Wey Education and Silence Therapeutics Webinars

I attended a couple of webinars yesterday – one for a company I already hold shares in (Wey Education) and one I do not (Silence Therapeutics). Both good examples of the genre.

Wey Education (WEY) published some preliminary results for the year on Tuesday. Revenue was up 38% and adjusted profits more than doubled. These figures and what the company said in the announcement impressed me, but the share price dropped almost 20% on the day. Perhaps investors expected more because as a provider of “on-line education” they surely should have benefited from the epidemic, or perhaps the prospect of a good vaccine made them appear less attractive. But with people more used than ever to doing things on-line, this has surely accelerated the demand for on-line education.

Regardless it was a good presentation from CEO Jacque Daniell and Chairman Barrie Whipp. They explained what the company does well and what their USP is. They had an ambition to become the largest UK secondary school and they ticked that box in the first half. They are also developing internationally as they see that as the market opportunity, and have appointed a new Director of Education, a Director of Marketing and a CTO. They are aiming for a world class user experience and are now geared for expansion. They have achieved a CAGR in revenue of 41% since 2016. Comment: they just need to keep that up! 

The concluding outlook statement in the announcement said this: “Wey is going forward into the 2020/21 academic year with mastery, autonomy and a great sense of purpose”. They have an interest in AI and that sounds like a statement written by a robot.

The second company was Silence Therapeutics (SLN). I missed both the start and end of this webinar so this is only a brief report. This company, as its name suggests, is focusing on silencing defective genes. To put it more fully, I quote from their web site: “Silence Therapeutics is developing a new generation of medicines by harnessing the body’s natural mechanism of RNA interference, or RNAi, to inhibit the expression of specific target genes thought to play a role in the pathology of diseases with significant unmet medical need”.

But it’s still an early stage business with minimal revenue but a large market cap (about £370 million). Clearly it’s a typical biotech stock where a lot of the share price depends on hopes for the future.

This is a sector in which many companies are active including some big players who are making profits, with lots of minnows showing losses. Whether this company will be successful in achieving its objectives and developing products that can be practically used and profitable remains to be seen. But the management certainly made a good impression, as they often do in such businesses (they need to be good at doing that to raise the funds they need).

One to wait and see I suggest, as my past forays into this market segment have not been a great success.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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