Discovery Banger Of A Year 2018


Yesterday Discovery released a good set of full-year numbers for the year ended in June 2018. The shares closed down 4% on worries about global geopolitics and how the company was going to navigate the regulatory landscape in all its markets going forward. The other factor contributing to the share price was the inevitable share dilution as the company seeks to raise R1.8 billion to buy back the 25% stake in DiscoveryCard from FirstRand to pave the way for Discovery Bank.


Proposed NHI


The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi released two bills on Thursday that could lead to big changes to the South African healthcare system. Both are likely to lead to heated debates in industry and civil society, and could directly affect our investments in Discovery and Mediclinic.


Discovery 6M numbers - going from strength to strength


Yesterday Discovery released their interim results for the six months ending 31 December 2017. As expected from the trading update, the numbers looked good. Operating profit increased by 19% while normalised headline earnings per share increased by 31% to R4.11. The big drivers behind the growth in earnings was a solid showing from the UK business as well as profits coming through for the first time from the short-term insurance business as well as the Ping An joint venture.


Discovery FY numbers - Changing lives


On Monday there were Full Year numbers from Discovery, which didn't disappoint. The results are broadcast on TV, making it easy to watch and pause if need be. Adrian Gore's passion for the business sure is inspiring. Recent books that I have read all talk about the importance of the vision from a founder. Founders generally have more credibility and business-wide support, meaning they can push companies in directions that professional managers would struggle. Adrian Gore and Stephen Saad are the first two South African leaders that come to mind when I think of inspirational leaders. But we are blessed with many.


Discovery 6 month numbers - Investing in technology


Discovery released interim results for the half year to end December yesterday morning. This is a great business. A business that was conceptualised by an incredible individual who has seen in large part his vision realised. Adrian Gore is not finished. He seems passionate about the business, he walks the walk and he talks the talk. And talk he can. At the results presentation he made it known that Brexit, the weaker Pound to the Rand and the weakness in the investments (statutory capital) in the UK (yields in Gilts powering to an all-time low) has had a negative impact on the UK operations.


Discovery FY numbers - Strong growth & investing for the future


The first read through of the Discovery annual results revealed that the business is very definitely a growth oriented one. Different businesses in the core market, South Africa, continue to take market share and reinvent short term (and life) insurance, investments and bed down their core business, health insurance. There is a big gap between those that are lucky enough to afford private healthcare in South Africa and those who have to use the public health system, most will agree that the spend to outcomes ratio is not the best, to put it mildly. The Vitality program has undoubtably been a success and I think that we are only starting to scratch the surface. The potential of the existing partnerships in countries like China, with Ping An Insurance and more recently in Canada and the US (John Hancock), as well as some of the bigger economies of Europe represent exciting white labelling of the Vitality product.


Discovery goes into Japan


Discovery made an announcement yesterday that needed closer and further inspection. The headline reads Discovery to introduce Vitality to Japan. Japan of course is a country with over 125 million people, where the average age is around 45 and is possibly one of (if not the) most sophisticated societies on the planet. Organisational skills and attention to detail is not lacking.


Discovery 6 month numbers


Discovery, that company that we had a short look at on Friday deserves a better look. Bright, our newest and best colleague, was supposed to go, time definitely got the better of him. He is young, and that is what you need in the industry, young people who understand and know the history of the stock market, yet their lived experiences don't include the big drawdowns. I suspect that as you go on, it becomes that you are more cynical, in general. That is why it is refreshing when older people become more optimistic as their lived experiences actually improve in time. Just an observation actually, I could tell through the Adrian Gore presentation of the results that they are very proud of their business and their achievements.


Quick look at Discovery results


Discovery released half year numbers yesterday morning, remembering that their trading statement had spooked the market a little earlier in the month -> Discovery Trading update. The numbers themselves at face value look a little unappealing, what they are doing here however is building a bigger global business and on the verge of a bank. What is still most impressive is that when Adrian Gore delivers, he speaks with the same enthusiasm and energy each time.


Discovery Trading update


Discovery trading update. At face value I can understand the market reaction, sending the stock lower by nearly nine percent in the first hour of trade. Normalised headline earnings per share are likely to be between zero to five percent more. Huh? And Headline Earnings per Share and Basic Earnings per Share are likely to be 45 to 55 percent lower. What? Why? first, let us look at the company measure they like to use, Normalised headline earnings per share were impacted by two factors. In their words:


Discovery moves into Canada


No football fans, not Wayne Rooney and his merry bunch, rather Discovery are introducing Vitality to Canadian based financial service group Manulife, and not your beloved Red Devils. Which as far as I can tell (ducks under the table), are not having the best season in the history of everness (I made up a word). Their only consolation is that Chelsea are having a worse season. Whilst at face value this may seem like a "new" announcement, it is really an extension, the company operates under the brand name John Hancock in the US. You will recall from our message last year in April: John Hancock tie up. They have operations all over the world, a strong presence in Asia and in Europe. In fact, if you remember right, the company was a worldwide sponsor of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.


Discovery's full year numbers


Discovery reported results yesterday morning, we did not attend the presentation, we did watch it on TV however. Adrian Gore is a polished presenter, he tries to crack one every now and again, he must work on his humour in the delivery. One of the things that he said that did elicit a laugh from the audience at the JSE auditorium was that the Dachshund used for advertising the Vitality product in the United Kingdom has seen the sales of that said breed of dog rise significantly. Gore queried with one of his management team whether or not one of the two dogs came from Cape Town. Go onto the Vitality UK website to see what I mean about the little dog, those avid cricket watchers would be familiar with the little dog displayed across the blimp in the recent Ashes series.


John Hancock tie up


And then a more significant announcement from Discovery, introducing a US life insurance and investment business, John Hancock, which will essentially white label the Vitality product. Here is the official announcement: DISCOVERY AND JOHN HANCOCK ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP. John Hancock is a really old US based investments business named after one of the US "founding fathers". Hancock has the longest serving President of the Continental Congress. Remember the Lincoln speech about four score and seven years? That refers to the Continental Congress, so Hancock has an important name in American history.


Founders shell out big bucks


An interesting couple of announcements from Discovery over the last couple of days, one relates to the directors and related parties with regards to following their rights. First, the quantum of Adrian Gore's share, looking to maintain his shareholding in the company. We were discussing this a little in the office yesterday. The group CEO exercised 4,318,732 rights at 90 Rand, the total amount is a crazy 388,685,880 Rand. Read that again, 388 million Rand to maintain his holding in the company and to not be diluted. Obviously he does not have the money lying around, right?


Discovery rights, get in touch with us


Discovery go ex the rights today, meaning that the company starts trading without the rights. It is simple, on Friday was the last day in order to participate in the rights issue in the ratio of 9.38641 per 100 (at 90 Rand apiece), the share price today will trade accordingly lower, possibly around 6-7 percent lower from where it opens. The shares that you buy today include all the extra ones (55.5 million) that are going to be listed in the coming weeks. Remember, we think that you MUST follow your rights. Apply that ratio above to your current holding of Discovery shares, as per Friday's mini statement, and then multiply it by 90 Rand a share, simply make that deposit.


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