STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC downgrades Ezra to 'hold'

Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:33am GMT

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OCBC Investment Research downgraded Ezra Holdings Ltd to 'hold' from 'buy' and kept the target price at S$1.30, after the offshore services firm reported weak quarterly earnings.

At 0329 GMT, Ezra shares were down 4 percent at S$1.20, but have gained around 5 percent since the start of the year, compared to the FTSE ST Oil & Gas Index's 1.8 percent rise.

Ezra's net profit for the three months ended November fell 49 percent to $6.8 million from a year ago, hurt by higher administration expenses and lower profits from associated companies.

OCBC estimates that Ezra's core net profit for the quarter was around $4.3 million, below its expectations and 16 percent lower than a year ago.

However, OCBC expects Ezra to see a pick-up in the second half of the year, as margins in the subsea business improve and as the division sees estimated new order wins of about $925 million in fiscal 2013.

1130 (0330 GMT)