9 high conviction stocks for September

Andrew Tang

Morgans Financial

In our reporting season preview, we noted that the spread in consensus forecasts was very narrow and the potential for beats and misses versus market expectations was lower than normal. It is this dynamic that foreshadowed many of the results across our coverage universe, where results were mostly in line with expectations. 

Earnings momentum was mixed with no clear directional trend and it is clear that market rotation rather than breakout has defined the FY18 reporting season – we are still waiting for the circuit breaker.

Pleasingly, results mostly shrugged off the systemic risks that posed a threat to earnings heading into August (e.g. housing slowdown, weak consumer confidence, intensifying regulatory concerns and political risk). No bad news was welcome news, and investors put cash to work by backing solid inline results.

Investors have to be more tactical given the current market settings of elevated valuations and cautious sentiment.

Three changes to our list this month

We add Australian Finance Group (AFG) and Noni B (NBL) to our list in September.

For AFG, we believe concerns about regulatory risk regarding broker remuneration models as well as consternation about the cooling housing market are overdone. Such concerns have resulted in this stock offering good value and an attractive dividend yield.

Noni B now commands approximately A$1bn of sales and a material portion of the womenswear market. This should enable NBL to rationalise an industry which has been primarily focused on volumes and discounting, and in doing so increase profitability over time.

We remove Suncorp Group (SUN) this month following the solid result in August and the completion of the Life Business sale. Despite the removal, Suncorp still remains our preferred exposure in the large-cap diversified financials and insurance space.

Nine high conviction stocks in September

Our high conviction stocks are those that we think offer the highest risk-adjusted returns over a 12-month timeframe, supported by a higher-than-average level of confidence. They are typically our preferred sector exposures. Here are our nine high conviction stock picks this month:

Atlas Arteria (ALX)

Macquarie Atlas Roads, now Atlas Arteria, is one of the world's largest developers and operators of private toll roads.

Key reasons to buy Atlas Arteria

  • ALX offers valuation support and strong potential distribution growth over coming years.
  • French tollroad APRR is ALX's key asset. Cashflows are driven by growing toll revenues, cost containment, substantial decline in debt services, legislated corporate tax rate cuts, and (potentially) declining AUD/EUR.
  • Over the coming 12-24 months, restructuring initiatives related to both the APRR and Dulles Greenway may deliver further valuation accretion for shareholders.

We retain our Add recommendation. 

OZ Minerals (OZL)

OZ Minerals is a copper-focused international company based in South Australia.

Key reasons to buy OZ Minerals

  • OZL enjoys robust cashflows from an established production base in copper, which has among the best outlooks in the commodities suite, driven by electrification of the developing world. OZL's balance sheet and cost structure provide good downside protection.
  • We think OZL's counter-cyclical growth strategy will be rewarded as the Carrapateena development project is gradually de-risked in the coming 1-2 years, and can justify valuations closer to $12.50 per share upon successful commissioning.
  • We think that recent share price weakness has been driven by macro-economic uncertainties, which we think can pass in time.

We retain our Add recommendation. 

Westpac Bank (WBC)

Westpac is Australia's oldest banking and financial services group, with operations throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Key reasons to buy Westpac

  • WBC has a relatively low risk profile in terms of loan book positioning and low reliance on treasury and markets income.
  • The bank stands to benefit most from re-pricing of investor home loans.
  • We expect WBC to comfortably meet APRA's 'unquestionably strong' capital benchmark through undiscounted dividend reinvestment plans.

We retain our Add recommendation. 

Australian Finance Group (AFG)

Since establishment in 1994, AFG has grown to become one of Australia's largest mortgage broking groups.

Key reasons to buy Australian Finance Group

  • We believe concerns about regulatory risk regarding broker remuneration models as well as consternation about the cooling housing market are overdone. Such concerns have resulted in this stock offering good value and an attractive dividend yield.
  • We forecast 8% EPS CAGR over the next 3 years and strong cash flow generation. AFG presently has an restricted cash postion of approximately $60m.
  • If surplus cash does not need to used for acquisitions then we expect more special dividends to be paid.

