Two High Fliers Back Down to Earth

This week saw a couple of high-flying digital automation suppliers move back into more realistic pricing levels. On Tuesday DotDigital (DOTD) announced their preliminary results for the year to June. The share price fell sharply on the day and is now down over 25%, possibly prompted by negative comments on Stockopedia.

I won’t go into detail on the issues because this blog post would otherwise be a very long one. But I did attend the results presentation on the Investor Meet Company platform this morning when some of my questions, and others, were covered.

One question raised was about the reporting of “discontinued” revenue from the Comapi business. It was stated that this was definitely closed down completely by June this year so won’t appear in future. There was also concern that SMS business was impacting revenue and profits but it was stated that it was not cannibalising email revenue. But SMS business is at lower margins and there was clearly a spike last year in SMS business (if you are signed up for NHS services you will have realised that they are now tending to use that communication channel which I find quite annoying).

There was a good review of the competitive landscape and it seems there is good growth coming via partners with “connectors” such as Magento, Shopify, Big Commerce and MS Dynamics.

In summary my comment would be that I think this is still a fundamentally sound business which can grow some more, but I would prefer to see the accounts presented in a simpler way. However the share price had grown very rapidly in the last year and in my view was overvaluing the business. It’s now at a more realistic level.

The other company whose share price has taken a big knock is GB Group (GBG). Yesterday they announced a share placing at a price of 725p to raise money to enable them to acquire a similar US business. It looks to be a sensible acquisition. But the share price was at a discount of 17% on the market price and involves substantial dilution of existing shareholders.

Again I would suggest that this has reset the share price to a more realistic level. Retail investors may be able to participate via the Primary Bid platform.  

As I hold shares in both DotDigital and GB Group, these events have not done wonders for my portfolio valuations but I had been reducing my holding in these companies (top slicing) in recent months as the valuations did seem to be departing from reality. They are now back down to earth.

The Covid epidemic has certainly driven more digitisation of processes which both companies have benefited from but the valuations of such businesses have become strained in my view. Can the growth continue at the same rate in the next couple of years? Perhaps so but that is not certain.

Readers should of course form their own view on the valuations of these businesses and not rely on my comments. But they are both key players in the automation of marketing and financial services so are well placed for the future.

Roger Lawson (Twitter:  )

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