Friday, 28 October 2016

Commercial banks in Pakistan post good results

National Bank of Pakistan has posted consolidated profit after tax of Rs13.6 billion (EPS: Rs6.40) for Jan-Sep 2016 period (9MCY16) as compared to net profit of Rs12.3 billion (EPS: Rs5.78) for 9MCY15, up 11%YoY. Sequentially, there was 41%QoQ decline in earnings on the back of 28%QoQ/20%QoQ drop in Net Interest Income/Non-funded income despite lower taxation expense (down 52%QoQ) and higher gains utilization (+53%QoQ). Key 9MCY16 result highlights included: 1) a 3%YoY increase in NII that was down by a substantial 28%QoQ as lower interest rates squeezed margins, 2) provisions were down 78%YoY/16%QoQ reflecting continued asset quality improvement, 3) a 17%YoY/20%QoQ drop in non-interest income on the back of lower capital gains (down 37%YoY) and 4) a manageable 6%YoY increase in expenses. While asset quality continues to improve, the decline in income streams, both interest and non-interest, is surprising.
United Bank has released its Jan-Sep 2016 financial results. Bank's 9MCY16/3QCY16 earnings were up 9%YoY/4%YoY. While capital gains were judiciously utilized to smoothen earnings, the flashpoint, was the improvement in credit quality with provisions going down by 52%YoY and coverage crossing 90% in 9MCY16. Recoveries, both internationally and domestically have remained strong with the bank marking reversals in the last two quarters consecutively. That said, risks in the form of growth deceleration in non-funded income (31% of total income in 9MCY16), particularly in the bank's fee income franchise have emerged, prolonging of which can impact revenues. Of particular importance is the slowdown in commission from worker's remittances (down 40%YoY) on account of weakening Middle Eastern economies. However with oil prices stabilizing now, analysts expect the impact is likely to have played out. Having gained 30% in the last 6months.
Bank of Alfalah has posted profit after tax of Rs6.3 billion (EPS: Rs3.93) for 9MCY16 as compared to net profit of Rs6.0 billion (EPS: Rs3.79) for 9MCY15, up 4%YoY. Sequentially, analysis witnessed 1%QoQ jump in earnings where a 27% QoQ decline in non-funded income restricted earnings to Rs1.9 billion (EPS: R1.2), despite reversals worth Rs78 million and lower taxation expense. Key 9MCY16 result highlights included: 1) a 2%YoY increase in NII however was down 7%QoQ as lower interest rates squeezed margins, 2) provisions were down 75%YoY with reversals worth Rs78 million booked in 3QCY16, 3) non-interest income went down by 27% QoQ on the back of 29%QoQ decline in fee income and capital gains and 4) a manageable 7%YoY increase in expenses.
Faysal Bank has posted a net profit of Rs3.7 billion for Jan-Sep 2016 period, which is 11.4% higher. Markup income for the period under review decreased 20% in the wake of low interest rates. As a result, post-provision net interest income slipped to Rs8.6 billion, down 8.4% from a year ago. Non-interest income of the bank increased 23.8% YoY to Rs5.6 billion. The notable increase in non-interest income was on the back of rising gains on the sale of securities.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Engro Fertilizers outperforms peers

