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Nam Cheong – Likely Beneficiary Of Malaysia’s Oil And Gas Capex Plans
Perspective | 22 July 2013
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By: Ernest Lim
Articles (134) Profile

It is common knowledge that Malaysia’s Petronas has sharply increased its 2012 to 2017 capex by approximately 70 percent to RM300 billion over the previous five years. A likely beneficiary to this industry development is Nam Cheong.


According to an independent market research report by Pareto Securities Asia, Nam Cheong is the largest shipbuilder of offshore support vessels (OSVs) in Malaysia and the second largest player east of the Suez Canal. It has about 50 to 75 percent of the market share in Malaysia and 7 percent of the regional market share. It started ship building in 1968 and has more than two decades of track record in building OSVs. Since 2007, it has delivered more than 80 vessels. Examples of OSVs built are accommodation work barges, accommodation workboats, anchor handing tug supply (AHTS) vessels, platform supply vessels (PSVs) and safety standby vessels (SSVs) etc.

Nam Cheong’s shipbuilding arm comprises more than 90 percent of its overall group revenue for the past three years. Its shipbuilding can be segregated into build to stock (builds ahead of firm orders) and build to order model (builds vessels with contracts secured).

Besides shipbuilding, it also has a ship chartering arm with a fleet of 13 vessels, namely two AHTS vessels, two landing crafts and nine SSVs.

Its headquarters is situated in Kuala Lumpur. Readers can read more about Nam Cheong on its company website:

Investment Merits

Bright Industry Outlook

According to various market research reports, the OSV sector, especially in Malaysia, is a buoyant sector to be in notwithstanding the weak shipbuilding cycle. It is common knowledge that Malaysia’s Petronas has sharply increased its 2012 to 2017 capex by approximately 70 percent to RM300 billion over the previous five years. (See Figure 1) This would fuel developments in marginal and deepwater field developments and increased exploratory activities. Such activities should bode well for Malaysia OSV operators such as (Bumi Armada, Perdana Petroleum) and consequently to OSV builders such as Nam Cheong.

Figure 1: Petronas’ capex

Source: CIMB, Petronas

Secondly, according to Figure 2, there seems to be replacement demand for AHTS and PSVs. About 37 percent of the world’s AHTS is older than the usual lifespan of 25 years.

It is noteworthy that the majority of vessels built in the early days (1980s) were arguably small-to-medium sized vessels due to low technical capability, requirements and they are likely to be less fuel efficient. Vessel owners are showing increasing preference for younger and more fuel efficient vessels. Consequently, this fuels replacement demand for AHTS and PSVs.

Figure 2: Age Profile Of AHTS And PSVs

Source: CIMB, Clarksons

Build To Stock Business Model à Higher Margins

Part of Nam Cheong’s shipbuilding business model is its build to stock model. This essentially builds vessels in anticipation of orders, and sells the vessels at a premium due to the short time to delivery. This is the main reason why Nam Cheong can command enviable shipbuilding margins of 19 to 20 percent over the past three years as compared to high single digit margins for its peers which do not have a build to stock model.

Strong Earnings Visibility

Nam Cheong’s net shipbuilding order book amounted to RM1.3 billion (FY12 group revenue was RM877 million), thus this lends some visibility to its FY13F and FY14F results. In addition, Nam Cheong’s sales momentum remains strong. It has sold 13 vessels year to date as compared to the record 21 vessels in FY2012. (FY11: 13 vessels) Typically, according to CIMB research, revenues tend to lag vessel sales by one to two years.


Inherent Risks In Their Build To Stock Model

As Nam Cheong builds its vessels ahead of firm orders for its build to stock model, there is a possibility that it may end up with unsold inventory. Being in the business for decades, it is cognizant of this risk and it builds vessels catering to the small medium OSV segment which is the largest market among OSVs. This should mitigate risk to a certain extent.

Lumpy Revenue / Net Profits

For its build to stock model, all the work to date is recognised immediately in revenue and profits upon the signing of firm sale orders. Future progress on build to stock shipbuilding programme is recognised on a percentage-of-completion method. Thus, it is apparent that quarterly results can swing depending on the timing of vessel sales.

Average Analyst Target Price: $0.350

According to Bloomberg, Nam Cheong trades at 8.6x FY13F PE vis-à-vis 7.8x FY13F PE for Vard Holdings. However, most analysts believe that Nam Cheong’s results are likely to be stronger in FY13F and FY14F as opposed to weak results from Vard Holdings.

To be balanced, I have also put in the various analyst target prices (TP) from Bloomberg. (See Figure 3). Average analyst TP is around $0.350.

Figure 3: Average Analyst TP $0.350

Source: Bloomberg as on 18 July 2013

Chart Analysis

With reference to Chart 1, Nam Cheong has traded in a seven month range from $0.240 to $0.290 since 14 December 2012. It closed at $0.280 on 19 July. Day high and low were $0.280 and $0.270 respectively. Near-term support and resistance are at $0.265 to $0.270 and $0.280 respectively. It is noteworthy that it has been testing $0.280 recently and it is likely that the more times it tests $0.280, the more likely it can breach past $0.280. The next resistance is seen at $0.290.

Having said the above, for stocks which trade within a range, it typically takes some good news (perhaps in the form of contract wins; good results etc) to propel them higher. If it breaches $0.290 with volume expansion, an eventual technical measured target price is around $0.340. Notwithstanding this, it is noteworthy that chart reading is subjective and may have different interpretations for different people.

Chart 1: Trading In A 7-Month Range From $0.240 To $0.290

Source: CIMB itrade complimentary chart (19 July 2013)


This is just an introduction to Nam Cheong. Readers who are keen to know more about Nam Cheong should visit the company website, read the company annual reports, latest financial results and announcements etc. There are also informative analyst reports which they can read to have a better idea on Nam Cheong.

Ernest Lim is a CFA, CA and has worked at GIC Special Investment. He has a solid feel of the markets and financial world and is now a remisier.

Please click here for more information about this author.

Nam Cheong  -- -- --   
Business: An offshore marine group specialising in the building of offshore support vessels. [FY18 Turnover] Shipbuilding (59.2%), vessel chartering (40.8%).

Insight: May-19, 1Q19 revenue jumped multiple times to RM29... Read More

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