Investment idea: KRUK S.A. (Market cap PLN 5.5bn/EUR 1.2bn)

18/11/2022

KRUK S.A., which is based in Wroclaw and has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2011, is the Polish market leader in the area of debt servicing and one of the leading players in its segment in Europe. With sophisticated software tools, the company’s staff analyses the financial situation of each customer and spreads his debt into manageable instalments. 

Since its foundation in 2004 by its current CEO and second-largest shareholder Piotr Krupa, the company has developed from a small firm with less than 20 employees to an international financial group with a focus on complex and integrated service offerings related to receivables management in Poland (50.1% of total sales in 2021), Romania (23.7%), Italy (16%), Spain (6.5%) and other markets incl. Germany, Czechia and Slovakia (together 3.5%). KRUK manages debt, which it has bought itself, or for which it has been commissioned by institutional clients – e.g. banks, credit intermediaries, insurances, leasing companies, telecommunication and cable & satellite operators and FMCG companies – in three segments: uninsured consumer debt, mortgage debt and corporate debt. This approach has many advantages as statistical information from the servicing business allows the company to lower the risk of the debt portfolios that it acquires.   

The KRUK Group comprises 25 fully consolidated subsidiaries incl. subsidiaries in all countries, in which it operates, RAVEN (a legal office), RD ERIF BIG (provides credit information) and NOVUM (provides loans to KRUK’s clients, who have already paid back their debt). 

Recent results

With a revenue and net income CAGR of 8.8% and 22.8% respectively, KRUK has grown rapidly on both top- and bottom-line in the last 5 years. In 2021, which followed the difficult pandemic year 2020, the company increased its revenues by 50.5% y-o-y to PLN 1.7bn, EBITDA by 139.7% to PLN 908m (52.1% margin vs. 32.7% in 2020) and net income by 757.9% to PLN 694.9m. All of its regional markets were profitable on EBITDA level. ROCE and ROE were very strong and reached 17.6% and 29.9% respectively. The company’s main peers Intrum (15.5%) and Hoist (negative ROE) from Sweden and Banca IFIS (6.4%) from Italy generated a lower ROE.

In 9M/22, KRUK continued its strong development as debt repayments by customers remained at a good level due to low unemployment and high salary increases. Between January and September 2022, the company’s revenues equalled PLN 1.6bn (+20.1% y-o-y), EBITDA PLN 874.8m (+17.5%; 54.3% margin) and net income PLN 676.9m (+19.7%). At the end of September, it had a net debt of PLN 3.2bn, which corresponds to a net gearing of 103.5%. This was less than Intrum (254.4%), Hoist (123.7%) and Banca Banca IFIS (290.4%).

Summary & Conclusion

We like KRUK as it is No 1 in Poland and a leader in Europe in its market, has grown strongly over the last years and since its IPO has been considered one of the best companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Most of its shareholders are long-term oriented Polish pension funds and international institutional investors, while its insiders own 10.5% of its shares. Moreover, KRUK’s stock is currently pretty cheap – cons. P/E 2022E equals 7.7x compared to a 5y historical average of 16.1x – and this week the company passed a share buyback until 2026E of up to PLN 1bn at max. PLN 400 per share (40.5% above current market price). This corresponds to 20% of its current shares outstanding. 

Since 2014, KRUK has paid a dividend for all fiscal years except 2019. For 2022E, the sell-side consensus assumes a DPS of PLN 12.50, which implies a dividend yield of 4.3% at present. The company’s dividend policy for 2021-2024 foresees the payout of 30% of its annual net profit to shareholders.

In terms risks, we see two main ones: (1) change of government regulations and (2) the significant increase of interest rates e.g. in Poland as it makes refinancing more difficult. Nevertheless, we expect that the debt repayment ratios of KRUK’s clients will remain solid due to high salary increases. Also, the share buyback should support the company’s share price in the coming months. 

KRUK is part of the Polish bluechip index WIG20, but its shares can also be traded in Germany.

Kino Polska TV S.A. (Market cap PLN 247m/EUR 52.4m)

12/11/2022

Business description

Kino Polska TV S.A. (KPL PW), which is based in Warsaw, is a leading producer and broadcaster of thematic TV channels with operations in 68 countries worldwide and a 36% share of international sales in total revenues. The company owns one of the largest catalogues with Polish content (movies, series, documentaries etc.) and through its owner SPI International, which since March 2022 has been part of the leading European media company Canal+ Group, has access to high-quality international movie content on an exclusive basis in Poland. Of the sales related to TV channels, which last year accounted for 88.1% of the total, 56.9% stem from recurring transmission/subscription fees, which makes KPL less dependent on very profitable but cyclical advertising sales.

