ARB Holdings reported growth in FY 18 revenues and stable profits with consistently strong cash generation, generous dividends, and an opportunistic post-year-end acquisition.
FY 18 revenue came in per our expectations at R2.6bn (FY 17: R2.4bn), & HEPS rose +16% to 71.7cps (FY 17: 61.9cps), which is materially higher than our forecast of 65.6cps.
The Lighting segment disappointed but was actually slightly better than our downwardly-adjusted forecasts at H1:18. Inversely, the Electrical segment performed well but slightly below our half-year expectations.
Our Thoughts: Eskom & Radiant Key Variables
Post-year end, the Group concluded a conditional acquisition of the Radiant Group. This move consolidates the Group’s position in the lighting market while materially transforming the Group’s segmental exposures; post-consolidation of Radiant, Lighting may become similar in size to the Group’s cable exposure.
A slowdown in Eskom spending has prolonged the domestic malaise. Top-level Board and management changes in the utility have been positive, and supply chain audits and related reorganization (in an attempt to both eliminate corruption in the SOE and stabilize it) are likely to blame for this drop in spending.
Logically, the spending from Eskom should materially pick up after this internal process is completed (while Eskom will come out of it stronger for having gone through this period).
Thus, we remain positive on South Africa and the sector.
Forecast, Valuation & Implied Return: Still Quality & Still Value
We update our fair value for ARH to 714cps (previously: 777cps), implying a reasonable Price Earnings (PE) of 10.0x.
Rolling our fair value forward at our CoE, we arrive at a 12m TP of 838cps (previous 12m TP: 911cps), placing the share on a comfortable Exit PE of 11.4x, and implying a return of c.34%.
Key risks to the Group are unchanged from our original Initiation of Coverage, though note that we have not taken the Radiant acquisition into account in our forecasts or valuation.
ARB Holdings reported revenue +5% for H1:18 and operating profit growing +3%.
The mark-to-market fair value changes in the Put Option for Eurolux distorted the IFRS numbers by 5.9cps, but excluding this effect, the Group’s HEPS would have been +13% y/y to 31.72cps (H1:17 – 28.07cps). This is materially better than our bottom-line expectations for FY 18E.
One sore point in the Group’s results was its Lighting segment where revenue slipped and profits felt pressure as consumer destocking, technology and delays combined.
Post-reporting period, the Group acquired a 60% interest in Craigcor for a maximum consideration of R30m. The business is a process automation distributor for Rockwell Automation products.
Our Thoughts: Well-positioned for an ‘SA Inc’ Recovery
While risks remain and ‘big ticket’ infrastructure spend roll-out is always lagging, ARB Holdings is extremely well to benefit from the de-risking of South Africa, the recovering sentiment and the potential recovering domestic economic activity.
ARB Holdings maintained its revenue during a tough period that included political upheaval in South Africa, SOE paralysis, sour consumer sentiment, a sovereign downgrade and a technical recession (not officially over at the date of publishing).
The Group reported +4% y/y growth in HEPS to 61.9cps (FY 16: 59.7cps), beating our previous forecast of 61.4cps.
The Group continued to generate strong cash flow with well-managed working capital whilst adding to its store and product footprint.
Management remains committed to the organic and acquisitive growth of existing operations.
Our Thoughts: Resilience & Upside
Solid results year-after-year continue to build the Group’s track record for resilience while management put in place longer-term initiatives for growth that looks
We do note the various changing dynamics in the cabling supply market as a risk while the currently exercisable put option by Eurolux is actually a good opportunity (in our opinion).
Forecast, Valuation & Implied Return: Still Undervalued
We raise our estimated fair value for ARH to 687ps (previously: 664cps), which puts the stock on an implied Price Earnings (PE) of 11.1x.
In our opinion, this PE does not appear unreasonable against either ARH’s own history or the various comparatives in the market.
Rolling our fair value forward at our CoE we arrive at a 12m TP of 809cps (previous 12m TP: 779cps).
