Reaffirming top pick for strong growth, high earnings visibility, lower gearing
We reaffirm our Buy rating, lift FY17-19 earnings by 1-14%, and raise our TP by10% to HKD11.53, after factoring in stronger sales, 1H17 results and latestland acquisitions. Given its strong execution, we believe the company cansustain high sales growth to RMB530bn this year (+72% yoy). Coupled with itsmargin expansion to ~22% (vs. 21.1% in FY16), we expect it to deliver a 43%earnings CAGR in FY17-19. We maintain Country Garden as our top pickamong large caps for its high sales and earnings visibility amid improvinggearing (thanks to fast asset churn and high cash collection rate).
Sales target lifted to RMB500bn
Management raised its 2017 full-year sales target by 25% to RMB500bn(implying 67% target completion by July). Supported by its RMB361bnsaleable resources in 2H17, we believe the company can achieve RMB530bnsales (+72% yoy) this year. Also, we believe its high growth is sustainable (thecurrent landbank can sustain flattish sales in 2018 even without furtherlandbanking), considering its strong execution to launch projects for presale inless than seven months post land acquisitions.
Lower gearing amid aggressive land acquisitions
Thanks to its fast asset churn and high cash-collection rate, Country Gardenhas managed to achieve positive operating cash flow to lower its net gearingto 38% in 1H17, despite its having acquired 50.8m sqm GFA with RMB169bn(M&A projects account for 29% of total land cost). In addition to its 210m sqmlandbank by June, management also disclosed there are RMB1.2trn saleableresources from potential M&A projects (signed MOU) and primary landdevelopment.
Strong results with lower net gearing and higher interim dividend
Country Garden reported strong 1H17 results: 1) revenue rose 36% toRMB77.7bn; 2) gross margin expanded to 22.0% (vs. 21.1% in FY16); 3) coreprofits rose 35% to RMB7.2bn; and 4) net gearing improved to 38% (vs. 49% inFY16). The company declared a higher interim dividend of RMB15.02cents/share (+117% yoy) thanks to the RMB3.2bn one-off increase in retainedearnings due to the early adoption of HKFRS 15.
Valuation and risk
We base our target price on a 35% discount to end-2017E NAV of HKD17.75.The stock now trades at 7.3x FY18E P/E and a 45% discount to NAV. Key risksinclude slower sales and inability to acquire quality landbank to sustain its highsales growth.
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