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Friday, September 9, 2011

Sime's planned E&O purchase gets analysts' thumbs up

KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Bhd's planned purchase of a 30 per cent stake in Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) last week will revive its flagging property business and also give it exposure to the Penang and Johor markets, analysts said.

For JP Morgan, the deal signals a more aggressive strategy from management to improve the property division.

"Sime's property division has generally been viewed as lacking push or not as aggressive as the purer developers.

"As it is, in the recently announced 2011 results, the property division was the underperformer with a 7 per cent year-on-year contraction in profits due to delays in obtaining approval for launches," it said in a research report.

Deutsche Bank AG said Sime is not present in the Penang property market currently and the deal would allow collaboration to enhance its property business in the long run.

Analyst Eltricia Foong said property development is estimated to account for 7 per cent of Sime Darby's 2012 operating profit.

"We reiterate our hold recommendation on Sime shares with a target price of RM9.30," the analyst said, adding that funding should not be a worry given its solid balance sheet and its recent RM690 million fabrication yard sale.

Sime Darby has proposed to buy the 30 per cent stake last week for RM766 million.

In Johor, E&O has a joint venture with Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Singapore's Temasek to develop a 84ha wellness township.

By Business Times

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