Ava Risk Group Limited (ASX:AVA) is pleased to announce a Special Dividend. Shareholders as at the Record Date of 24 September 2020 will receive an unfranked dividend of $0.01 per share, paid on 23 October 2020.
Fantastic news! Parts of their business are reliant on non-recurring revenue, so to pay a special dividend shows that they are confident in the upcoming order book.
I anticipate that this means the service business is continuing it's strong growth and there may also be some Aura IQ conveyor monitoring contracts on the way. Three POV trials have been completed and there are now another 6 underway. I love this part of the annual report...
"In a recent Proof of Value (POV) Trial with a large multinational group, Aura IQ was used to monitor a 1.7km conveyor located in an underground coal mine in Queensland. In terms of business outcomes, the estimated financial benefits/costs savings per year were estimated to be A$37.1 million per annum, with utilisation time up by 5%*. These types of outcomes are indicative of how Aura IQ can increase productivity, maintenance efficiency and cost savings. Since its launch, interest in Aura IQ has been significant with a diverse portfolio of rollout opportunities spread across six regions, 21 countries and five industry sectors - totalling over $50+ million in potential total contract value."
How will I know if I got the thesis wrong?
1) $4 M positive cashflow for the quarter !
2) Company again highlights it has 100% margin revenue of $10 million forecast for FY2021 (no one seems to be listening!)
3) Services division reported strong growth in Q4 - previously reported.
4) Technology divison reported winning a defence contract (no value provided) and advised there are several "Proof of Value" trials for its Aura IQ conveyor health monitoring solution.
5) Gross margins were above 50%, despite the services division GMs running at 25%.
Very profitable 2nd half of the year, resulting in $5.7 M free cashflow generated for the full year, or 2.3 cents per share.
If AVA can execute on sales of its Aura IQ product, it looks very cheap at the current share price.
Looking deeper into the management team, the Services Division management team are quite impressive.
Mike McGeever, is the Non-Exec Chairman, and led Transguard to success - Transguard revenue was about $500 M USD lin 2019. Thats about 15X larger than AVA Services.
Grant Angwin is a non- executive director, and former President of Asahi refinery NA, the worls largest gold and silver refiner. grnat was also the chair of the London Bullion Market Association. Grants tremendous knowledge of, and connecitons within, the precious metals market will help AVA Services build opportunities in the sector.
With the merger of two giant in the industry, I think AVA Services has an opportunity to win more "long tail" clients. Long tail clients are the smaller clients of G4S (that no longer exists), and that Brinks are unable or unintersted in retaining as they are small fry for them (but attractive clients to AVA Services).
I would now prefer AVA Risk spin off AVA Services rather than sell it off to the highest bidder. AVA Services would be worth AVA Risk's entire current market cap within 2-3 years IMO.
AVA Risk released an investore presentation. In it there was a FY2021 guidance, Strangely, the announcment was not marked as market sensitive. Perhaps there is an earlier announcement, but I am yet to find it. Here are the key takeaways:
1) Forecast Q1 2021 revenue: +$15.5m - up 58% on pcp.
2) Positive cashflow for Q1 2021, and an improvement on the $0.9 M reported on pcp. It will likely translate into $3-4 millon in positive cashflow for the quarter.
3) Repeated the IMOD $11.7M revenue forecast to be booked in FY2021 - remember, this is 100% gross margin licencing fees.
4) AURA IQ pipeline is reproted to be +$49M, with another 6 proof of values deployments underway. Forecast recurring revenues for this new product in FY2021.
5) $14.6 M backlog as at June 30, 2020. It was just $6.0 millon a year ago.
AVA Risk are on track otearn +$60M in revenue this FY, and around 15-20% profit margins. IT still looks remarkably cheap at this price.
DISC - I HOLD ( a lot)
My financial model is attached (detailed assumption are on the far right). Here is a high-level summary:
Valuation applies a 7.9x EBITDA Multiple (as derived from Canaccord, by comparing it to its peers)
Forecasting Revenue growth (30% in H1 FY21):
I expect the stable fixed cost base to deliver EBITDA growth of 40% in H1 FY21
I have not included any revenue from Aura IQ (so this is upside)
I have kept the logistics business in the forecast, but I feel like it will be sold prior to Feb-21
As it is profitable, I do not expect any capital raising (subject to any M&A).
