SingPost – OCBC

Time to factor in growth possibilities

Bumping up earnings estimates. We have tweaked our earnings estimates to take into account G3 Worldwide Aspac (G3AP)’s contribution to the group’s revenue. We had earlier refrained from doing so given the uncertainty of its impact in the face of a fragile global economy. Although the general mood is still cautious given that government stimulus packages have not resulted in a sustained recovery in consumer spending (amongst other risks present in the global system), we now deem it appropriate to increase our earnings estimates by about 6% to incorporate G3AP’s earnings. Overseas revenue now accounts for 8.2% of total revenue compared to only 0.4% previously.

Recovery underway but not time to party. Composite leading indicators of key OECD countries are continuing their upward trend after reaching their inflexion points around 1Q09. 2Q09 GDP growth cues have also been largely positive, especially for Asian economies. While there are still doubts on fundamental recovery in the financial markets, there is no denying that an improvement in investor sentiment has allowed companies and banks to raise capital and shore up their balance sheets. However, certain risks, such as 1) deteriorating personal credit and loans in the US, 2) possible build-up of asset bubbles in China, and 3) possible weak private sector spending in major economies after government stimulus plans wear off, threaten to destabilise the global economy and hence Singapore’s economy. As SingPost’s earnings are significantly correlated with Singapore’s GDP growth, it is worth noting the possible trajectories of the global economy.

Worldwide postal sector only feeling a pinch. According to a Universal Postal Union survey, postal operators are definitely feeling the effects of the crisis, but are “not showing signs of an economic depression”. Shares of listed postal operators have performed well during this crisis, given their relatively defensive nature. Besides having a decent dividend yield, SingPost is also pursuing growth, as seen by its recent M&A deals, enhancing the attractiveness of the stock.

Maintain BUY. SingPost is still the dominant player in Singapore’s postal industry despite threats from new competitors, and we foresee its strong operating and free cash flows to continue to buttress its reputation as a stable and well-run business. Meanwhile, it is taking the opportunity to grow its regional network during this downturn, which is definitely a positive development. With the incorporation of G3AP’s future earnings, we have also raised our fair value estimate to S$1.09 (prev S$0.97). Maintain BUY.

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