Marshall Motor Holdings – 112.5p

26 May 2020 – re-opening of showrooms

The motor retailing group has announced that in line with the government’s recent announcement it will re-open its showrooms from 1 June.  The company closed its operations on 23 March and since then has undertaken comprehensive risk assessments of its sites, producing a detailed plan on how to re-open and ensuring that the company’s employees are fully trained in the new procedures.  The company’s aftersales activities are now fully open for business having previously focused on key workers and emergency services and initial demand is encouraging as these activities are ramped-up.  How much demand there will be for new/used cars remains to be seen but the shares have produced a useful rally of late and are probably no more than a HOLD until further evidence of progress has been seen.

Premier Foods – 46.75p

26 May 2020 – repayment of loan

The company has announced that it is to redeem some of its Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due July 2022 at par.  The company is redeeming £80m of the £210m outstanding and this provides further evidence of the group’s strong cashflow which will clearly be well received by investors.  Following the completion of the transaction next month, the group will save over £4m a year in interest costs and we maintain our recommendation of BUY.

Xpediator – 26.5p

26 May 2020 – AGM statement

The company has provided an update on current trading at its AGM today confirming that it has traded resiliently through the period of the pandemic so far.  Although activity levels are understandably lower with good demand from some sectors offset by weakness in other sectors, the impact on margins has been less affected due to actions taken by the company to reduce costs at the start of the pandemic.  Although the group is not prepared to provide guidance for the rest of the year, it believes that it is trading well helped by its asset light base and diversified spread of activity.  Around 60% of activity takes place in mainland Europe with a significant part of this in Central and eastern Europe where the effect of Covid-19 has been much less serious.  At current levels the shares are ATTRACTIVE.

 

Synectics – 120p

22 May 2020 – contract wins

The advanced security and surveillance systems group has announced that it has been awarded two new contracts with existing customers both of which are for a number of years.  The first contract is a five year multi-million dollar support contract with a major casino operator for its flagship resort in Asia, building on an existing long-term relationship.  The second contract is a three year deal with Stagecoach, the UK’s largest bus and coach operator, and covers the delivery of on-vehicle surveillance systems and maintenance support for their fleet of over 8,000 vehicles.  This is an extension of the group’s 18 year relationship with Stagecoach and a useful endorsement of the company’s products and services.  Although the group has experienced some delays on projects due to coronavirus it continues to deliver services and support to its customers whilst it has also maintained a net cash position which provides some re-assurance to investors.  This announcement combined with the decline in the share price leads us to upgrade to BUY.

 

Belvoir Group – 130p

21 May 2020 – AGM trading update

The company has released a trading update to coincide with its AGM. During the first quarter to the end of March 2020 which incorporated just one week of the Covid-19 lock-down, trading was strong and in line with management expectations.  Early indications for April, during which all offices were operating entirely under ‘lock-down’, have demonstrated the resilience of the franchise networks.  At the end of April, a rent arrears survey of all franchisees was undertaken.  This revealed that less than 5% of tenants are in arrears on their rent compared with the usual 2%.  Overall, April performance was significantly stronger than had been anticipated.  Net debt as at 20 May 2020 was £6.9m (31 December 2019: £6.9m) with the company having deployed £2.0m of cash in January to acquire the Lovelle network and deferred payment of £0.5m VAT until the first quarter of 2021.  Whilst it is still too early to predict how the housing market will be affected during the remainder of the year, the company is confident of achieving its revised forecasts for 2020.  The shares remain a HOLD for now.

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