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  • Writer's pictureMark Watson-Mitchell

Porvair, MPAC, Equals, Currys and Gulf Marine

Porvair (LON:PRV) – shares regaining confidence

Two months ago this group announced its results for the year to end November 2023, showing a 2% increase in sales to £176.0m while its adjusted pre-tax profits were 10% higher at £21.4m, lifting its earnings up 8% at 37.2p and its dividend to 6.0p per share.

Since that announcement the group’s shares have been down to 610p, a fortnight ago, from the 674p at which they peaked upon the figures.

Porvair is a group of specialist filtration, laboratory and environmental technology businesses. 

The first half of the current year is expected to endure US industrial consumables de-stocking, together with some adverse forex, however the group is hoping that its strong order book, especially in petrochemical and aerospace, will help to offset such hassles.

CEO Ben Stocks stated that:

"The Group's fundamental demand drivers have not changed.

Porvair remains well positioned to take advantage of tightening environmental regulation; the growth of analytical science; the need for clean water; the development of carbon-efficient transportation; the replacement of plastic and steel by aluminium; and the drive for manufacturing process quality and efficiency.

It is these trends that drive the Group's consistent longer-term trading record and enables the Board to look ahead with confidence."

Ahead of its AGM Trading Update due next Tuesday, analyst Andrew Shepherd-Barron at Peel Hunt declared that he expects the annual growth to continue and reiterated his ‘BUY’ recommendation, while increasing his Price Objective from 790p to 810p on the shares and expecting revenues to increase by 10% to £194m this year.

“Porvair has delivered good growth year after year, and we see this continuing into the future, its fundamentals remain strong and we would not be surprised to see further updates later in the year as destocking by customers ebbs.”

The group’s shares are regaining their confidence, closing last night at 632p at the King’s Lynn-based group is capitalised at just under £292m.

The shares, which hit 678p in early February, are a very good Hold, with my 700p Target Price firmly in place.

(Profile 05.10.20 @ 510p set a Target Price of 600p*)

(Profile 17.08.23 @ 605p set a Target Price of 700p)

MPAC Group (LON:MPAC) – still undervalued ahead of AGM Update   


This group, which is a global leader in high-speed packaging and automation solutions, will be holding its AGM in the City on Wednesday 15th May.

That day the group should also be issuing an AGM Trading Update, perhaps enabling CEO Adam Holland to enrich his group’s shareholders with his words of current year confidence.

With the recently announced 2023 results the company noted that 2024 had started positively and with trading in line with market expectations.

It also noted that order intake was encouraging, with a healthy and diverse pipeline of prospects suggesting that it is well positioned for the year ahead.

Analysts Robin Speakman and Akhil Patel, at Shore Capital Markets, are expecting the current year to end December to show revenues up to £120.0m (£114.2m), with adjusted pre-tax profits of £10.5m (£7.1m), hoisting earnings up to 38.7p (25.9p) per share.

For next year they see £132.5m sales, £12.3m profits and 44.6p of earnings.

In mid-January this year, when the shares were just 345p and looking cheap.

Last night the group’s shares, which hit 475p two weeks ago, closed at 437p, valuing the whole group at only £92m, they continue to be a very Strong Hold.

(Profile 19.12.19 @ 182p set a Target Price of 235p*)

Equals Group (LON:EQLS) – now ‘in play’ situation hotting up?

This company develops and sells scalable payment platforms to enable organisations to move and easily manage their money flows, through its payment and card products.

Following on from the Strategic Review defined last November it can now be considered to be ‘in play’ – so is a bid due?

The consortium of Embedded Finance and TowerBrook Capital Partners have until 5pm next Wednesday evening to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Equals or if not to clearly state that it is walking away.

The day before that though will see the company declaring its final results for the year to end December 2023.

In late March the company gave out an update on its current trading, which continued to be in line with the Board's expectations.

It reported that trading in the first quarter up to 15 March 2024 had continued the strong growth trajectory of 2023 with revenues in the period reaching £22.2m, up from £17.4m in the same period in 2023, representing an increase of 28%.

The company went on to clearly state that in keeping with recent trends, trading had been robust across the business with particularly strong growth from its Solutions business.

With its shares currently trading at around the 124p level, the whole group has a value of some £232m – the question now is what will the consortium do, will it bid or walk away?

A bid would surely need to be higher than the current price, with my fancy being around 150p a share (but that is just a pure guess).

(Profile 14.02.19 @ 89p set a Target Price of 100p*)

And Finally….

Have you noticed the gradually increasing share price of Currys (LON:CURY), now at 63.25p, after having dipped to 55p three weeks ago. They touched 72.45p at the end of February as the possible bid situation was stirring the waters.

We should be getting a Full Year Trading Update being announced on Tuesday 14th May, could we be seeing a further advance before then – I think so.

(Profile 10.07.23 @ 49p set a Target Price of 61p*)

(Profile 18.12.23 @ 50.05p set a Target Price of 61p-65p*)

At the end of last week the shares of Gulf Marine Services (LON:GMS) hit 23p before easing back to last night’s closing 22p, but its shares are heading higher.

Last week’s 2023 Final Results announcement not only reported excellent figures, slightly ahead of expectations, but also gave some strong current year guidance and comment on its leverage reduction.

Analyst Daniel Slater at Zeus Capital is expecting the adjusted PBT to quadruple in 2024 to $52.0m ($13.1m).

(Profile 30.11.23 @ 13p set a Target Price of 16p*)

(Profile 22.01.24 @ 15.95p set a Target Price of 19.50p*)

(Asterisks * denote that Target Prices have been achieved since Profile publication)


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