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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SP Setia shares go on roller-coaster ride

SHARES of SP Setia Bhd, Malaysia's most valuable developer, went on a roller-coaster ride yesterday after the firm gave investors mixed signals on potential sales.

The company initially told analysts that it is lowering its year-end sales target by 20 per cent to RM1.5 billion from RM1.8 billion.

Based on the new guidance and other factors, analysts lowered their target price on the stock. The stock fell 3.5 per cent or 12 sen to RM3.32 in the morning session yesterday.

The company then issued a statement to Bursa Malaysia during lunch, saying it is confident to hit a year-end target of RM1.8 billion.

SP Setia shares rebounded in the afternoon, erasing all of the morning's loss to gain five per cent or 18 sen, to close at RM3.62.

The company explained that its lower target was based on a "worst case scenario". This is if local councils in Selangor and Penang, states that have new governments, are formed late.

"Given the company's October 31 year-end, a delay of one to two months would have resulted in a timing difference of sales being made in FY2009 instead of FY2008," it said.

SP Setia said sales for the first four months of fiscal 2008 have been strong.

It more than doubled to RM646 million, compared with the same period a year ago.

"In view of the recent developments pertaining to the successful transition of state governments in Penang and Selangor and the pro-business stance which have been expressed by both chief ministers in interviews published in the press yesterday and today, the company is confident that its original sales target of RM1.8 billion can still be met," SP Setia said.

Although 14 out of 23 analysts maintained their "buy" recommendation on SP Setia, most of them revised SP Setia's target price and earnings forecast downwards.

JP Morgan, CIMB and Kenanga Investment Bank reduced SP Setia's target price by as much as 36 per cent.

By New Straits Times (by Goh Thean Eu)

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