Shares in Poundland (PLND) have fallen today to their lowest price since the discount chain floated in March 2014 on the back of a downgrade from its house broker.
Shore Capital has revised its figures on a “cautionary basis” for the 2015-16 financial year in the face of a sterling’s continuing strength against the euro in the first quarter and tough comparatives.
“We are concerned that Poundland’s Q1 trading momentum may have slipped back further, perhaps mid-single-digit sales growth rather than the double-digit momentum that investors have been used to since flotation and the 7.5% growth assumed in our previous forecasts,” analyst Darren Shirley said.
ShoreCap has now moved its pre-tax profits forecast down from £50.5m to £47.5m, but said the move was just “precautionary” and might unwind if sterling weakened against the euro.
Poundland’s stock fell 2% throughout the day to 294p after spiking to a month-high of 305p on opening.
It is the second time ShoreCap has lowered its estimates for 2015-16 to reflect slower trading in the fourth quarter and warnings from Poundland on the potential for currency headwinds knocking £4m off EBITDA.
“Downgrades to forecasts are always disappointing and when a stock is reasonably fully rated like Poundland, reflecting its structural virtues we should add, then they take upward momentum out of a share,” Shirley added. “Through H1 FY2016 we do not foresee material boosts to domestic trade although we will be interested to see at the results where Poundland is on store openings.”
However, he said Poundland remained a “structural growth story” and was strongly cash generative with high store returns and a strong balance sheet.
“The business is blessed too by excellent management, which remain highly ambitious and focused upon long-term growth.”
Poundland was one of the best-performing stocks of 2014 and one the most successful IPOs of the year. The stock soared 19% from its float price of 300p on its London debut in March 2014, taking its market value from £750m to almost £900m. It hit highs of 417p in February this year after announcing the £55m takeover of rival discounter 99p Stores. Since then the share price has steadily fell away following the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launching an in-depth investigation of the merger and disappointing trading figures.