PETALING JAYA: Investors reacted negatively towards Eastern & Oriental Bhd’s (E&O) proposed fund raising exercise of up to RM550.3 million with its share price tumbling 24 sen or 22.02% to a multi-year low of 85 sen today.
The heavy selling pressure led to RM318 million of its market capitalisation being wiped off.
It was the top fourth loser on Bursa Malaysia today on 36.7 million shares done.
On Monday, E&O announced a proposed fund raising exercise which would raise proceeds of RM250 million to RM550.3 million, to fund its Seri Tanjung Pinang (STP) Phase 2 project in Penang and repay bank borrowings.
“Although the company seems to have identified a taker for the placement shares, we think investor sentiment on E&O may turn cautious given the magnitude of the equity call,” RHB Research said in its report today.
The research house, however, noted that the need for financing is understandable, based on the funding requirement for the reclamation and infrastructure capital expenditure on STP 2A, 2B and 2C, as well as working capital to kick-start new high-rise projects such as The Conlay (GDV: RM900 million), which is slated for launch at the end of 2019, and The Peak (GDV: RM280 million) in 1H 2020.
“We believe that as a result of tight cash flow, slow high-end property sales and weak market sentiment, the maiden launch of STP 2A’s Plot 14 has been delayed until 1H 2020,” it added.
The total proceeds of around RM350 million to RM400 million from the fund raising exercise would be about 24-28% of the stock’s current market cap. After factoring in the impact from the placement and rights issue, RHB Research reduced its target price to RM1 from RM1.24 previously.
It maintained E&O’s net profit estimates but reduced its earnings per share (EPS) forecasts due to the expected dilution from the placement and rights issue.
PublicInvest Research maintained its “neutral” call on E&O but reduced its target price to RM1 from RM1.30 previously.
“This comes as a negative surprise as we had believed earlier that the group would raise funds by disposing non-strategic assets and/or get more strategic partners for its STP Phase 2 development. Based on illustrative issue price of RM1.12, our RNAV (revalued net asset value) could be diluted from RM4 per share to RM2.80 to RM3.30,” it said.
Meanwhile, Affin Hwang Capital, which maintained its “buy” call on E&O with RM1.55 target price, believes the long-term prospects for the group remain good, despite the short to medium term impact of the fund raising exercise on investor sentiment.
“We believe the overhang from the equity issuance will dampen sentiment on the stock in the short to medium term, but the long-term prospects for E&O remains good with the scheduled completion of 253-acre STP 2A by September 2019,” it said.
“We gather that the entrepreneurs and substantial shareholders Datuk Seri Tham Ka Hon (owns 20.6% stake) and Datuk Tee Eng Ho/Tee Eng Seng (owns 15.2%) will likely undertake to subscribe for their rights issue entitlement. This will show the entrepreneurs’ commitment and shore up support for the proposed equity issuances,” it added.