Quarterly results of fertilizer manufacturers were keenly awaited by the investors. My previous post hinted towards the possible decline in earnings of the companies due to: 1) reduction in international prices of urea and 2) slower offtake. Today, review of the accounts of three companies are presented. Only one company, Engro Fertilizer has posted above expectations results, while Fauji twins have posted below expected results. Results of Fatima and Dawood are still awaited.  
Engro Fertilizers (EFERT) has posted unconsolidated profit after tax of Rs2.86 billion (EPS: Rs2.15) for July-September 2016 period as compared to net profit of Rs2.79 billion (EPS: Rs2.10) for the corresponding period of last year, an increase of 3%YoY. The recovery in earning has come from, 1) strong growth in topline to Rs20.76 billion (including subsidy) caused by likely 39%YoY increase in Urea offtake to 502,000 tons post subsidy in budget FY17 and 2) 31%YoY decrease in finance cost on account of swift deleveraging and low interest rate environment. The result also accompanies an unexpected cash dividend of Rs2.50/share, taking 9MCY16 cumulative dividend payout to Rs4.50/share. On a cumulative basis, 9MCY16 earnings slipped to Rs5.66 billion (EPS: Rs4.25) compared to Rs9.91 billion (EPS: Rs7.44) for 9MCY15, down 43%YoY on account of unprecedented adverse market conditions caused by weak farm economics (urea offtake down 16%YoY in 8MCY16) and delayed implementation of subsidy on urea by the GoP.
Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC) has posted unconsolidated profit after tax of Rs2.61 billion (EPS: Rs2.05) for July-September 2016 quarter as compared to a net profit of PkR3.69 billion (EPS: PkR2.90) for the corresponding period last year, a decrease of 29%YoY. The decline in earnings was expected on the back of: 1) gross margins declining to 32% (includes subsidy) on account of reduction in Urea prices (down 9%YoY) due to depressed farm economics and low international prices, down 36%YoY to an average US$184/ton during 3QCY16 and 2) a 83%YoY decline in other income (excluding subsidy) in the absence of dividend from associated companies (AKBL, FFBL and FCCL) and reduction in return on term deposits. However, the result was also accompanied by a cash dividend of R1.75/share, taking 9MCY16 cumulative dividend payout to Rs5.15/share. On a cumulative basis, 9MCY16 earnings declined to Rs7.51 billion (EPS: Rs5.90) as compared to Rs11.96 billion (EPS: Rs9.40) for 9MCY15, down 37%YoY on account of unprecedented adverse market conditions caused by weak farm economics, urea offtake down 16%YoY during 8MCY16 due to delayed implementation of subsidy on urea by the GoP.
Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim (FFBL) has posted unconsolidated net loss of Rs1.05 billion (LPS: Rs1.13) for 9MCY16 as against net profit of Rs939 million (EPS: Rs1.01) for 9MCY15. This significant downturn in earning resulted from, 1)gross margin declining to 14% (including subsidy) on account of significant reduction in DAP prices, down 15%YoY due to depressed international price trends. Price came down 24%YoY to an average US$325/ton during 9MCY16 and increased feed and fuel gas prices in 1QCY16  and 2) a 38%YoY lower other income (excluding subsidy of Rs3.18 billion on DAP and Urea in the absence of dividend from associated companies and reduction in term deposit placements. Following the trend 3QCY16 the Company posted net loss of Rs159 million (LPS: Rs0.17) for 3QCY16 as against net profit of Rs181 million (EPS: Rs0.19) for 3QCY15. However, on sequential basis, 3QCY16 earnings improved slightly against net loss of Rs381 million (LPS: Rs0.41) 2QCY16 on the back of likely increase in DAP/Urea offtake to post subsidy announcement in Federal Budget FY17.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Warehouse Receipt Financing Becoming Reality in Pakistan

