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The DIRTT selloff is overdone, Industrial Alliance says


DIRTT Like it will be for a lot of companies, 2020 is going to be tough on DIRTT Environmental (DIRTT Environmental Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:DRT), says Industrial Alliance Securities analyst Neil Linsdell, who delivered an update to clients on Monday where he lifted his rating from “Sell” to “Hold,” based on the recent selloff.

Calgary-based DIRTT Environmental is a customized prefabricated interiors company with 87 distribution partners primarily in the US and Canada. The stock has had a rough ride over the past 12 months, to say the least, travelling from a high of $9.18 in late April 2019 to where it currently resides at less than $1.50.

Last year saw management lower and then lower again revenue guidance due to project delays and contract cancellations, among others, while this year has seen the stock get hit along with the rest of the market.

Linsdell said because DIRTT typically delivers on projects within weeks of an order being finalized and normally has little in the way of backlog, the company’s Q1 2020 could be worse than his previous estimates due to the overall slowdown in the Canadian and US economies.

The analyst said new orders are likely to be scarcer but that on the brighter side, about 80 of DIRTT’s COGS is variable and management should be working to control those expenses as well as SG&A for the year.

Moreover, Linsdell argued that DIRTT’s experience in building and renovating healthcare facilities may be more in need during and after the current COVID-19 crisis.

“While the severity and extent of this global pandemic is still uncertain, we can imagine that when we finally pass through it, we will likely see an increased focus on preparedness in the healthcare industry, which might further favour DIRTT’s solutions, specifically in the modular concept and the ability to quickly re-task space. Additionally, we could see a lot of other companies re-evaluating the high-density, open-concept work environment, and re-visiting flexible solutions such as DIRTT’s,” Linsdell wrote.

The analyst has cut his 2020 forecast and trimmed the outlook for ensuing years as well, “to be cautious,” now calling for fiscal 2020 revenue of $103 million (previously $193 million) and adjusted EBITDA of negative $22.5 million (previously $8.8 million).

Further out, Linsdell’s 2021 has revenue and EBITDA at $186 million and $9.0 million, respectively. (All figures in US dollars unless where noted otherwise.)

Keeping his valuation for DRT at 6x his EV/EBITDA estimates, Linsdell has arrived at his new target of C$1.40 (previously C$2.00), which at press time represented a projected 12-month return of 1.4 per cent.

Linsdell said 2020 is likely to be very difficult for DIRTT.

“In addition to the challenges that first led us to downgrade our rating to Sell in September 2019 (with the stock now down 80% from that point), a challenging 2020 will mean that each quarterly financial release will highlight just how far business has fallen.

As we have highlighted above however, there will be opportunities in the year(s) ahead,” said Linsdell.

“For now, we still consider this a ‘show me’ story,” he said.

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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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