KPL broadcasts channels under the six main brands Telewizja Kino PolskaKino Polska Muzyka, Kino TV, FilmBoxZoom TV and Stopklatka TV. All are wholly-owned and, except Zoom TV, profitable. Telewizja Kino Polska and Kino Polska Muzyka are focused on high-quality Polish movies and related music videos and FilmBox, Kino TV and Stopklatka on international movies. Zoom TV, which is supposed to become profitable in 2023E according to management, broadcasts series, documentaries and shows. All KPL’s channels can be watched on multiple platforms including digital terrestrial TV (DVB-T), satellite & cable, online and on mobile devices. The FilmBox channel family, which KPL produces, is already available in 68 countries in the CEE & SEE region, North- and South America and Asia. 

According to wirtualnemedia.pl, there is a trend towards consolidation of thematic channels because many broadcast the same content that is often repeated. In the future the remaining TV channels will be well-profiled to certain operators and advertisers and available not just on digital terrestrial TV, satellite and cable platforms but also via streaming services such as Netflix or HBO. Moreover, with improving internet speed video content will increasingly be consumed on mobile devices. According to We Are Social, movies and videos are by far the most popular type of paid content worldwide. 

Recent results

KPL is a fast-growing and highly profitable company with a revenue CAGR in 2015-2021 of 15.7% and double-digit EBIT margins in each of the last seven years. In 2021, revenues came in PLN 257.2m (+21.4% y-o-y), EBITDA at PLN 117.3m (+32.5%; 45.6% margin) and net income at PLN 48.6m (+78.6%). Operating and free cash flow amounted to PLN 57.3m (2020: PLN 28.4m) and PLN 50.9m (PLN 24.6m) respectively. At 24.9%, ROCE was very strong. Despite the Ukraine conflict, in H1/22 the company’s sales advanced by 17.1% y-o-y to PLN 139.3m, EBITDA by 4.9% to PLN 57.3m (41.1% margin vs. 45.9% in H1/21) and net income by 5.8% to PLN 21.2m (15.2% margin). At the end of June 2022, Kino Polska TV had a net gearing of -12.5% and thus was net cash. 

On November 9th, KPL issued preliminary results for Q3 and 9M/22. Between June and September, consolidated revenues equalled PLN 65m (+2.3% y-o-y), while in Jan-Sep they amounted to PLN 204.3m (+12%). However, in Q3/22 net income declined by 39% y-o-y to PLN 6.7m due to exchange rate differences and higher expenses related to ZOOM TV. This year, the PLN reached the weakest level ever compared to the USD and EUR. 

After paying dividends in each year after its IPO in 2011 until 2018, the company resumed its dividend payouts in 2022. For fiscal-year 2021, it paid out a DPS of PLN 0.50, which corresponds to a payout ratio of 20.5% and a dividend yield of 4% at present.

Summary & Conclusion

We like Kino Polska TV due to its competent management, the strong anchor shareholder Canal+ (is wholly owned by Vivendi Group), a cash-generating and fast-growing TV business, which is based on high-quality content, and very attractive valuation (currently, its trailing EV/EBITDA after H1/22 results equals just 4.1x and trailing P/E after prel. 9M/22 figures 8.8x). We also believe that in the next 3-4 years Canal+ will buy all outstanding shares of the company and de-list it, which will likely be conducted at a significant premium to the current share price. Regarding dividend payouts, we expect that Kino Polska TV will distribute at least 20% of its annual net income to shareholders in the coming years.

When it comes to risks, investors should be aware of the following: (1) An economic slowdown would negatively affect KPL’s advertising sales, which are highly profitable, (2) KPL’s content costs are in EUR and USD, but >60% of revenues in PLN, (3) Competition by streaming platforms such as Netflix, which nowadays invest billions of USD in own content, (4) Inability to renew co-operation agreements with cable operators and satellite platforms, and (5) Kino Polska TV’s stock can only be traded in Warsaw, which reduces the number of potential new investors

Starward Industries S.A. (Market cap PLN 116m/EUR 24.8m)

10/11/2022

Business description

The Krakow-based gaming studio Starward Industries S.A. was founded by former employees of the most famous Polish games developer CD Projekt S.A. The CEO Marek Makuszewski is the company’s largest shareholder with a stake of 18.2%, while members of the management and supervisory board and employees own in total 31.9% of the company.

Starward Industries owns the rights to the IP of Stanislaw Lem, the author of the world-famous science fiction novel “Solaris”. According to our research, the licensing contract, which was signed with the heir of Stanislaw Lem, comprises a single-digit percentage fee on future sales of the company’s products.

Based on Mr Lem’s IP, Starward Industries is currently working on the AA+ game “The Invincible”, which it expects to release in 2023E for PC, Google Stadia, and all next-gen consoles. The game, which is currently No 79 on Steam Global Wishlist, has so far cost PLN 12m/EUR 2.7m. The marketing of the game will be financed by Starward’s new publisher 11bit Studios S.A., which has developed the successful games “Frostpunk” and “This War of Mine” and is considered one of the best-managed Polish video game companies.

According to its representatives, Starward Industries currently employs 34 people, thereof 25 developers and 9 marketing, communication, legal and administration staff. Many of them have worked at the largest Polish video game studios Techland and CD Projekt in the past. As almost all employees are or will soon be the company’s shareholders, the fluctuation is very low. When it comes to software developers, Starward has all necessary skills on board and thus does not need to outsource much work. In our view, this gives it full control over the quality. 

