Thai stock's 1,000% surge leaves market watchers dumbfounded

Delta has rallied more than any other of the world's electrical stocks with a market value of more than US$500 million.
Delta has rallied more than any other of the world's electrical stocks with a market value of more than US$500 million.PHOTO: DELTA ELECTRONICS THAILAND/FACEBOOK

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Shares of Delta Electronics (Thailand) have surged more than 11-fold over the past year, leaving market watchers and even the company puzzled. With fundamentals not strong enough to justify the meteoric rise, analysts too are falling out of love with the stock.

While electronic-parts makers have emerged as a hot play after the pandemic boosted work-from-home activities and spurred demand for video-conferencing, cloud services and e-commerce, Delta has rallied more than any other of the world's electrical stocks with a market value of more than US$500 million (S$664 million).

The gains have pushed it so far ahead of analyst estimates that it's now the lowest-rated stock in the SET100 Index, a gauge of Thailand's large listed companies. Delta has a consensus of 1.55 on a scale ranging from 1 representing a sell call to 5 triggering buy, the data show. Of the 11 analysts actively covering the stock, all but one advise selling it.

"Delta has defied all fundamentals," said Jason York, an equity trader at Krungsri Securities. "Its business hasn't changed so dramatically."

Delta’s shares rose 8.9 per cent as of 10:13am in Bangkok on Friday (Jan 8). Its US$25 billion market value makes it the third-biggest company on the Thai stock exchange after PTT, the state-controlled oil giant, and Airports of Thailand.

Delta’s shares slumped 33 per cent through Thursday since hitting an all-time intraday high on Dec 28.

The sharp moves prompted a Dec 30 warning from the stock exchange about its volatility. Bourse restrictions limiting transactions to cash from Jan 6 to 26 have so far stemmed the stock’s climb, although it added 35 per cent in the first two trading days of the year before they were imposed.

Delta, a unit of Taiwan's Delta Electronics, makes components for automobiles and data centers, among other products. Net income in the first nine months more than doubled to 5.5 billion baht (S$240 million) on rising sales of its electronic parts and products, the company said in October.

That said, the stock is now trading at about 90 times its 12-month forward earnings, compared with an average multiple of 17.3 over the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Analysts' average 12-month price target is 66 per cent lower than Thursday's closing price.

Some of the stock gains can be attributed to Delta's recent addition to MSCI's global standard indexes. An expansion to supply electric vehicle components may also be drawing some investors' interest, according Samsung Asset Management.

"There is mania over everything EV even if it is not the majority revenue generator," said Alan Richardson, a fund manager at Samsung Asset in Hong Kong. Still, with charging cables Delta's only product for the vehicles, the fervor over its involvement won't last long, he said.