I have not considered any dividends, but this is a real possiblity
Beyond FY21, AVA will need something to replace the IMOD contract (hopefully it’s the successful commercialisation of Aura IQ)
SP growth could be supressed by a further sell-off from Alkasab
The CEO that drove a lot of this positive change has just left (I’m speculating that he was head hunted)
*Just a quick note, I am actually bullish on the stock however i'm trying to highlight some of the potential risks this business has.
September 11th, 2020;
After digging into the breakdown of AVA & their subsequent division earnings I have found a concern highlighting their quality of earnings, in particular - customer concentration
For AVA global, 39% of earnings came from a single customer and for FFT approx ~29% was from another single customer.
This high concentration of customers effectively puts AVA's earnings-at-risk as the loss of one of these customers will leave a massive dent in the overall earnings.
I believe a lot of current valuations are not pricing this risk in and getting results closer to ~0.70c of intrinsic value.
Just my thoughts, and it will be interesting to see the direction of AVA in the near future with the supposed sale of the AVA Services side of the business.
•Strong management team surpassing expectations in a short time
•Management has 5.8% stake with significant increased insider buying recently
•Provide a number of different products, servicing multiple markets and customers in multiple countries
•Possess a strong moat/competitive advantage with their patented products and tech
•Strong balance sheet and fundamentals – gross margins of 19% (services division) and 79% (tech divisions), trading at 1.1x annual revenue and 2.6x gross profit with an EV of $34,858,000.
•High-quality B2B customers - recent contracts with Australian DoD and Indian Ministry of Defence and other current customers including NATO, US Dept of Homeland Security, Lockheed Martin
•Strong tailwinds with cyber terrorism on the rise and the U.S. implementing strict cyber security measures, rolling out as early as next year, for anyone along the supply chain dealing with defense contracts
Having so quickly reached positive cash flow and profitability under new management, Ava Group appears to be hitting an inflection point. High growth potential and undervalued.
Disclaimer: I hold a small position in AVA
30 Jul 20: Diary of an Investor: AVA on 4Q20 4C Release
The AVA 4Q20 was released around 8:30am and I realised that it was a really good result and will most likely cause a spike in the share price. I wanted to average up the holding so I made a mental note to put an order on open.
However, a whole heap of other 4Cs came out. I made the decision to sell my holding MOB based on it's 4C. I also happened to be listening in to the Coffee Microcaps call (talk about multi tasking!).
So when it close to the open, I was focused on making sure that the MOB sale went through as it is a fairly illiquid stock. But then the price trigger went off for AVA pricing through $0.20. Then I released I forgot to put the order on for AVA (doh!).
After the MOB trade went through I went to the put on the order for AVA but it had already gone from $0.20 to $0.22. I normally would hesitate to chase a stock up especially when it had popped 25% already on the day but even at $0.22 I considered the stock undervalued on the fundamentals so I bit the bullet and when through with the order.
To my disappointment, the stock then started dropping to below $0.20 and to $0.19 and I was starting to doubt my decision. Had I made a mistake? I knew that AVA had burnt shareholders previously so that there would be selling pressure but I didn't know how much.
I left for meetings and didn't follow what was happening (probably a good thing).
In the end, the buyers won out and the stock ended on it's 12 month high of $0.255.
Not sure if all the sellers have been flushed out yet, but it is a possible fort he stock to have ended on a new high.
Fundamentally, the stock is not expensive, based on today's forecast for FY21.
Services division update
Further 5 new clients
2 precious metals refining
Unaudited July revenue >$3M with gross margin improvement and EBITDA >15%
AVA Risk report their Services Division report seperately, as they are seeking to sell this non-core division ove rhte next 6 months. They reported the following performance:
1) $9.7 M revenue for the quarter, achieving $25.1 M in revenue fo rthe full years, representing 57% growth in revenue.
2) Threefold increase in clients over the year.
3) Gross margins increased to 25% from 21% over the year.
4) EBITDA of $2.3 M for the year.
5) Merger of largest and 2nd largest competitors creating opportunity to expand market share.
The group is on track to achieve $40 M in revenue this FY, and to double EBITDA to around $5 million. This would value the business at around $20 Million at a 4x EBITDA multiple. Given AVA has a market cap of around $40M, the sale of this business could unlock a lot of value, given the core technology business is high margin, high growth business, with $23 million in revenue.