A 12m TP of 809cps places the share on a comfortable Exit PE of 12.9x.
ARB Holding’s revenue rose by 3% to R1.27bn (H1:16 – R1.23bn) with Lighting leading the growth while soft municipal spend dampening Electrical’s contribution during the period.
HEPS rose 1% to 28.07cps (H1:16 – 27.79cps) while cash flow generation remained good and the balance sheet ungeared with R175m of net cash on hand.
Although in the ARB’s results are a bit below our expectations, the Group continues to steadfastly execute their strategy of geographic, product and customer expansion with cabling dropping from >50% of the Group’s turnover seven years ago to c.37% of it in these results.
Our Thoughts: Stagnation in the Base, Upside in the Future
While we may be premature in this call, we believe that we are currently in the trough in both South Africa (2016/17) and in ARB’s market (FY 17E and, perhaps, FY 18E).
SA’s Leading Indicator and as well as many global indicators everywhere are, at worst, not falling anymore and, at best, starting to rise.
That said, we do not expect a sudden recovery and would not be surprised if this trough stretched out (i.e. flat growth) into 2018.
We lift our fair value for ARH to 664ps (previously: 650cps) on an implied Price Earnings (PE) of 11.1x. This PE does not appear unreasonable against either ARH’s own history or the various comparatives in the market.
Rolling this fair value forward at our CoE we arrive at a 12m TP of 779cps (previous 12m TP: 762cps), which places the share on a comfortable Exit PE of 11.4x.
This 12m TP also implies a reasonably attractive return of c.23%.
ARB Holding’s revenue grew by 16% to R2.49bn (FY 15: R2.15bn) while Gross Profit (GP) Margin compression in the Electrical Division from 24.1% in FY 15 to 22.0% was offset by Group efficiencies and led the Group to beat our HEPS expectation of 53.6cps by 11% to reach 59.7cps (FY 15: 51.7cps).
This reflected 15% y/y HEPS growth and was matched by an equal hike in the dividends to 23.1cps (FY 15: 20.1cps).
Another 10cps special dividend (FY 15: 10cps) was declared with further special dividends likely in the coming year or two.
Our Thoughts: Tough Trading Environment Unlikely to Abate
We have marginally raised our expected FY 17E revenues for ARB Holdings to R2.8bn (previous forecast: R2.7bn).
Despite this, we have lowered previously noted margin assumptions and see this margin squeeze continuing into at least FY 18E.
Therefore we forecast FY 17E HEPS growth of 10% to 65.4cpscps (previously forecast: 64.9cps), though we note the high degree of forecast risk in the present economic environment (both to the downside due to the economy and the upside due to management initiatives and the potential for acquisitive activity).
We raise our fair value for ARH to 650ps (previously: 520cps) on an implied Price Earnings (PE) of 10.9x, which appears unreasonable against either ARH’s own history or the various comparatives in the market.
Rolling our fair value forward at our CoE we arrive at a 12m TP of 762cps (previous 12m TP: 609cps), on a comfortable Exit PE of 11.6x, implying a 27% return.
H1:16 – Better Than Expected Results Despite Macro Pressure
ARB produced excellent H1:16 results with revenue rising 12% to R1.2bn (H1:15 – R1.1bn), comfortably beating our FY 16E full year expectation of 4% y/y, though the Gross Profit (GP) margin slimmed to 22.4% (H1:15 – 22.5%).
The Group’s Operating Profit followed revenue upwards by 11% as overheads were kept incrementally in line with revenues and resulting in HEPS growth of 12% to 27.8cps (H1:15 – 24.8cps).
While all segments saw growth in revenues and profits, the Lighting Segment (Eurolux) produced the majority of the growth as market share, customer and product gains all lifted its Profits before Interest and Tax (PBIT) grew by 27% y/y in another excellent period’s performance.
Cash generation remains exceptionally strong, the Group net ungeared and the underlying property portfolio’s valuation flat at R181m (FY 15: R181m).
