Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jerneh & Wasco


Jerneh shot up on a news article in Star Biz today, which reported that Singapore Business Times wrote that Jerneh Asia was poised to sell its 80% stake in Jerneh Insurance to a foreign player, likely to be HSBC for around RM700m.

Do the math backwards; 80% x RM700m = RM560m. Now you divide by the number of shares in Jerneh Asia which is 180.7m = RM3.09 per share cash. Mind you if the report is correct, Jerneh Asia would still have the listed vehicle.

The History: Jerneh Asia Berhad (Jerneh) was incorporated on 18 October 1995 and listed on the KLSE Main Board on 23 September 1996. The Company was founded as an investment holding company for the purpose of acquiring Jernah Insurance Corporation Sdn Bhd (JIC) as part of a scheme to list the latter on the Bursa. On 30 April 1997, JIC was converted into a public company known as Jerneh Insurance Bhd (JIB).
JIB commenced operations in 1971 as the insurance arm of KUOK Group of Companies and expanded to include clientele outside the Kuok Group. In 1999, the Jerneh group started to expand both locally and regionally as well as diversifying from general insurance. It began with the taking over of Paramount Assurance Berhad; that of Jerneh Insurance (HK) Ltd & Taishan Insurance Brokers in Hong Kong and 40% of Taishan Insurance Brokers Ltd in Hong Kong and Philippines; KRM Reinsurance Brokers Philippines and 40% of Generali Asia NV of the Netherlands.
In FY2000, it acquired the balance 60% of Taishan Philippines and KRM. Generali Asia is a joint venture with Assicurazioni Generali of Italy which has both life and general insurance in Philippines and Thailand. In March 2006 Generali Asia expanded to Indonesia with operations of PT Asuransi Jiwa Asia Mandiri Prima, a life insurance company.
Today the subsidiaries and associates operate in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines and Thailand. The General Insurance division offers a range of products and services. It caters to the insurance needs of small and large-sized businesses and personal lines business. The range of general insurance products and services include property and pecuniary insurance, liability insurance, marine insurance, personal accident insurance, medical insurance, motor insurance, construction and engineering insurance, Foreign Workers' Compensation Scheme and Foreign Workers' Insurance Guarantee.
Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd (36.98%); BHR Enterprise Sdn Bhd (15.47%) and Sable Investment Corporation (7.12%) are the main shareholders of the company as of 22 December 2009.
Jerneh has done well and looks good. Wasco was looking very good until EPF started to sell to lock in some profits. Thats the trouble nowadays when EPF makes up 50% of all trades. If they do not want a stock to move up too fast, they can do so. They have a large position in Wasco and you really cannot deny EPF from locking in some gains now that its at a 52 week high. The perils of investing, even when you get it almost right, you can be punished. Still like both counters.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Clear For Jerneh

It was a revealing article in The Edge where Jerneh Asia spokeswoman said "We are concentrating on the corporate exercise of the insurance business ... we are still in the midst of talking to the relevant parties on a stake sale.." How to deny but not really deny!



Robert Kuok does not "play up" his counters. Jerneh Asia was below RM1.50 as early as November last year. There were two big ramp up sessions, the first was a couple of months back when it went to RM2.40, and the recent one which we are in the midst of - which went above RM2.80.

There was a corporate announcement in December last year that Bank Negara had no objection in principle for it to commence talks with relevant parties keen to acquire its 80% stake in Jerneh Insurance Bhd. That looked pretty clear to me.

There could two options, a sale or a privatisation. Robert Kuok has been streamlining its business activities in Malaysia disposing the sugar unit to Felda for RM1.29bn. I think Robert is getting out of businesses where he cannot see the ability to be a major player regionally. Looking at where his net worth has been getting the bulk of the incremental wealth from - its, properties and palm oil.

There are plenty of interest now in Jerneh's business, in particular after Prudential scooping AIA. Read the Great Eastern (Overseas Assurance) article in the link below:

http://malaysiafinance.blogspot.com/2010/03/prudential-aia-great-eastern.html

The final question is what price. Its NTA is RM2.41. Looking at similar deals, they have been between 1.5x to 2.5x. Jerneh' insurance business is well managed and should be priced at a premium to recent deal but probably would be closer to 2.0x. This makes for a range of between RM3.61-RM4.82. Caveat emptor people, but it looks good.

http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire3/05112008/1/5/f/1/15f14712742060_full.jpg

NOTE: The above opinion is not an invitation to buy or sell. It serves as a blogging activity of my investing thoughts and ideas, this does not represent an investment advisory service as I charge no subscription or management fees (donations are welcomed though). The content on this site is provided as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content, shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial instrument. The ideas expressed are solely the opinions of the author. Any action that you take as a result of information, analysis, or commentary on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why I Like Wasco (A Lot)

Its been difficult to locate good companies at fair prices. After much reading and going through the research, Wah Seong looks like a no brainer. There is a genuine transformation in their outlook and approach. Being a billion ringgit company will only get you so far. They have managed to secure projects overseas but its always less than RM1bn in value as the bigger jobs would want a bidding company to be better capitalised. Wah Seong has laid out two acquisitions in their pipeline and have a good chance to secure both. One has sufficient leverage in the Golden Triangle, while the other will mark their platform into Africa.

