SPH – OCBC

Continued headwinds for print

  • REIT spin-off success
  • Continued headwinds for print
  • Downgrade to HOLD with S$4.14 FV

A REIT success but 18 S-cents bonus below view

As anticipated, SPH conducted a successful REIT spin-off for Paragon and Clementi Mall, yielding substantial cash proceeds and subsequently an 18 S-cents bonus dividend for shareholders. We see the establishment of a REIT subsidiary vehicle as a major positive for the group’s mall development business and believe management’s decision to hold a 70% majority stake makes significant sense – this enables accounting consolidation and for the bulk of property earnings to continue accreting to SPH. That said, the 18 S-cents bonus cash dividend was somewhat below view, particularly as the group was already sitting on an fairly hefty war-chest of ~S$0.9b investible funds as at end 3QFY13. We believe that investors could judge the degree in which management can expediently deploy excess capital for attractive returns as a key performance indicator for the group ahead.

Still seeing headwinds for the print business

In addition, the latest 3QFY13 figures presented a picture of continued headwinds for the group’s core print business. Over 3QFY13, operating revenue from the key Newspaper and Magazine segment fell 3.3% to S$259.3m. Given the cumulative impact from cooling measures and hawkish loan requirements on the property and automobile sectors, conditions for the print business remain challenging. We saw pressure on 3QFY13 ad revenues, which fell 4.5% YoY in 3QFY13, and circulation revenues also decreased S$4.9m YoY (down 3.2%) as the physical subscription base declined.

Downgrade to HOLD

Given current headwinds for the print business and limited visibility in terms of catalysts ahead, we believe the risk-reward proposition for the counter has turned fairly neutral. Downgrade to HOLD with a lowered fair value estimate of S$4.14, versus S$4.94 (before the REIT spin-off) previously. Our barometer for an upturn in outlook ahead consists of two key groups of operating metrics: for its print businesses – ad and circulation revenue growth; and for its retail property segment – expedient and accretive capital deployment.

SPH – OCBC

Continued headwinds for print

  • REIT spin-off success
  • Continued headwinds for print
  • Downgrade to HOLD with S$4.14 FV

A REIT success but 18 S-cents bonus below view

As anticipated, SPH conducted a successful REIT spin-off for Paragon and Clementi Mall, yielding substantial cash proceeds and subsequently an 18 S-cents bonus dividend for shareholders. We see the establishment of a REIT subsidiary vehicle as a major positive for the group’s mall development business and believe management’s decision to hold a 70% majority stake makes significant sense – this enables accounting consolidation and for the bulk of property earnings to continue accreting to SPH. That said, the 18 S-cents bonus cash dividend was somewhat below view, particularly as the group was already sitting on an fairly hefty war-chest of ~S$0.9b investible funds as at end 3QFY13. We believe that investors could judge the degree in which management can expediently deploy excess capital for attractive returns as a key performance indicator for the group ahead.

Still seeing headwinds for the print business

In addition, the latest 3QFY13 figures presented a picture of continued headwinds for the group’s core print business. Over 3QFY13, operating revenue from the key Newspaper and Magazine segment fell 3.3% to S$259.3m. Given the cumulative impact from cooling measures and hawkish loan requirements on the property and automobile sectors, conditions for the print business remain challenging. We saw pressure on 3QFY13 ad revenues, which fell 4.5% YoY in 3QFY13, and circulation revenues also decreased S$4.9m YoY (down 3.2%) as the physical subscription base declined.

Downgrade to HOLD

Given current headwinds for the print business and limited visibility in terms of catalysts ahead, we believe the risk-reward proposition for the counter has turned fairly neutral. Downgrade to HOLD with a lowered fair value estimate of S$4.14, versus S$4.94 (before the REIT spin-off) previously. Our barometer for an upturn in outlook ahead consists of two key groups of operating metrics: for its print businesses – ad and circulation revenue growth; and for its retail property segment – expedient and accretive capital deployment.

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