AVA Services main competitors are, or should I say were, Brinks and G4S. Brinks acquired G4S for $860 million. G4S had adj. EBITDA of $115 M, which tranlates to a valuation multiple of 7.5 times.
AVA Services are on track for EBITDA of at least $5M in 2021, and would be worth more than $35 million going by the valuation multiple Brinks paid.
"Great quarter, guys." But seriously, a fair effort, that.
I was going to write the other day about possible reasons for the market's coolness toward Ava Risk, but it seems the market just had no inkling of today's mostly very predictable good news that was also foreshadowed in a market-sensitive update only a few weeks ago. Blame Ava Risk's management for not launching a loss-making division in online retail, SaaS, COVID vaccines or unsecured BNPL loans.
But one interesting question remains. Unless I'm mistaken (which is quite possible!), Technology did not have a good Q4. Ava has been cagey about this but the guidance in early July mentioned $2.5m in delayed orders and alluded to difficulties. You, or at least I, can see this when putting all the numbers together. I get about $1.2m in non-IMOD revenue for Q4, which is down from $3.8m in Q3. Even if you add in the delayed orders it's still flat. While I haven't double-checked, I think the $4m in FCF is pretty much coming from Services, which Ava Risk wants rid of, and IMOD, which is lumpy and finite. IMOD also flatters margins (albeit there were signs of non-IMOD operating leverage in Q3).
The lure of Ava Risk has been a value stock with growth optionality and there are several ways for it to do well. But the preferred way is for Technology (chiefly FFT) to grow organically at a good clip, helped by Aura IQ and Defence tailwinds, and for Services to be sold at a good price. Neither of these things is looking compellingly likely to me just at the moment. I'm hopeful that will change but given the ramping and self-congratulation I thought a note of caution might be in order.
Disclosure: hold a tiny amount.
The CEO unfortunately made a bit of a meal of the announcement, but it is good news.
IMOD Contract has a value of $16.7 Million AUD, and is the sale of the licence to use and manufacture AVA's technology. i.e. This revenue has a gross margin of 100%.
AVA Risk recognised $5.2M in FY2020, and will recognise Around $10M in revenue in FY2021. i.e. recognise $10M in gross profit for this one project in FY2021.
1) Q4 revenue beat by 17%.
2) FY2020 estimated to be $45M, $2M above previous guidance.
3) FY2020 EBITDA forecast to be $6.8M (noting the ITDA will be around $2.4M). Meaning profit after tax of $4.4M.
4) Big news: Scott Basham, CEO has resigned. Rob Broomfield, COO of the technology divison will take over.
5) Technology Division is experiencing order delays due to COVID-19, with staff WFH on reduced hours & pay, but some improvement over June.
Great result, but losing Scott, after turning the ship around, is a loss.
If AVA can continue to grow revenue, and execute, they are very cheap at these prices, however, there si some uncertainty as a result of Scott's departure.
17 Aug 20: AVA up +8% today and makes a new 12 month high ($0.265) overcoming the selling in the last 2 weeks. Closed at $0.26.
Wow! - what a doozy of a business.
These operate in a market that will be ever-expanding over time as long big businesses exist.
It seems they have developed a nice economic moat across the 3 sections of their business offering. It will be nice to see some of these turn into ARR (recurring revenues).
The major risks at these stage are potential contract related issues due to COVID. In contrast, the instability of the global political landscape may prompt the need for nations to use AVA to protect key assets. (such as the deal signed in India).
Definitely one for the watchlist
A very good post about AVA by Steve McCarthy from DMX capital. A must read before investing in this company.
AVA Group have released its Q4 and FY2020 Unaudited results for its services divisison, key points below:
Something else to note: "In addition, market share opportunities, will likely play a part in FY2021 due to recent market consolidation with the acquisition of the 2nd largest market participant by the largest. Total addressable market spending is estimated to be well in excess of $1bn."
Rapstar and I have touched on the Group CEO Scott Basham retiring from his position and the loss that this is for the business however it seems they have created a strong board with great governance and experience this last year. If they can continue to succeed here and grow after Scott's departure AVA is trading at a massive discount and looks extremely good value presently.
