Listed firms see big dip in Q1

Listed firms see big dip in Q1

PTTEP's Bongkot offshore gas block in the Gulf of Thailand. A deep plunge in crude oil prices was the main factor causing listed firms' aggregate net profit to tumble by 58% year-on-year in the first quarter.
PTTEP's Bongkot offshore gas block in the Gulf of Thailand. A deep plunge in crude oil prices was the main factor causing listed firms' aggregate net profit to tumble by 58% year-on-year in the first quarter.

A combined 89% of the 621 SET-listed firms reported a 58% year-on-year dip in net profit in the first quarter against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis, says Tisco Securities.

Aggregate net profit was 109 billion baht, down 58% year-on-year and 50% quarterly.

The securities house had collected financial information from 552 listed firms as of May 15, representing 89% of SET-listed companies.

Apichart Phubancherdkul, head of strategy research at Tisco Securities, said the key factor putting pressure on listed firms' net profit during the first three months was net losses worth 20.5 billion baht of the energy sector and 6.8 billion baht of the petrochemical sector, attributed to a deep plunge in crude prices and foreign exchange volatility.

Steel and media sectors also registered continuous losses compared with last year's corresponding period, while other sectors saw net profit fall because of the pandemic and effects from new accounting standards, Mr Apichart said.

Energy shares are clustered in the resources sector by the SET. The sector's market cap stood at 3.26 trillion baht in the first quarter, making up 23% of the bourse's total market cap of 14 trillion baht.

In March, an oil price war was ignited by Russia refusing to go along with Opec efforts to rescue the oil market by cutting production, with Saudi Arabia escalating the situation by slashing crude export prices in a bid to retake market share.

The five sectors logging the most first-quarter net profit were banks with 50.3 billion baht worth of combined net profit, followed by ICT (16 billion baht), commerce (13.6 billion baht), food and beverage (11.3 billion baht) and property (11.1 billion baht).

Analysts have revised down the net profit projection of listed firms this year by 5.2% to 69.70 baht per share and 85.60 baht per share for 2021.

In related news, investor sentiment was bullish on Tuesday as the SET index rose by 23.42 points, driven mainly by higher share prices in the tourism, petrochemical and healthcare sectors.

"The good news is the progressive development of a vaccine against Covid-19, which provided a boost to sentiment after the pandemic caused a new norm of social distancing," said Nuttachart Mekmasin, executive director of Trinity Securities.

The SET index ended the day with a 1.8% rise to close at 1,309.95 points in turnover worth 79 billion baht.

Mr Nuttachart said the vaccine, if developed successfully, would make people feel safer to travel and engage in leisure activities.

Since the business performance of many sectors is already anticipated to be dismal this quarter, investors are looking ahead to third-quarter prospects, he said.

For Thailand's stock market, a temporary tweak in equity trading regulations on short-selling and circuit-breakers will have to be monitored further, as these regulations will end on June 30, Mr Nuttachart said.

A close watch is also warranted for corporate bond spread, especially the case of whether Thai Airways International Plc's debenture rollover will default or not, he said.

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