While I generally frown on name changes, this time it makes sense to be a globally integrated energy infrastructure group - under Wasco. The name change proposal is more than just rhetoric. The management knows well enough that they would not have enough jobs locally to move to the next level.
Actress Asin Hot Photos

Wah Seong is likely to wrap up the deal with Socotherm, to be followed by the Orleans deal. Wah Seong has sufficient funds to finance the acquisitions and has ruled out a fundraising exercise. As at Dec 09, the group had cash reserves of RM471m. Deputy MD Giancarlo Maccagno confirmed that Wah Seong had submitted three weeks ago a proposal to acquire the entire stake in Socotherm, an Italian pipe coater currently in financial trouble. There are four other bidders whose identities are not disclosed. Wah Seong did not reveal its offer price.

The success of the proposal would give Wah Seong an immediate presence in the Golden Triangle of Brazil, the Middle East and the Gulf of Mexico. There will be about US$130bn worth of investments in deepwater exploration are expected to be made in the Golden Triangle over the next five years. Hence, management is optimistic that Socotherm’s annual revenue could return to its previous height of €250m-300m in at least two years compared with €130m currently. This could add no less than RM1bn to Wah Seong’s topline.

Wah Seong's management has done its justification for moving this way, and they are going in with somebody whom they are already well familiar. Ties with Socotherm go way back. Socotherm and Wah Seong are no strangers, having been partners in pipe coating unit PPSC for 19 years before Socotherm sold its 32.5% stake to Wah Seong for RM76m in Oct 09 to cover some of its losses. Maccagno was a project manager for Socotherm’s projects in Nigeria in 1984-1990.

Wah Seong is at an advanced stage of negotiations with Orleans, which owns pipe coating plants in Nigeria and Angola. The group is considering three options: taking up an equity stake, providing technical assistance and doing both. Originally, the plants were housed under a 40:60 JV between Orleans and Socotherm. In Dec 09, Orleans bought out Socotherm’s stake in the JV as the latter restructured its finances. Orleans’s two pipe coating plants generate annual revenue of around US$40m. The facilities are currently loss-making but Wah Seong sees potential in them and the countries in which they are located. Nigeria and Angola are OPEC members and had oil reserves of 37bn barrels and 10bn barrels, respectively, in 2008. Collectively, both countries held 4.5% of OPEC’s oil reserves of 1,023bn barrels in 2008. Wah Seong is likely to spend about US$10m-15m on the facilities. If the deal materialises, it could expand Wah Seong’s earnings and geographical base, and put the company in a monopolistic position in Angola and a duopolistic position in Nigeria.

Wah Seong is well aware of the risks with Orleans, being in Nigeria. To mitigate the huge risks in Nigeria, Wah Seong is looking at a technical arrangement to first provide pipecoating consultancy services to the Orleans Group, with an option to later buy an equity stake if the operation were to kick off successfully.

By international standards, Wah Seong’s current market capitalisation of RM1.8bn is modest and has, on occasion, hampered it in its bid for major deals. With a bigger market cap, the company would be in a better position to go for bigger prizes internationally. Backed by the Socotherm and Orleans acquisitions, management aims for a RM3bn market cap over the next few years.

When the group was listed in 2002, its market cap was RM250m. Presently, Wah Seong’s order book is worth RM1.42bn. The group is bidding for RM5.3bn worth of contracts. Wah Seong’s tenders for new jobs has grown from RM4bil from the past two months to RM5.3bil currently. This represents 3.8x the group’s existing outstanding order book of RM1.4bil. Assuming a 20% success rate for current tenders, the group’s order book could reach RM1.8bil by the end of the year.

Its pipe-coating and corrosion production services account for 60% of this tender book. The pipe-coating tenders are for jobs in South-East Asia, China and Australia. The balance 40% of the tender book value comprise gas compression equipment and packages and industrial services.

The acquisition plans, assuming they pan out, would give Wah Seong access to a string of new markets, namely Nigeria, Angola, Brazil, the Middle East and the Gulf of Mexico, thereby narrowing the gap between itself and Bredero, whose annual sales are in excess of US$1bn. Apart from the M&A efforts, the newsflow is also remain active on the order book front as Wah Seong awaits the awards of pipe coating contracts from clients in Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Sexy Asin Pics

Even without the two acquisitions, Wah Seong should be fairly valued at RM3.00. Once news comes through that the acquisitions have been firmed up, I expect Wah Seong to trade close to its higher PER band of 20x, which would suggest RM3.50 as a target.

Its almost pointless to compare Wah Seong with other similar industry players in valuation, locally and regionally as none has the ability to boast that it is a major player globally, none can say they are not terribly dependent on local jobs. We need more companies to follow Wah Seong, manage it well, grow locally, then regionally, and when you consider that you have the management expertise and technological professionalism to be competitive globally, just leverage onto the next platform.

p/s photos: Asin

NOTE: The above opinion is not an invitation to buy or sell. It serves as a blogging activity of my investing thoughts and ideas, this does not represent an investment advisory service as I charge no subscription or management fees (donations are welcomed though). The content on this site is provided as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content, shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial instrument. The ideas expressed are solely the opinions of the author. Any action that you take as a result of information, analysis, or commentary on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.

1 comment:

Kipa said...

Hi Dali,

Since Jerneh Insurance being value at around RM3.09, what about Jerneh Asia's fair value? Thanks