Monday, 17 April 2017

Stock Market Today:Strong regional headwinds spell trouble for Japfa's earnings ahead

CIMB Research is downgrading its call on Japfa from add to reduce, lowering its price target on the counter to 69 cents from $1.41 previously on strong headwinds in the industrial agri-food company's two largest markets, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In a report last Thursday analyst Jonathan Seow says Japfa's "stellar FY16" is unlikely to be repeated this year as poultry prices in Indonesia have weakened considerably in 1Q17 due to oversupply, with broiler prices now at loss-making levels.

This is in addition to depressed swine prices in Vietnam, which prove contrary to CIMB's initial expectations of a recovery after they first began falling in 4Q16, recalls Seow.

While we remain positive on the long-term macro and industry prospects, we also note that these current headwinds are especially troubling because Indonesia (72% of FY16 revenue) and Vietnam (12%) are Japfa's two largest markets, says the analyst.

CIMB has therefore updated its earnings per share (EPS) forecasts to account for the weak selling price environment and lower margins, such that its FY17-19F EPS projections have fallen by 36-42%

Noting that Japfa continues to trade near its historical level of 11.9 times and significantly above its historical mean of 8.7 times despite underperforming since its dismal 4Q16 results, Seow believes the stock is currently "way too expensive and unjustified" given the multiple near-term headwinds.

The company's 1Q17 results are due to be announced on April 27, which CIMB expects to disappoint.As at 11am, shares of Japfa are trading 6.8% lower at 75 cents.

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