DAILY MORNING NOTE | 15 May 2023

Week 20 equity strategy. The slide in electronics demand continues, with Korean and Taiwan exports experiencing their 6th an 7th consecutive month of decline in April. During the prior downturn, exports declined for around 14 months. Results from electronic bellwether stocks Venture, AEM, UMS and Nanofilm show an average YoY drop of 60% in revenues and profits for the March quarter. Excess inventory and cautious customers are commonly cited as the main factors contributing to this weakness. Expectations are for a rebound in 2H23 especially with new products. We are less upbeat. Firstly, consumer and corporate demand, especially discretionary spend, is slowing down in the US. Inventory may stay elevated longer than expected. Secondly, any recovery could be prolonged because the pandemic pulled forward significant demand. much. Thirdly, even if inventory is replenished the scale is unclear. Commodity companies also registered weak earnings, down an average 50% from softer palm and coal prices.

From the results, banks and hospitality have shown the strongest performance. Bank earnings have surged approximately 50%YoY in 1Q23 to record levels. However, price action of the stocks has been lacklustre. We believe this is due to market uncertainty regarding the terminal or steady state net interest margins as the cost of funds rises and CASA balances shrink. Hospitality trusts have seen their RevPAR rise an average 80% in 1Q23. Arrivals from China will be delayed due to flight constraints and domestic travel being the priority. Presently, we consider China to have the most promising macroeconomic story as its economy is expected to be less correlated with the global slowdown and the ongoing trend of higher interest rates worldwide.

Paul Chew
Head Of Research
paulchewkl@phillip.com.sg

Singapore stocks ended the week lower on Friday (May 12), amid rising uncertainty in global markets and renewed fears of a global economic slowdown. Singapore shares lost 0.7 per cent or 21 points to end at 3,208.55 on Friday. Losers outnumbered gainers 289 to 232, after 1.7 billion securities worth S$1.2 billion changed hands. Over the week, Singapore shares fell 1.8 per cent. Elsewhere in the region, key indices were mixed. The Hang Seng Index lost 0.6 per cent, the Kospi Composite Index fell 0.6 per cent, and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index slid 0.2 per cent. Meanwhile, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.9 per cent.

Wall Street stocks retreated on Friday (May 12) to close out a mixed week as markets monitored regional bank shares and awaited key talks to avert a US debt default. The White House said on Thursday that negotiations between President Joe Biden and Republican congressional leaders would be postponed until early next week to allow staff to continue working. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped less than 0.1 per cent to 33,300.62. The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent to 4,124.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.4 per cent to 12,284.74.

Top gainers & losers

Factsheets



EVENTS THIS WEEK

Factsheets

SG

Watch-listed semiconductor company Asti has received an unsolicited, non-binding letter of intent (LOI) for the acquisition of all the company’s shares. In a bourse filing on Sunday (May 14) evening, the group said a consortium of two unnamed parties has “genuine interest” in making a potential pre-conditional voluntary general cash offer for all the ordinary shares in Asti’s capital. Discussions are currently underway. Still, Asti highlighted that “no definitive agreements” have been made and there is “no certainty” that the LOI will be executed.

Hatten Land is expected to report a loss for the third quarter ending Jun 30, the Malaysian property developer said in a profit guidance issued late on Friday (May 12). The Catalist-listed company said in a regulatory filing that it is expecting to report “considerably lower” year-on-year revenue for the third quarter. This is even as it continues to post narrower losses, and achieved positive operating cash flow for three consecutive quarters, including in Q3. The expected lower revenue is mainly due to the group’s sales and marketing strategy revision in line with the progress of securing anchor tenants for its malls, which could potentially increase the value and attract more attention to its property assets, it said.

Normalised crude palm oil prices sent net profit for Golden Agri-Resources falling 51 per cent to US$92 million in its first financial quarter ended Mar 31, from US$188 million the year before. In a performance update on Friday (May 12), the mainboard-listed palm oil company said the market price for FOB Belawan crude palm oil for the quarter dropped 37 per cent on year, averaging US$900 per tonne compared with US$1,579 per tonne a year earlier. Revenue for Q1 fell 6 per cent to US$2.54 billion, from US$2.7 billion previously, with expanded sales volume partly offsetting lower average selling prices.

