+ The scale of trading business keeps improving: CAO is building scale in trading business to achieve lower break-even point. Trading volume in other oil products mainly came from crude oil in 1Q18 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Still expanding volumes
+ Profits from associates delivered a stellar growth: Profit from Pudong was US$18.9mn (+46% YoY) due to higher refuelling volume, foreign exchange gain and investment income. During the period, refuelling volume increased by 6.8% YoY to 1.1mn tonnes, and RMB appreciated against USD by 8% YoY. OKYC also improved their performance with 1Q profit of US$1.4mn, +6.9% YoY. CNAF HKR continued to shrink net losses to US$0.17mn, the lowest since the business was acquired in 2014.
– Trading margins narrowed due to backwardation persisted: Despite the rise in total trading volume, GPM dropped by 14.6% YoY in 1Q18. With oil prices in backwardation, CAO slowed the rate of expansion in the trading business and became more selective in orders deemed more profitable.
Oil prices are on a rising trajectory, and backwardation could continue for another 1 or 2 quarters. Hence, the growth of trading activities is expected to slow down. Meanwhile, trading margins will continue to face compression in the near term. Nonetheless, we remain upbeat on CAO as profit from associates, especially Pudong will deliver high growth rates continuously this year, driven mainly by more air traffic volumes that are attributable to the operation of the 5th runway.
Maintain BUY with unchanged TP of S$2.00
We modestly adjusted our FY18e EPS to 10.9 US cents (previously 11.0 US cents) due to the impact of the adoption of SFRS (I) 9. Based on an average forward 12-month PER of 13.3x, we maintain our BUY call with an unchanged target price of S$2.00 for FY18.