KUALA LUMPUR: Following its strong showing in the second quarter (Q2), a National Recovery Plan (NRP)-driven boost could further drive a re-rating catalyst for WCT Holdings Bhd.
The company’s net profit for the quarter more than doubled to RM16.12mil from RM7.42mil a year ago even as revenue rose 16% to RM435.62mil.
Note that its better performance was buoyed by its property development and construction segments as restrictions were less disruptive this round compared to the movement control order last year.
The gradual progression of the NRP would further benefit its construction division.
The recovery in construction billings during the first half of financial year 2021 (FY21) saw a 13% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in revenue. Construction’s core earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) for the period was at RM34mil (excluding a reversal of arbitration charges of RM48mil).
“We expect progress billings for new contracts secured year-to-date, totalling RM1.1bil, to drive stronger construction earnings in the fourth quarter of FY21,” said CGS-CIMB Research.
Property development revenue for the six months surged 62% y-o-y as it included RM134mil in land sale proceeds. Excluding the RM61mil land sale gain, first-half FY21 property development core Ebit was at RM31mil, which was made up largely by inventory sales.
“The weak first-half FY21 performance from its property investment segment was of no surprise, as its retail and hospitality assets remain disrupted by the pandemic. However, second-quarter FY21 revenue and Ebit (both rose y-o-y) likely benefited from lower rental assistance.
“Potential recovery for WCT’s retail malls and hotels hinges on the lifting of restrictions under the ongoing NRP,” it said.
While it made no changes to its FY21-FY23 forecasts, CGS-CIMB noted that an estimated gain of RM45.5mil from recent land sales would help buffer against potential weakness in the third quarter due to the prolonged lockdown.
The brokerage reiterated its “add” call on WCT with a higher target price of RM0.70 as it updated some balance sheet items and applied a narrower revalued net asset value discount of 50% (60% previously) to reflect a potential NRP-driven recovery in the second half of FY21.”