Seafood restaurant operator Jumbo Group reversed into the black in the fiscal first half from the year before, with the return of events and inbound tourism, the company said on Friday (May 12). Net profit for the six months ended Mar 31, 2023, stood at S$7.9 million, reversing from a net loss of S$4.5 million posted the same period a year ago. The results translate to earnings per share of 1.2 Singapore cents, against a loss per share of 0.7 Singapore cent.

Public transport operator SBS Transit reported on Friday (May 12) a 1.9 per cent improvement in net profit for the first quarter on the back of higher revenue, as ridership improved. Net profit for the three months ended Mar 31 rose to S$15.8 million, from S$15.5 million in the year-ago period, according to a business update by the company on the Singapore Exchange. The improved profitability came despite SBS Transit facing an 8.3 per cent rise in operating costs to S$351.6 million, from S$324.7 million a year earlier. The increase was a result of higher fuel and electricity costs, which in turn were caused by higher average electricity prices and higher overtime costs.

Real estate services provider Apac Realty posted a 67 per cent fall in net profit to S$3 million for the first quarter ended Mar 31, from S$9.1 million the year before. Revenue for the quarter fell 29 per cent to S$121.4 million, from S$171.1 million in the corresponding year-ago period, the mainboard-listed company said in a business update on Friday (May 12). This was due to a decrease in transaction volume of residential properties in the new homes segment, as new project launches were limited in the last six months. Apac Realty’s real estate brokerage services are operated by ERA Realty Network, under the ERA franchise.

Property developer Pan Hong on Friday (May 12) said it expects net losses for its 2023 financial year ended Mar 31. The drop in revenue is due to fewer transfer of control of units from a property project compared to the previous year. The development in question is the 978-unit Pan Hong Run He, as stated in a bourse filing by Pan Hong, which develops residential and commercial properties in China. Details of the group’s performance will be set out in the company’s unaudited financial results for FY2023, which is expected on or before May 30.

EC World Real Estate Investment Trust’s (EC World Reit) distribution per unit fell by 18.5 per cent to 1.127 Singapore cents for the first quarter ended Mar 31, 2023, from 1.383 Singapore cents the year before. Gross revenue was down 12.5 per cent to S$28.1 million for the first quarter, from S$32.2 million in the year-ago period. Net property income (NPI) dropped 12.3 per cent on the year to S$26.1 million for the quarter, from S$29.7 million previously.

Indonesian coal producer Geo Energy Resources posted a 60.4 per cent fall in its net profit to US$16 million for the first quarter ended Mar 31, 2023, from US$40.5 million the year before. This was mainly due to lower sales volume and higher production cash costs, the mainboard-listed company said in a business update on Friday (May 12). Earnings per share, converted to Singapore dollar terms, stood at 1.44 Singapore cents for the first quarter, down from 3.86 Singapore cents the previous year.

United Hampshire US real estate investment trust’s (Reit) distributable income for its first financial quarter rose 7.6 per cent on income from its third and largest acquisition, Upland Square Shopping Centre, in July 2022. Distributable income for the three months ended Mar 31 rose to US$8.8 million, from US$8.1 million in the year-ago period, the Reit’s manager said in a business update on Friday (May 12). Apart from the acquisition income, the manager said resilient performance of its existing properties also contributed to the rise in distributable income.

Offshore and marine (O&M) stalwart Seatrium, formerly known as Sembcorp Marine (Sembmarine), whose net order book crossed S$20 billion in the first quarter, is not “leaving any stones unturned” in its strategic review that is set to be wrapped up by end-year, said its top executive. The “holistic” review will, among others, look at Seatrium’s capital structure following the merger, as well as how best to position itself to tap growth opportunities amid the global green-energy transition, said chief executive officer Chris Ong during a virtual briefing on the company’s first quarter business update on Friday (May 12). Seatrium, with a market capitalisation of some S$8.5 billion, was born out of a giant merger between Sembmarine and Keppel Corp’s O&M unit, which was completed about a month ago.

