Japfa Ltd - Capitalising on Asia’s growing consumption
- We initiate coverage on Japfa with an Add rating and SOP-based TP of S$1.53 (implied 11.6x CY17F P/E), representing 66% upside potential over current price.
- Japfa is among the top two industrial agri-food companies in most of its markets and its profitability has improved following a recovery in selling prices over the past year.
- On a macro level, we like Japfa as a long-term play on emerging markets’ GDP growth and rising middle class population.
- We forecast 27% EPS CAGR over FY15-18F, driven by its
- stable feed business,
- now profitable breeding and farming segments, and
- strong dairy operations.
- Upside earnings surprise could come from the dairy segment.
Proxy for a rising middle-class in Asia’s most populous countries
- Japfa is an industrial agri-food company involved in the entire animal protein value chain with an exposure to emerging Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, India and China).
- The company is in a unique position as it operates in markets where meat consumption and/or incomes are still at very low levels and significantly below the global average.
- Hence, we like Japfa as a play that is poised to capitalise on the growing consumption and rising income in Asia’s most populous countries, in our view.
Core feed business provides stable profitability
- We especially like Japfa’s stable feed business (c.2/3 of group OP), which we think is under-appreciated. Specifically, its feed business provides a base level of profits and is “margin-proof”. Feed OP margins (OPM) have remained within a tight band of 10-12% over FY13-15 even as IDR/US$ swung unfavourably.
- Going forward, we expect a sustainable feed OPM within the 10-13% range.
Improved DOC and broiler prices are the swing factor
- Concerns of an industry oversupply and weak day old chick (DOC) and broiler (i.e. live bird) prices, that were previously a drag on the group’s earnings, no longer pose a threat, in our view.
- Following the government-initiated culling programme late-2015, overall livestock supply has been reduced 10-15%, adding balance to the demand and supply situation.
- Both the breeding and farming segments have, therefore, returned to profitability and we remain constructive on DOC and broiler prices in FY17F.
Strong dairy operations could spring upside surprise
- We believe the dark horse of the group could be its dairy segment in China (c.10% of group profit). This segment is doing well operationally:
- Japfa leads the industry in milk yields (c.80% higher than industry mean);
- sales volumes were up 23% in 9M16; and
- expansion plans are on track, which should increase capacity by c.15% by FY18F.
- The only mitigating factor is a weak raw milk price environment, but we see this segment driving earnings growth for the group upon a milk price recovery.
Initiate with Add and TP of S$1.53
- Japfa is not covered by many brokers (only one other broker covering) and is undervalued, in our view.
- The stock trades at an undemanding 7x CY17F P/E, below peers (11x) and its historical trading band (9x).
- We initiate coverage with an Add rating and a SOP-based TP of S$1.53, which implies a 11.6x CY17F P/E.