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Judges Scientific passes the test

Despite a predictably awkward year for the “buy & build” scientific companies fund shareholders still got their pay-out
Judges Scientific passes the test

 

  • A sharp contraction in US higher education
  • The dividend policy has been maintained despite wider pressures

The combination of the closure of universities, the lack of scientific conferences and the inability of reps to meet clients face-to-face all contributed to a lumpy set of results for scientific investment specialist Judges Scientific (JDG).

Order intake was down 13 per cent overall, with a recovery in the second not quite matching the performance in 2019. In addition, reduced capex, particularly in the important US higher education market which fell 26 per cent, led to unsettled contracts at the end of reporting period.

Liberum Capital kept forecasts for adjusted EPS unchanged at 191p.

Management decided to continue the policy of increasing the dividend by 10 per cent annually, which meant that the current pay-out is covered 3.2 times by earnings, compared with 4.5 times in 2019.

A solid dividend policy keeps a floor under the shares, which Judges a reasonable store of value in the current climate. Hold.

Last IC View: Hold, 5,160p, 21, Oct 2020  

JUDGES SCIENTIFIC (JDG)  
ORD PRICE:6,340pMARKET VALUE:£ 399m
TOUCH:6,100-6,380p12-MONTH HIGH:6,700pLOW: 3,800p
DIVIDEND YIELD:0.9%PE RATIO:48
NET ASSET VALUE:511p*NET DEBT:17%
Year to 31 DecTurnover (£m)Pre-tax profit (£m)Earnings per share (p)Dividend per share (p)
201657.30.401.327.5
201771.45.1065.632.0
201877.910.213840.0
201982.413.618350.0
202079.89.4713155.0
% change-3-30-28+10
Ex-div:10 Jun   
Payment:09 Jul   
*Includes intangible assets of £25.6m, or 407p a share.