Hays (HAS)

Sector:

Support

Index:

FTSE 250

95.70p
   
  • Change Today:
      1.60p
  • 52 Week High: 121.00
  • 52 Week Low: 92.60
  • Currency: UK Pounds
  • Shares Issued: 1,584.72m
  • Volume: 2,195,215
  • Market Cap: £1,516.58m
  • RiskGrade: 145

Broker tips: Loungers, Hays

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 13 Oct 2023

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - Liberum has kept a 'buy' recommendation on Hays despite the recruitment firm failing to meeting expectations with its first-quarter results, but has trimmed its target price slightly from 125p to 120p.
Hays reported on Thursday that like-for-like net fee income fell by 7% in the fiscal first quarter, below the 5% drop expected by analysts.

Liberum analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi said he has now reduced his full-year EBIT forecasts by 12%, "bringing us more in line with consensus, which had been drifting down into this update".

He says that the EBIT recovery journey "could be a long one", but that Liberum still favours Hays to competitive Page due to its higher exposure to the temp and contract markets.

"Hays' higher temp/contract mix provides a degree more protection through the cycle than Page's perm focus. It is increasingly focusing on higher margin and higher growth segments and driving productivity is key. However, the forecast trajectory needs to pick up before the shares can properly re-rate," Vidyarthi said.

"As things stand, our FY26E EBIT is little more than what was achieved in FY07. Meanwhile, the balance sheet remains strong enough to weather the storm and there is some yield support (FY24E: 5.5%)."

Shore Capital has reiterated its 'buy' stance on Loungers, highlighting that the stock has not budged since its 2019 IPO despite the hospitality company having made "material progress".

The cafe, bar and restaurant owner reported on Friday that trading in the first half has been strong, with like-for-like sales growth of 7.7%, up from 5.7% at the first-quarter stage and well ahead of Shore Capital's 5% forecast for the full year.

Inflationary pressures have continued to ease, while the roll-out of new sites has continued, with 16 new stores during the half, taking the portfolio to 238.

Shore Capital said that for every 1 percentage point of LFL upside is equal to an EBITDA lift of £1m, which the broker currently forecasts as £39.2m for the full year, and so there is "upside risk" to current market estimates after the first-half beat.

"Loungers has made material progress since its IPO, the group is operating an estate of 238 sites versus 146 at FY19A (so 63% larger) and is set to out turn (pre-IFRS) EBITDA of £39.2m vs FY19A £20.1m (95% higher).Yet, it's share price remain broadly unchanged," the broker said.

The stock, which IPO'd at around the 200p level, has traded within a range of 100p to 300p over the past few years, but has remained close to the 200p level for the past 12 months. On Friday, it was up 2.4% at 191.4p, however Shore Capital estimates a fair value being close to 320p.

Analysts said that the recent offer for sector peer and Wagamama owner Restaurant Group (valued at 7.3x forward EBITDA) and the takeover of Franco Manca owner Fulham Shore (valued at 7x forward EBITDA) should be "supportive of upside risk to Loungers' EV/EBITDA (pre-IFRS) of 4.7x-which we think in its own right should trade at a premium to peers".

"LGRS has sequentially accelerated its roll-out, and executed, whilst maintaining CROIC per site of >30% (top-end of peers)and now has signalled an inflection in its EBITDA margin trajectory. If the market does not respond, we sense other pools of capital will continue take advantage of record low valuations in the sector," Shore Capital said.

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Note 1: Prices and trades are provided by Digital Look Corporate Solutions and are delayed by at least 15 minutes.

Note 2: RiskGrade figures are provided by RiskMetrics.

 

Hays Market Data

Currency UK Pounds
Share Price 95.70p
Change Today 1.60p
% Change 1.70 %
52 Week High 121.00
52 Week Low 92.60
Volume 2,195,215
Shares Issued 1,584.72m
Market Cap £1,516.58m
RiskGrade 145

Hays Star Ratings

Compare performance with the sector and the market.
more star ratings
Key: vs Market vs Sector
Value Not Available
Price Trend
34.28% below the market average34.28% below the market average34.28% below the market average34.28% below the market average34.28% below the market average
41.75% below the sector average41.75% below the sector average41.75% below the sector average41.75% below the sector average41.75% below the sector average
Income Not Available
Growth
16.93% above the market average16.93% above the market average16.93% above the market average16.93% above the market average16.93% above the market average
3.92% above the sector average3.92% above the sector average3.92% above the sector average3.92% above the sector average3.92% above the sector average

What The Brokers Say

Strong Buy 6
Buy 2
Neutral 3
Sell 0
Strong Sell 0
Total 11
buy
Broker recommendations should not be taken as investment advice, and are provided by the authorised brokers listed on this page.

Hays Dividends

  Latest Previous
  Interim Final
Ex-Div 29-Feb-24 05-Oct-23
Paid 09-Apr-24 17-Nov-23
Amount 0.95p 2.05p

Trades for 01-Mar-2024

Time Volume / Share Price
16:35 1,333,205 @ 95.70p
16:35 1 @ 95.70p
16:35 483 @ 95.70p
16:35 11,534 @ 95.70p
16:35 1,683 @ 95.70p

Hays Key Personnel

CEO Dirk Hahn

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