The markets seem to have been on a roller coaster ride of late – going up when there’s a statement related to government support for the struggling economies, and falling when there’s a sudden rise in reported coronavirus cases or an announcement related to the lockdown of a region.
The uncertainties and unknowns around COVID-19 pandemic have been the most significant cause of concern for the world. Questions such as when will we have the first treatment? or how effective will regional lockdowns be in controlling the rapid spread? remain unanswered. Market participants, out of fear and panic, have pulled out significant amounts of investments worrying that the markets will fall further.
In this article, we will look at some of the companiesthat are trending in the news:
Aventus Group is involved in the investment and management of large format retail property assets. The Company consists of Aventus Capital Limited and Aventus Holdings Limited. Aventus’ portfolio comprises 20 centres worth $2.2 billion.
On 24 March 2020, the Company announced a per unit distribution of 1.065 cents for the three months ending 31 March 2020. The Company will be paying the said distribution on 20 May 2020 to the shareholders registered on 31 March 2020 (Record Date).
Aventus also highlighted thatthe operating performance of its portfolio has beenrobustup the pointwhere COVID-19 pandemic started having a material impact. Moreover, it possesses a healthy balance sheet along with no debt expirationuntil May 2022. AVN has cash balance and available undrawn facilities of more than $100 million.
During 1H FY20 (period ended 31 December 2019), the Company experienced a like-for-like(LFL) net operating income growth of 3.1%. During the period it also reported funds from operation amounting to $53 million.
Concerning the outlook, Aventus has suspended its earnings and distribution guidance for FY20 because of the rising uncertainty concerning the duration, possible treatment, and measures to control the spread of the disease.
The stock of AVNwas trading at $1.450 on 27 March 2020 (at 03:38 PM ADT), indicating a decline of 8.517% from its previous closing price. The market capitalisation of Aventus stood at $888.03 million, and the total outstanding shares stood at 557.12million. During the last three months and last six months, the stock of AVN has provided shareholders with returns of -46.27% and -42.36%, respectively.
Bapcor Limited is engaged in the distribution and sale of motor vehicle aftermarket parts and accessories, automotive equipment and services, as well as motor vehicle servicing. The Company has over 1,000 locations globally.
The performance of the Company’s businesses has been consistent with the forecasts since 01 January 2020. Bapcor’s core Burson trade segment sales numbers have been impressive. However, despite the resilient performance of the business, the Company is not confident about the finishing of financial year 2020 due to the announcement of business closures in Thailand, Australia and New Zealand as well as the rising uncertainty from COVID-19. As a result, the Company has considered it prudent to suspend its guidance for FY20. According to Bapcor’s CEO and MD, Mr Darryl Abotomey, the Company is resilient andhasa financially robust business.
The stock of BAP was trading at $3.770 on 27 March 2020 (at 03:38 PM ADT), indicating a decline of 2.078% from its previous closing price. The market capitalisation of Bapcor stood at $1.1billion, and the total outstanding shares stood at 285.74 million. During the last three months and last six months, the stock of BAP has provided shareholders with returns of -40.95% and -45.85%, respectively.
Nufarm Limited is engaged in the manufacturing and sale of crop protection products and its proprietary seed technologies business.
Improved Free Cash Flows in 1H FY20
The Company, 25 March 2020, notified the market aboutits operational and financial performance for the first half of financial year 2020 and outlined the following:
- NUF experienced continued challenging conditions in 1H FY20 (period ended 31 January 2020), which werealso experienced in FY19. The Company reported revenue amounting to $1,477 million with a fall of 6%. Underlying EBITDA for the period stood at $66 million, witnessing a decline of 45% compared to pcp.
- Free cash flow for 1H FY20 improved by $170 million. Moreover, NUF expects its balance sheet to be much stronger after the sale of South American businesses on 01 April 2020.
- The Company has made significant investments in its Nuseed, North American and European businesses in past years. NUF anticipates a rise in returns for shareholders in the upcoming years from increased earnings from these investments, with continued improvement in its Australian business.
EBITDA Movement (Source: Company’s Report)
For 2H FY20 outlook, the Company is uncertain due to the rising uncertainties from COVID-19. However, it is expecting stronger demand following the recent improvement in weather conditions.
The stock of NUF was trading at $4.770 on 27 March 2020 (at 03:38 PM ADT), indicating a decline of 2.053% from its previous closing price. The market capitalisation of Nufarm stood at $1.85billion, and the total outstanding shares stood at 379.69 million. During the last three months and last six months, the stock of NUF has provided shareholders with returns of -18.01% and 12.47%, respectively.
Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS)
Pilbara Minerals Limited is involved in the exploration and production of lithium and tantalum. Pilbara operates the wholly-owned Pilgangoora Li-Ta Project located in Pilbara, Western Australia.
Signing of a New Agreement:On 25 March 2020, the Company inked a 5-year offtake agreement with Yibin Tianyi for 75,000tpa of high-quality spodumene concentrate from the Pilgangoora Project. The Company has completed the first shipment of 20kt of spodumene concentrate in March 2020. PLS has targeted the second shipment for late April/early May 2020.
Despite the global impact of COVID-19, mainly in China, Pilbara Minerals has continued with the sales of spodumene concentrate to China and South Korea achieved during March 2020 quarter.
During 1H FY20, the Companyexperienced a decent improvement in lithia recoveries after the completion of plant optimisation, and development works during September 2019 Quarter.
The stock of PLS was trading at $0.165 on 27 March 2020 (at 03:38 PM ADT), indicating a decline of 2.941% from its previous closing price. The market capitalisation of Pilbara stood at $378.03million, and the total outstanding shares stood at 2.22billion. During the last three months and last six months, the stock of PLS has provided shareholders with returns of -35.85% and -47.69%, respectively.
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