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PETALING JAYA: Engtex Group Bhd will likely have to wait a tad longer for a pick-up in its order book, as the re-tabling of Budget 2023 could result in a slight delay in the rollout of water infrastructure projects by the government.

This, in turn, could weigh on investor sentiment on the company that specialises in the manufacturing and distribution of non-oil and gas pipes, valves and fittings, plumbing materials, construction materials, steel and hardware products.

As such, CGS-CIMB Research has downgraded its recommendation on Engtex to “hold” from “add”, citing limited share price upside in the medium term.

The brokerage also lowered its target price for the counter to 70 sen from 75 sen, based on an unchanged 30% discount to the company’s revalued net asset value, after lowering its earnings estimates for the company.

“In the medium term, order book growth prospects (RM623mil targeted tender pipeline as at end-June) for Engtex’s pipe manufacturing segment could be muted, though we note that outstanding order book remains healthy at around RM285mil,” CGS-CIMB wrote in a recent report.

According to the brokerage, higher-margin mild steel pipes presently make up 90% of Engtex’s outstanding order book, while ductile iron pipes make up the remaining 10%.

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CGS-CIMB said investor sentiment on pipe manufacturers could turn cautious in the first half of 2023.

“Our expectations of an earlier revival of water infrastructure, pipe replacement capital expenditure (capex) and higher-value non-revenue water-related contracts now look unlikely.

“This is given the possibility of a slight delay in the rollout of water infrastructure initiatives due to the re-tabling of Budget 2023,” it said.

In addition, the new government’s recent decision to suspend and review RM7bil worth of flood mitigation contracts could put into question the pipe orders that would have resulted from these projects, it added.

“Over the long term, we remain cautiously optimistic of the next wave of pipe infrastructure capex cycle and greater visibility in higher-value contracts,” CGS-CIMB said.

The brokerage had lowered its earnings estimates for Engtex by 9.2% to 13.4% for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2022 (FY22) to FY24 due to margin compression.

“Our recent checks indicate that while our 16% year-on-year (y-o-y) revenue growth forecast for FY22 and a tapered down 3% revenue y-o-y growth in FY23 look reasonable, higher procurement costs for the wholesale and distribution divisions and higher raw material costs for the manufacturing division are likely to affect its earnings for the fourth quarter of FY22, and possibly that of the first half of FY23,” it said.


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