Aristocrat Leisure: Investing for the future

About the author:

James Lawrence
Author name:
By James Lawrence
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Date posted:
03 December 2018, 8:06 AM
Sectors Covered:
Gaming, Professional Services, Fixed Interest

FY18 result – a mixed bag

Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) reported a FY18 result that saw revenue of A$3,624m come in-line with our forecasts (with a differing mix) but EBITA of A$1,129m fell 6.5% short of expectations due to weaker margins in the Americas and Digital divisions and higher than anticipated Design and Development costs. NPATA of A$729.6m missed our forecast by 4.8% while a final dividend of 26cps was declared, below our forecast of 30cps.

Moderating revenue growth and margin expectations 

Following the result we have reduced our revenue growth expectations for the Americas and Digital segments and at the same time lowered our expected margins for those divisions. Design and Development expenditure is expected to increase in absolute dollar terms while remaining consistent as a percentage of sales with that seen in FY18.

Aristocrat wants to maintain its leading market position across its business segments and consequently needs to invest significantly in staff and technology to remain in this position.

Changes to forecasts 

The resulting impact of changes to our model have seen our NPATA forecasts reduced by -7.7% for FY19, -6.5% for FY20 and -5.5% for FY21. The lower earnings expectations have also resulted in the reduction of our dividend forecasts. The company is forecasting an earnings skew to 2H19 which reflects the timing of the digital game releases and corresponding User Acquisition spend.

Investment view

We set our share price target using a blended approach which incorporates a PE-based valuation and a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) valuation. We have reduced our share price target following model changes and after lowering the market PE multiple following the recent share market declines.

Key risks include increased regulation and competition, slowing customer demand, acquisition integration and the AUD/USD exchange rate. 

There is still plenty to like about Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) with the company retaining a dominant market position in the Americas and Australia/New Zealand. Additionally, we expect management to leverage their learnings from the Product Madness division and report approximately 30% growth from the digital division in FY19. 

Following the recent share price declines the stock is now trading on a FY19 PE of 16.2x which we see as compelling. We retain our Add recommendation.

More information

Morgans clients can login to view our detailed report and share price target for Aristocrat Leisure (ALL). Alternatively, please contact your Morgans adviser or nearest Morgans office for access.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this report is provided to you by Morgans Financial Limited as general advice only, and is made without consideration of an individual's relevant personal circumstances. Morgans Financial Limited ABN 49 010 669 726, its related bodies corporate, directors and officers, employees, authorised representatives and agents (“Morgans”) do not accept any liability for any loss or damage arising from or in connection with any action taken or not taken on the basis of information contained in this report, or for any errors or omissions contained within. It is recommended that any persons who wish to act upon this report consult with their Morgans investment adviser before doing so.

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