James Norris reviews directors buying and selling shares in their own company in his weekly column.
- Liberum raises price target for Plus500
- Jefferies upgrades AO World to Buy
- Berenberg scales back International Workspace Group target price
- Berenberg starts coverage of JLEN Environmental Assets Group
- Panmure Gordon downgrades Halfords Group
Liberum has raised its price target on Plus500 (LON: PLUS) to 2,950p (2,540p) and reiterated a ‘buy’ recommendation. Plus500, the forex and CFD broker, has just reported an ‘outstanding performance in the first half of 2022’, distributed $120m to shareholders, made up of a share buyback programme and interim dividend costing $60m each, and committed to paying out at least 50% of net profits through share buybacks and dividends on a half-yearly basis. Interestingly, although the number of active traders at Plus500 was down, the remaining traders have doubled their spend. At close of trading yesterday, the stock was priced at 1,799p, a return of 32.2% YTD and 20.8% over 12 months.
Jefferies has upgraded AO World (LON: AO) to ‘buy’, hiking its target price 44% to 65p (45p). AO World, the online electrical retailer, has had to make some strategic decisions after a difficult 12 months for the company and the retail sector in general: first, to close its business in Germany to enable a focus on the UK market; second, to focus on cash and profit generation. Last month, the company raised £40m of capital to strengthen the balance sheet and increase liquidity back to historical levels relative to revenue and to take advantage of growth opportunities in the UK. JPMorgan, meanwhile, yesterday cut its AO World target price to 35p (40p), with an ‘underweight’ rating. At close of trading yesterday, the stock was priced at 38.8p, a return of -64.8% YTD and -82.9% over 12 months.
Berenberg has reiterated its ‘buy’ rating for International Workspace Group (LON: IWG), though scaling back its target price to 255p (310p). IWG, a leading global operator of workspace brands, earlier this month had announced its 1H interim results, which reported revenue growth of 22.3% year-on-year, driven by strong demand for hybrid working, strong growth in adjusted Ebitda and cash generation, and with a strategy that is on track to build the world’s largest digital workspace platform following acquisition of The Instant Group. At close of trading yesterday, the stock was priced at 158.5p, a return of -45.5% YTD and -46.0% over 12 months.
Berenberg has started coverage of JLEN Environmental Assets Group (LON: JLEN), an environmental infrastructure fund. Berenberg has not issued a rating or a target price. The renewables sector is set to continue benefiting from climate change regulations, while the Russian war in Ukraine has highlighted the need to end any dependency on oil and gas. The company is currently working on a series of new investment opportunities, from electrical vehicle charging infrastructure and biomass to energy storage and aquaculture projects. Earlier this month, the company announced plans to change its investments policy to allow it to make early development stage investments, as well as investments in already developed assets. At close of trading yesterday, the stock was priced at 130p, a return of 23.8% YTD and 18.2% over 12 months.
Panmure Gordon has downgraded Halfords Group (LON: HFD) to ‘hold’ (buy), cutting its target price by half to 150p (300p). In June, Liberum slashed the target price by 61% to 160p (410p), and downgraded the rating to ‘hold’ (buy), after the company issued a profit warning. The broker also cited an increase in inventory of more than 50% y-o-y, which the broker said was questionable, in light of the tougher outlook. At close of trading yesterday, the stock was priced at 128.3p, a return of -62.8% YTD and -65.4% over 12 months.