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Engineering software specialist Aveva expects return to full year revenue and profit growth on weaker post-Brexit pound

A weaker pound following the Brexit vote last June has bolstered Aveva's revenue, profit and cash reserves
Aveva expects full year cash generation will be ahead of forecasts

Aveva Group plc (LON:AVV) expects a return to full year revenue and profit growth in line with market forecasts, boosted by positive foreign exchange rates.

The engineering software company also anticipates cash generation in the fiscal year ended 31 March will be ahead of estimates, closing the year with about £130mln.

A weaker pound following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union last June has aided the reported revenue, profit and cash reserves. In the first half, the company swung to a profit, helped by currency tailwind and a cost control.

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Aveva’s profit in fiscal 2016 was hit by a slump in the oil and gas markets and professional adviser costs associated with the aborted takeover deal by Schneider Electric.

Aveva and Schneider ended talks of a possible tie-up last June. It came after Aveva had received a revised proposal from Schneider six months after the French company pulled out of a deal to buy a majority of the group. 

Aveva continues to face challenging end markets... 

Stripping out currency tailwinds, however, Numis expects a slight revenue decline. The broker added that the group is "through the worst but not yet seeing a material upturn".

"The most important aspect of the investment case remains, to us, the scope for a significant recovery in growth and margins, and whilst the timing of this remains uncertain, we think there is a growing probability that this starts to occur in the forecast window which could drive earnings per share of 110p," Numis said.

Numis said based on the "overall tone" of the trading update, revenue is "at or slightly ahead" of its expecation of £215mln but pre-tax profit is 1-2% behind its £55.7mln forecast.  "Within this, we think currency has probably been a slightly bigger benefit than our modelled 7%, implying about a 3-4% revenue decline."

"In the context of the end market challenges we think this is a reasonable result, with AVEVA's own actions (focus on non-oil and gas, the US, Owner Operators and MT3D) largely offsetting the market backdrop and some previously flagged regional weakness."

Numis reiterated an 'add' rating and target price of 2,180p, saying it thinks Aveva remains a top quality business with some challenging end markets. 

Shares fell 0.05% to 1,974p in morning trading. 

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