We retain our Add recommendation. 

Noni B (NBL)

NBL is a womenswear retailer which has recently completed a transformation of five underperforming brands from listed peer Specialty Fashion.

Key reasons to buy Noni B

  • NBL now commands approx. A$1bn of sales and a material portion of the womenswear market. This should enable NBL to rationalise an industry which has been primarily focused on volumes and discounting, and in doing so increase profitability over time.
  • The Specialty Assets cost-out targets should prove to be conservative. NBL has guided to an initial A$30m of cost out and an 'unqualified' amount of supply chain/gross profit benefit. We expect this initial phase of cost out will be largely complete by 1H19-end and see meaningful upside to management's cost-out targets over time.
  • NBL trades on an undemanding valuation of 9.7x FY20F (a c25% discount to peer basket).

We retain our Add recommendation. 

CML Group (CGR)

CGR provides small business financing solutions, primarily debtor finance (invoice factoring) and equipment finance to small-medium enterprises (SME) in Australia.

Key reasons to buy CML Group

  • CGR is the second largest non-bank provider of debtor finance in Australia.
  • The group is well capitalised to continue to deliver organic growth via its increased scale and improving market share.
  • In our view, CGR has the potential to outperform earnings expectations over the next two years, in part via executing on its recent acquisition (meaningful potential cost synergies). This is coupled with a relatively undemanding valuation of approximately 12x FY19 PE.

We retain our Add recommendation. 

Kina Securities (KSL)

KSL is a diversified financial service provider in PNG. The group has two operating divisions, Kina Bank and Kina Wealth Management.

Key reasons to buy Kina Securities

  • We think the stock remains mispriced by the market. We expect KSL to produce a record FY18 profit, yet it still trades at a material discount to its IPO price. We forecast a dividend yield of 9.0% for 2018 and 11.5% for 2019.
  • The recent ANZ PNG acquisition adds significant inherent value in our view. KSL paid only goodwill and yet the deal is 25-35% accretive post synergies.
  • KSL's underlying business metrics continue to track solidly – delivering 20% loan growth, credit quality has been improving and backed by a strong capital position (approx. 17% pro-forma and well above the regulatory minimum of 12%).

We retain our Add recommendation. 

PWR Holdings (PWH)

PWR designs and produces cooling solutions for the high-performance automotive industry and has an established track record in servicing elite motorsports, including Formula One, NASCAR and V8 Supercars.

Key reasons to buy PWR Holdings

  • PWH is a world leading automotive cooling business that delivers technically advanced solutions to elite motorsports customers (eg. Formula 1, NASCAR)
  • PWH typically invests ahead of the curve and we expect FY19 and FY20 to be strong growth years underpinned by further penetration in motorsports and an increasing contribution from OEM markets. For FY19, we forecast 18% underlying NPAT growth to A$14.3m.
  • Key growth opportunities include: 1) capturing a greater share of customer spend on cooling solutions; 2) partnering with OEMs on high performance/low production run vehicles; 3) increased presence and entry into adjacent markets; 4) increased penetration in the US automotive aftermarket segment; and 5) opportunities in emerging technologies (Tesla, Google etc).

We retain our Add recommendation. 

Volpara Health Technologies (VHT)

Volpara is a leading IT healthcare provider aiming to improve early detection of breast cancer.

Key reasons to buy Volpara

  • Volpara's SaaS model is linked to a growing medical need, which has recently seen 36 US states mandate that women are told of breast density.
  • Volpara's market share of breast screening in the US is currently 3.7% with a pathway to grow to 9% in FY19.
  • A business model leveraged to growing and reoccurring revenue (FY19 guidance of NZ$9.0m) with the ability to pass on improved pricing over time (average US$3 per screen).

We retain our Add recommendation. 



Contributed by Andrew Tang from the Morgans blog: (VIEW LINK)


Andrew Tang
Analyst - Equity Strategy
Morgans Financial

Andrew is a member of the Morgans Investment Committee, and is responsible for equity strategy bulletins, high conviction stocks, model portfolios and other products focusing on key areas such as reporting season, factor analysis and short interest.

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