Thursday, June 16, 2011

Faber ... Jun11

With the emergence of Malaysia’s pilgrim fund board Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) as one of major shareholders of Faber Group Bhd, chances of the latter securing renewal of crucial contracts and new projects, especially in the local and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) markets, will seem brighter now.

Over the past few months have been particularly concerned about the uncertainty of Faber’s 15-year concession in providing health support services to government hospitals in Malaysia being renewed. But with LTH backing now, the prospects of the concession being renewed have certainly improved, and this would certainly enhance investor confidence in the integrated facilities management and property solutions company.

The concession, which represented about 60% of Faber group’s revenue, was due to expire by the end of October 2011. It is understood that negotiations for the concession were still ongoing with the Ministry of Health.

LTH had acquired 36 million shares, representing a 9.9% stake, in Faber on June 2 2011 via an off-market transaction. This effectively made LTH the third largest shareholder in Faber after UEM Group Bhd (32%) and Universal Trustee (M) Bhd (12.7%).

Earlier, Faber had lost two UAE contracts worth RM184mil. This involved the contract for the provisions of civil, mechanical and electrical services for low cost houses at Madinat Zayed and Liwa, which expired in April 2011, and the contract for improvement, development, upgrading and maintenance of infrastructure facilities and projects at Madinat Zayed — Zone-1, which expired early June 2011.

The company still had a presence in the UAE market, which contributed 15% of the group revenue for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2010, through other existing projects.

Faber’s chances of securing new contracts in the UAE would likely improve with LTH coming in as one of its major shareholders. And should the company secure new contracts there, its overseas earnings visibility would definitely improve.

Also noteworthy was the fact that LTH had in its bag property projects in the local and overseas markets, and that would open further opportunities for Faber. For LTH, its investment in Faber made sense, given the latter’s recurring income position and consistent cash flow and dividend policy.

Faber made a net profit of RM14.15mil on revenue of RM198.19mil for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, compared with a net profit of RM14.39mil on revenue of RM183.98mil for corresponding period last year.

Its net cash position, on the other hand, improved from RM284.9 at the end of 2010 to RM318.5mil at the end of March 2011.
In April 2011, the company declared a final dividend of 8% less 25% income tax for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2010.

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