LSI Software S.A. (Market cap PLN 40.3m/EUR 8.6m) – Small but promising Polish software company

10/01/2023

Business description

The LSI Software Group, which has c. 300 employees (full-time and freelancers), was founded in 1998 and is based in Lodz. It is a provider of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for hotels, restaurants (products: Gastro, tAPP Gastro, POSitive Restaurant), cinemas (POSitive Cinema) – in these three areas, it is Polish market leader with a share of between 43% and 75% – sports facilities and retailers. In addition, it is the exclusive distributor of POS management systems and peripheral devices of the company Posiflex and, since year-end 2021, the robots of the Chinese company PUDU, which operates in 60 countries worldwide. Due to the structure of the company’s sales – the sector HoReCa accounts for c. 70% of its annual sales – LSI Software was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a revenue and EBITDA decline of 17% and 43% respectively y-o-y. 

LSI Software, where in 2021 international revenues made up 24% of the total, generates sales from software integration, consulting, services, and hardware delivery. Last year, revenues from own software and maintenance/servicing accounted for 53.7% of the total, however the distribution activities (mainly sales of Posiflex products and PUDU robots) were most profitable with a gross margin of 30%. Recently, the company started offering its software products in the SaaS model, which is particularly attractive for smaller clients due to the low monthly fee of c. PLN 250. In our view, this should increase the share of recurring revenues from currently c. 50% and improve profitability in the coming years. 

According to management, LSI’s clients include >5,000 restaurants, c. 1,500 cinemas and several dozen cinema chains. The 3-4 largest customers account for only 15-20% of the company’s yearly sales and the customer churn only equals <5%. Examples of clients include the cinema chains Helios S.A. (Poland), Muvi Cinemas (Saudi-Arabia), KITAG Cinemas (Switzerland) and the leading Polish retail and restaurant chains CCC and Amrest.

Currently, LSI Software has c. 300 employees, of which 75% work as software developers and testers and 25% in other functions such as sales & marketing, HR and administration. Although there is no employee incentive scheme, the employee fluctuation is below peers, according to management.

LSI Software’s largest shareholder is its CEO Grzegorz Siewiera, who owns 30.8% of its shares, but 53.6% of the votes. The Spanish family office Inmuebles Polo SL owns a stake of 13.2%.

Recent results

Between 2013 and 2019, LSI Software grew at a CAGR of 14.8% on top line. After the pandemic year 2020, in which the company was hit hard due to its dependance on the HoReCa sector, in 2021 LSI Software’s revenues went up by 25.5% to PLN 54m. While the gross margin jumped to 30.7% (2020: 21.3%), EBIT and net income improved by 256% to PLN 5.9m (11% margin) and by 169.1% to PLN 6.5m respectively. However, due to higher investments in working capital and CAPEX operating and free cash flow deteriorated to PLN 4.5m (2020: PLN 9.9m) and PLN -3m (PLN 6.1m) respectively. In 2021, LSI generated a ROCE of 10% compared to an estimated WACC of 18% at present. 

Due to the recovery in most of its markets after COVID-19-related lockdowns for 9M/22 LSI Software reported revenues of PLN 40m, which corresponds to a y-o-y increase of 19.9%. 18% (9M/21: 11%) of total sales were generated abroad, of which 6% (4%) in the US. The share of revenues from own products and services declined to 52.8% (54.7%), which mainly stemmed from 24.9% higher sales of hardware such as PUDU robots. In 9M/22, the Group’s gross margin improved from 22% last year to 23.4%. However, following 85.7% lower other operating income due to a one-off effect – in 9M/21, LSI reported PLN 3.4m of COVID 19-related government grants vs. PLN 245k in 9M/22 – as well as 21.6% higher sales costs y-o-y (e.g. trade fairs, sales staff), which should have already positively impacted results in Q4/22, EBIT declined from PLN 1.6m to PLN -1m and net income from PLN 1.4m to PLN -1.3m. Between January and September 2022, free cash flow equalled PLN -10.9m (9M/21: PLN -698k), which was related to significant investments in inventories of PLN 5.7m due to longer delivery times of suppliers, among others. At the end of September 2022, the company had net debt of PLN 2.9m, which corresponds to 6.5% of its equity. Its interest-bearing debt mainly reflects the valuation of its office leasing contract in Warsaw according to IFRS 16.

Summary & Conclusion

In our view, LSI Software is a solid, owner-managed software company with a leading position in its domestic market and strong growth potential related to the roll-out of SaaS-based products and further international expansion. Based on most recent broker estimates, it is currently trading at an EV/EBITDA 2022E of 4.5x, EV/EBITDA 2023E of 3.7x, P/E 2023E of 7.5x and PEG of 0.23. For the coming years, we expect an acceleration of growth and regular dividend payouts. We also believe that due to its strong product portfolio and attractive valuation LSI Software could be taken over by a larger player soon. 