Keppel Corporation announced on Friday (May 12) that its subsidiary Keppel Land has terminated the agreement to divest its 100 per cent equity interest in Flemmington Investments. Flemmington Investments has a 42 per cent stake in a project company which holds the rights to develop a site of about 30 hectares in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The proposed divestment was first announced on Mar 14, 2022.

Bumitama Agri posted a 51 per cent drop in net profit to 429.1 billion rupiah (S$40 million) for its first quarter ended Mar 31, from 873 billion rupiah for the previous corresponding period. The fall in net profit was mainly due to a lower average selling price as commodity prices normalise, coupled with higher fertiliser prices, the Indonesian palm oil producer said in its financial results released on Friday (May 12). Revenue for the quarter slid 8 per cent on the year to 3.6 trillion rupiah, from 3.9 trillion rupiah a year earlier, as contributions from the group’s palm kernel business fell 58 per cent to 279 billion rupiah.

Technology solutions provider CSE Global posted a 35.5 per cent increase in revenue to S$159.4 million for its first quarter ended Mar 31, 2023, from S$117.6 million in the previous year. The company attributed the higher revenue to growth in infrastructure revenue in Australia and the Americas region, as well as contributions from recent new acquisitions, it said in a business update on Friday (May 12). The group secured S$159.6 million of new orders in Q1, down 31.3 per cent from S$232.3 million of new orders in the year-ago period. This is because the group had secured two major contracts worth US$57.6 million in the first quarter of 2022.

Genting Singapore saw its net profit after taxation more than triple to S$129.2 million for the first quarter ended Mar 31, 2023, from S$40.4 million in the year-ago period. This came as revenue for the period grew 54 per cent on the year to S$484.5 million, from S$314.5 million previously, said the mainboard-listed company, which owns Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), in a quarterly business update on Friday (May 12). The integrated resort operator said that RWS has continued to benefit from the ongoing recovery of regional travel and gaming demand.


US

The current banking environment and pressures on earnings of some US regional banks may lead to some concentration in the sector, and regulators will likely be open to such mergers, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Saturday (May 13). Yellen told Reuters she was not seeing evidence of pressure on smaller community banks, which had a large percentage of insured deposits. She expressed confidence that nearly all banks had access to sufficient liquidity to guard against unexpected deposit outflows from uninsured depositors. However, she said a certain degree of consolidation in the regional and midsize banking sector could occur. She declined to discuss any specific banks.

Netflix plans to cut its spending by US$300 million this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday (May 12), citing people familiar with the matter. Company leaders urged staffers to be judicious with their spending, including in relation to hiring, but said there would be no hiring freeze or additional layoffs, according to the report. Netflix declined to comment. Shares of the company were down nearly 2 per cent in early trading.

General Motors (GM) said on Friday (May 12) it will recall nearly 1 million sport utility vehicles in the United States because the driver’s air-bag inflator may explode during deployment. The recall covers 994,763 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles from the 2014 through 2017 model years with modules produced by ARC Automotive. Dealers will replace the driver’s airbag module. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said a driver in Michigan of a 2017 Chevrolet Traverse was in a crash in which the front-driver airbag inflator ruptured during deployment causing facial injuries.

Binance said on Friday (May 12) it was withdrawing from Canada, weeks after the country issued a series of new guidelines for cryptocurrency exchanges including investor limits and mandatory registrations. Canada has tightened regulations for crypto asset trading platforms in recent months, with the introduction of a pre-registration process. The companies that do not adhere to the rules will face potential enforcement action, according to the website of the Ontario Securities Commission.

Japanese e-commerce and fintech giant Rakuten Group on Friday (May 12) posted an operating loss of 76.2 billion yen (S$754 million) for the first three months of 2023, dragged down by its money-losing mobile business. Rakuten posted a January-March loss of 102.7 billion yen for the mobile business – though that was narrower than in the same period a year earlier. Rakuten founder and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani originally outlined plans to becoming Japan’s fourth major carrier, promising to create a low-cost nationwide mobile network by using cloud-based software and commoditised hardware.

