Westport's near-term prospects clouded by worries about the global financial crisis, rising interest rates

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Investment Bank (Maybank IB) Research has a neutral opinion of the prospects of Westports Holdings Bhd as it waits for the new concession to be finalised.

The investment bank said that fund-raising efforts for Westports 2.0 are anticipated to begin about a year after the concession is finalised, which may occur as early as the second half of 2023 (2H23).

However, despite having a strong year to-far performance, it said that worries about a worldwide recession and rising interest rates have clouded Westport's near-term prospects.

"This will cast downward pressure on the global trade volume, which could drag Westports' 2H23 performance," it said.

Meanwhile, the firm said that Westport's first quarter (Q1) of 2023 core net profit of RM179 million came in within the firm's and consensus FY23 estimates, at 22 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.

It said Westport's Q1 2023 net profit surged to RM179 million despite higher operating costs, thanks to lower finance costs with a lower total Sukuk outstanding balance and much lower tax expenses (with the absence of the financial year 2022 prosperity tax).

"We maintain our forecasts with a target price of RM3.85 and Hold call on Westport," it added.

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