Another busy day for announcements in another difficult day for the market on the back of Chinese stocks being down 6% and the oil price heading back down to $30. So I'll comment in brief on a couple of stocks I have covered in the past and which are currently held in the Compound Income Scores Portfolio. These are Easyjet (EZJ), Q1 IMS and possibly another chance to get on board perhaps and XL Media (XLM) launching a strategic review considering all opportunities for maximising value for shareholders.
The Easyjet IMS was headlined as a continued robust commercial performance with strong management action on cost delivering stable margins. However, within this they flagged the effects of the terrorist attacks in Egypt and Paris resulting in lower demand and yield in November and December. Against this though they did go onto say that forward bookings for the second quarter are showing a marked improvement in revenue per seat compared to November and December. Revenue was essentially flat as resulting lower revenue per seat and currencies held them back despite higher volumes and load factors. They also suggested cost control had been better than expected which helped them to deliver the stable margin. As a result of the robust cost performance, low fuel price, disciplined capacity allocation and resilient trading, the Board's expectations for profit before tax for the year to 30 September 2016 remains in line with market expectations, which they suggest is for £738m of Pre Tax Profits.
The Chief Executive, Carolyn McCall, summed it up best when she said: "The easyJet customer-centric strategy of giving passengers low fares to primary airports continues to be executed well. This year we will consolidate that with a relentless focus on cost reduction which is already delivering. This will ensure that easyJet continues to win and continues to grow revenue, profit and dividends."
Not that any of this has been reflected in the share price given the current turbulence in the stock market. As a result they have come back to around 1600p at the time of writing, which is close to the buy zone of 1550p to 1600p that I highlighted and successfully exploited last year. Thus if you traded it successfully yourself, this might be a chance for a second bite of the cherry or a chance to get on board if you have not bought it yet. If you do at 1600p you will be paying just over 10x this years earnings and pick up a certain yield of 3.5% from last years dividend that is due to go XD on 25/2/16 before being paid 18/03/16. This could rise to 4% if they hit this years forecasts, which at this early stage, they suggest they will. But for now I would again target a price of 1800p which from here would offer a decent total return of 16% before costs.
Meanwhile at the other end of the market cap. scale we have had a strange announcement from the AIM listed XL Media (XLM), the online performance marketing company, which I added recently to the portfolio. I say strange because after a recent positive trading update they have now come out with an announcement about an initiation of a strategic review. They say this will be wide ranging and may include a corporate transaction such as the Company acquiring complementary businesses, a merger with, acquisition of or subscription for the Company's securities by a third party, or a sale of the business. The purpose of the Strategic Review is to assess opportunities that will maximise value for shareholders.
Since elsewhere in the statement they flag the strong financial performance since they floated in March 2014 and say again that as a result they have determined it is appropriate to evaluate opportunities to maximise value for the Company's shareholders. Thus this seems to reflect their own dis-satisfaction with the rating they have been accorded by the market and as the management and what I assume are associated VC's seem to have more than half the shares I guess they could push through a deal if they want to. They say any discussions in relation to a merger with a third party or a sale of the Company will take place within the context of a "formal sale process"which seems to suggest they are trying to sell out as they also ask Parties with a potential interest in making an offer for, or merging with the Company should contact Canaccord Genuity.
Personally, I would have thought this might have been more positively received, as it looks like they are putting themselves up for sale. However, with it being a bad day in the market the shares are actually down 2 to 3% so perhaps the market is sceptical of their motives or that they might just be trying to get the price up before stitching up a deal with their VC partners? So while definitely not one for widows and orphans, it does look cheap and interesting down here given this announcement and it will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of this process.