Buoyant dividend income in 1Q
• Higher dividend income in 1Q12 driven by organic growth and bigger stake in Taiwan cable TV asset
• Key risk is toll rate cut at Hua Nan Expressway, but this is already expected
• Risk-reward continues to be attractive given 9.5% yield; Maintain BUY with TP of S$0.64
1Q12 results in line. The fund generated net dividend income of S$21.3m, up 181% y-o-y, largely owing to the higher 47.5% stake in Taiwan Broadband Communications (TBC), compared to 20% last year. Even if we strip out the impact of a larger stake, dividends from TBC grew 6%, in line with organic growth at the asset last year. To note, 1Q dividend income is derived only from TBC (half-yearly payout) as the other two assets – Changshu Xinghua Port (CXP) and Hua Nan Expressway (HNE) – only pay dividends once a year in the 3rd quarter of the year.
Underlying assets performance healthy. Operational performance at TBC in 1Q12 continued to be healthy with EBITDA growth of 6% y-o-y, as growth in digital cable TV subscribers surpassed expectations. HNE also surprised on the upside, delivering 14% EBITDA growth in 1Q12, driven by higher traffic volumes benefiting from traffic feed from newly opened Guanghe Expressway. At CXP, revenue grew 9% y-o-y but EBITDA fell 10% owing to margin pressures and one-off costs.
Fund remains well on track to pay out 2.75Scts semi-annual dividends in FY12/13. Operational performance at HNE and CXP is expected to remain healthy. The key risk is a possible toll rate reduction at HNE Phase I, as the Guangdong government will be introducing uniform toll road standards in 2012. Our numbers already reflect a toll rate cut at HNE Phase I of about 20% by mid-2012, but this could be further delayed, as there has been no communication yet from local authorities.
Yield of 9.5% is hard to ignore. No change to our SOTP valuation of S$0.64, as we have already factored in downside at HNE. Maintain BUY for close to 20% total return potential. A worst-case impact from toll rate cut at HNE could be a cut in FY12 DPU to 5.0Scts to smoothen the impact in FY12/13. This still implies 8.6% yield at current prices. The fund bought back 13.7m shares in 1Q12 and we expect share buyback activities to continue, given the share price discount to fund NAV and the lack of suitable acquisition opportunities in the near term.