In these post-referendum days, the investing headlines have focused on our big FTSE 100 companies, but there are plenty of smaller companies being overlooked. Here are three that have released first-half results today.
Shares in Sportech (LSE: SPO) have had a volatile ride over the past 12 months, soaring and plummeting as a VAT claim by HMRC swung this way and that — as it stands, HMRC is seeking permission to appeal the most recent Court of Appeal ruling in favour of Sportech.
Putting that aside, Sportech, which billls itself as “one of the world’s leading pool betting organisations,” reported first-half revenue of £48.7m and adjusted pre-tax profit of £5.6m. The company is only just (hopefully) into sustainable profits and there are no dividends yet, but there are strong forecasts on the cards — analysts suggest an 11% rise in EPS this year followed by 30% in 2017, giving us P/E ratios of 14.3 and 11 respectively.
That valuation doesn’t look like bargain territory to me, especially as Sportech is carrying adjusted net debt of £59.8m, which seems high compared to current profit levels. I also wouldn’t touch it until the VAT dispute is finally settled.
Cheap challenger bank?
OneSavings Bank (LSE: OSB) was a bit of a ‘challenger bank’ darling until the Brexit vote put the wind up the banking sector. Since the fateful day, the shares were down 29% — until today’s interim figures, which have spurred an 11% resurgence to 263p.
Underlying pre-tax profit rose 36% to £64.6m, with a 10% rise in the bank’s loan book. Liquidity measures look strong, and the interim dividend was lifted by 45% to 2.9p per share. Chief executive Andy Golding did say that it’s “too soon to predict the medium to long-term impact of Brexit on the UK economy.” But has the uncertainty unfairly depressed OneSavings Bank’s shares and are they in bargain territory?
I’d say they are, with post-referendum forecasts holding strong and the City expecting a 7% rise in EPS this year with a 3.6% dividend yield (rising to 4% in 2017). That puts the shares on a P/E of only seven, which I see as significantly undervaluing OneSavings’ long-term prospects.
As company names go, Xaar (LSE: XAR) has always been one of my favourites, even if I haven’t been so keen on the trajectory of its share price in recent years. Soaring earnings saw the printing technologist’s shares rocket to more than £11 apiece by the end of 2013, but several years of contraction have seen it crash back down to today’s 505p.
But we’re at least seeing a 4% rise on the back of this morning’s interim figures, which showed continuing falls in profits — but that was in line with expectations, as the firm commits bigger sums to R&D and seeks to succeed with the new “strategic vision” launched in March. According to chief executive Doug Edwards, Xaar has launched “major new products” and has announced a “strategic partnership with Ricoh” as it works towards its “2020 vision.“
Would I buy the shares? On a forward P/E of 26, rising to 36 on 2017 forecasts, nope. The latest interim report contains too many fancy-sounding marketing buzzwords for my liking — I want to see the colour of Xaar’s money first.
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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.