Broker Watch

Limited upside for Eagers Automotive amid continued supply risks: Goldman Sachs

Mon 07 Mar 22, 2:11pm (AEST)
Automotive Car Parts

Stocks in article

ape
MktCap:
-

Share article

Key Points

  • Major broker Goldman Sachs sees limited upside at current stock price
  • Downgrade comes after 111% jump in net earnings, record fully franked dividend
  • Brokers see car supply disruption as helping margins but could also pose risk

Goldman Sachs has cut its recommendation on Eagers Automotive Ltd (ASX: APE) to hold, from buy, saying the current supply disruptions affecting the automotive sector could continue until 2023, while upside opportunities were already reflected in the car dealer’s current circa $13 stock price.

The downgrade comes as car dealers struggle during 2021 with tight supplies of new cars and strong demand.  

Covid disruptions and a shortage in semiconductor microchips, used extensively in modern vehicles, forced production cuts on global carmakers last year, and has resulted in much tighter supply in Australia.

And while this has helped margins of dealers like Eagers Automotive, Goldmans says it is also a risk.

“Dislocation in new car supply … may impact [Eagers Automotive’s] ability to meet its order book demand,” the broker noted. 

Goldmans, which cut its target price of Eagers Automotive to $15.20, from $17, thinks the supply situation in Australia may not return to normal until 2023. 

“For Australia, we continue to expect the supply run-rate into Australia to normalize to pre-covid levels in CY23.”

Fatter margins, “very strong demand” for new vehicles drives earnings jump

Eagers Automotive on February 24 reported FY21 net profit after tax of $330.7m, 111% above the FY20 figure.

It also announced a fully franked final dividend for the period of 42.5 cents per share, taking total distribution for FY21 to 70.9 cents per share, up from 25 cents per share for FY20.

Net underlying margins increased to 4.6%, against 2.4% in FY2020, driven by tighter market supply and measures to reduce costs.  

Despite its downgrade, Goldmans says Eagers Automotive could benefit from its proposed new joint venture with manufacturer BYD to sell the Chinese manufacturer’s electric and hybrid vehicles in Australia. 

Other opportunities included programs to optimise Eagers’ property portfolio and reduce costs.

What the brokers think

Five major Australian brokers cover Eagers Automotive.

The consensus is a Buy rating with a $17.86 target price (~36.4% upside).

Some interesting notes have come out of brokers including:

  • Ord Minnett: Much higher underlying profit margins and a pipeline of orders that has increased by 215% since FY2020 should continue to underpin profits going forward. Buy recommendation retained with a slightly lower target price of $17.50

  • Morgans: Pointed out that customer demand is outstripping supply, with Eagers’ order book up 215% against FY2020. The main concern was whether the company can retain its higher margins once supply normalises. The broker kept its Add rating with a lower target price of $16.7

  • Macquarie: The broker noted that Eagers management seemed “less confident” over the timing of easing of supply restraints. However, it was encouraged by the 19.2% gross margin achieved in the second half of FY21. It maintained its Outperform rating, and raised its target price to $18.75, from $18

 

Written By

Ben Seeder

Journalist

Ben is a freelance contributing editor based in Tasmania. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Government from the University of Queensland, and is a small-cap stock-picker.

Get the latest news and media direct to your inbox

Sign up FREE