+ Utilities’ Singapore operation deliver a moderate growth. In 4Q17, profit from operation (PFO) from Singapore arrived at S$40.6mn (Down 32% YoY), resulting from the lower contribution from energy segment (4Q17: S$21.3mn vs 4Q16: S$36.1mn). A higher high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) price further suppressed profit margins. However, FY17 PFO grew by 10% YoY to S$217.4mn. The drop in PFO from On-site Logistics & Solid Waste Management was fully offset by the growth in PFO from Energy and Water. Net profit from Utilities’ Singapore increased by 24% YoY to S$163.6mn, underpinning the improvement of centralized utilities and gas businesses in FY17.
– Utilities’ India’s performance was dragged by SGPL. 4Q17 PFO from India arrived at S$37.6mn (Up 45% YoY), and FY17 PFO arrived at S$329.4mn (Up 38% YoY). However, net loss in FY17 expanded to S$57.8mn (FY16: -S$16.1mn). In 4Q17, respective net loss from TPCIL, SGPL, and SGIL was S$4mn, S$27mn, and S$5mn. It was mainly attributed to S$39.1 refinancing costs from SGPL, shut-down of some plants, and narrower spark spread owning to higher coal price. Moreover, there was no group tax relief in India and the tax benefit for losses from a subsidiary in India was not recognised, resulting in the widened net losses.
– Marine segment continued to drag the group’s profitability. 4Q17 net loss from Sembcorp Marine (SMM) was S$35.0mn (net profit in 4Q16: S$30.6mn). FY17 net profit was S$9.9mn (FY16: S$75.2mn). It was due to lower profits from drilling solutions and offshore platforms. The net order book continued to decline to S$7.6bn ($3.1bn from Sete Brasil drillship projects) as of Dec-17.
Strategy review summaries:
Goal: Return to double-digit ROE.
Management unfolds the 3-step plan, namely reposition, growth, and sustainable value creation. To gain back the double-digit ROE that contains both organic and inorganic growth, the group will start to increase cash reserves internally. We believe that plants under TPCIL, SGPL, and SGIL are quality assets. Given the current bullish market condition, the Group could monetise these assets at good prices if it proceeds the IPO in the near term. However, the expectation of prolonged weak profitability from marine segment could stall the recovery on the group level in the short term. On a long-term perspective, we think it is in the right direction. After all, clean energy gradually will become one of the mainstream developments in the foreseeable future. The diversified global footprints that it is going to be entrenched ensure a higher growth while lower operational risks.
We tweak up the FY18e EPS from previous 17.8 SG cents to 19.8 SG cents, due to the expectation of an improvement stemming from the new strategy. After incorporating an unchanged target price of S$1.91 for SMM, based on sum-of-the-parts method, and we maintain ACCUMULATE with a higher target price of S$3.86 (previous S$3.7).