UACN’s earnings could materially deteriorate on naira weakness
Deterioration across key macro indices is likely to affect consumption dynamics in Nigeria and cascade to an 11.2% YoY decline in revenue from continuing operations to N70.3 billion for UACN in 2020.
The cost implication of naira depreciation, supply chain disruptions, and double-digit inflation is also likely to drive EBITDA margin 3.7ppts lower YoY to 6.6% in the current year (vs. 10.2% in the previous forecast and 9.1% in Q1’20). Ultimately, we expect earnings to contract by 38.9% YoY to N3.3 billion in FY’20.
Consistent with projected P&L weakness, UACN’s cash flow position is likely to remain weak in 2020 despite expectations of lower inventory purchases in animal feeds & other edibles segment in coming quarters. We also revise our target price lower to N8.26 (vs. N13.66 previously) to reflect the impact of potential macro-induced top-line weakness in the current year and a naira repricing that significantly alters margin expectations across our forecast horizon.
Restructuring could support tactical positioning, but risks abound
Following the conclusion of UPDC rights issue programme, which UACN utilised to increase its equity stake in the subject to 93.9% (vs. 64.2% previously), attention now shifts to obtaining approvals for the UPDC and UPDC REITS unbundling projects. If approved, the programmes will see:
- UACN divest its entire stake in UPDC to its shareholders. UACN shareholders would now directly own shares in UPDC
- UPDC divest its entire stake in UPDC REITs to its shareholders, who will now own direct shares in the REITS and receive dividends directly from the REITS
- UACN shareholders will thus own shares directly in UACN, UPDC and UPDC REITS because of the unbundling exercise
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