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Analysts pull back Nuplex profit estimates for coming 3 years as increased rivalry crimps margins

Analysts have pulled back their expectations for Nuplex Industries' [NZX: NPX] profit for the next three years after the chemical manufacturer warned earnings would be hurt by increased competition at its ANZ unit.

Expectations for 2014 net income have come back an average 9.5 percent to $55 million, from $56.8 million in 2013, and reduced by an average 9 percent to $62.6 million for 2015 since Nuplex cut its 2014 earnings guidance on June 10, according to Reuters data. Dividends are expected to remain unchanged at 21 cents the coming two years, a level the company has held the past four years, according to Reuters.

Shares in Nuplex have declined 5.1 percent the past week, making them the worst performer on New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 Index, after the company warned increased rivalry would crimp margins at its ANZ resins and specialty chemicals businesses. A weaker Australian dollar against the New Zealand currency would also have a negative impact on earnings, Nuplex said.

While the company's European and Asian units are "trading well", it is "insufficient to offset the dilutive impact of Australia," analysts at Craigs Investment Partners and Deutsche Bank said in a note. "There is no quick solution to the Australian problems. The intense competitive pressures combined with the weak Australian dollar suggest Nuplex's earnings will remain vulnerable to the dilutive impact of Australia in the near-term."

Following the June 10 announcement, Nuplex shares fell to $3.10, their lowest in almost 10 months. The stock recently traded at $3.16. Shares in Nuplex are rated an average "hold" according to analysts polled by Reuters.

Analysts have pulled back their estimates for Nuplex's 2016 net income by an average 6.5 percent to $72.8 million, while the dividend is seen rising for the first year in six to 22.8 cents per share.

(BusinessDesk)