Daily Morning Note – 18 May 2022


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Asian stocks may get a boost Wednesday from a US rally and speculation that China will loosen a crackdown on technology firms. Treasuries slid on hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Asian stocks may get a boost Wednesday from a US rally and speculation that China will loosen a crackdown on technology firms. Treasuries slid on hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

A gauge of US-listed Chinese shares climbed more than 5%. China’s top economic official gave an unusual public show of support for digital-platform companies, suggesting Beijing may let up on tech clampdown.

Stocks to watch: Frencken Group, CSE Global

Top gainers & losers




Fibre network infrastructure owner NetLink NBN Trust reported a 0.8 per cent year-on-year increase in distribution per unit (DPU) to 2.57 Singapore cents for the 6 months ended March 31, 2022. Revenue for the 6-month period was 1.4 per cent higher at S$189.68 million on the back of higher connections revenue, which was partially offset by lower Central Office revenue. Meanwhile, profit attributable to unitholders rose 2.3 per cent to S$51.18 million. For FY2022, the group chalked up a revenue of S$377.61 million, up 2.5 per cent from FY2021, mainly due to higher residential, non-building address points (NBAP) & segment connections revenue, installation-related revenue and ancillary project revenue. Residential connections revenue – which contributed to nearly 64 per cent of total revenue – increased S$2.8 million to S$240.7 million in line with the higher number of connections.

Revenue for mainboard-listed CSE Global rose 5.8 per cent to S$117.6 million in the first quarter ended Mar 31, 2022, from S$111.2 million in the year-ago period. This came mainly from growth in the mainboard-listed company’s infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific, particularly from utility and government customers in Australia, it said in a business update on Tuesday (May 17). Infrastructure grew some 56.6 per cent year on year to S$47.3 million in Q1, driven by higher revenue contributions across Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, due to increased investments in public and critical infrastructure. Revenue from the mining and minerals sector rose 3.8 per cent year on year to S$12.3 million, as progress began to be made on projects with the easing of Covid-19 curbs. On the other hand, revenue from the energy sector fell 16 per cent year on year to S$58.1 million, following lower large-project revenues in the Americas region.

Frencken Group’s net profit fell 12.6 per cent year-on-year to S$12.8 million in Q1 due to higher costs and heightened supply chain challenges in the second half of FY2021. “Higher prices of materials, freight and energy in 1QFY22 compared to 1QFY21 have driven up input costs and the group is working on cost mitigation actions,” the mainboard-listed company said in a business update on Tuesday (May 17). Revenue went up 9.3 per cent year-on-year to S$198.4 million, driven primarily by double digit sales of the group’s mechatronics division, which accounted for 87.1 per cent of the manufacturer’s revenue in Q1. Gross profit eased 2.5 per cent year on year to S$30.5 million in Q1, while gross profit margin fell 1.9 percentage points to 15.4 per cent. Frencken attributed this to rising raw material prices amid supply chain disruptions and increased production overhead costs.

Del Monte Pacific’s US subsidiary Del Monte Foods Inc (DMFI) has raised US$600 million through a 7-year term loan B facility which matures in 2029. In a bourse filing on Tuesday (May 17), dual-listed Del Monte said the facility is priced at a floating rate of adjusted SOFR (secured overnight financing rate), with a floor of 0.5 per cent plus 4.25 per annum. Proceeds will be mainly used to redeem the group’s US$500 million senior secured notes due to mature in 2025, inclusive of redemption fees and accrued interest at a rate of 11.875 per cent per annum. Del Monte estimates the latest term loan B facility’s much-lower interest rate compared to that of the senior secured notes will result in US$20-30 million of pre-tax interest savings per year.

Europe-focused real estate investment trust IReit Global has secured a lease extension of 6 years from its sole tenant at Bonn Campus in Germany, for 100 per cent of the property starting from May 2023. In a bourse filing on Tuesday (May 17), the real estate investment trust’s (Reit) manager said its revised lease with Deutsche Telekom’s real estate leasing unit, GMG Generalmietgesellschaft, will now expire in April 2029. Rental income for the lease will be about 7.3 million euros (S$10.6 million) per annum. A rent-free period of 4 months and leasing incentives of 400,000 euros were also granted to GMG as part of the revised lease agreement.


Walmart on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street’s expectations by a wide margin, as the nation’s largest retailer felt pressure from rising fuel costs and higher levels of inventory. Shares were down nearly 7% in premarket trading. The company raised its outlook for sales this year, saying it expects net sales to increase about 4% in constant currency for the full year. It previously anticipated a 3% increase. But Walmart also lowered profit expectations. Earnings per share for the year will decrease by about 1% compared with the mid single-digit increase it previously expected, the company projected. In an interview with CNBC, Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said the significant jump in fuel prices, elevated labor costs and aggressive inventory levels weighed on the company. He said some merchandise arrived late and other items, such as grills, plants and pool chemicals, didn’t sell due to “unseasonably cool weather in the U.S.”

Elon Musk hinted that he could seek to renegotiate the price of his Twitter takeover, saying a deal at a lower price wasn’t “out of the question.” Musk was speaking at a summit hosted by Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks and David Friedberg for their “All-In” podcast. The stock closed down more than 8% as investors fear Musk will walk back on his agreement to acquire the social media company for $44 billion. Twitter shares have also erased all gains made since Musk disclosed his investment in the company on April 4, in part thanks to a sell-off late last week. Musk said Friday that the acquisition was “on hold” while he researches the proportion of fake and spam accounts on the platform, which he believes Twitter has misstated.

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com posted its slowest quarterly revenue growth on record for the first three months of the year, as Covid-19 lockdowns in the world’s second-largest economy weighed on consumer spending. JD.com beat estimates on revenue but missed expectations on profit. In the three months to the end of December, rival Alibaba reported its slowest quarterly growth rate since its 2014 listing. Chinese tech giants are facing a number of headwinds including Covid lockdowns in parts of China, with the financial and economic powerhouse city of Shanghai hit particularly hard. This has weighed on the economy with retail sales falling more than expected in March. JD’s retail segment, its largest division by revenue, brought in revenue of 217.5 billion yuan in the March quarter, up 17% year-on-year. The Chinese firm’s logistics business, which is the second-largest unit, saw revenue rise 22% year-on-year to 27.3 billion yuan. JD Logistics also narrowed its losses in the quarter.

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

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