OCK Group’s towering business


OCK Group to benefit from 5G deployment, Jendela initiatives

PETALING JAYA: The Jendela (National Digital Infrastructure) plan will see more infrastructure being rolled out in the country.

Hopefully, by the year’s end, deployment of the 5G network will also begin in some areas. Besides that, there are the yearly network expansion contracts that telecoms operators will dish out. All these expansion and deployment works will bode well for players involved in infrastructure layout and maintenance.

Up for grabs is also over RM4bil in Jendela phase one contracts. This involves the built-up of over 1,700 sites across the country this year. The revised tender documents were released by the telecoms industry regulator on Jan 15, allowing more companies to bid for the jobs instead of limiting it to only mobile players.

With the doors open, OCK Group Bhd is likely to be one of those providers that will bid for several of the jobs this year.

That explains why analysts tracking this stock believe OCK can benefit from the 5G deployment and Jendela rollout initiatives. How much of the slice of the tenders it will get will depend on how competitive its bids will be.

RHB Research, in a recent note, said OCK should benefit from the Jendela initiatives. This is via the rollout of 1,726 sites nationwide (including 65 sites carried forward from 2020), specifically in the rural areas.

OCK had secured part of the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan Phase 1 project last February in partnership with a local telco, it said.

For 5G, OCK has developed a smart-pole design that will be able to support the large-scale rollout of network.

That explains why it said it is “ready in terms of technical know-how and equipment solutions to support this next wave of technological expansion’’ in its 2019 annual report.

This is a company with over two decades of experience in rolling out telecoms infrastructure and maintenance. It calls itself a full turnkey provider with capabilities across network planning, deployment, operations as well as maintenance. From batteries, antennas, cable and connectors to towers, it supplies and maintains it all.

With that expertise, it has gone beyond borders and now has a footprint in various ventures in Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and China. It also has over 4,200 towers currently.

The local business makes up 60% of group revenue while the remaining 40% is from other markets in the region.

Beyond telecoms, it has got its hands into the green tech space with solar panels.

RHB Research recently wrote that OCK currently owns 17 solar farms under the Feed-in-Tariff scheme with a total generating capacity of 11.2MW.

The solar venture’s contribution is only about 5% of group revenue for now.

Though the contribution is still small, the company will remain in this green sector for its potential and is open to source for new solar assets.

Solar ventures are its third recurring revenue pillar after site leasing and maintenance, said RHB.

OCK dates back to 2000 and was set up by group managing director Sam Ooi Chin Khoon, who has a 34% stake via Aliran Armada Sdn Bhd as at July.

Being considered a small-cap stock, it has also managed to catch the attention of big funds. Heavyweights Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera and the Employees Provident Fund are investors with 12.38% and 6.8% stake, respectively.

The stock was also re-included as a syariah component in the November review.

Five stockbroking houses now track this stock. Of the five, four have a “buy” call with a 12-month target price of 60 sen.

Yesterday, the stock fell 1.5 sen to close at 43.5 sen, with a market capitalisation of RM470mil.

Still, RHB said OCK remains a preferred sector pick with valuation at an undemanding six times financial year 2022 (FY22) enterprise value/earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

Just like other companies, it is also hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, though telecoms services are far more in demand with digital connectivity than others and a pick-up is expected this and next year.

RHB said it expects core earnings to grow 15.9% in the financial year ending Dec 31,2021 (FY20: -4.2%).

This will be driven by its recurring regional towerco business (nine-month FY20: 37.4% of revenue) with higher site additions and co-locations, as well as stronger local site deployment following some delays experienced in FY20.

For full-year 2019, the company turned in RM473mil in revenue and RM31mil in net profit. Earnings per share were at 3.2 sen.

The analyst consensus compiled by Bloomberg for OCK’s revenue is RM475mil, RM530mil and RM555mil for FY20-FY22. Earnings per share are seen at 2.4 sen for FY20 and 3.1 sen each for FY21 and FY22. The company is expected to release its FY20 results at the end of next month.

However, the company has to be mindful of the risks cited by analysts, which are weaker-than-expected earnings and margins as well as execution hurdles.

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