Morgans Best Ideas: February 2022
About the author:
- Author name:
- By Andrew Tang
- Job title:
- Analyst - Equity Strategy
- Date posted:
- 02 February 2022, 9:00 AM
- Sectors Covered:
- Equity Strategy and Quant
Our best ideas are those that we think offer the highest risk-adjusted returns over a 12-month timeframe supported by a higher-than-average level of confidence. They are our most preferred sector exposures.
New additions Wesfarmers (ASX:WES), South32 (ASX:S32), Newcrest (ASX:NCM), Seek (ASX:SEK), Beacon Lighting (ASX:BLX), Webjet (ASX:WEB), Pro Medicus (ASX:PME), Atomos (ASX:AMS), MAAS Group (ASX:MGH) and Red 5 (ASX:RED).
Removals Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX:SHL), Alliance Aviation Services (ASX:AQZ), Panoramic Resources (ASX:PAN), Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) and Booktopia Group (ASX:BKG).
Also refer to our recently published Reporting Season Playbook for our comprehensive preview of the 1H FY22 reporting season.
We continue to view the risk/return profile of TAH as asymmetrically skewed to the upside over the next ~12 months as the demerger of the high quality, infrastructure-like Lotteries & Keno business progresses. At current levels, we think L&K is trading on ~15x EBITDA and think this multiple can re-rate to between 16-20x on a standalone basis over time, supported by offshore peer comps and domestic infrastructure names.
WES possesses one of the highest quality retail portfolios in Australia with strong brands including Bunnings, Kmart, Target and Officeworks. The company is run by a highly regarded management team and the balance sheet is healthy. While COVID-related staff shortages are proving to be a challenge, the core Bunnings division (>60% of group EBIT) remains a solid performer as consumers continue to invest in their homes. We see the recent pullback in the share price as a good entry point for longer term investors.
Endeavour Group (ASX:EDV)
While EDV’s Retail division has benefited greatly from lockdowns and higher at-home consumption, its Hotels business has been negatively impacted by closures and restrictions. The reopening of venues in NSW and VIC should be positive for EDV overall, despite likely weakness in Retail as at-home consumption normalises, given Hotels is a higher margin business.
Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE)
TWE has the China reallocation risk and it will take 2-3 years to recover these earnings in new markets. However once it comps China earnings, we expect TWE to deliver strong earnings growth from the 2H22 onwards. Organic growth will be supplemented by M&A. On this front, we view TWE’s recent acquisition of Napa Valley luxury wine business, Frank Family Vineyards (FFV) as strategically important. This high margin business should see TWE achieve its US margin target two years earlier than planned. We see recent share price weakness as a great buying opportunity in this high quality company. The stock is currently trading at a material discount to its long term PE range.
We expect the resilience of STO's growth profile and diversified earnings base see it best placed to outperform against a backdrop of a continuing broader sector recovery. STO remains our top preference amongst our large-cap energy universe. With early indications supportive of our view that material synergies and enhanced growth plans will result from the OSH merger. While in good shape, we expect STO to continue gaining investor support as it executes on the opportunistic OSH merger.
We believe WPL has benefited from being in the right place, at the right time. With: 1) BHP/WPL having an existing relationship, 2) BHP eager to boost its ESG profile, and 3) WPL being a quality operator (safe hands which is important for BHP). From an economic standpoint we think WPL is clearly getting the better of the deal, with synergies not baked into deal metrics and BHP willing to accept a discount. The deal is transformative, lifting WPL into being a top 10 global E&P with +2 billion barrels of 2P reserves, with EBITDA of US$4.7bnpa and growth options.
Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG)
We still see MQG as relatively inexpensive and continue to like its exposure to long-term structural growth areas such as infrastructure and renewables. Near term MQG is likely to face earnings pressures from the impact of soft economic conditions but it remains well positioned to ride out the current COVID-19 period and seize opportunities on the other side.
QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE)
We see QBE as likely having positive underlying momentum into next year. QBE has been putting through top-line rate increases of around 9%, which should assist margin expansion into FY22. With QBE's balance sheet recently reset, pricing tailwinds evident and the stock relatively inexpensive trading on 11x FY22F PE.
