Stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons (SGI:AIM) edges 5p higher to 283p on robust finals and an upbeat outlook statement. Investor excitement surrounds the philatelic retailer's ongoing transformation from a stamps and collectibles trader into an online marketplace and auction house with far greater global growth potential.
You can drill down into the philatelic trader's results, covering the fifteen months to March (due to a switch from a December year-end) in greater detail here. Like-for-like comparison is made difficult by the year-end change and last year's acquisition of rare coins and collectibles specialist Noble Investments.
In short, the £129.5 million cap reports sales of £51.8 million, up from £35.6 million for the year to December 2012. Profit before tax and one-off charges is lower at £5 million (year to December 2012: £6 million), although this is after a planned ramp up in internet development spend to drive the increasingly international growth of the British heritage brand, increasingly well placed to ride booming appetite for rare stamps, coins and other collectibles.
Shares previously highlighted the strategic attractions of the Noble deal and the transaction is already yielding cross selling and cost saving benefits. Broadening Stanley's range of collectibles and customer base at a stroke, the transaction brought internationally-renowned heritage coins name Baldwin’s, watches-to-fine art auctioneer Dreweatts, books and art auctioneer Bloomsbury and Apex Philatelics into the fold.
Today's statement highlights a strong turn from philatelic trading, with Stanley seeing good growth in trading of stamps from Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries. In addition, there was a step-change in sales of coins and military medals, boosted by sales of Baldwin's coins to Stanley Gibbons' high net worth clients. Significantly, Stanley Gibbons reports a near-80% surge in turnover to £10.2 million in the traditionally sluggish quarter to end-March, boosted by revenues from Noble.
However, the current year's milestone event is the launch of a new Stanley Gibbons branded online marketplace, step one in the Aim-listed counter's ultimate goal of becoming 'the globally recognised marketplace for trading collectibles online'. Testing of the beta version of the site is currently underway, ahead of a launch that will enable Stanley Gibbons to tap into high demand from investors and high-net-worth collectors around the world, keen to bag premium quality collectibles offering both a store of value and an inflation hedge.
Proposing an 8% dividend hike to 7p, Stanley Gibbons kick-started the new fiscal year with £9.5 million net cash in the coffers as well as a high quality stockholding of rare collectibles, enhanced by the recent acquisition of 'two exceptional and prestigious stamp collections'.