Category Archives: Metrofile Holdings (MFL)

Metrofile Holdings – Tough Period but Digital is Growing

Share Code: MFL – Market Cap.: R1.5bn – PE: 10.5x – DY: 4.5%

H1:22 Results: Tough Period

  • Metrofile’s H1:22 period saw domestic riots & elections, the implementation of the POPIA, Kenyan regulatory pressures, COVID lockdowns & supply chains disruptions.
  • The Group’s revenue rose +4% y/y (driven by the Middle East and Digital Services), though margin pressure lowered Operating Profit -2% y/y.
  • Strong cash generation allowed the Group to degear further (despite acquiring IronTree during this period) & the combination of lower finance charges & a lower effective tax rate (attributable to the Middle East) saw HEPS grow +1% y/y.
  • Implementing a new dividend policy, management has hiked the interim dividend by +29% y/y.

Our Thoughts: H2:22 Recovery + Digital is Growing

  • Many of the headwinds in H1:22 should abate during H2:22E, thus we expect some upside in the coming full FY 22E results.
  • Already in Q2 management saw box volumes in South Africa recovering while H2:22E should also see a full six month’s consolidation from IronTree (it was only consolidated for a single month in H1:22).
  • Perhaps not obvious at first glance, but Digital Services now contributes 20% of the Group’s revenues. We are extremely bullish on developments in this space and expect Digital Services to be a growing vector in future results.

Forecast, Valuation and Implied Return: Margin of Safety

  • We see Metrofile’s fair value as 405cps (previously: 428cps), or c.20% higher than its current share price.
  • Importantly, our fair value of 405cps for Metrofile implies an EV/EBITDA of 7.1x & a PE of 12.7x, which compares attractively to Iron Mountain’s EV/EBITDA of 14.6x & PE of 31.1x.
  • In fact, when compared to Iron Mountain, Metrofile has the same-or-better returns & significantly less gearing.
  • Rolling the 405cps fair value forward, we arrive at a 12m TP of 472cps (previously: 497cps). This implies an attractive +41% return (including dividends) from these levels.

Metrofile Holdings Ltd – Acquisition of Irontree Internet Services

Share Code: MFL – Market Cap: R1.3bn – PE: 10.0x – DY: 3.8%

News: Acquisition of Irontree Internet Services CC

  • Metrofile has conditionally acquired Irontree Internet Services for a minimum of R80m & a maximum of R140m in cash:
    • 70%-stake for an upfront cash payment of c.R49m & a top-up payment of up to R12.3m if Irontree hits EBITDA of R18.7m for its FY 22E (February) financial year (likely), &
    • 30% to be acquired at a price based on a FY 24E revenue target of R100m (i.e. allowing integration of the business in the Group) but limited to the maximum (total) acquisition price of R140m.
  • Depending on how you view Irontree’s min/max purchase price:
    • It is on an FY 22E EV/EBITDA of c.4.3x ~ 7.5x,
    • An FY 22E Price Earnings of c.6.7x ~ 11.7x, &
    • Appears attractive against our implied DCF of the business.

Our Thoughts: Good Start on Digital Strategy

  • Irontree is highly cash generative with c.15,000 SME customers & earns c.90% of its revenue from digital backup & hosting services (i.e. recurring revenue) with c.10% of its revenue from digital, security & compliance services.
  • The business has grown revenue by c.+15% y/y CAGR over the last 5 years &, assuming this remains unchanged, the Group’s FY 24E revenue could be c.R69m (i.e. missing the R100m). Therefore, the R100m revenue target implies confidence that Irontree’s addition to Metrofile’s group will raise its growth rate (i.e. synergies).
  • This is a good first step in Metrofile’s Digital Strategy with a well-thought-out, reasonably-priced & comfortably-sized acquisition that should fit neatly into the Group and bolster both the Group and the acquired business’s growth rates (assumptions in note body).

Forecast, Valuation and Implied Return: Updated

  • Irontree lifts Metrofile’s FY 22E & FY 23E HEPS to 35.6cps (previously 35.1cps) and 40.2cps (previously 39.5cps) and adds c.+6% to our fair value of 428cps (previously 405cps).
  • Rolling this fair value forward, we lift our 12m TP to 497cps (previously 468cps) implying a 57% return from these levels.

Metrofile Holdings – Initiation of Coverage – Boxing Clever

Share Code: MFL – Market Cap: R1.3bn – PE: 11.6x – DY: 4.9%

Business Overview: Dominant domestic document storage player

  • Metrofile has the largest share of the South African document storage market with a strong pan-African & Middle Eastern footprint enjoying good margins and attractive growth.
  • The Group has a long operating history with high returns, strong cash flows and a defendable track record against comparatives.

Document Storage + Digital Strategy = Evolving business

  • While the global paper sector appears to be slowly contracting by between -1.0~-2.0% y/y, the document storage market is still growing with net box growth and rising, compounding revenues.
  • Intuitively, while a piece of paper may only generate revenue once when sold, it appears to generate an average of between 14-to-15 years’ worth of revenue when it goes into storage.
  • Globally & domestically, strong regulatory tailwinds continue to drive the need for secure physical storage while economic activity continues to generate paper that requires this storage.
  • Metrofile is using this platform, its cash flows & position of trust with clients to grow its services and digital offerings.
  • Indeed—and likely key to Metrofile’s long-term growth rate—the Group’s management has specifically crafted a digital strategy that, while hard to quantify or value, may offer some exciting prospects as it is executed.

Forecast, Valuation and Implied Return: Undervalued share

  • Using a segmentally-driven DCF to build our SOTPs fair value, we see Metrofile shares as worth c.405cps on an implied EV/EBITDA of 6.8x (this is a 48% discount to Iron Mountain’s EV/EBITDA).
  • Rolling this fair value forward at our CoE, we arrive at a 12m TP of 468cps generating a large 52% implied return.
  • Given recent takeover approaches that were frustrated by COVID-19, adding a 15~30% control premium to our fair value implies a fair takeover price of between 465cps to 526cps. For this reason, we view MFL shares as holding a long-dated embedded takeover option, however hard to predict or value.