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  • Stock Recommendation | Ambuja Cements - REDUCE - Target price : 195

    Publish date: OCTOBER 24, 2018

    Earnings disappoint. HZ's EBITDA of Rs23.3 bn (-23% yoy, -14% qoq) was broadly in line with our estimate. The sequential decline was led by lower zinc production (-6% qoq) and lower metal prices (-4 to -13% qoq). The company is on track to ramp-up underground mines towards 1.2 mtpa capacity over next 1-2 years-expect meaningful volume growth from FY2020 onwards. We tweak our cost and volume estimates and cut TP to Rs265 (Rs280 earlier). We maintain REDUCE rating on expensive valuations (7X FY2020E EBITDA) and subdued outlook on zinc prices due to narrowing deficit.

    Ambuja’s standalone earnings were lower than our estimates—company reported revenues of Rs26.1 bn (+13% yoy, -13% qoq), EBITDA of Rs3.5 bn (+1% yoy, -42% qoq) and net-income of Rs1.8 bn (-34% yoy, -64% qoq), against our estimate of Rs25.5 bn, Rs5.2 bn and Rs2.9 bn, respectively. The earnings miss was due to muted realizations (Rs4,790/ton, +1% qoq) and increase in costs, especially other expenses—EBITDA/ton declined 33% qoq to Rs656/ton (-7% yoy). We note that both ACC, Ambuja 3QCY18 earnings were weak relative to a strong 2QCY18 earnings print which was aided by improved realizations and contained costs.
    Ambuja reported 2% qoq increase in costs (per ton) to Rs3,644/ ton (+4% yoy) largely due to an increase in other expenses (Exhibit 4). Costs increased due to (1) 24% qoq increase in other expenses to Rs917/ton (+5% yoy) due to higher packaging costs, annual maintenance costs and weak seasonal volumes, partially offset by (2) 2-3% qoq decline in energy, logistics costs—the company’s reported energy costs declined by 2% qoq compared to an increase reported by peers.

    Ambuja reported consolidated revenues of Rs60.2 bn (+12% yoy, -12% qoq), EBITDA of Rs8 bn (+4% yoy, -36% qoq) and net-income of Rs2.9 bn (+10% yoy, -45% qoq). Consolidated sales volumes increased 9% yoy to 12 mn tons (-12% qoq) while EBITDA/ton declined 27% qoq to Rs670/ton (-5% yoy). EBITDA/ton declined as cost (per ton) increased 6% qoq to Rs4,340/ ton (+4% yoy) due to higher energy costs and other expenses

    In 9MCY18, ACEM’s consolidated volumes increased by 7% yoy to 39 mn tons as the plant utilization improved to 82%. ACC at present is not investing in new projects while ACEM is commissioning a 1.7 mtpa capacity in Rajasthan (by 2020). We believe the company’s volume growth will be constrained in 1-2 years unless it drives more capacity additions. We have cut our EBITDA estimate by 5-7% for CY2018-20E due to weak prices, cost pressures. Our target price is revised to Rs195 (Rs210 earlier). We maintain REDUCE rating on expensive valuations. The stock trades at 12X/10X CY2018-19E EBITDA (attributable).

