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PETALING JAYA: The sale of IJM Corp Bhd’s entire 56.2% stake in subsidiary IJM Plantations Bhd (IJMP) to Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) may lead to lower volatility in IJM’s earnings due to fluctuating crude palm oil (CPO) prices and foreign exchange gains or losses from IJMP’s foreign-denominated debts.
In a report, Maybank Investment Bank (IB) Research said IJM had identified several strategies in driving future growth, including brownfield expansion of its infrastructure assets to grow its recurring income, new ventures which are complementary to its core businesses, regional expansion and strategic mergers and acquisitions.
Maybank IB Research also noted that post-sale of its plantation operations, IJM’s balance sheet has lightened with a net gearing of 0.22 times (proforma) versus 0.44 times as of financial year ended March 31, 2021 (FY21).
Of the RM1.53bil net cash proceeds from the IJMP sale, IJM is setting aside RM800mil for capital management, comprising a RM547mil special cash dividend (at 15 sen per share) to shareholders and the balance for share buyback activities.
As of Sept 14, IJM had bought back 59.9 million shares or 1.64% of its issued capital, of which 36.2 million shares were bought in FY22 to date.
It has spent RM103mil for share buy-backs since FY18 (at an average of RM1.72 per share), including RM66.3mil in FY22 to date (average RM1.83 per share).
“This means that it has still RM187mil cash reserve from its IJMP sale proceeds for future share buy-backs, providing support to its share price,” said Maybank IB Research.
The research unit is estimating a RM958mil headline net profit for IJM in FY22 (previously RM289mil), which includes a RM699.9mil one-off gain from the IJMP sale, offsetting the removal of seven months of earnings contribution from IJMP.
“Our FY23 and FY24 estimated earnings are lowered by 12% and 11% respectively. Share price catalysts include a re-rating of its environmental, social, and governance scores. Its Roadmap FY22 to FY24 also includes a target inclusion in the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia Index,” said the research unit, which has maintained its revalued net asset valuation target price for IJM Corp at RM2.20.