Thursday 07 Dec 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 21): Analysts have named the big winners and losers of the 15th general election (GE15), depending on which coalition forms the Government.

In a research note, TA Securities said if Pakatan Harapan (PH) — which won the most seats at 82, falling short of the 112 simple majority — forms the government, sectors that will likely be positively impacted are consumer, and power and utilities.

"Domestically focused retailers should benefit from incentives to support the lower-income households. Key consumer-related pledges include i) targeted PTPTN loan forgiveness for B40 households; ii) continuation of [the] Bantuan Sara Hidup programme to help overcome cost of living; iii) minimum wage policy plan.

"Additionally, F&B firms involved in farming such as Farm Fresh [Bhd] and F&N (Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd) may benefit from tax cuts for investments in the farming sector," it said, adding that its top beneficiaries for the consumer sector were Aeon Co (M) Bhd, Padini Holdings Bhd, and Focus Point Holdings Bhd.

Meanwhile, the power and utilities sector is poised to benefit from more tender opportunities for renewable energy (RE) projects, as PH has pledged to increase investments in the area to ensure that 50% of the country's total primary energy supply is derived from renewables. The party has also pledged to support green projects and ensure that 20% of 10,500 public premises will be given allocations for smart energy and RE installation projects as part of large-scale infrastructure expenditure.

"In particular, this will benefit smaller companies with existing marginal RE capacity and smallish earnings base such as Ranhill Utilities [Bhd] and Cypark Resources [Bhd].

"On the flip side, larger companies with significant existing capacity will not benefit meaningfully in terms of earnings and overall portfolio expansion. This is because at this current juncture, large-scale solar plant tenders in Malaysia merely offer maximum capacity of up to 50MW each.

"Nevertheless, such companies will still benefit from enhancement to their environment, social and governance (ESG) ratings. On a separate note, incentives for private premises to switch to solar will boost demand for TNB’s ongoing GSparx programme and Malakoff [Corp Bhd]’s rooftop solar business. Expansion of these environmentally friendly businesses are expected to prop the companies’ ESG profile, although earnings contribution remain muted at this juncture," it said.

Meanwhile, a government led by Perikatan Nasional (PN) — which won 73 seats — will also bode well for consumer stocks, said TA Securities, but it cautioned that brewers Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd and Heineken Malaysia Bhd could be the top losers.

"We expect the consumer sector, especially domestically focused retailers, to benefit in the short to medium term due to allowances, tax benefits, and job opportunities pledged by the coalition.

"Some of the key consumer-related measures promised include i) [increasing the] cost-of-living allowance by RM100 and special salary increment of RM100 for civil servants; ii) new tax exemption category for sports equipment, gym membership and other healthy lifestyle expenses of up to RM3,000; iii) creating one million high-income jobs in the digital economy sector within five years; iv) PTPTN repayment discounts of 25% for graduates with a second class or upper degree.

"Despite not being mentioned in the coalition’s manifesto, we reckon breweries may take a hit as there may be a possibility of limitations in brewery sales or restrictions of night clubs and other entertainment outlets," it said.

Notably, PAS is a component party of PN and has won 49 parliamentary seats.

Meanwhile, a PH-led government could negatively impact the building materials, construction, and telecommunications sector, said TA Securities.

"There is a possibility that the new Government will review the costing structure and the alignment of the MRT3 project given that it has yet to be awarded. However, we believe ongoing projects such as LRT3, Pan Borneo Highway, and East Coast Rail Link are likely to proceed as planned.

"Meanwhile, aside from the allocation to basic infrastructures such as water facilities, roads, hospitals, and schools, we do not expect any new launching of mega infrastructure projects in [the] near term as a PH government is likely to focus on fiscal consolidation. On the other hand, a PH government is likely to review all the highway concession agreements," it said, adding that the top losers for the sector were Gamuda Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, Sunway Construction Bhd, and TRC Synergy Bhd.

The big losers in the building materials sector are Ann Joo Bhd, CSC Steel Holdings Bhd, and Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd.

TA Securities said it expects a short-term negative impact on telcos as a PH-led government will most likely review the 5G rollout via the single wholesale network (SWN) model.

"Pending clarity on its stance for 5G rollout (e.g., to maintain deployment via the SWN model, to allow a dual wholesale network, or to allow individual deployment by mobile network operators), we expect returned uncertainty on this front to cast an overhang on the telecommunications sector valuations.

"We imagine that a decision for the incoming government will not be straightforward e.g., if it decides to deviate from the SWN model, it also has to consider the potential legal and financial implications to the country. That said, we expect investors’ confidence in the telecommunications sector to be restored once the dust has settled.

"While there are several possibilities, in the instance the SWN model is replaced with individual deployment, we view winners to include incumbent mobile network operators, namely Axiata Group Bhd's Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi.Com Bhd, and Maxis Bhd. We expect their dominance in the mobile space and financial strength to provide them the upper hand in 5G rollout and thereby, reinforce their competitive edge against smaller peers like U Mobile, unifi mobile, and Yes.

"However, this would assume eligible termination of the access agreements signed between Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) with most of the telcos including Axiata, Digi, U Mobile, Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), and Yes. Top Losers: As for losers in the event the SWN model is done away with, we view them to include TM as it would potentially derail its fixed mobile convergence efforts and fibre leasing agreement with DNB," it said.

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