Initiates Coverage of StepStone with a Buy Recommendation
ABG Sundal Collier Norge ASA has initiated coverage of StepStone ASA. In a new Research Action report dated 19 February 2004, analyst Hans Øyvind Haukelihas issued a BUY recommendation, with a target price of NOK 0.53 per share against a current price of NOK 0.31.
The report highlights improving sentiment in the market, and how StepStone has adapted its business to today's climate. "Our view is that the European job market should now be through the trough. We estimate the market is down some 70-80% from peak levels in 2000 and 2001. ... Stepstone has used 2003 to cut its costs and now has a lean and mean organisation."
Looking at StepStone's traditional OLR business, the report concludes that StepStone is well positioned in its key markets, with a leveraged business model that will allow it to exploit and benefit from improving market conditions. "Stepstone's particularly strong position in Belgium, Germany and Denmark should ensure that the company should reap the rewards for improved job market and recruitment market conditions."
Looking specifically at Germany, StepStone's largest market, the report shows that January 2004 was the first month since July 2001 with a decline in the number of unemployed. "If we do see a recovery in Germany, we argue that Stepstone is well positioned to get its respective chunk of the market."
The report also reviews opportunities for StepStone's new Enterprise Recruitment Solutions division with the Hire.com and OneStep products.
"2004 will be a year of generating sales and deferred revenues within the ERS division. Investors should not expect significant revenues in 2004. The progress, however, should be very positive in terms of the deferred revenue (pipeline) within the ERS division. We are assuming five new OneStep clients per quarter and 12 new HIRE.com clients in addition to the two already signed in January and February."
ABG Sundal Collier (www.abgsc.com) is a pan-Nordic, full service investment bank, driven by high-quality independent research. The company was created through the merger of ABG, Sundal Collier and Askia Invest which was completed in October 2001.