STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-CIMB downgrades Banpu on weak fundamentals

Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:32am EST

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CIMB Securities downgraded coal miner Banpu Pcl to 'underperform' from 'neutral' and cut its price target to 370 baht from 453 baht, citing weak 2012 results, poor outlook and risk from the court case involving the Hongsa power project in Laos.

Banpu's 2012 results were 5 percent below CIMB's forecast due to weaker-than-expected average selling price for coal. The broker said it cut its 2013 and 2014 earnings forecasts for the company by 30-35 percent to reflect lower coal volume and weaker selling prices.

Banpu shares were up 1.3 percent at 397 baht at the midday break of 0530 GMT, outperforming a 0.7 percent gain of the main SET index. The stock jumped 3.7 percent on Thursday after the coal miner announced a share repurchase.

"We believe the share repurchase will only have a short-term positive impact and is unlikely to drive share price in the medium term, given the company's poor earnings outlook," the broker said in a report.

"The overhang from the court case will further depress share price, discounting the stock and leading to underperformance."

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1315 (0615 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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11:13 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Minor Int'l up on robust Q4 earnings; strong outlook

Shares in Minor International Pcl MINT.BK climbed 2.9 percent to 24.7 baht after the hotel and food chain firm posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings, with strong tourism and domestic consumption supportive to earnings outlook.

The broader SET index .SETI was up 0.6 percent.

Minor said its October-December quarter net profit more than doubled to 1.2 billion baht ($40.16 million) due to strong performances of all businesses. (Full Story)

Broker KGI Securities said it planned to upgrade earnings forecasts for 2013 and 2014 by 10-15 percent to reflect the higher-than-expected margin expansion for hotel business and low interest and tax expenses.

Broker Citi Research saw a brighter outlook ahead.

"Ongoing strong tourism, upbeat household sentiment, and its growth strategy suggests a brighter outlook ahead. We look forward to the management meeting on Feb. 28 for its assessment on industry and business outlook as well as its expansion plan," Citi said.

1103 (0403 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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09:25 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Nomura starts Sansiri with 'buy'

Nomura Equity Research initiated coverage of Sansiri Pcl SIRI.BK with a 'buy' rating and a stock price target of 6 baht, citing the property company's high exposure to landed property and its attractive valuation.

Sansiri shares closed down 1.4 percent at 4.98 baht on Thursday. The stock has risen 41.5 percent so far this year, outperforming the 32 percent rise of the property subindex .SETPR.

"Sansiri is now our top pick in the Thai property sector. We like the stock for its market dominance, high exposure to landed property segment of 40-50 percent and attractive valuation," the broker said in a report.

The stock traded at 12 times forward price-to-earnings multiple versus its peer average of 13 times, with a 2013 dividend yield of 4 percent, the broker said.

0916 (0216 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok, Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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