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Friday, 20 April 2018 | MYT 9:45 AM

AmInvest Research maintains Hold for Maxis, FV RM5.76

KUALA LUMPUR: AmInvestment Research is maintaining its Hold recommendation on Maxis with unchanged forecasts and discounted cashflow-derived fair value of RM5.76 a share.

It said on Friday the FV of RM5.76 based on a weighted average cost of capital (WACC) discount rate of 7% and a terminal growth rate assumption of 2%). 

This implies an FY18F enterprise value/earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EV/EBITDA) of 11 times, which is one standard deviation below its three-year average of 12 times.

Based on the analyst briefing on Thursday, AmInvest Research expected continued contraction in postpaid average revenue per user (ARPU), exacerbated by the recent Hotlink Postpaid Flex which offers free unlimited calls/SMS with 1GB data at RM30 a month and an option to purchase additional 5GB data for RM25 a month.  

In IQFY18, postpaid ARPU has fallen by RM4 a month to RM92 a month on lower packages for shared family lines. 

“Continued attrition from legacy subscribers and migration from prepaid contributed to Maxis One customers, rising 71,000 on-quarter to 2.1 million while its active postpaid base fell by 59,000 to 2.9 million,”  it said. 

The research house said while Maxis’ management indicated that there will be term conditions to prevent the migration of existing postpaid customers to the new attractive Hotlink plans, “we view that the underlying trend faces substantive headwinds as peers will be launching similar products”. 

Celcom’s Xpax recently launched its own postpaid plan at RM50 a month offering 15GB of data, unlimited iFlix access and unlimited voice to 5 Celcom lines. 

“Management plans to arrest the declining prepaid base and improve its blended ARPU of RM51 a month with the new Hotlink plans. 

“However, we view a likelihood of an acceleration of prepaid migration to the new more affordable flexi plans due to their similar price points with the group’s prepaid ARPU of RM35 a month currently,” it said.

AmInvest Research maintained its prepaid attrition of 10,000 a month for FY18F, 8,000 a month for FY19F and 6,000 for FY20F. This leads to an unchanged FY18F service revenue decrease assumption of 4% in line with guidance of mid-single digit decline.   

“The 1QFY18 EBITDA margin was largely stable on-quarter at 52% as the 3% decline in service revenue was offset by an 8% decline in operating costs, largely from lower negotiated IDD roaming charges and one-off write-back of IT cost provisions.  

“Maxis’ adoption of MFRS 15, which impacts device subsidy and sales commission, was retroactively adjusted in FY17. Hence, while revenue showed a 10%-11% increase, the accounting treatment had a mild 1QFY18 negative earnings erosion compared to Digi.Com’s net profit increase of 10%, which reflected the current and past impact in the quarter. 

“The stock’s FY18F EV/EBITDA of 11 times is almost at parity to its three year average, while dividend yields are decent at 3%,” it said.