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  • Writer's pictureMark Watson-Mitchell

Small Cap Catch-Up – GPH, CHRT, ACRL, FUM, EPWN, EBQ, PMP and LBE

Global Ports Holding (LON:GPH) – up 145% in seven months

The world’s largest independent cruise port operator has proved to be an excellent selection by this column over the last seven months, rising more than 145% in that period.

Cruise industry passenger numbers are on the increase as that sector recovers after the Pandemic.

Analyst Greg Johnson at Shore Capital has estimates out for the year to end March 2023 for revenues of $117.7m ($40.3m) and an adjusted pre-tax profit of $1.7m (loss $43.4m), with earnings coming out a negative 1.1c per share.

For the current year he now goes for $154.9m revenues and a $20.5m profit, worth 11.8c per share in earnings.

His view is that, with the longer-term fundamentals looking favourable, he believes that the current valuation does not reflect the group’s unique positioning in a highly attractive space.

If you are still holding the shares, now 198p, then maintain your position.

(Profile 11.11.22 @ 81.5p set a Target Price at 100p*)

Cohort (LON:CHRT) – bullish and ready for another run upwards

Just think about the way that, over the last year or so, global governments will have been adjusting upwards the planning of their spending programmes on defence and security.

Well, this independent technology group is sure to see a marked sales increase over the next few years.

Now it has its subsidiary interests streamlined into two main sub-groups – namely Communications and Intelligence, and Sensors and Effectors.

The year to end April 2023 is expected to show a record trading profit performance.

Its year end order book underpinned some £145m (84%) of the current consensus market revenue expectations for 2024, which was an improvement on the year just finished.

Following the year end, the group has secured further orders, including an order for £26m and another that was announced yesterday for £7m from a South-East Asia Navy, further improving its visibility for the coming financial year.

Analysts Mike Jeremy and Andy Edmond at Equity Development have a ‘fair value’ out on the group’s shares at 650p, compared to the current 502p.

Their estimates for the 2023 year to end April are for revenues of £165.0m (£137.8m), with adjusted pre-tax profits of £17.5m (£14.7m), which should show earnings of 35.0p (30.9p) and easily covering a 13.4p (12.2p) dividend per share.

For the year now underway they go for £174.4m sales, £19.9m profits, 36.0p earnings and a 14.7p per share dividend.

I would have thought that the current year estimates will prove conservative, showing that the group’s shares, at only 481p, are now ready for another run upwards.

For more news will have to wait until the group reports its finals for last year in late July, but I remain very bullish about this group.

(Profile 06.08.19 @ 446p set a Target Price of 607p*)

Ebiquity – looking for the late July Trading Update

The shares of this media consultancy group have never really performed since I first profiled the company over three years ago.

They got fairly close, to within 5p of my 75p Target Price, in April last year before then drifting back again to 43p by last Christmas.

The company, which is a world leader in media investment analysis, harnesses the power of data to provide independent, fact-based advice, enabling brand owners to perfect media investment decisions and improve business outcomes.

Its clients are served by more than 600 media specialists operating from 18 offices and covering 80% of the global advertising market.

More than 70 of the world's top 100 advertisers today choose Ebiquity as a trusted independent media advisor.

Fiona Orford-Williams at Edison Investment Research has estimates for the current year to end December showing revenues rising to £85.5m (£76.0m), with pre-tax profits of £11.1m (£8.0m), lifting earnings up to 5.6p (4.5p) per share.

She is looking for £96.5m sales next year, £13.7m profits, and earnings of 6.5p per share.

Now at 47p, with the group being valued at £65.5m, I am taking the view that the shares will be starting to improve by the time of the group’s Trading Update for the first half is announced in late July.

Hold tight.

(Profile 05.11.19 @ 43p set a Target Price at 75p)

Epwin Group (LON:EPWN) – reducing headwinds will help rise

Last week’s AGM Statement, from this £98.5m construction and materials group, renewed expectations that the current Trading Year is on track and performing to Management aspirations.

It appears that the early part of this current year has seen stronger trading and a gentle easing in ‘headwind’ pressures.

The company is a leading manufacturer of energy efficient and low maintenance building products, with significant market shares, supplying the Repair, Maintenance and Improvement, new build and social housing sectors.

Chairman Andrew Eastgate stated that:

"The Group has continued to trade well and in line with the Board's expectations, with revenues to date 3% ahead of a strong 2022 comparative. The Board remains confident of delivering Underlying Operating Profit for the year in line with its expectations.

The inflationary pressures that have significantly impacted raw material costs, particularly PVC resin, over the last two years have eased, although PVC resin prices remain at elevated levels, with labour and other inflationary cost pressures continuing to be managed by the businesses.”

