A reader has been in contact asking me to do a piece on Mobile Streams plc (AIM: MOS) http://www.mobilestreams.com/investors. Until today I knew nothing about this company, so thought I’d oblige and do some research.
Mobile Streams retails Mobile Content including Apps, Games, eBooks, Music and Videos globally through mobile carrier partners. It is not a developer of products but provides a platform from which developers can bring their product to market. The current share price is currently 9.5gpx, a far cry from the lofty high of 90gpx experienced in 2013. In fact, the share price has been in the doldrums from February 2014 onwards, spending most of 2015 and 2016 below 10p a share. In October 2015 the shares rose from 4.4p to 20p as the company announced its entry into India, as reported at the time by This is Money, who cited the devaluation of the Argentine Peso as the reason for the companies dire financial position at the time, a point mooted several times by the company also in its updates.
The share price slowly crawled back into sub 10p territory as it became apparent that entry into India was not the rocket up the company’s backside that investors had hoped for. In fact, market reach in India is currently only 50,000 active subscribers as at 6th September. We are talking about a full year being required to reach 50k paying customers in a given 60 day period. Unless there has been a steep increase from 30th June to reach these figures, this doesn’t bode well for the next set of results. Revenue is already down from 29.1m in June 2015 to 12.5m in June 2016, down 57%.
Having said the above, the fact that the company saw weakness in over 87% of its revenue coming from Argentine is a testament to the managements willingness to adapt to market conditions and seek new markets for growth. Likewise, despite the fact revenues plummeted over the past year, the latest set of results showed an almost identical net loss between the half year to December 2015 compared to 2014. This shows the company have been willing (and indeed able) to control costs.
Perhaps it should also be noted that whilst the current 50k active subscribers in India is a drop in the ocean, India is an emerging market with an ever growing consumer base to tap into.
The announcement of 6th September celebrating the 50k active Indian subscribers milestone caused the share price to triple, and it has held up quite well since. I do question the level of revenue that is received by the company from this milestone. The company does not hint at the average spend per customer, and given that India tends to have far lower costs on the app store/google play than countries such as the US and UK, arguably each subscriber only generates a few pence – we have to wait for the latest results to gauge this. But, progress is progress and the company is clearly moving forward.
As the company reports in pounds any devaluation of foreign currency will have quite an impact, as noted between 2014 and 2015. Cue the comment on Brexit – more recently it is the British pound that has suffered which is beneficial for the companies reporting in pounds but whose revenues are generated in other currencies.
The company has no debt and as at 25th July, cash in the bank was £1.3m, a decrease of £0.9m from 2015’s figures. On the surface it would appear that despite the company releasing a profit warning in May ahead of the results for the year ended 30th June, MOS can survive for a further year before they have to come to the market for equity. Or of course they could just turn a profit ad not worry investors.
AIM is a speculative market. Certainly an investor would be taking a risk putting their money in a company that is currently loss making. The question is, will the company’s impact in India continue to grow, and will its mobilegaming.com initiative bear enough fruit to support future growth.
So, the pros and cons
- Has not gone to the market for equity since Nov 2014.
- Management was proactive in cutting costs as revenue fell.
- Diversifying its product reach into Mexico, India and the US.
- No debt.
- High exposure to Argentinian Peso has caused revenues to crash by 57%.
- Loss making.
- Indian growth appears slow.
- Company is concentrated in emerging markets with little exposure to mature economies with higher consumer levels.
- Low cash reserve levels.
Is it worth the Risk
As with most AIM shares this company is one for the speculator. The company may prove itself to be resilient and grow well over the next couple of years. The fact that in 2014 it saw revenues of £49m shows that it does have a fair few customers, but costs were clearly over the top at that time as the company reported a mere £301k profit. It is questionable whether the company is looking out for investors, seeing as the company started in 1999, and joined AIM in 2006, but has failed to turn a significant enough profit to pay dividends to investors.
Will we see costs increase in line with revenues or will see profit once more and a potential return for shareholders further down the line – that’s the real question in my mind.
Personally, I would sit on the side-lines until the results to December 2016 are available before dipping a toe, unless the results due out in the next couple of weeks include a further trading update indicating revenues and costs for the Indian operation.
Would you like me to research another company
I’m happy to take requests to research other companies, whether it be FTSE or AIM – just leave me a message on the contact page and I’ll either get back to you with a rough time frame , or do crack on with it straight away.