For QE31/3/2016, BAT's net profit dropped by 24% q-o-q or 6% y-o-y to RM196 million while revenue dropped by 9% q-o-q or 12% y-o-y to RM1.06 billion. Revenue declined 19.9% (or RM253 million) and Gross Profit declined 21.9% (or RM99 million) due to 34.0% -reduction in sales volume following the November 2015 steep excise increase. Despite a drop in Operating Expenses, driven mainly by timing of administrative expenses, the huge drop in sales meant that operating overhead was "under-recovered". This led to a drop in Profit from Operations and Profit before Tax of 28.2% (or RM92 million) and 28.8% (or RM94 million) respectively.
Table: BAT's last 8 quarterly results
Chart 1: BAT's last 36 quarterly results
Putting 4Q2015 in perspective
The sharp drop in revenue which began in QE31/12/2015 continued. That is the result of the unexpectedly jump in excise duties (off-budget!!). I had earlier expected the domestic sales is expected to recover in the next few quarters but the opposite has happened. This is partly due to the easy availability of illegal cigarettes as well as the difficult time affecting Malaysians of all walks of life.
Due to this challenging operating environment, BAT has announced its plan to restructure its business, which I reproduce below:
Restructuring of Business Operations: On 17th March 2016, the Group announced that it will be restructuring its business operations by sourcing tobacco products for its domestic market from other BAT factories regionally and would cease its manufacturing operations located at Virginia Park, Jalan University, 46200, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The winding down of factory operations will be carried out in stages and targeted to complete by the 2nd half of 2017.
I have posted earlier that this restructuring plan should be positive for the stock in the long run. Until then, investors will have to live with lower earnings for the next few quarters.
BAT (closed at RM54.50 yesterday) is now trading at a PE of 18.4 times (based on the last 4 quarters' EPS of 295 sen). BAT paid out a dividend of RM2.89 for the last 4 quarters; thus giving a Dividend Yield of 5.3%. At these PER & DY, BAT is deemed fairly attractive.
At the current price of RM54.50, BAT has broken below the support from its long-term uptrend line, SS at RM55.00. Unless this breakdown is reversed quickly, BAT may continue to slide to its next support from the psychological RM50.00 mark.
Chart 3: BAT's daily chart as at April 26, 2016 (Source: ShareInvestor)
Despite the poorer financial performance, BAT is still a good stock for long-term investment based on fair valuation. However its technical outlook has turned bearish, I would revise the rating from long-term BUY to HOLD.
In addition to the disclaimer in the preamble to my blog, I hereby confirm that I do not have any relevant interest in, or any interest in the acquisition or disposal of, BAT.