A post-war Ukraine and consequences for listed Polish companies

21/12/2022

Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, which started on February 24 this year, has lasted 10 months to date. The UN estimates the number of Ukrainian civilian casualties, which have so far been caused by the war, at >17,000 (>6,700 deaths, >10,400 injured), while according to the NYTimes the number of dead or wounded soldiers equals >100,000. The Kiev School of Economics believes that the losses due to destruction of infrastructure amount to USD >130bn. In November, Ukrainian President Wolodymir Zelensky confirmed that up to 40% of his country’s critical energy infrastructure had been destroyed. 

From the beginning, Poland has been one of Ukraine’s largest supporters. According to Kiel Institute for the World Economy, only Latvia and Estonia have so far spent more on financial, humanitarian, and military aid as percentage of GDP than Poland. Moreover, since the outbreak of the war the country has provided refuge to >8.5m Ukrainians, who had fled their country after the outbreak of the war (Source: 300gospodarka.pl).

While the war continues, it is clear that the fighting will stop sooner or later. In this blog post, we analyse, which Polish companies could potentially benefit from contracts related to the re-building of Ukraine in the coming years. 

Most obvious beneficiaries are construction companies

After a ceasefire agreement, the Ukraine will start re-building its infrastructure e.g. bridges, roads, energy infrastructure, buildings. In our view, it is likely that the public administration will mandate foreigners with a large part of this task. Apart from US-based companies – the US is by far the largest provider of military support to Ukraine – we expect that Polish firms will strongly benefit from Ukrainian orders. 

Here are some examples of listed companies, whose results could be positively affected in the coming years: 

1. Budimex S.A. (Market cap EUR 1.5bn):  Owned by Spanish construction giant Ferrovial, Budimex’s main activities consist of the construction of roads, bridges, and airports; the design, development, construction and maintenance of industrial plants and environmental facilities; the construction of public and commercial facilities, and development of residential property. In 2021, the company generated revenues of PLN 7.9bn (CAGR 2016-2021 = 7.3%) and an EBITDA margin of 9.3%. Last year, 4.6% of its total revenues stemmed from abroad. Budimex has paid a dividend in each of the last 14 years.

2. Erbud S.A. (Market cap EUR 89.7m):  Erbud, whose largest shareholder is German family-owned construction company Wolff & Müller Holding GmbH & Co. KG, operates in the areas of building & residential construction, road construction, industrial construction as well as engineering & services for the Energy sector. In 2021, the company generated revenues of PLN 3.1bn (CAGR 2016-2021 = 11.6%) and an EBITDA margin of 4.3%. Last year, approx. 13.3% of its total sales stemmed from abroad, especially Germany, Belgium, Norway, France, Sweden and Austria. Between 2014 and 2018, Erbud paid a dividend every year.

3. Torpol S.A. (Market cap EUR 92.9m): Torpol focuses on construction services related to transport infrastructure e.g. railway and tramway tracks and stations, as well as engineering services. It also provides services in the field of construction, modernization, and renovation of medium- and low-voltage overhead electricity networks, traffic control light signals, street lighting systems and telecommunications networks, as well as design services. In 2021, Torpol generated revenues of PLN 1.1bn (CAGR 2016-2021 = 7.8%) and an EBITDA margin of 11.4%. Only a very small share of revenues stemmed from abroad. Between 2014 and 2021, Torpol did not pay a dividend only once: for 2017.

4. Unibep S.A. (Market cap EUR 60.4m):  Unibep operates in Poland (80.6% of total sales in 2021), Norway (10.9%), Germany (2.7%), Sweden (1%), Belarus (0.2%) and in the Ukraine (4.7%). The company builds roads and apartments and provides services related to construction and repair of bridges. Unibep, whose largest shareholders are Members of the Supervisory Board or their family, generated total revenues of PLN 1.7bn (CAGR 2016-2021 = 6.5%) and an EBITDA margin of 4.9% in 2021. The company has paid dividends for every year since 2008.

IT companies could also benefit 

Due to the need to re-build the IT infrastructure of both the private and the public sector after the war we believe that the following Polish IT companies could receive significant orders from Ukraine in the coming years:

1. Asseco Poland S.A. (Market cap EUR 1.3bn):  Asseco Poland is the 6th largest IT company in Europe and the largest in Poland. Approx. 78% of its revenues stem from own software and c. 90% from abroad. While no detailed sales figures are available, the company also does business in the CIS region.

Asseco Poland is market leader in the areas of public sector software in Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, and Israel. Moreover, it is a leading provider of software products for the sectors Healthcare, Energy, Telco, SMEs and Financials. The company has NATO certificates and provides cybersecurity solutions, which contribute PLN 200-300m to its total yearly sales. In 2021, Asseco Poland generated revenues of PLN 14.5bn (CAGR 2016-2021 = 12.8%) and an EBITDA margin of 15.5%. Since 2007, the company has always paid dividends.

