TELCOs – OCBC

Downgrade to NEUTRAL

  • All largely in line
  • Outlook still muted
  • Downgrade to NEUTRAL

Results were mostly in line

All three telcos reported 1QCY13 results that came in within our expectations. M1’s core earnings met 27% of our full-year forecast; SingTel met 27%; and StarHub met 25%. StarHub declared a quarterly dividend of S$0.05/share as guided, while SingTel declared a final dividend of S$0.10 (bringing its total dividend for FY13 to S$0.168).

Review of Singapore mobile operations

Core post-paid mobile subscribers grew by 1.2% QoQ to 4.3m at end-Mar, led by SingTel (+1.4%), M1 (+1.1%) and StarHub (+0.8%). While monthly ARPUs were fairly stable, the three telcos expect to see some uplifts this year, aided by the new tiered pricing plans with less generous data bundles; they also expect data usage to trend higher as more users migrate to the faster 4G networks.

Outlook still quite muted this year

While the exception of M1, which expects to see a moderate earnings growth this year and pay out at least 80% of earnings as dividends, both SingTel and StarHub are more muted in their outlook. SingTel expects stable group revenue for FY14 while overall EBITDA should show low single-digit growth. It did raise its dividend payout ratio to 60-75% of core earnings. On the other hand, StarHub has pared its revenue guidance down to low single-digit growth from singledigit growth and kept its EBITDA margin at 31%. It also kept its dividend at S$0.20/share, or S$0.05/quarter.

Downgrade to NEUTRAL – yields are not attractive

In the search for yield, telco stocks have done very well, rising some 14-26% YTD. However, we note that the share prices have run up too much, too quickly, and this has driven yields down to below 5%. In addition, a more “risk-on” approach could see investors switching out of defensive plays. As such, we downgrade our rating on the sector to NEUTRAL from Overweight.

TELCOs – OCBC

Downgrade to NEUTRAL

  • All largely in line
  • Outlook still muted
  • Downgrade to NEUTRAL

Results were mostly in line

All three telcos reported 1QCY13 results that came in within our expectations. M1’s core earnings met 27% of our full-year forecast; SingTel met 27%; and StarHub met 25%. StarHub declared a quarterly dividend of S$0.05/share as guided, while SingTel declared a final dividend of S$0.10 (bringing its total dividend for FY13 to S$0.168).

Review of Singapore mobile operations

Core post-paid mobile subscribers grew by 1.2% QoQ to 4.3m at end-Mar, led by SingTel (+1.4%), M1 (+1.1%) and StarHub (+0.8%). While monthly ARPUs were fairly stable, the three telcos expect to see some uplifts this year, aided by the new tiered pricing plans with less generous data bundles; they also expect data usage to trend higher as more users migrate to the faster 4G networks.

Outlook still quite muted this year

While the exception of M1, which expects to see a moderate earnings growth this year and pay out at least 80% of earnings as dividends, both SingTel and StarHub are more muted in their outlook. SingTel expects stable group revenue for FY14 while overall EBITDA should show low single-digit growth. It did raise its dividend payout ratio to 60-75% of core earnings. On the other hand, StarHub has pared its revenue guidance down to low single-digit growth from singledigit growth and kept its EBITDA margin at 31%. It also kept its dividend at S$0.20/share, or S$0.05/quarter.

Downgrade to NEUTRAL – yields are not attractive

In the search for yield, telco stocks have done very well, rising some 14-26% YTD. However, we note that the share prices have run up too much, too quickly, and this has driven yields down to below 5%. In addition, a more “risk-on” approach could see investors switching out of defensive plays. As such, we downgrade our rating on the sector to NEUTRAL from Overweight.

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