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OSK Research lifts Astro’s earnings forecast by 5%-12%

December 6, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: OSK Research Sdn Bhd has revised upwards Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s 2013-2015 financial year earnings forecast by between 5% and 12%, given its better-than-expected third quarter performance.

In a research note, OSK Research said Astro’s core earnings for the nine months ended Oct 31, 2012, were ahead of its estimates, but  within consensus’ numbers, making up 84% and 73% of the respective full-year forecasts.

The group’s revenue for the period under review grew by 12% year-on-year, propelled by higher subscription of its B.yond High-Definition services.

“We continue to like Astro’s monopoly in the domestic pay-television segment, despite the near-term blip due to rising content cost and higher fixed expenses associated with subscribers opting for B.yond set top box,” it said.

The research house maintained its “buy” call on the stock, with an upgraded RM3.40 fair value.

In a separate research note, Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd said Astro’s NJOI service, a subscription-free satellite TV service, had grown to 132,000 subscribers.

“We believe that this is a strategic move by Astro to capture viewership from the free-to-air television segment, allowing the company to grow its advertising expenditure share and generate additional revenue through prepaid offerings,” it said.

The research house maintained its “hold” call on the stock, with an unchanged RM3.16 target price.



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