PETALING JAYA: AmInvestment Bank has upgraded its recommendation on the glove sector to overweight from neutral on the back of robust demand growth expectations for FY19.
According to the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma), the rubber glove industry has been growing at an average of 8%–10% for the past 25 years and AmInvestment Bank expects this to continue in FY19.
“The expected robust growth is underpinned by the expanding global healthcare sector as well as the increased awareness on the importance of hygienic practices throughout the industry, especially in emerging markets such as India and China,“ it said in a report.
Currently, glove consumption per capita for emerging markets such as India and China is still low at around two–six gloves compared with circa 100–280 gloves for developed countries.
“Positively, we believe the nitrile-based rubber (NBR) price will continue to decline due to the falling prices of butadiene, which is an input cost for nitrile gloves. As NBR is a key input material for nitrile gloves, this is beneficial to the big three producers (Top Glove Corp Bhd, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd) as lower NBR prices will widen the nitrile rubber gloves’ margins.”
The research house reckon there could be some pressure on margins in FY19 stemming from the influx of glove supply of the big three producers.
“FY19 will see an enlarged supply of gloves by 14%, although the expansion will come at a gradual pace. As this exceeds the organic demand growth expectation of 8%–10%, we opine average selling price (ASP) will be slightly weighed down initially. It will take six to 12 months for demand-supply to reach equilibrium,“ it said.
Although the big three producers benefit from a weaker ringgit as exports make up most of the sales, it believed that the recent strengthening of the ringgit against the US dollar is minor as the rubber gloves players will be able to pass on the cost to its customers via an upward ASP revision.
Based on its sensitivity analysis, a 1% strengthening of the ringgit against the US dollar will impact the bottom line by roughly 1% for the big three producers. Its house end-2019 projection for the US dollar/ringgit rate is 4.04-4.06.
“All in, we opine that the recent selldown of rubber glove stocks are unfounded as the sector’s fundamentals and growth prospects remain. The headwinds for the sector such as concerns on overcapacity and strengthening of the ringgit aren’t new and we believe that as among the largest rubber gloves producers, the big three are capable of weathering it,“ said AmInvestment Bank.
However, it added that the downside risks which may prompt it to review its call for the sector are a sudden supply glut stemming from other glove makers (ie China), triggering a price war that crimps margins; and the inability of glove makers to pass on the rising costs.
Its top picks for the sector are Top Glove (buy, fair value of RM6.52 a share) and Hartalega (buy, fair value of RM5.88 a share).
It likes Top Glove for its expansionary plans; focus and continual efforts in improving quality and operational efficiency; and its position as the largest rubber glove manufacturer.
It upgraded its recommendation on Hartalega to buy from hold following the recent drop in its share price.
“We like Hartalega due to its foresight and execution; visible capacity expansion; and ability to develop proprietary technology, which translates into greater operating efficiencies.”
Source: The Sun Daily