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Welcome relief but maintain cautious outlook. Mar ’09 total adex
recorded a much lower YoY contraction of 1% (Feb ’09: -13% YoY)
driven by TV (+13% YoY). Despite this reprieve, the high 2Q08 and
3Q08 total adex base will be difficult to repeat due to lack of adex
friendly events this year. We downgrade Star and Media Prima to Sell
as valuations have run ahead of fundamentals.
TV adex rebounded... Mar ’09 TV adex rose by 13% YoY driven by
higher rates at Media Prima’s TV stations (TV3, 8TV, ntv7 and TV9)
effective 1 Feb ‘09. Due to the strong showing, YTD Mar ’09 TV adex
rose 4% YoY.
… but total adex fell. Mar ’09 total adex eased 1% YoY due to the
high base set in the preceding year by the 2008 General Election adex
of RM19.6m and continued deterioration in newspaper adex (-9% YoY).
Mar ’09 represents the sixth consecutive month of YoY newspaper
adex contraction. YTD Mar ’09 total adex was down 4% YoY,
One swallow does not make a spring. While we welcome the better
showing in Mar ’09, we believe that this momentum is unsustainable.
The high adex base of RM2.7b from May ’08 to Sep ’08 was fuelled by
Euro 2008 and the Beijing Olympics adex. Due to the lack of adex
friendly events and weak economic outlook this year, it will be difficult
to repeat this feat. We maintain our total adex forecast of -3% for now.
Sell Star and Media Prima. We raise Astro and NSTP target prices to
RM2.70 and RM0.95 on a lower WACC of 10.4% and 11% (13%
previously) but maintain our Hold and Sell calls respectively. We
downgrade Star and Media Prima to Sell as we believe their share
prices have run up ahead of fundamentals. The media sector is now
downgraded to Underweight from Neutral.