It is not intended that this document be distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons and in any event and under no circumstances should persons of any other description rely on or act upon the contents of this document.

This Communication is being supplied to you solely for your information and may not be reproduced by, further distributed to or published in whole or in part by, any other person.

United States

Edison relies upon the "publishers' exclusion" from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and corresponding state securities laws. This report is a bona fide publication of general and regular circulation offering impersonal investment-related advice, not tailored to a specific investment portfolio or the needs of current and/or prospective subscribers. As such, Edison does not offer or provide personal advice and the research provided is for informational purposes only. No mention of a particular security in this report constitutes a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that or any security, or that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by ABC arbitrage and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by ABC arbitrage. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright: Copyright 2024 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

Australia

Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

The research in this document is intended for New Zealand resident professional financial advisers or brokers (for use in their roles as financial advisers or brokers) and habitual investors who are “wholesale clients” for the purpose of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 (FAA) (as described in sections 5(c) (1)(a), (b) and (c) of the FAA). This is not a solicitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe, or underwrite any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. For the purpose of the FAA, the content of this report is of a general nature, is intended as a source of general information only and is not intended to constitute a recommendation or opinion in relation to acquiring or disposing (including refraining from acquiring or disposing) of securities. The distribution of this document is not a “personalised service” and, to the extent that it contains any financial advice, is intended only as a “class service” provided by Edison within the meaning of the FAA (i.e. without taking into account the particular financial situation or goals of any person). As such, it should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.

United Kingdom

This document is prepared and provided by Edison for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation for investment in any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. A marketing communication under FCA Rules, this document has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

This Communication is being distributed in the United Kingdom and is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments, i.e. investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005, as amended (the "FPO") (ii) high net-worth companies, unincorporated associations or other bodies within the meaning of Article 49 of the FPO and (iii) persons to whom it is otherwise lawful to distribute it. The investment or investment activity to which this document relates is available only to such persons. It is not intended that this document be distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons and in any event and under no circumstances should persons of any other description rely on or act upon the contents of this document.

This Communication is being supplied to you solely for your information and may not be reproduced by, further distributed to or published in whole or in part by, any other person.

United States

Edison relies upon the "publishers' exclusion" from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and corresponding state securities laws. This report is a bona fide publication of general and regular circulation offering impersonal investment-related advice, not tailored to a specific investment portfolio or the needs of current and/or prospective subscribers. As such, Edison does not offer or provide personal advice and the research provided is for informational purposes only. No mention of a particular security in this report constitutes a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that or any security, or that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

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