Our Thoughts: Management Transition Complete
An experienced Financial Director being appointed to ARB’s Board implies that the Group’s management transition is now complete.
This period’s strong organic growth indicates the operational competency of the management team, but they are cognisant of their need to execute on the Group’s acquisitive intentions.
Forecast, Valuation & Implied Return: Overlooked by Market
We view ARB as worth c.520cps (previously: 613cps) on an implied Price Earnings (PE) of 9.8x (previously: 12.3x). The de-rating in our fair value has to do with the rise in South Africa’s risk-free rate impacting on our Discounted Free Cash Flow (DCF) valuation, rather than any major variables relating to ARB itself.
Rolling our fair value forward at our CoE we arrive at a 12m TP of 609cps (previous 12m TP: 712cps). A 12m TO of 609cps places the share on a comfortable Exit PE of 10.4x, implying a 12m return of c.15%.
Key risks to the Group are unchanged from our original Initiation of Coverage. In fact, the macro risks remain even more pertinent in the current environment.
FY 15: Tougher Trading Environment Than We Anticipated
Amidst a tough domestic economy and a management transition, ARB Holdings reported flat FY 15 results with a small decline in the Electrical Division being offset by growth in the Lighting and Corporates Divisions.
The Group reported revenue of R2.1bn (FY 14: R2.2bn), strong cash generation and flat HEPS of 50.0cps (FY 14: 50.3cps).
These results were driven by an unexpected drop in activity and spending by Eskom (particularly in their rural electrification programme) and infrastructure-related work in a slowing, troubled domestic economy.
The Group’s finances remain robust and management has declared a normal and a special dividend of 20.1cps (FY 14: 20.1cps) and 10cps (FY 14: 10cps) respectively, implying that the Group’s share is trading on a Dividend Yield (DY) of c.5.0%.
Given the tough environment, we see ARB Holdings’ good FY 15 results as indicative of the Group’s underlying quality.
The macro-environment will be the biggest challenge for the Group’s short-term organic growth ambitions, but the long-term strategy of expanding the Group’s product lines, geographies and markets (both organically and acquisitively) should yield upside.
In the short- to medium-term, though, it is likely that any major growth will be driven by acquisitive actions taken by the Group. While this is hard to forecast (and we do not even try), management have reasserted their intentions to conclude strategic and meaningful acquisitions in due course.
We revise our fair value to 613cps (previously 715cps) putting the share on a Price Earnings (PE) of 12.3x. This arrives at a 12m TP of 712cps (previously 836cps) on an Exit PE of 12.9x implying a 12m return of c.20% with acquisitive upside risk to these numbers
Key risks to the Group are unchanged from our original Initiation of Coverage. In fact, the macro risks remain even more pertinent in the current environment.
Wescoal reported its H1:15 results with Revenue rising 93% boosting Operational EBITDA (which excludes once-offs) to R84m (H1:14 – R49m) and HEPS grew by 33% to 15.2cps (H1:14 – 11.4cps).
The Group also concluded a financing agreement for its Elandspruit mine, acquired the Muhanga plant, added an extension to both Intibane and Khanyisa’s Life of Mine (LoM) and integrated MacPhail into its Coal Trading segment.
Our Thoughts: Big Strides Forward, Underrated Trading Business
The successful acquisition and integration of MacPhail into the Group’s Coal Trading segment now makes this enlarged business the largest coal trader in South Africa. We do not believe that this dominant position’s value is fully appreciated by the market and see significant (though hard to value) upside coming from this base.
The timing and ultimate profitability of Elandspruit, though, will still have a significant impact the Group’s future. We have assumed that its Water Use License (WUL) is issued during December 2014 and mining starts in the first month of FY 16E.
Forecast, Valuation and Implied Return: Under Appreciated
We raise our fair value by 5% to 254cps (previous: 240cps), as the various Group projects de-risk, the mine extensions add uplift and MacPhail synergies are increasingly realized.
