Kossan Rubber Predicted To Venture Positively Into A Decent 1Q24

Kossan Rubber is expected to report its 1Q24 results in May.

RHB Investment Bank (RHB), in its Malaysia Results Preview today (Apr 30), said  they expect the company to register a core profit of between MYR30m and MYR35m, representing a flattish to +16% QoQ growth on improving operating dynamics.

RHB’s call is premised on a meaningful improvement in market dynamics (by 2H24) and Kossan’s consistent dividend payout practices.

RHB maintains a BUY call with a higher MYR2.40 TP (DCF) from MYR2.20. RHB’s TP incorporates a new 5% ESG discount based on its 2.8 ESG score vis-à-vis the 3.0 country median.

Results preview. RHB expect Kossan to deliver a core profit of between MYR30m and MYR35m in 1Q24, representing a flattish to +16% QoQ growth on the back of improving operating dynamics, ie cost pass-through mechanism beginning to take place, no recent flare-ups from the Red Sea crisis, improving Malaysia glove exports value, and subsiding competition risks from Chinese manufacturers.

That said, RHB expects a risk of margins compression arising from higher operating costs, ie higher gas tariff review (+4-5% in 1Q24), and cost escalations of natural rubber and acrylonitrile prices (+24% and +0.7% QoQ).

This was offset by the strengthening of the USD against the MYR (+0.5%).

RHB expects Kossan to continue its dividend payouts in FY24 (with a 30% payout under our assumption).

Industry dynamics turning favourable. RHB noticed recent operating dynamics have turned in favour of the glove manufacturers, as they understand that customers are more receptive to ASP increases in the coming months.

RHB believes more meaningful price hikes are likely to take place in April and May. Conversely, Chinese glove makers are expected to raise ASPs to USD16-17 per 1,000 pieces from USD15-16 previously for the coming months based to their channel checks.

On the demand side, Malaysia’s 1Q24 glove exports value surged 5% YoY (+10% QoQ), surpassing export volume growth (flattish YoY, 6% QoQ). This indicates the cost pass-through mechanism’s momentum is picking up.

Earnings adjustment. Following a housekeeping exercise, RHB’s 2024F and 2025F earnings are raised by 4% each after incorporating figures from Kossan’s latest annual report.

RHB also take this opportunity to revise its ESG score to 2.8 from 2.6 after the company demonstrated a reduction in CO2 emission intensity, primarily due to higher renewable energy consumption (ie solar) recorded during the year.

Post adjustment, their TP is now higher at MYR2.40 and implies 30x 2025F P/E against its pre-COVID-19 5-year historical mean of 20x.

Key risks: i) Lower-than-expected sales volumes, ii) a weaker-than expected USD against the MYR, and iii) higher-than-expected raw material prices.

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