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Simons Trading Research

Author: simonsg   |   Latest post: Tue, 13 Dec 2022, 10:52 AM

 

First Resources - Benefitting From the Tax Levy Holiday

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  • 9M22 numbers came in strongly above expectations, as First Resources (SGX:EB5) benefited from the tax levy holiday and forward hedges.
  • Given yesterday’s positive reaction in First Resources's share price, we deem valuations as fair – trading in line with its 5-9x peer range. Nevertheless, First Resources's dividend yield at 50% payout should lend support, implying 9% FY22F yield.
  • Still NEUTRAL, higher S$1.75 target price from S$1.50, 3% upside.

First Resources' 9M22 Business Update

  • First Resources' 9M22 earnings rose 205.8% y-o-y, exceeding expectations at 92-94% of our and Street’s FY22F earnings on the tax levy holiday impact, forward hedging gains, lower-than-expected unit costs, and effective tax rate.
  • Briefing highlights:
    • 9M22 nucleus FFB production rose 2.9% y-o-y, in line with our 2.7% growth projection and management’s 0-5% guidance for FY22. 3Q FFB output saw a strong recovery of 19.7% q-o-q (+11.8 y-o-y) despite the wetter-than-expected weather. While the floods have subsided in most parts of First Resources’ Kalimantan estates, the weather is still wetter than usual. As such, it is maintaining its FFB growth guidance for FY22. We keep our FY22-23 growth assumptions at 2-5%;
    • High inventory build-up not disposed in 3Q22. As at end-3Q22, the inventory build-up was at 117k tonnes, not much lower than 2Q22’s 131k tonnes. First Resources expects to only be able to normalise inventory by year’s end;
    • Tax levy holiday impact. First Resources benefitted from the tax levy holiday in 3Q22 – forward sales volumes contracted earlier during the high tax period got executed when levies were zerorised, thereby recording an additional gain. However, now that the taxes have been reinstated since mid-Nov 2022, the opposite applies, where losses can be booked instead. While First Resources does not reveal its forward hedging stance, it did state that it continues to hedge forward, albeit at only 2-4 weeks ahead;
    • Fertiliser application slow, resulting in lower unit costs. First Resources has lowered its FY22 unit cost guidance to US$250-270/tonne (+5-8% y-o-y) from US$270-290/tonne. This is due to slower fertiliser application, as it is unlikely to complete its targeted application for this year. We understand fertiliser application is not much more than the 35% applied at end 1H22 due to the wet weather and labour shortages;
    • Downstream margins fell q-o-q in 3Q22 on the smaller tax differential between CPO and PPO due to the tax levy holiday. However, once this ends, we could see margins improving again.

First Resources – Valuation & Recommendation

  • We up our forecasts for First Resources by 8-23% for FY22-24F after imputing the impact of the tax levy holiday, and lower unit costs and effective tax rates. Maintain NEUTRAL on First Resources.
  • Our target price for First Resources is raised to S$1.75 based on an unchanged 8x 2023F P/E – in line with its peers. This includes an 8% ESG discount, given its ESG score of 2.6.

Source: RHB Invest Research - 15 Nov 2022

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Chart Stock Name Last Change Volume 
First Resources 1.51 -0.03 (1.95%) 2,616,800 

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