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced Draft Rules of Ware House Financing and solicited comments from different stakeholders about two years ago. Many experts, even at that time, had pointed out that this plan could not be achieved in the absence of: 1) modern warehouses and 2) collateral management companies.
Initial probe disclosed that SBP released the draft Rules and also solicited comments from different stakeholders about two years ago. Now Securities & Exchange Commission (SECP) has been assigned this mandate and very shortly the Commission would announce the duly approved rules.
In the meantime SECP assigned the mandate to Pakistan Mercantile Exchange Limited (PMEX) to bring trading of red chilli to its technology driven platform in 2015. The Exchange with the support of other value chain partners undertook a pilot project and succeeded in trading of around 600 tons of red chilli at its platform.
The value chain partners are: 1) Pakistan Agriculture Coalitions, 2) Agility Pakistan and 3) SGS Pakistan. Pakistan Agriculture Coalitions assumed the responsible for providing on-farm technical advice to farmers, Agility took the responsibility to offer warehousing and logistic facilities and SGS agreed to provide quality certification.
The collective efforts yielded encouraging results. Sind Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF), a fund created by Sindh Government, also joined the endeavor and announced to pay the subsidy to free the growers of red chilli from payment of trading fee. The Fund has agreed to pay subsidy up to 6,000 tons of red chilli to be traded at PMEX this season.
This initiative is aimed at encouraging the growers to sell their produce in a transparent manner.  The added advantages are that growers will come to know about the quality of produce even before it is offered for sale at PMEX platform and also get prompt payment. Buyers will be able to procure certified quality of red chilli.
The Fund has also agreed to bear part of financing cost to be paid by farmers to the financial institutions. Under this plan farmers will have to deposit their produce at PMEX designated warehouse after getting quality certificate. The financial institutions agreeing to extend credit disburse funds against the warehouse receipts.
Though, this may look a small beginning but one should not forget that Pakistan produces over 150,000 tons of red chilli and bringing its trading at PMEX will be the game changer. The other agricultural produce that are mostly likely to be traded at PMEX are: wheat, rice and maize.
The collective annual output of these commodities is over 35 million tons. The successful implementation of the proposed plan can drastically change the agriculture landscape of Pakistan and realize its ultimate objective of achieving food security.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Dismal Performance of Pakistani Fertilizer Companies

Pakistan Stock Exchange enjoys substantial foreign investment. With the commencement of results season investors await earnings forecast/results anxiously. Listed fertilizer manufacturing companies have always remained in focus. Previews financial results of the two leading fertilizer manufacturing companies namely Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim (FFBL) and Engro Fertilizer (EFERT) for July-September 2016 quarter (3QCY16) exhibits a dismal picture.
FFBL is scheduled to announce its results on 24th October. According to a report by AKD Securities, the Company is forecast to post profit after tax of Rs127 million for 3QCY16 as compared to net profit of Rs181 million for 3QCY15, down 30%YoY. This decline in earnings is expected on the back of: 1) gross margin of company declining to 18% (including subsidy) on account of significant reduction in DAP prices. There has been a decline of 14%YoY due to depressed international price trends. There has also been a decline of 81%YoY in other income (excluding subsidy) in the absence of dividend from associated companies (AKBL & FCCL) and reduction in term deposit placements. The brokerage house expect the Company to post net profit of Rs127 million (EPS: Rs0.14) for 3QCY16 as against a net loss of R381 million (LPS: Rs0.41) on the back of 60%QoQ growth in topline to Rs11.91 billion caused by likely 50%QoQ/36%QoQ increase in DAP/Urea offtake to 143,000/164,000 tons post-subsidy announcement in budget FY17. On a cumulative basis, the brokerage house expects FFBL to post net loss of Rs768 million (LPS: Rs0.82) for 9MCY16 as against a net profit of Rs939 million (EPS: Rs1.01) for 9MCY15. While core business outlook remains bleak, FFBL's impressive diversification strategy and investment in dividend yielding group companies (AKBL & FCCL) is likely to drive earnings of the Company. 
EFERT is scheduled to announce its quarterly financial results on 25th October. The Company is expected to post profit after tax of Rs2.98 billion (EPS: Rs2.24) for 3QCY16 as against net profit of Rs2.79 billion (EPS: Rs2.10) for 3QCY15. The recovery in earnings is expected on the back of: 1) strong 51%YoY growth in topline to Rs21.01 billion caused by likely 39%YoY increase in Urea offtake to 502,000 tons post-subsidy in budget FY17 and 2) a 28%YoY decrease in finance cost on account of swift deleveraging and low interest rate environment. On a cumulative basis, projected earnings for 9MCY16F are to be around Rs5.77 billion (EPS: Rs4.34) as compared to Rs9.91 billion (EPS: Rs7.44) for 9MCY15, down 41%YoY on account of unprecedented adverse market conditions caused by weak farm economics (urea offtake: down 16%YoY in 8MCY16) and delayed implementation of subsidy on urea by the GoP. Moreover, on the arrival of Rabi season, manufacturers are offering hefty dealer discount to clear out high inventory levels.

