STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Citi downgrades ComfortDelGro to sell

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 07, 2012 02:30 hrs

Citigroup downgraded Singapore transport operator ComfortDelGro Corp Ltd to 'sell' from 'buy' and lowered its target price to S$1.63 from S$1.64, citing potential earnings pressure in Singapore and slowing business in the United Kingdom and China.

Citi also advised investors to take profit ahead of ComfortDelGro's second-quarter results, slated to be released on Aug 13.

ComfortDelGro shares were down 0.9 percent at S$1.685 on Tuesday. The stock has risen 19 percent so far this year versus the nearly 17 percent gain in the broader Straits Times Index .

Out of 19 analysts covering the stock, 13 have 'buy' or 'strong buy' ratings, four have 'hold' calls, and two have 'sell' or 'strong sell' recommendations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Singapore's land transport masterplan is under review, including reviewing fare setting, Citi noted. "Rising capex to meet quality standards and to upgrade aging bus fleets and grow the taxi fleet, in our view put heavy burdens on cash flow."

Citi forecast ComfortDelGro to report second-quarter net profit of S$66 million ($53.1 million), up 23 percent from the previous three months on an expected seasonal lift, a growing Singapore taxi fleet and continued strength from Australian earnings.

1013 (0213 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore;


09:55 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC upgrades Marco Polo to buy; target S$0.53

OCBC Investment Research upgraded Singapore's Marco Polo Marine Ltd to 'buy' from 'hold' and raised its target price to S$0.53 from S$0.43 after the marine logistics company reported better-than-expected results for its third quarter.

Marco Polo shares rose as much as 4.5 percent to S$0.35 on Tuesday, the highest in nearly three months. The stock has gained 6 percent so far this year versus the 16 percent gain in the FT ST Small Cap Index.

The company saw higher gross margin of 32.0 percent in the nine months of its 2012 fiscal year versus 25.2 percent a year earlier, mainly as it generated bigger ship repair and outfitting revenues at higher yields, OCBC noted.

Marco Polo had seen an increase in enquiries for ship repair, outfitting and conversion services, OCBC said, adding that the company expects charter rates for offshore vessels as well as tugs and barges to remain stable.

OCBC said after changing to a new functional currency, Marco's Indonesian associate BBR reversed its earlier losses arising from the movements in the U.S. dollar against the Indonesian rupiah.

0940 (0140 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; ($1 = 1.2432 Singapore dollars)

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