Units of HSBC Holdings have agreed to pay US$75 million to settle US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charges related to manipulative and deceptive trading and record-keeping failures, the regulator on Friday (May 12). HSBC Bank USA agreed to pay a US$45 million civil penalty for manipulative and deceptive trading in connection with swaps, spoofing and record-keeping failures, CFTC said in a statement. HSBCA Bank USA, HSBC Bank and HSBC Securities admitted to charges related to record-keeping and supervision failures and agreed to pay US$30 million to settle them, the regulator said in a separate statement.

India’s competition watchdog said it has begun an inquiry into allegations that the service fee charged for in-app payments by Google breaches an earlier antitrust directive, a regulatory order seen by Reuters showed on Friday (May 12). Tinder-owner Match Group and Indian startups have asked the watchdog to investigate Google’s new User Choice billing (UCB) system, which they alleged was anti-competitive. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday issued an order stating “it is of the opinion that an inquiry needs to be made.” The order is not public and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Linda Yaccarino, is leaving her role as head of global advertising at NBCUniversal to take the helm at Twitter, according to a person familiar with the situation. Yaccarino and NBCUniversal announced her departure on Friday (May 12) morning, effective immediately. Without naming Yaccarino, Elon Musk said in a tweet on Thursday that he had chosen a new CEO who would begin in six weeks and that he is shifting into the role of chief technologist at the social-media company.


Source: SGX Masnet, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, CNBC, WSJ, The Business Times, PSR


RESEARCH REPORTS

CapitaLand Investment Limited – Lodging business to drive growth

Recommendation: Accumulate (Maintained), Last Done: S$3.62

Target price: S$4.12, Analyst: Darren Chan

– 1Q23 revenue of S$702mn (+5.6% YoY) was slightly below our estimates, forming 21% of our FY23e forecast. This was due to lower event-driven fees from fund management (-S$33m or -68.8% YoY) with the lull in property transaction activities. Recurring fee income from fund management grew 3.5% to S$87mn.

– Revenue from the real estate investment business, which rose by 10.9% YoY, benefitted from strong recovery in the hospitality and retail sectors. CapitaLand Ascott Trust and CLI’s lodging management fees gained from higher rental and occupancy rates. 1Q23 portfolio RevPAU grew 42% YoY to reach 103% of 1Q19 pre-COVID RevPAU at S$81.

– Maintain ACCUMULATE with an unchanged SOTP TP of S$4.12. No change in estimates. Our SOTP derived TP of S$4.12 represents an upside of 17.1% and a forward P/E of 17x. The pick-up in travel and China’s continued re-opening will be immediate catalysts for CLI.

PRIME US REIT – Leasing is top priority


Recommendation: BUY (Maintained), Last Done: US$0.21

Target price: S$0.46, Analyst: Darren Chan

– 1Q23 distributable income was below expectations and 21% of FY23e forecast. The decline of 28.8% to US$14.9mn was due to Prime increasing management fees paid in cash from 20% to 100%, higher interest expense, absence of lease termination income, and higher operating expenses. Excluding the higher proportion of management fees in cash, distributable income is still down 22.5%.

– Portfolio occupancy dipped slightly to 88.6% from 89.1% in 4Q22, with overall rental reversions of -2.6%.

– Maintain BUY, DDM-TP lowered from US$0.70 to US$0.46 as we lower our FY23e DPU forecast by 18% due to management fees paid all in cash, lower occupancy, and higher costs. We also cut FY24e and FY25e DPU by 18% and 15% respectively. Catalysts include improved leasing and a greater return to the office. Prime is currently trading at 0.3x P/NAV and below pandemic lows, and we believe that most of the negatives are already priced in. The current share price implies FY23e/FY24e DPU yield of 23/25%.


StarHub Limited – DARE+ drag delayed

Recommendation: NEUTRAL (Maintained); TP S$1.08, Last close: S$1.05; Analyst Paul Chew

– Revenue and EBITDA were in line with expectations at 22%/25% of our FY22e estimates. 1Q23 revenue growth of almost 9% YoY was broad-based, especially mobile roaming revenue and higher ARPUs in entertainment.