Analyst Andy Hanson at Zeus Capital is estimating that the year to end December will show revenues up slightly at £360.1m (£355.8m), while its pre-tax profits should rise to £18.1m (£16.5m), taking earnings up to 9.5p (9.0p) and almost double covering a dividend of 4.9p (4.5p) per share.

Already he is looking for £368.6m sales next year, with £19.8m profits, 10.2p earnings and a 5.1p dividend per share.

I feel that at the current 67.75p the group’s shares have a very appealing upside over the next year or two.

(Profile 22.08.19 @ 73.5p set a Target Price at 100p*)

Accrol Group Holdings (LON:ACRL) – certainly nothing to cry about

The forecast for the year to end April 2023, see the UK's leading independent tissue converter jacking up its turnover by 51.6% to £241.8m (£159.5m) and with its adjusted pre-tax profits multiplying more than six-fold to £7.0m (£1.1m). That should boost earnings from 0.3p to 1.8p per share.

CEO Gareth Jenkins commented:

"Accrol is significantly well invested and fully automated.

With our enviable customer base, broadening revenue streams, spare capacity and excellent levels of customer service, the Group is very well placed to take further advantage of the changing dynamics in consumer spending, which is particularly evident in the tissue market.

We are pleased with the outcome for FY23 and look forward to the year ahead and beyond with increasing confidence."

Analysts Rachel Birkett and Mike Allen at Zeus Capital now have estimates for the current year to end April 2024 for £230.3m sales, £11.0m profits and 2.6p earnings per share.

Gradually this £113.5m capitalised group is getting itself sorted out and is now progressing at a pace.

Last December, when the shares were 28p, I forecast a re-rating in 2023. Now with its shares at 34.4p they have a lot further to rise yet.

(Profile 12.03.19 @ 22p set no Target Price)

Futura Medical (LON:FUM) – now really getting a lift

Just a few months ago the shares of this £120m sexual health and pain relief management pharmaceutical company were up at a stronger 56.5p.

After flopping back to 38p they are now looking firmer at 41.25p, at which level I believe that more strength will be seen shortly.

The group’s AGM is due to be held on Thursday 22nd June, when I would expect to see investors being presented with an uplifting report on the company’s progress.

Analyst Edward Thomason at Liberum Capital rates the group’s shares as a Buy, looking for 121p as his price objective.

And that is despite his estimates conservatively suggesting nil sales but a reduced pre-tax loss of £4.7m (£6.9m) for the year to end December 2023.

However, I am looking for the group to give real guidance of its sales when it announces its interim results to end June, that are due in September.

The group’s shares can very quickly rise back up to previous proud levels, they just need guidance.

(Profile 14.03.19 @ 15p set no Target Price)

Portmeirion Group (LON:PMP) – robust first-half sales performance

The Stoke-on-Trent based ceramics and homewares group, in last week’s AGM Statement, commented that it remains positive about the short and long-term prospects for the company’s business, although it remains mindful of the challenging consumer headwinds.

Analysts Rob Sanders and Bradley Hughes, at Shore Capital, believe that this group’s shares should be trading at over 700p and then at those levels they consider that they would still be representing good value.

Their estimates for the current year to end December are for a slight lift in sales to £112.5m (£110.8m) and adjusted pre-tax profits of £9.1m (£8.0m), taking earnings up to 51.4p (46.5p), amply covering a 17.5p (15.5p) dividend per share.

For the next year they forecast £120.1m sales, £11.2m profits, earnings of 62.8p and a 21.0p dividend.

At Singer Capital Markets, analyst Sahill Shan rates the shares as a Buy, looking for 600p as his price objective.

He states that the shares have had a strong recovery from oversold levels.

Looking for similar figures to Shore Capital, Shan states that he waits to see just how well the group trades over the next few months.

The group’s shares at the current 425p value the company at only £61m, which I consider to be too low a rating for such a ‘quality’ business.

They could so easily revisit my previous Target Price within the next few months, depending on good corporate news forthcoming.

(Profile 28.08.20 @ 376p set a Target Price at 480p*)

Longboat Energy (LON:LBE) – Cenkos Securities has a 66p price objective

Analyst James Mccormack, at Cenkos Securites, is rating the shares of this £10.6m capitalised petroleum and natural gas extraction group as a Buy.

He now has a valuation out on the company of 41p for the core and tangible business and 25p for its ‘risked exploration’ totalling 66p per share.

The group recently announced what could well prove to be a truly transformational investment by the Japan Petroleum Exploration company, providing a $50m cash investment for 49.9% of Longboat Norge, while also providing a $100m financing facility for acquisitions.

The shares have slipped back over the last few weeks, but I still consider them a good punt at the current 18p.

(Profile 08.05.23 @ 20.75p set a Target Price at 26p)

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


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