STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares slip; F&N falls after Thais win takeover battle

Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:11am GMT

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Singapore shares slipped by midday, weighed by losses in Fraser and Neave Ltd (F&N) as a Thai group looked set to take control of the property and drinks conglomerate after a counterbid from a consortium led by Overseas Union Enterprise did not materialise.

By 0354 GMT, the Straits Times Index was down 0.02 percent at 3,220.60 points, while the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.1 percent.

Investors cautiously awaited the outcome of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting, with expectations running high for bold monetary easing measures.

F&N shares fell nearly 2 percent to S$9.55, the offer price from Thailand's TCC Assets Ltd, headed by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

Charoen is F&N's biggest shareholder, held through TCC Assets and Thai Beverage PCL, which rose 4.5 percent to a record high of S$0.46. Overseas Union shares also surged to a three-month high of S$2.86 in early trading.

Palm oil firm Wilmar International Ltd fell 0.5 percent to S$3.71, after DBS Vickers downgraded the stock to 'hold' from 'buy', as its share price had already factored in its earnings recovery.

Wilmar shares have risen 11 percent since the start of the year, outperforming the STI's 1.7 percent gain.

However, it noted that Wilmar could report better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, helped by positive contribution from its oilseeds and grains, merchandising and processing businesses.

1158 (0358 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Sunil Nair; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

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11:20 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB raises Keppel REIT's target price

CIMB Research raised its target price on Keppel REIT , which owns commercial properties, to S$1.33 from S$1.26 but kept its 'neutral' call as it expects higher distribution going forward due to stronger performance of some of its assets.

At 0310 GMT, Keppel REIT units were up 0.7 percent at S$1.39. They have gained 7.3 percent since the start of the year, compared with the FTSE ST Real Estate Industrial Trust's 3.4 percent gain.

Keppel REIT posted a 40.7 percent rise in its fourth quarter distribution per unit to 1.97 Singapore cents, helped by higher property income from its Singapore office properties Ocean Financial Centre and Prudential Tower.

CIMB raised the distribution per unit in 2013-2014, due to stronger performance at its Singapore offices One Raffles Quay and Ocean Financial Centre.

Keppel REIT's asset leverage fell to 42.9 percent in the fourth quarter, from 44.1 percent in the previous three months, CIMB said, and noted it could see potential re-rating catalysts from future acquisitions.

1053(0253 GMT)

(Reporting by Teo Jion Chun in Singapore; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee; teo.jionchun@thomsonreuters.com)(Reuters Messaging: teo.jionchun.reuters.com@reuters.net)

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10:51 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Citi cuts M1 to neutral

Citigroup downgraded telecommunications company M1 Ltd to 'neutral' from 'buy' and lowered its target price to S$2.70 from S$2.86, citing higher capital spending over the next few years.

M1 shares were 0.4 percent higher at S$2.76, and have gained 1.8 percent since the start of the year, compared with the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index's 5 percent rise.

Citi has cut its earnings estimates for M1 by 10-11 percent for 2013-2014 to factor in higher capital expenditure (capex) expectations and an estimated S$100 million in LTE spectrum payments in 2015 and 2016.

The brokerage cited M1's management as saying it expects capex to be between S$130-S$150 million this year, higher than S$123 million last year, due to higher quality of service and increased coverage and capacity requirements.

"With the 19 percent return over the last year, we find M1's share price no longer as attractive on a relative valuation and yield basis," said Citi in a report.

In Southeast Asia, Citi prefers Thai telecommunications companies such as Advanced Info Service Pcl and Total Access Communication Pcl.

1027 (0227 GMT)

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