MIDF Research retains ‘neutral’ call on TM

MIDF Research said it remains concerned over TM's ability to grow its revenue, especially its main revenue contributor Unifi.

KUALA LUMPUR: MIDF Research maintained its “neutral” call on Telekom Malaysia Bhd(TM) with an unchanged target price of RM3.54 as its 1HFY19 results came in within its expectations.

In a note, the research house said it remains concerned over the group’s ability to grow its revenue, especially its main revenue contributor Unifi.

“Note that the broadband ARPU and the customer base continue to dwindle in view of the competitive market landscape, ” it said.

It expects dividend yield to be under 4% given the revised dividend policy that limits dividends to 60% of PATAMI, coupled with the commitment to the capex requirement.

TM’s normalised earnings surged 45.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) in Q2 to RM226.8mil due to a cost rationalisation exercise under the Performance Improvement Programme 2019.

Revenue however fell 5.7% y-o-y to RM2.77bil for the quarter.

The telco’s normalised earnings for the six months ended June 30 was RM523.2mil, making up 50.7% and 59.5% of its and consensus full-year expectations respectively.

For H1, total cost fell 11% y-o-y to RM4.82bil which led to a lower opex/revenue ratio of 86.8% from 93.5% in the previous corresponding period.

As at 2Q, TM’s total broadband customer base fell 5.2% y-o-y to 2.16 million customers caused by a 24.1% decline in Streamyx customers although the unifi customer base expanded 10%.

Average revenue per user trended lower to RM177 a month from RM190 a month in the previous comparative quarter.

TM’s capex for 1H19 dropped 36.6% to RM450mil, which translates to a lower capex-to-revenue ratioj of 8.1% as compared to 12.3% in the first half of 2018.

According to MIDF, TM has maintained its capex guidance of 18% for full year FY19 which means capital spending is likely to increase significantly moving forward.

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