Freight management firm
Original business set up by CEO 30 years ago
Revenue set to jump once again in 2019
Shares ‘markedly undervalued’ says analyst
What it does
It joined AIM in 2017 and comprises Delamode, a freight forwarding operation set up thirty years ago by the firm’s chief executive and founder, Stephen Blyth.
It remains the group’s largest division, ahead of the Logistics and Warehousing arm, which has over 80,000 sqm of warehousing and a fast-growing pallet network franchise called Pall-Ex Romania.
Xpediator’s third division, Affinity Transport Solutions, sees the group use the purchasing power derived from a network of 1,700 hauliers operating over 12,700 trucks to buy items such as fuel cards, insurance, leasing and ferry transit.
Unlike transport companies, Xpediator’s is an asset-light model and has developed a network of partners that it uses when it requires trucks for full or part loads and groupage services.
There’s also a smaller but fast-growing division called EshopWeDrop – an online delivery business that allows consumers to take advantage of empty space in trucks to ship things bought in the UK to Lithuania or vice versa, for example.
How it’s doing
Xpediator confirmed at the end of April that revenue rose by 54% to £179.2mln in the year ended 31 December 2018. Pre-tax profits more than doubled to £5.6mln.
Growth was helped by two acquisitions - Import Services Logistics and Anglia Forwarding – that added 18% to turnover and brought with them facilities in Felixstowe, Heathrow and Southampton.
Freight forwarding across the Baltics and Balkans were especially strong, while the pallet franchise in Romania continues to do well.
Given the solid showing, bosses proposed a dividend of 0.84p a share, taking the total dividend for the year up to 1.26p – a 27% increase versus 2017.
What analysts say
“Xpediator has delivered a strong outcome for 2018. Revenues and profitability on all measures grew strongly, reflecting a combination of organic and acquisition-led growth,” said research house Equity Development.
“The outlook suggests another year of strong growth in 2019, with an emphasis on cash generation. We anticipate free cash flow of £6.6mln in 2019, rising to £6.7mln in 2020, suggesting FCF yields of above 10% in each of the forecast years.
“This high level highlights the extent which the Brexit uncertainty has hit the shares. We believe that Xpediator’s shares are markedly undervalued, currently reflecting the hefty Brexit-related discount.”
The research note concluded: “Our valuation models suggest a fair value of 78p/share, representing an uplift of ~67% compared to current levels.”
The aim is for Xpediator to become a top 25 global freight forwarder further down the line, a big step from its current value of £67mln at 50p, but chief executive Stephen Blyth says it is well within his team’s grasp.
While the seemingly never-ending Brexit drama has knocked consumer sentiment, Xpediator believes it is actually well-positioned for when the UK eventually departs.
In the recent results, bosses said its services will be “critical” for companies looking to move goods in and out of the UK post-Brexit.
That’s because it already holds Authorised Economic Operator status which will allow it to support importers and exporters in “most forecasted [Brexit] scenarios”.
Demand for its services from customers’ looking to navigate increased red tape and customs checks should help Xpediator rack up more than £200mln in revenue this year.
Equity Development expects the top-line to hit £207.9mln in 2019, while underlying earnings (EBIT) should rise to £8.5mln.
What the boss says