Wednesday, May 07, 2008

How Long Will Emerging Markets Be Able to Contribute to ST Engineering’s Bottomline?

Singapore Technologies Engineering, Asia's biggest aircraft maintenance company, said first- quarter profit rose 13 percent as it serviced more planes and increased sales of defense and specialty vehicles.

Net income increased to S$122.5 million ($90 million), or 4.10 Singapore cents a share, from S$108.8 million, or 3.68 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement to Singapore's stock exchange. Sales climbed 8 percent to S$1.32 billion.

Economic growth in China and India is making air transport more affordable for passengers, prompting airlines such as AirAsia and Singapore Airlines to add flights and aircraft. Orders at Singapore Technologies' aerospace division, its biggest business, rose as carriers farmed out maintenance services to cut costs and converted passenger aircraft to cargo planes.

“We have the order book to help us grow our business,” Chief Executive Officer Tan Pheng Hock said. “We want to rationalize our business so we'll come out stronger next year.”

ST Engineering's orders reached S$9.19 billion at the end of March, according to the company. The company adjusted its order book to eliminate a contract received from Skybus Airlines after the U.S. low-fare carrier filed for bankruptcy in April, Tan said. Orders were S$9.49 billion at the end of 2007.

The company expects a “modest growth in turnover and profit before tax this year,” Tan said.

Pretax profit at the aerospace division rose 4 percent to S$82.6 million in the first quarter, while the land systems business gained more than a third to S$32.9 million.

ST Electronics had a pretax profit of S$20.1 million, 9 percent less than a year earlier. ST Marine, which counts the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard among its customers, posted a 10 percent decline in pretax profit to S$17.4 million.

ST Engineering closed unchanged at S$3.21 before the earnings announcement. The stock has fallen 14 percent this year, compared with a 6.3 percent decline in the Singapore benchmark Straits Times Index.

Will the price of ST Engineering’s share bounce off and increase in light of the positive news?