2. Comarch S.A. (Market cap EUR 303.2m):  Comarch is the No 2 Polish IT company with a share of c. 58% of international sales (of which c. 1.5% stemmed from Russia & Ukraine in 2021) and c. 16% of own products. The company provides its services to clients from various industry sectors (e.g. TMT, Finance/Banking, Retail, SMEs) and public administration. In 2021, Comarch generated revenues of PLN 1.6bn (CAGR 2016-2021 = 7.9%) and an EBITDA margin of 17.2%. The company has always been paying dividends since 2017. However, investors should be aware of corporate governance issues.

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

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

Investment idea: Mo-Bruk S.A. (Sector Waste Management; MBR PW)

23/02/2021

Business description

Mo-Bruk (Market cap PLN 1.36bn / EUR 302.2m) is the market leader of the Polish waste management sector, which is highly promising as Poland is still far behind other EU countries when it comes to waste processing (e.g. 42% of Polish waste is dumped on waste landfills vs. 1% in Germany) and has to comply with the EU “Green Deal”. In order to increase the share of processed & recycled waste, the government is increasing the Marshall Fee, which is the price per tonne of dumped waste (the higher it is, the more waste management companies can charge for their services). The Marshall Fee currently equals PLN 301.84/tonne and since 2018 has increased at a CAGR of 29.2%.

Compared to its listed peers Geotrans, Krynicki Recycling and Grupa RECYKL, Mo-Bruk is able to process c. 95% kinds of waste. Also, as the only listed company in Poland it provides waste incineration, solidification and stabilisation in own facilities and sells alternative fuels and construction material. Mo-Bruk, whose roots go back to 1985 and which is controlled by the Mokrzycki family, has grown its sales and net income at a CAGR of 35.2% and 164.8% respectively since 2016. After investments of c. PLN 200m in the last few years, it operates own facilities in 5 locations in Southern Poland, where most of Polish industry is based.

In 2019, Mo-Bruk’s segments had the following share in the company’s total sales:  (1) Solidification and stabilisation of inorganic waste (mainly from chemical and construction companies) – 45.4% (2) Production of alternative fuels (mainly from car manufacturers) – 22.2% (3) Incineration of toxic waste (mainly from hospitals, drug producers and refineries) – 32.3%. The end products of waste incineration/solidification/stabilisation – heat, alternative fuels and cement granules – are sold e.g. to cement producers, utilities, construction companies and mines. Thus, the company’s business model perfectly fits into the concept of the so-called “circular economy”, which is the main objective of the EU “Green Deal”.

Financials

In 2019, Mo-Bruk generated revenues of PLN 130.6m (+41% y-o-y), an EBITDA of PLN 58.7m (44.9% margin) and net income of PLN 40.1m (30.7% margin). 7.5% of sales stemmed from abroad compared to 6.3% in 2018. In 2019, the company employed 233 people on average.

Between January and September 2020, the company’s sales reached PLN 122.6m (+40.9%). EBITDA equalled PLN 69.8m (+102.2% y-o-y; 56.9% margin) and net income PLN 52.9m (+122.2%; 43.2% margin). Operating and free cash flow reached PLN 41.5m and PLN 47.7m respectively. As of 30/09/2020, Mo-Bruk had net cash of PLN 11.9m.

Summary & Conclusion

Mo-Bruk is a market leader in a sector, which requires high initial investments. Moreover, as the shadow economy still accounts for 30-40% of the waste management sector in Poland, companies, which want to provide respective services, need government permissions. In addition, public clients usually prefer to work together with companies, which have a good track record. Thus, we believe that in Poland Mo-Bruk will remain the undisputed market leader at least in the next 3 years.  

Another reasons, which make Mo-Bruk an attractive investment, are the low capacity utilisation of its facilities (c. 40% currently); the increasing Marshall Fee in Poland, which in our view will continue to increase by 5-10% over the next 2-3 years; and its prices, which are >2x below those in Western Europe. All of the above should allow Mo-Bruk to grow its revenues significantly in the near future and to maintain a very high profitability and cash generation. The volume of waste, which is produced in Poland every year, equals 114.1m tons and grows roughly in-line with GDP.

Our expectation for net profit in 2020 is PLN 79m (+197.1% y-o-y), which implies a P/E of 17.1x at present and PEG ratio of 0.09. While in our view the current broker estimates for 2021E (Revenues: PLN 240m; Net income: PLN 92.9m) are realistic, we believe that the market forecasts for 2022E (Revenues: PLN 273m, Net income: PLN 101m) are too conservative. We expect that Mo-Bruk will pay out a dividend both for 2020 (exp. DYield = 3.6%) and the following years. The company’s dividend policy foresees the pay out of 50-100% of its yearly net profit.

Disclaimer: The author of this analysis owns shares of Mo-Bruk himself