Tuesday, 13 March 2012

UOB Kay Hian Research lowers consumer sector to market weight

KUALA LUMPUR (March 13): UOB kay Hian Malaysia Research is downgrading the consumer sector to Market Weight from Overweight as valuations of consumer stocks under its coverage appear fully valued.

It said on Tuesday these stocks had rallied 8%-20% since December 2011, with the sector trading at about one standard deviation above the historical average.

“We also do not anticipate any exciting corporate developments in the near term. (Recall in 2011, KFC Holdings (KFC) was proposed to be privatised, and Guinness Anchor (GAB) paid out a special dividend),” it said.

UOB Kay Hian Research said the present market climate remained supportive, pointing out that valuations were “not too hot” and earnings growth was moderating but not turning cold.

“The sector remains defensive as the anticipated strong consumption growth in 2012 plus good pricing power (which offsets some increases in raw material cost) ensure decent dividend yield of 2%-5%,” it said.

The research house said the consumer sector continues to be a beneficiary of fiscal stimulus, announced hefty 7%-13% pay hikes for civil servants for 2012, general election and special events (UEFA Euro Cup 2012 which will boost brewery consumption).

On its move to reduce the sector to Market Weight, it said this was to reflect fair valuations and moderate earnings growth prospects.

"Our stand also reflects our Sell call on KFCH as its price upside is limited by the takeover offer price (RM4) by Massive Equity Sdn Bhd while the completion of the privatisation exercise appears being delayed with the master franchisor, Yums! reportedly being reluctant to approve the deal.

“Among the segments, we still prefer brewery which should benefit from the imminent modest 3%-4% price hikes, low capex requirements and healthy volume growth (estimated 5% in 2012),” it said.

UOB Kay Hian Research said its preferred pick was Guinness Anchor (Hold, target: RM12.80), which continued to appeal for its steady market share gain, decent net effective yield of 4.7%, and likely distribution of a second tranche of special dividend (estimated 60 sen a share) which would most probably take place in FY13.

It raised its target price to RM12.80 from RM12.50 to account for the higher beer prices.

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