The implied PE of 13.0x is not very illustrative, though, as Elandspruit is currently adding to our valuation, but not yet contributing to the Group’s profits.
Based off this fair value, we keep our 12m TP flat at 294cps (previous 12m TP: 301cps), implying a 51% return on an Exit PE of 10.0x, though with plenty of up- and downside risks attached.
Note the numerous key risks to our view hereon at the end of this report given the junior mining status of the stock.
ARB Holdings reported their FY 14 results with revenue growing by 14% to R2,2bn (FY 13: R1,9bn) versus our forecasts of R2,3bn.
The Group achieved better margins than we had expected due to both a rising contribution from the higher margin Lighting segment and from the Group driving purchasing savings across its business in H2:14, which saw HEPS rising nicely by 27% to 50.3cps (FY 13: 39.6cps) versus our expectation of 52.1cps.
The Group remains highly cash generative and declared both a dividend of 20.1cps (FY 13: 16.2cps) and a special dividend of 10cps (FY 13: 10cps), yet remained ungeared (R197m net cash).
While cognisant of the tough trading environment, management remain focussed on both organic growth and, potentially, adding the elusive “third pillar” (acquisition) to the Group.
Our Thoughts: High Quality Group, High Quality Share
ARB has proven itself a remarkably high quality group in some very tough trading conditions as it successfully executes on its communicated strategies of expanding product lines, geographies and markets (both organically and acquisitively).
While our valuation metrics indicate the share is fully valued, the “quality” quotient is a hard one to quantify and likely to prove very valuable for the long-term investor.
Forecast, Valuation and Implied Return: Attractively Priced
Our fair value for ARH is 715cps on a PE of 14.2x (previously 622cps). Rolling this forward at our Cost of Equity (CoE), we arrive at a 12m TP of 836cps (previous 12m TP: 727cps) on an Exit PE of 14.7x implying a total return of c.7%.
The key risks stated in this report remain the same from our Initiation of Coverage on the Group. Also note the newly added risk relating to the phasing out of incandescent lamps in South Africa and the uncertainty it creates in the Lighting segment.
FY 14 Results: Once-off Costs Create Earnings Miss
Wescoal reported its FY 14 results with revenue rising 70% to R1.1bn (FY 13: R0.7bn), largely driven by the H2:14 inclusion of the MacPhail acquisition into the Group’s Coal Trading segment.
Excluding the once-off profits on the sale of mineral assets during the period, the Group recorded an “Operational” EBITDA growth of 124% and HEPS rising to 15.7cps (FY 13: 12.4cps),
While the Group’s revenue slightly surpassed our forecast of R1.0bn, restructuring and relocation costs in the Coal Trading segment (R6m), intangibles amortisation (R2m), higher than expected costs and a more aggressive rehabilitation programme at Khanyisa and a general dip in Eskom-related volumes of coal collectively saw the Group miss our target HEPS of 21.2cps.
Our Thoughts: Uncontrollable Eskom and Spot Price Variables
The Group has identified mine extensions for Khanyisa and Intibane while Elandspruit is progressing well towards an expected first production during January 2015.
MacPhail is integrating well into the Group’s Coal Trading segment and the enlarged business’s prospect look positive.
Two key variables that will determine the Group’s short-term prospects are (1) Eskom-related coal volumes, and (2) the Rand-price of inland coal. Both variables were soft during FY 14E and—while hard to forecast—indications point to upside here.
Forecast, Valuation and Implied Return: Relatively Flat Update
We lower our fair value by 5% to 240cps (previous: 253cps), as the time value of money has been offset by a lower spot coal price and slightly lower Eskom volumes.
The implied PE of 15.3x is not very illustrative, though, as both Elandspruit and MacPhail are currently adding to our SOTP, but not yet (fully) contributing to the Group’s profits.
Based off this fair value, we marginally raise our 12m TP by 4% to 301cps (previous 12m TP: 287cps), implying a 48% return on an Exit PE of 12.2x (which still would not include a full year’s steady-state contribution from Elandspruit).