Investment Matters

Company News

Australian Equities sub-portfolio

Earlypay (positive impact) provided an update for March.

Transaction volumes continue to accelerate, with the company now run rating at an annualised transaction volume of $2.2 billion – exceeding our expectations.

We are conscious of being premature in conflating “growth” with value, particularly when it comes to lenders, however, Earlypay has a proven track record in invoice financing with little to no impairments historically.

Customers are also borrowing more – with the use of facilities beginning to trend back to pre-COVID levels.

The increase in activity gives us optimism that its online transformation, as well the resumption of normal business activity has helped the company recover its momentum.

***

United Malt Group (positive impact) released its results for the first half of 2021.

United Malt operates two businesses: one is involved in the processing of malts for larger breweries and the second distributes malt and other brewing related products to smaller/craft breweries.

We were pleased to see a recovery of processing volumes – which averaged 95% of pre-COVID levels over the half. We expect the profitability of this processing to improve as the company’s customer mix shifts back towards higher-margin craft customers.

It was also pleasing to see a recovery in warehouse and distribution – with the return of craft customers.

We expect volumes and margins to continue to recover as economies open up and the on-premises consumption of beer begins to normalise.

The company also announced a program to reduce A$30 million in costs through several measures including better procurement and consolidation of its warehousing and distribution. The costs are expected to be delivered over the next three years and provide upside to our forecasts.

Overall, United Malt continues to benefit from the recovery in activity post-COVID and remains to be a cash flow generative business, with strategically located assets that are attractive in the current environment.

***

Property sub-portfolio

Garda Property Group (positive impact) announced it has acquired three industrial development properties.

The three sites located in Brisbane are expected to add 128,000 m2 in gross floor area, which will significantly expand Garda’s development pipeline.

The acquisitions further orientate the group’s portfolio towards industrial property assets, where demand has been strong and capitalisation rates have continued to compress.

 

***

The above market commentary represents the views and opinions of First Samuel Pty Ltd. Such market commentary contains information of a general nature only. Such market commentary is not intended to provide a sufficient basis on which to make any investment decision and should not be taken as such. It has not taken into consideration your objectives, needs or financial situation. Before making decisions in relation to any financial product, you should always obtain and read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or information statement and seek personal financial advice.