Canaccord lowers GB Group to 'hold'
Analysts at Canaccord Genuity downgraded software and services outfit GB Group from 'buy' to 'hold' on Monday, stating it was now "moving to the sidelines" on the stock.
Canaccord said it had expected GB to exceed "too-conservative" 2021 full-year consensus expectations, but assumed it would be announced around the "usual" post-close time in mid-April.
The Canadian bank, which dropped its target price on the stock from 1,085.0p to 860.0p, stated last Thursday's pre-release from GB implied a "strong" second-half performance, with organic revenue growth likely clocking in around 7-9% and a more than 30% operating profit beat as adjusted underlying earning margins were expected to be roughly 24.5%, broadly in line with last year.
However, going into the 2022 trading year, Canaccord pointed to "multiple headwinds", such as a likely reversal of the £14.0m one-off benefit from the US PPP stimulus program, foreign exchange headwinds from a weakening US dollar and its recent MarServices disposal.
In Canaccord's view, these headwinds will lead to only broadly flat sales and earnings per share this year.
"Even assuming 10% organic underlying growth, we believe these factors are likely to mute revenue and EPS expansion this year," said Canaccord, which did acknowledge that M&A could be "the wild card" in its scenario, but stated it would "cross that bridge when we come to it".