WBC is our preferred major bank. We believe WBC offers the most compelling valuation of the major banks. In terms of quality of overall risk profile, we believe WBC is a close second to CBA. On credit risk, we believe WBC is positioned relatively defensively due to its loan book being more skewed to Australian home lending. We expect WBC to announce a $5bn off-market share buyback on 1 November and we expect investors to increasingly warm up to WBC’s medium-term cost out story.
ResMed Inc (ASX:RMD)
While we believe the next few quarters will likely be volatile, as COVID-related demand for ventilators continues to slow and core sleep apnoea volumes gradually lift, nothing changes our medium/longer term view that the company remains well-placed as it builds a unique, patient-centric, connected-care digital platform that addresses the main pinch points across the healthcare value chain.
Transurban (ASX:TCL) - New Addition
TCL owns a pure play portfolio of toll road concession assets located in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and North America. This provides exposure to regional population and employment growth and urbanisation. Given very high EBITDA margins, earnings are driven by traffic growth (with recovery from COVID) and toll escalation (roughly half at CPI and the remainder fixed c.4% pa). We think TCL will continue to be attractive to investors given its market cap weighting (important for passive index tracking flows), the high quality of its assets, management team, balance sheet, and growth prospects. Watch for rapid recovery in DPS alongside traffic recovery and WestConnex acquisition prospects. A negative overhang is the contaminated soil disposal issues related to its West Gate Tunnel Project.
BHP Group (ASX:BHP)
We view BHP as relatively low risk given its superior diversification relative to its major global mining peers. The spread of BHP’s operations also supplies some defence against direct COVID-19 impact on earnings contributors. While there are more leveraged plays sensitive to a global recovery scenario, we see BHP as holding an attractive combination of upside sensitivity, balance sheet strength and resilient dividend profile.
For those looking for gold exposure without development risk, we believe NCM offers good value after its recent sell down. The pull back in NCM’s share price looks to have been driven by operational underperformance in the first half, much of which can be explained by the one-off impact of the extended shutdown of part of the Cadia process plant. With this event behind the company, and NCM’s geographic spread in Australia, Canada and PNG providing some relief from the cost and labour challenges WA focussed companies are currently feeling, we expect a stronger second half from NCM. As a bonus, NCM is also a major copper producer, providing some level of internal hedge through exposure to both base and precious metal prices.
S32 has transformed its portfolio divesting South African thermal coal and acquiring an interest in Chile copper, substantially boosting group earnings quality, as well as S32's risk and ESG profile. Unlike its peers amongst ASX-listed large-cap miners, S32 is not exposed to iron ore. Instead offering a highly diversified portfolio of base metals and metallurgical coal (with most of these metals enjoying solid price strength). We see attractive long-term value potential in S32 from de-risking of its growth portfolio, the potential for further portfolio changes, and an earnings-linked dividend policy.
For our full list of Best Ideas, including our mid-cap and small-cap key stock picks, download our full research note (Morgans clients only):
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this report is provided to you by Morgans Financial Limited as general advice only, and is made without consideration of an individual's relevant personal circumstances. Morgans Financial Limited ABN 49 010 669 726, its related bodies corporate, directors and officers, employees, authorised representatives and agents (“Morgans”) do not accept any liability for any loss or damage arising from or in connection with any action taken or not taken on the basis of information contained in this report, or for any errors or omissions contained within. It is recommended that any persons who wish to act upon this report consult with their Morgans investment adviser before doing so.
Disclosure of interest: Morgans may from time to time hold an interest in any security referred to in this report and may, as principal or agent, sell such interests. Morgans may previously have acted as manager or co-manager of a public offering of any such securities. Morgans affiliates may provide or have provided banking services or corporate finance to the companies referred to in the report. The knowledge of affiliates concerning such services may not be reflected in this report. Morgans advises that it may earn brokerage, commissions, fees or other benefits and advantages, direct or indirect, in connection with the making of a recommendation or a dealing by a client in these securities. Some or all of Morgans Authorised Representatives may be remunerated wholly or partly by way of commission.