– The extra investment into the DARE+ transformation was around S$25mn of the expected S$155mn to be spent this year. The bulk of this spend will be in opex. We estimate S$90mn.

– FY23e will be a transition year as StarHub undergoes huge expenditure namely in IT. In general, these investments will lower operating cost as networks and infrastructure are replaced and move to the cloud. Revenue opportunities are expected to come from the launch of a All-in-One app platform, more self-serve consumer features, faster speed and agility to launch products and providing Greentech and hybrid multi cloud capabilities to the enterprise segment. We maintain our FY23e forecast and NEUTRAL recommendation. The target price of S$1.08 is unchanged, pegged at 6.5x FY22e EV/EBITDA, in line with other mobile peers.


Thai Beverage PLC – No fizz in the beer

Recommendation: BUY (Upgraded); TP S$0.80, Last close: S$0.59; Analyst Paul Chew

– Earnings were within expectations. 1H23 revenue and PATMI at 49%/52% of our FY23e forecasts. 2Q23 PATMI growth of 3.4% was driven by growth in spirits but dragged down by a major decline in beer earnings.

– 2Q23 beer volumes were down 10% YoY. Sabeco volume declined by double-digits due to distributors de-stocking and slowdown in economic growth. Consumer sentiment in Vietnam is weak, especially for the industrial sector.

– We maintain our FY23e forecast. We expect improvement in beer sales to gradually recover in Vietnam as tourist arrivals support consumption and economic activity. The activities around the general election in Thailand is another trigger for beer demand in the near-term. Our recommendation is upgraded from ACCUMULATE to BUY due to recent share price weakness. The target price of S$0.80 is unchanged. We peg 18x FY23e earnings for the core operations, its 5-year average. And listed associates are valued at market valuations.

FAANGM Monthly Apr 23 – Revenue growth slow, profits continue declining

Recommendation: NEUTRAL (Maintained); Analysts: Jonathan Woo, Maximilian Koeswoyo, Zane Aw, Phillip Research Team

– FAANGM was up 4.3% in April, beating the S&P 500’s gain of 1.5%, and the Nasdaq’s gain of 0.5%. META was the top gainer, up 12% on the back of better-than-expected 2Q23e guidance. NFLX was the main laggard, down 4.7% for the month due to soft 2Q23e revenue guidance.

– For the quarter ending Mar23, FAANGM revenue grew 4.0%, but Adj. PATMI was down 3.4%. Revenue growth guidance (excl. GOOGL) for the next quarter ending Jun23 was ~4.4%, similar to growth from the previous quarter.

• FAANGM P/S valuations have been creeping up towards +1 std dev away from its long-term average even as revenue growth has remained relatively flat. We also continue to see near-term weakness in demand for tech consumer goods, digital advertising, and Cloud. We remain NEUTRAL on FAANGM.

Singapore Banking Monthly – NII growth continues while fee income recovering

Recommendation: Overweight (Maintained)

Analyst: Glenn Thum

– April’s 3M-SORA was up 25bps MoM to 3.60%, 3M-HIBOR was down 21bps MoM to 3.59%. HIBOR is down 170bps this year.

– 1Q23 bank earnings were modestly above expectations. PATMI rose 50%, supported by NII growth of 50% YoY. Provisions were higher but credit cost still at their lows of 18bps. Guidance for FY23e NIMs (from 2.1-2.25% to 2.05-2.2%) and loans growth (from mid-single digit to low to mid-single digit).

– Singapore domestic loans dipped 3.98% YoY in March, below our estimates, while Hong Kong’s domestic loans declined 3.30% YoY in March. The CASA balance dipped slightly to 18.9% (Feb23: 19.2%).

– Maintain OVERWEIGHT. We remain positive on banks. Bank dividend yields are attractive at 5.7% with upside surprise in dividends due to excess capital ratios and push towards higher ROEs. SGX is another major beneficiary of higher interest rates (SGX SP, BUY, TP S$11.71).

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