Recent results

In 2021, Starward Industries had a net loss of PLN 2m with zero revenues from product sales. In H1/22, the net loss equalled PLN -878k and the free cash flow PLN -867k. We estimate the company’s current net cash at PLN 6.5m, which according to its representatives will be sufficient to finance operations until the release of “The Invincible”, which we expect in September 2023 at the latest (in Q4, usually all the largest game premieres take place).  

Summary & Conclusion

In our view, Starward Industries is one of the best gaming studios on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. We like the committed management team, the fact that insiders incl. employees hold >30% of the shares, the track record of the team and the publishing agreement with 11bit Studios, which also holds a stake of 5.1% in the company. 

Based on our estimates, we forecast that with 800,000 copies sold Starward Industries will generate revenues of PLN 134m and a net profit of PLN 45m in 2023E. This would imply a highly attractive P/E 2023E multiple of 2.6x at present. We expect that Starward Industries will pay out a significant share of its net profit as dividends. In our view, the payout ratio could reach 40%, which would correspond to a dividend yield of 15.5% at present.

The main risks, which investors should be aware of, are (1) delays with the production of the game, and (2) bad quality of the end-product, which would negatively affect its sales.

Apart from the Warsaw Stock Exchange, Starward Industries’ shares can also be traded in Germany.

Genomtec S.A. (GMT PW; Market cap EUR 12m) – At least 15 times undervalued based on M&A deals in the global diagnostic device sector

02/06/2022

Business description

The founder-managed MedTech company Genomtec (www.genomtec.com) was established in 2016 by scientists from the Wroclaw Medical University. It has developed a molecular diagnostic device, which compared to standard PCR devices costs 6 times less, is mobile, much faster and energy efficient. We believe that given its already announced distribution contract in Greece, Genomtec will likely generate first revenues of PLN >1m in 2022 upon receipt of CE/IVD certification in the EU for its molecular diagnostic device Genomtec ID within the next two months. The global PoC Molecular Diagnostics Market, which the company targets, is worth USD 2.8bn and growing at a CAGR of 8.2% (Source: MarketsandMarkets)

Genomtec, which already has international shareholders, is listed in the NewConnect segment of the Warsaw Stock Exchange but can also be traded in Frankfurt. Its founders own >33% of the total shares outstanding, while its largest shareholder is the major Polish VC fund Leonarto VC (www.leonarto.vc). The team includes Polish scientists, but also foreign experts incl. Charudutt Shah (Chief Business Officer), who previously worked in Business Development at the major global MedTech company biomerieux; and Jason Reece (Chief Technology Officer), who has previously been in charge of several IVD (In-Vitro Diagnostics) systems e.g. at Novartis and Perkin Elmer. In its UK-based facility, Genomtec employs several experienced production engineers.

Genomtec’s products

Genomtec ID is GMT’s flagship molecular diagnostic device for the analysis of DNA. Compared to stationary PCR devices, it is small, much more energy efficient and faster (it only needs 30-40 min to deliver results), but also offers 10-100 times higher reaction efficiency. It can be used everywhere and does not need to be handled by skilled personnel with laboratory training.

Genomtec ID includes an analyzer and a reaction card with integrated genetic tests and provides multiplexing capability of simultaneously up to five genetic targets. One of the diagnostic panels, which is supposed to cost c. EUR 45 and will generate recurring revenues for Genomtec in the future, is for respiratory diseases and includes SARS-CoV-2. Others, which are however still under development, cover e.g. Sexually-transmitted infections and SEPSIS.

Apart from Genomtec ID, the company also offers rapid genetic tests, including two-gene SARS-CoV-2 tests. In the future, it also plans to develop Genomtec Tumor, another SNAAT-based device that could be used to quickly identify neoplastic mutations.

Financials

We estimate Genomtec current cash position at c. PLN 5m. This should allow the company to launch production of the Genomtec ID device after certification in Q3/22. However, in order to grow its sales team and ramp up production it will likely have to conduct another capital increase soon. We estimate Genomtec’s current monthly cash burn at c. PLN 1m.

Valuation

We have strong faith in Genomtec’s management and its technology, which in our view offers significant advantages compared to the current PCR standard. In particular, we believe that the track record of Charudutt Shah and Jason Reece significantly increases the probability of a successful commercialization of Genomtec ID.

Given the sales potential of its Genomtec ID device, the company is currently very attractively valued, in our view. Its current market capitalization equals USD 12.8m, while similar companies have been sold for at least 15 times higher valuations in the last years. For example, in 2014 Swiss Roche acquired US-based company iQuum (provided the Liat Analyzer and the Liat Influenza A/B Assay) for USD 450m including milestone payments. In another M&A deal in 2018, German Qiagen bought Spanish STAT-Dx (offered the DiagCORE system, an easy-to-use platform that consolidates molecular and immunoassay techniques in a single PCR device) for in total USD 191m.

Disclaimer: The author of this blog post may own shares of Genomtec