Full release here: https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20200723/pdf/44krts5bw33kh3.pdf
Another big announcement is "After joining Ava Group in March 2019 Mr. Scott Basham will retire from his position as Group CEO and Executive Director". Rob Broomfield COO of the Technology Divison will takeover the CEO role, I am yet to do some digging on the impacts of this management shift.
Announcement here: https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20200710/pdf/44kdy87pgc410z.pdf
About Ava Risk Group
The Ava Group is a market leader of risk management services and technologies, servicing industrial, military and government clients globally.
The Group features a range of complementary solutions including intrusion detection and location for perimeters, pipelines and data networks, biometrics, card access control and locking as well as secure international logistics, storage of high value assets and risk consultancy services.
Ava group is made up of 3 divisions:
Services division consisting of Ava Global
Technology divisions consisting of BQT solutions and Future Fibre Technologies (FFT)
Future Fibre Technologies
FFT has developed a portfolio of products designed for intrusion detection and location. FFT delivers enhanced signal processing and event discrimination, while offering strong integration capabilities.
What they offer is fibre optic cables that can be:
Strung along any type of fence to detect and pinpoint the location of disturbances including cutting, climbing, and lifting.
Buried underground above any critical infrastructure (think pipelines or internet cables) allowing real-time detection of any drilling, digging etc preventing damage. FFT Covert buried solution can detect even the smallest vibration for example walking, crawling, digging or vehicle movement.
Used in data network infrastructure protection as cyber security. “Dark cables” are applied within network cables to detect and locate disturbances, intrusion attempts, tampering, and data tapping activities to within 5 metres along data networks and can be applied anywhere from local data centre LANs to long-distance WAN transport. Detection can extend anywhere in parallel to the sensitive cable to include cable trays, conduit, pathways and cable distribution systems. The system can monitor copper, fibre and even physical adjuncts such as racks and trays for similar disturbances.
FFT’s Data Network Infrastructure Protection solutions can work stand along or in conjunction with customer’s existing Network Management System.
With numerous international patents, FFT’s technology is unique and proven.
Their cables have a lifespan of 20 years, require little to no maintenance, require no power, and are not susceptible to electromagnetic interference.
Incorporates Artificial Intelligence (Ai) Analysis – maximising discrimination between intrusions and environmental nuisance sources including wind, rain, traffic, machinery and aircraft.
Future Fibre Technologies products are deployed by some of the most security conscious sectors in the world including, military, oil and gas, extractives and energy, transportation, and utilities.
Clients using FFT for their critical infrastructure protection:
Australian DoD, NATO, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemicals, Kennedy Space Center, Lockheed Martin, US Marine Corps, Woodside Petroleum, US Air Force, US Army, US Border Patrol, US Dept of Homeland Security, US Marine Corps, Siemens, Shell and the list goes on.
BQT Solutions PTY LTD is a specialist in the development, manufacture and supply of high quality, high security card and biometric readers, electromechanical locks and related electronic security products.
They have a breadth of solutions and product ranges to tailor solutions to individual customer’s needs.
Products include a range of:
Biometric readers - BQT’s line of Biometric Readers combines our traditional line of readers with leading-edge bio-verification technologies including finger and Iris reader technologies for secure options right up to Military grade encryption.
Locking - physical
Access Control – smart cards readers and contactless smart card technology
Ava provides international secure logistics, through a partner network of independent service providers, of high value cargo on a fully insured door-to-door basis. This includes armoured vehicle collection and delivery at origin and destination, secure storage, commercial and chartered air and sea freight and customs brokerage services.
Servicing the following markets:
Bullion traders, Governments and central banks, Refineries, Financial institutions, and consulting services.
On March 11 2019 Ava Risk Group appointed Scott Basham as CEO. Not long before that they hired a new CEO for their services division (C Fergus), a new Non-Executive Director (M McGeever) and a new Chairman (D Cronin). In this short period of time new management has been quietly achieving as well as buying up shares.
Invested $19,000 on PPE in first quarter of 2020
Improved margins and grew cash from operating activities from negative $535,000 to positive $712,000; achieving their first 3-month period of positive cash flow.
Achieved net income $1,202,000 (Dec 19) up from previous half -$2,299,000
Services Division (Ava Global) $6.2M Q3 Revenue
•client spend increased 26% to circa A$145m
•gross margins averaged 19%
Technology Division (BQT Solutions and FFT) $6.1M Q3 Revenue
•backlog exceeds $16m
•gross margins averaged 79%