Brokers' Call: FRASER AND NEAVE

FRASER AND NEAVE

Broker: DBS Research Group

Call: Hold

Target price: $2.45

The recommendation reflects a lower valuation for Myanmar Brewery Limited (MBL).

The disposal of F&N's 55 per cent stake in MBL is expected to be completed by Aug 20 at US$560 million ($786 million). This is about 35 per cent lower than original estimates of $1.2 billion.

Core profit forecast for the 2015 financial year has been raised to account for the gain from MBL, but it has been revised down by 39 per cent for 2016 and 43 per cent for 2017 to account for the loss of profits from the brewery, mitigated partially by higher interest income.

The projection is that F&N's balance sheet will be flush with cash once again, to the tune of $1.18 billion, by the year end.

BOUSTEAD SINGAPORE

Broker: CIMB

Call: Hold

Target Price: $1.06

Boustead's first-quarter 2016 revenue declined by 8 per cent adjusted for its 48.8 per cent demerger of Boustead Projects.

Core earnings per share is estimated to be down 19.6 per cent to 27.4 per cent for 2016-2018, in view of the protracted challenging business environment for its energy division and the subdued profitability of the geospatial technology division due to the weakened Australian dollar.

With zero debt, $136 million in cash and $40 million of available-for-sale financial assets, Boustead has a sound financial position and core engineering capability, but there are no meaningful catalysts to re-rate the stock.

UOL Group

Broker: CIMB

Call: Buy

Target price: $8.24

UOL's core net-profit increase to $98.7 million for the first half was largely in line with expectations and made up 40 per cent of full-year forecast.

The group continued to enjoy a better showing from its residential operations, such as Katong Regency, Seventy St Patricks, Riverbank @ Fernvale and Botanique at Bartley, as well as rental income from One KM, which helped offset the slight slack in hotel contributions.

Residential activities should continue to be the driver in this half. The planned launch of the Prince Charles Crescent site in the fourth quarter should extend earnings visibility. Rental income should remain relatively stable, with only an estimated 20 per cent of its office and retail space expiring next year.

Hotel operations are likely to remain challenging with a weaker economic outlook and slower tourist arrivals.

GENTING SINGAPORE

Broker: RHB

Call: Buy

Target Price: $1.02

Genting's management reiterated its cautious medium-term outlook due to China's continued push to eradicate corruption as well as the appreciation of the Singapore dollar against regional currencies.

That said, its second-quarter bad debt provisions improved significantly to $56.6 million, which can be attributed to management's stringent credit control as well as tightening of collection procedures over the past six to nine months.

The group registered net exceptional expenses of $85.9 million due to recognition of a fair-value loss on its equity-linked derivative financial instruments as well as an unrealised loss on foreign exchange due to its holdings of Hong Kong and US dollars.

While the operating environment remains challenging, the worst is likely over.

SINGTEL

Broker: RHB

Call: Neutral

Target Price: $4.07

Singtel scores well across key mobile metrics, with Optus clawing back market share and its Singapore mobile business trumping its peers.

Singtel has sharpened its strategy in the digital business and will now focus on digital marketing, regional premium video content and advanced analytics. As part of the exercise to streamline its group digital life (GDL) business, it transferred a few digital services segments to the Singapore consumer business.

Its dividend yield is the lowest among the Singapore telcos. Key risks to earnings are the stronger-than-expected mobile competition in

Singapore and Australia, extended Australian dollar weakness and higher-than-expected losses from its GDL investments.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2015, with the headline 'Brokers' Call: FRASER AND NEAVE'. Print Edition | Subscribe