Molten Ventures — Initial signs of stabilisation in H223

Molten Ventures (LSE: GROW)

Last close As at 21/05/2024

GBP3.21

−12.50 (−3.75%)

Market capitalisation

GBP586m

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Research: Financials

Molten Ventures — Initial signs of stabilisation in H223

Molten Ventures released its FY23 trading update (to end-March 2023), with its NAV per share down c 17% in FY23 to c 775p. That said, it posted only a minor 2% decline in its gross portfolio fair value in H223 (excluding foreign exchange impact), which indicates some stabilisation after the 17% decline in H123. Molten’s ‘Core’ portfolio (c 62% of total portfolio) saw a robust 40% value-weighted revenue growth in the calendar year to end-December 2022 (though below the expected 60-65%, partly due to greater focus on cash preservation). The company expects continued high top-line growth of its ‘Core’ holdings in 2023 at over 65%. Management highlighted that its ‘Core’ holdings remain well funded, with over 80% of them having a cash runway of more than 18 months.

Milosz Papst

Written by

Milosz Papst

Director, Financials

molten03

Financials

Molten Ventures

Initial signs of stabilisation in H223

FY23 trading update

Listed venture capital

02 May 2023

Price

280p

Market cap

£428m

Gross cash (£m) at end-March 2023

23

Shares in issue

153m

Code

GROW

Primary exchange

LSE

Secondary exchange

Euronext Dublin

Share price performance

Business description

Molten Ventures is a London-based venture capital (VC) firm that invests in the European technology sector. It has a portfolio of c 70 investee companies and includes a range of funds (seed, EIS and VCT) within the group, as well as its flagship balance sheet VC fund.

Analysts

Milosz Papst

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Dan Ridsdale

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Molten Ventures is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

Molten Ventures released its FY23 trading update (to end-March 2023), with its NAV per share down c 17% in FY23 to c 775p. That said, it posted only a minor 2% decline in its gross portfolio fair value in H223 (excluding foreign exchange impact), which indicates some stabilisation after the 17% decline in H123. Molten’s ‘Core’ portfolio (c 62% of total portfolio) saw a robust 40% value-weighted revenue growth in the calendar year to end-December 2022 (though below the expected 60-65%, partly due to greater focus on cash preservation). The company expects continued high top-line growth of its ‘Core’ holdings in 2023 at over 65%. Management highlighted that its ‘Core’ holdings remain well funded, with over 80% of them having a cash runway of more than 18 months.

Period
end

Plc cash*
(£m)

Gross portfolio
value (£m)

NAV
(£m)

NAV/share
(p)

Discount/premium
to NAV (%)**

09/21

156.2

1,350.2

1,357.4

887

12

03/22

78.1

1,531.5

1,433.8

929

(16)

09/22

28.5

1,448.9

1,279.9

837

(64)

03/23***

23

1,370

1,200.0

775

(65)

Note: *Includes restricted cash but not funds held on behalf of EIS/VCT investors. **Calculated based on share price at respective period-end. ***Unaudited preliminary figures.

Fair value fall cushioned by liquidation preferences

The 2% fall in fair value in H223 represents a £23m markdown, as £81m uplifts were offset by £104m reductions, with £63m of the latter coming from ‘Core’ holdings (mostly two assets) and £41m from the ‘Emerging’ portfolio. We note that the pressure on valuations (enterprise values of Molten’s ‘Core’ holdings were down 37% in FY23) was partly cushioned by liquidation preferences, as 97% of the company’s ‘Core’ investments are structured as preferred shares. Molten’s current portfolio valuations are underpinned by the £1bn of capital raised across 28 rounds during FY23, of which 90% had valuations higher than or in line with the previous funding round.

Continued emphasis on cash preservation

Molten invested £138m in FY23 (vs the targeted £150m), mostly in H123 (£112m) with higher focus on capital preservation in H223. Meanwhile, realisations amounted to £48m in FY23, of which c £35m in H223 (ahead of H223 investments). Management sees signs of stabilisation in the venture capital tech markets, therefore expecting fundraising and dealmaking to pick up at some stage over its current fiscal year to end-March 2024. Molten’s CEO anticipates further realisations in the year though the timing is uncertain. It therefore prioritises cash preservation in FY24 and expects a funding requirement within its portfolio at c £20m. The company had £23m cash and £60m in undrawn revolving credit facility at end-March 2023 (its EIS/VCT funds had £58m available for investments), as well as c £10m in listed holdings. We also note that its operating costs net of fee income were c 0.1% of period-end NAV, ie visibly below the targeted 1%.

Valuation

Molten’s shares currently trade at a wide 64% discount to its end-March 2023 NAV per share. A potential rebound in deal activity and risk appetite across global private markets would likely constitute a catalyst for narrowing the discount.

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General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Molten Ventures and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Molten Ventures. 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.

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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 Molten Ventures and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Molten Ventures. 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 2023 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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