Pakistan Stock Market Marred by Foreign Selling

he After recording gains for three successive weeks, the benchmark of Pakistan Stock exchange took a breather with the index closing almost flat at 41,282 points during the week ended 21st October 2016. The correction was led by the continued rise in political tensions and foreign outflows (US$8.46 million as against an inflow of US$2.2 million during the earlier week).
Average daily trading volume rose by 16.8%WoW to 471.9 million shares, led by retail favorites: BOP, TRG, PACE and JPGL. Scrips leading the market were: EPCL, APL, SNGP, HASCOL and NML. The laggards included: ASTL, CHCC, LUCK, MLCF and DAWH.
News flows for the week included: 1) Current account deficit for September 2016 recorded at US$161 million as compared to US$612 million in July 2016 taking 1QFY17 cumulative deficit to US$1.36 billion, up 136%YoY, 2) all PIB bids were rejected in the latest auction amid weak participation as banks bid at higher yields, 3) expected approval of relief package worth Rs200 billion for exporters, particularly belonging to textile sector, 4) Atlas Honda Limited (AHL) announced expansion with a second production line at its Sheikhupura plant to double assembly capacity to 1.2 million units per annum and 5) MLCF planning to set up a 40MW coalfired power plant to fuel its cement manufacturing operations. The company will generate funds worth Rs5.5 billion for the project from its own resources.
Market performance is likely to be dominated by earnings announcement from major sectors next week, including Banks (MCB, NBP, BAFL), Cement (MLCF, PIOC, LUCK, DGKC, FCCL), Fertilizer (FFBL, EFERT, FFC, ENGRO) and Autos (PSMC, INDU). Additionally, the announcement of the anticipated textile package is likely to prop up performance in the sector. However, planned protests by PTI may escalate political noise and keep the market volatile. On the macro front, key events of interest include planned visit by Managing Director of International Monetary Fund and President of Asian Development Bank to the country next week.
IMF recently released its staff level review report on Pakistan at the conclusion of the last review under the 3-year EFF program. Commending GoP on sustained progress on targets, the report highlights significant improvements achieved on the economic front over program's duration. The Fund has shown optimism on the country sustaining recent gains supported by external factors, improving credit outlook and growth initiatives under CPEC. However, this remains underpinned on continued efforts to enhance fiscal management, control debt accumulation and develop business competitiveness. Going forward, analysts expect GoP to revert to populist measures as general elections draw near with further delays in privatization program and fiscal expansion likely outcomes. Moreover, deterioration in external metrics remains a key risk going forward amid a widening current count deficit and debtdependent foreign exchange reserve accumulation.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Earnings Forecast for Pakistani Commercial Banks

