NetLink NBN Trust – Stable but higher rates start to nibble May 22, 2023 457

PSR Recommendation: NEUTRAL Status: Maintained
Last Close Price: 0.845 Target Price: 0.870
  • FY23 revenue and EBITDA were within expectations, at 101%/103% of our FY23e forecasts. A diversion revenue spike of 130% YoY in 4Q23 surpassed our expectations.
  • Core residential revenue was stable at S$61.4mn, up 1.4% YoY. Interest expense almost doubled to S$5.4mn due to higher interest rates and capital expenditure.
  • The new fibre rates NetLink can charge its customer is expected to be announced soon. Our base case is that fibre rates will be nudged marginally lower. Any impact on dividends is muted due to the ability to raise borrowings. Our FY24e EBITDA is raised by 2% and DCF target price nudged up to S$0.87 (prev. S$0.85). Our NEUTRAL recommendation is maintained. The distribution yield is sustainable from stable operating cash-flows and access to financing.



The Positive

+ Of the S$7.5mn improvement in revenue, $4.7mn is from diversion. Diversion revenue comes from removing old fibre ducts to new locations due to the construction of new highways, MRT network and property development projects. Increased construction activity will speed up the completion of new homes and will aid in residential fibre connections. 


The Negative

­– Extra capex and interest expenses jump.  CAPEX rose 31% YoY to S$96.7mn. The extra spending is for a new Seletar Central Office (CO). CAPEX is expected to remain elevated this year. Capital commitments have almost tripled to S$138mn (FY22: S$52mn). The extra CAPEX required an increase in borrowing by around S$70mn, leading to higher interest expenses. As the country heads towards 10GBps broadband, more equipment will be required in the COs. To cater for the extra equipment, NetLink will need to expand power, cooling and space in the COs. The push toward Wifi 6e and 7, will be additional catalysts to drive up broadband demand.

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About the author

Profile photo of Paul Chew

Paul Chew
Head of Research
Phillip Securities Research Pte Ltd

Paul has 20 years of experience as a fund manager and sell-side analyst. During his time as fund manager, he has managed multiple funds and mandates including capital guaranteed, dividend income, renewable energy, single country and regionally focused funds.

He graduated from Monash University and had completed both his Chartered Financial Analyst and Australian CPA programme.

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