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Sunday, 12 June 2022

Industrial players see disappointing stock performances amid global uncertainty

Global trade disruptions, materials shortages, and inflation drive down industrial stocks: Almost all EGX-listed major industrial companies have seen their stock price fall during the first five months of 2022, reversing previous gains after the worst of the covid-19 pandemic had passed. The downturn in these companies’ stock performances came as the war in Ukraine and ensuing global uncertainty pushed investors to quickly exit equity markets as a whole, but particularly impacted industrial players amid trade disruptions, material shortages, and rising prices and costs. Notably, their share performances diverge from their earnings: With the exception of two outliers, industrial companies had stellar earnings during the first quarter of the year.

For the purposes of our analysis, we focus on the top weighted industry stocks on the EGX30: GB Auto, Oriental Weavers, Alexandria Minerals and Oil Company (AMOC), Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (Sidpec), Ezz Steel, Elsewedy Electric, and Tenth of Ramadan for Pharma Industries and Diagnostic Reagents (Rameda).

Almost all the companies have underperformed the EGX30 so far this year, falling more than EGX30’s YTD return of -15.5%.

The only ones to buck the trend: AMOC and Sidi Kerir kept a tight grip on their stock price, with AMOC’s stock remaining somewhat flat falling to EGP 3.7 from EGP 3.75 at the beginning of the year while Sidpec actually rose 6.3% YTD to EGP 8.07.

Stock prices are weighed down by the local and global economic environment: Performance has been weak YTD due to the higher cost of equity in Egypt on the back of the two interest rate hikes enacted by the Central Bank of Egypt to offset inflation, explains Arqaam Capital Associate Director Nour El Din Sherif. Annual urban inflation accelerated to 13.5% in May, as rising global commodity prices and the recent EGP devaluation pushed consumer prices upwards for the sixth consecutive month. Investor sentiment has also been dampened by concerns of a slowdown in global growth amid the US Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening, lockdowns in China, and the ongoing geopolitical tensions in Europe, he added.

And a long list of other factors: Industrials have also been pressured by higher commodity prices, higher working capital and freight costs, and receivables that are piling up — all of which are leading to a slowdown in cashflow generation and lower margins, Sherif added. Input cost inflation rose in May at its quickest rate in six months due to rising commodity prices, a strengthening USD, and import restrictions, S&P Global said.

The stock downturn came despite these companies broadly recording strong financial results in 1Q2022:

  • AMOC’s bottom line rose 143% y-o-y in 1Q2022 to EGP 346.5 mn, according to figures from their website. Revenues also jumped 81.5% y-o-y to EGP 5.2 bn.
  • Rameda reported a 138% y-o-y jump in its net income to EGP 71.8 mn, according to its earnings release (pdf). Rameda’s topline rose 27% y-o-y to EGP 343.1 mn.
  • Sidpec reported a 65.4% y-o-y rise in its bottomline to EGP 251.07 mn, according to its financials (pdf). Revenues jumped 61% to EGP 2.11 bn during the quarter.
  • Elsewedy Electric’s net income was up 9% y-o-y to EGP 760.9 mn, according to the company’s latest earnings release (pdf), although the company was hit by shortages in raw materials and cargo ships. Revenues rose 51% y-o-y to EGP 18.6 bn.
  • Ezz Steel’s bottom line rose 2.4% y-o-y to reach EGP 1.22 bn, according to the company’s financials (pdf)a. The metal producer saw its revenues increase 38.1% y-o-y to EGP 18.64 bn.

GB Auto is one of the outliers: GB Auto’s net income slid 23% y-o-y to EGP 229.4 mn, the company said in its latest earnings release (pdf), blaming an EGP 211 mn foreign exchange loss following the EGP devaluation in March. Revenues rose 15% y-o-y during the quarter to EGP 7.8 bn. GB’s earnings slip comes as the automotive sector is being buffeted by a multitude of headwinds, including a lack of financing for imports, rising inflation, component shortages and the EGP devaluation in March.

Ditto Orwe as Cost of goods + slowing US purchasing power didn’t do it any favors: Oriental Weavers’ (Orwe) net income fell 24.2% y-o-y to EGP 260.06 mn, according to its earnings report (pdf). The company’s sales rose 18.2% y-o-y to reach EGP 3.26 bn. The increase in the company’s cost of goods sold (COGS) outpaced its income growth, as raw material costs (including polypropylene, polyester, latex, and nylon) rose more than the company’s “multiple price increases.” ORWE’s exports also did little to offset its losses, as its US-based subsidiary’s USD income dropped on the back of delayed shipments from Egypt and lower sales, “as US consumers are impacted by the general economic downfall.”

As for the rest, what gives? One explanation for the difference between earnings and stock performance is that companies’ earnings may have already peaked before normalizing in 2H2022, Sherif believes. Industrial players have been taking advantage of existing inventories and high selling prices to combat the local and global pressures, but things are expected to take a turn for the worse in the second half of the year, he added. Companies like Elsewedy, which have diversified portfolios, are able to offset any margin pressures on the company, with its wires and cables segment bringing in nearly half of its revenues, Mohamed Saad, vice president of research at Prime Securities, told Enterprise.

Any recovery depends on the global uncertainty dissipating as well as commodity prices normalizing and cashflow generation improving, Sherif said. The cost of investing in equity is likely to remain an issue going forward this year, which will put pressure on industrial names, he added.

Your top industrial development stories for the week:

  • Ezz Steel was named the top steelmaker in the MEA region in 2021 after manufacturing 5.14 mn tons of the metal during the year, according to a press release (pdf).
  • El Sherif Showroom For Housewares will invest EGP 25 mn in the first phase of its new factory in Minya’s Industrial Zone, CEO Sherif Abdel Moneim was quoted as saying by Al Borsa.
  • Japan’s Sumitomo is planning to set up an industrial complex in 10 Ramadan City to produce pigtail cables, with the factory expected to begin operations by the end of 2023.
  • Tariffs were reduced on more than 150 raw materials imports for local manufacturers, with a focus on the automotive industry, in efforts to promote investment, boost exports, and protect local industries.
  • The Trade Ministry has extended anti-dumping duties on Chinese, Ukrainian and Turkish steel imports for another year, with the decision causing an outcry between the real estate and steel sectors.

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