Commercial banks listed at Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) are scheduled to announce their quarterly financial results shortly, beginning with UBL (Oct 19), followed by HBL (Oct 20) and ABL (Oct 21). According to a report by Pakistan’s leading brokerage house, AKD Securities, the Big-6 banks are expected to post a combined profit after tax of Rs98.2 billion for 9MCY16F as compared to Rs96.9 billion for 9MCY15.
The top-line growth is likely to be constrained on account of lower yield on earning assets amid ongoing PIB substitution and lower banking spreads. Capital gains backlog is estimated at a whopping Rs94.8 billion for the B-6, where higher utilization of the same can cause earnings expectations to deviate particularly in case of banks like NBP and ABL that have sizeable equity portfolios in addition to the bonds portfolio.
This growth seems illusive, being a function of lower tax expenses (super tax expensed out in 2QCY16) as on a pre-tax basis profits are expected to go down by 14%QoQ. With expectations regarding interest rates bottoming out, the banking sector has gained 13% since July 2016. While 9MCY16F results are expected to depict weakness, price performance will remain hinged upon the following: 1) earlier than expected monetary tightening and 2) pick-up in economic activity amid CPEC related development.
Core income is expected to remain weak (flat YoY) as lower interest rates continue to squeeze margins. Non-core income is also expected to decline by 4%YoY as capital gains utilization is anticipated to remain lower in 9MCY16. However, in 3QCY16 alone, the brokerage house expect the B-6 banks to post combined profit of Rs33.7 billion, higher by 10%QoQ where growth is likely to be a function of lower tax expenses in the absence of super tax charge levied in 2QCY16.
Investment Perspective: With economic indicators and global commodity trends now directing towards a possible end to the monetary easing cycle, the banking sector is likely to remain in limelight. While fundamental pressures remain intact, analysts believe triggers in the form of faster than expected uptick in advances, both corporate and consumer, along with speedy pickup in CPEC related infrastructure projects can push price performance.             

Friday, 14 October 2016

Pak-India border tension keeps local bourse under pressure

Despite prevailing India-Pakistan conflict the benchmark of Pakistan Stock Exchange inched up to close at yet another alltime high of 41,464. Though, average daily traded volumes declined 33%WoW to 404 million shares. Top slots in volume ranking continued to be occupied by second tier scrips like: BOP, TRG, ASL, JPGL and BAFL. Leaders during the outgoing week included: HASCOL, AKBL, SHEL, BAFL and ASTL, while laggards were: LOTCHEM, EPCL, FATIMA, PTC and DAWH.
Key developments during the week included: 1) new deadlines set by the government for privatizing Pakistan Steel Mills and Pakistan International Airlines, 2) Chinese investors expressed keen interest in investing in troubled businesses in Pakistan, 3) IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan said that country’s foreign currency reserves have not yet reached a comfortable level, 4) China will help Pakistan in rehabilitation and expansion of its railway system starting with 1,700km KarachiPeshawar track at a cost of US$8 billion that is expected to be completed in 5 years and 5) China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau agreed to construct LNG terminal at Gwadar on EPC basis envisaging 700km pipeline (42inches diameter) from Gwadar to Nawabshah.
The market is anticipated to remain under further pressure in upcoming weeks as PTI’s sitin (starting 30th Oct) is planned to immobilize the government until accountability of Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif begin for his alleged inclusion in Panama Leaks. Though the border tension with India has eased in recent days, the risk of escalation continues to persist. While the market was driven by E&P sector recently in the wake of OPEC’s nod to output deal, oil price volatility till finalizing the deal (on 30th Nov) presents further risk to the market.
Deriving strength from the uptrend in oil prices, the global commodity index rose by 3.4% MoM in Sep'16. In this regard, oil prices remained volatile, firming ground by the month end on OPEC's decision to cut output. Following on, while coal prices went up by 8.9%MoM owing to persistent supply pressures in China, steel prices, coal prices remained volatile due to restocking of inventories by Chines mills. FAO Food Price Index was also up 2.9%MoM/10%YoY, going up steadily since Jan'16 supported by increasing sugar and dairy prices. Prices of commodities like urea and cotton remained sluggish on abundant supplies. Going forward, oil prices are likely to determine the trend in commodity prices where seamless completion of the output deal by OPEC in its Nov'16 meet can contribute further gains.
In order to revive the country’s dwindling exports, the GoP is considering certain amendments in the Textile Policy. While in FY1419 Policy the GoP has already lowered ERF and LTFF rates to 3.0% and 6.0% respectively, further proposed incentives in the form of increasing rebate (encouraging valueadded), in the range of 46%, are being deliberated. In case the proposed incentive package is approved, the potential impact of the policy on textile sector is likely to be material. Remaining depressed for the most part of the year on account of continuous decline in exports, analysts believe the said incentive package (if approved) can rejuvenate interest in the textile sector.