    Changes in our estimates

    Exhibit 6 highlights key changes in our estimates.
    ▶ Ambuja standalone—lower EBITDA estimate by 8-12%. We keep our volume estimate unchanged at 24.6 mn tons, 26.5 mn tons and 28.4 mn tons for CY2018E, CY2019E and CY2020E. We cut our realization assumption by 1-2% and tweak our cost assumptions—this results in a decline in our standalone EBITDA estimate by 8-12% to ₹ 20.4 bn, ₹24.9 bn and Rs28 bn for CY2018E, CY2019E and CY2020E. We estimate standalone EPS of ₹6.6, ₹8.1 and ₹9.4 for CY2018E, CY2019E and CY2020E.
    ▶ Ambuja consolidated—EBITDA estimate cut by 5-7% as we incorporate revised estimates of ACC. The above revision combined with our earlier change in ACC’s estimates results in a 5-7% cut in our consolidated EBITDA estimates. We estimate consolidated EBITDA of ₹39.6 bn, ₹46.2 bn and Rs51.8 bn for CY2018E, CY2019E and CY2020E. We estimate consolidated EPS of ₹7.7, Rs9.7 and ₹11.3 for CY2018E, CY2019E and CY202E.
    Our target price of Rs195/share is based on March 2020E financials.
    Key highlights from 3QCY18 results
    ▶ Realizations—ACEM’s standalone realizations increased 1% qoq to Rs4,790/ ton (+4% yoy). We note that the company has large dependence on North (40%) and West markets (40%) and per our channel checks, cement prices improved by 3% qoq in North markets but declined 1% qoq in the Western region during the quarter.
    ▶ Profitability and costs—ACEM’s EBITDA/ton declined 33% qoq to Rs656/ton (-7% yoy) in 3QCY18 largely due to an increase in costs. Exhibit 4 highlights major costs (on per ton basis) reported by the company, which increased by 4% yoy to Rs3,640/ ton (+4% yoy, +2% qoq). We highlight that ACEM’s energy cost has only increase by 4% yoy to Rs1,002/ton (-2% qoq), much lower than 19% yoy cost increase reported by Ultratech (Rs,1099/ton, +7% qoq). The company has highlighted that improved efficiency parameters have aided in containing energy costs.
    ▶ Greenfield project in Rajasthan. Ambuja is investing in a new Greenfield project in Rajasthan—the company will set up a 3.1 mtpa clinkerisation plant at Marwar Mundwa. The project will be set-up in two phases, in the first phase Ambuja will invest Rs13.9 bn for setting up a 1.7 mtpa clinkerization capacity expected to be commissioned by 2HCY20. We highlight that Ambuja’s standalone capacities operated at close to 81% utilization in 9MCY18.
    ACC—realizations disappoint, energy cost increases after stellar 2QCY18
    ACC’s earnings missed our and consensus estimates—the company reported revenues of Rs33.6 bn (+10% yoy, -11% qoq), EBITDA of Rs3.7 bn (+6% yoy, -31% qoq) and netincome of Rs2.1 bn (+16% yoy, -37% qoq) against our estimate of Rs34.5 bn, Rs5.5 bn and Rs3.3 bn respectively. Volumes increased 10% yoy to 6.6 mn tons (-10% qoq) and were higher than our estimate of 6.4 mn tons. EBITDA/ton declined 25% qoq to Rs538/ton (-4% yoy) largely due to a 2% qoq decline in realizations and cost increase. The company’s 3QCY18 earnings are weak compared to strong earnings reported in 2QCY18.
    ▶ Realizations decline 2% qoq in 3QCY18. The earning miss was largely due to lowerthan expected realizations, which declined 2% qoq to Rs4,760/ton against our estimate of a marginal increase. As per our checks, in 3QCY18 cement prices were up in Central and North region (40% of volumes) but declined in South, West (40% of volumes). We highlight that ACC’s 2QCY18 realizations increased 5% qoq to `4,840/ton and were higher than those of peers and our estimate.
    ▶ Energy cost rises after a decline in 2QCY18. Energy cost increased by 8% qoq to Rs1,110/ton in 3QCY18. We note that in 2QCY18, ACC’s fuel cost had declined by 1% qoq to Rs1,032/ton (+2% yoy) in contrast to the increase in pet-coke prices, weaker INR/US$. We believe ACC may have gained from low priced contracts, inventory in 2QCY18. ACC’s total cost increased 3% qoq to Rs4,570/ton (+1% yoy) due to high energy costs, other expenses.

    Definitions of ratings

    BUY - We expect this stock to deliver more than 15% returns over the next 12 months.
    ADD - We expect this stock to deliver 5-15% returns over the next 12 months.
    REDUCE - We expect this stock to deliver -5-+5% returns over the next 12 months.
    SELL - We expect this stock to deliver

    Our target prices are also on a 12-month horizon basis.

    Other definitions

    Coverage view. The coverage view represents each analyst's overall fundamental outlook on the Sector. The coverage view will consist of one of the following designations: Attractive, Neutral, Cautious.

    Other ratings/identifiers

    NR = Not Rated. The investment rating and target price, if any, have been suspended temporarily. Such suspension is in compliance with applicable regulation(s) and/or Kotak Securities policies in circumstances when Kotak Securities or its affiliates is acting in an advisory capacity in a merger or strategic transaction involving this company and in certain other circumstances.
    CS = Coverage Suspended. Kotak Securities has suspended coverage of this company.
    NC = Not Covered. Kotak Securities does not cover this company.
    RS = Rating Suspended. Kotak Securities Research has suspended the investment rating and price target, if any, for this stock, because there is not a sufficient fundamental basis for determining an investment rating or target. The previous investment rating and price target, if any, are no longer in effect for this stock and should not be relied upon.
    NA = Not Available or Not Applicable. The information is not available for display or is not applicable.
    NM = Not Meaningful. The information is not meaningful and is therefore excluded.

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