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Of the Action "Gazprom" has demonstrated record growth. Their quotations have risen on 40%. What are the chances of growth of papers of the gas giant, owning more than 70% of Russian gas will continue?
Two growth stages
To begin with let us recall how the rising shares of "Gazprom". In early may the company announced plans to increase dividends to 16.61 per share. Earlier, the investors expected that for the year they would pay 10.43 per share. The paper then cost is very cheap — 163 of the ruble, and investors began to buy them. Just two days (may 14-15), they increased in price by 20%.
some time later, it began to seem that "Gazprom" exhausted: the quotations of its papers for some time stayed at around 200-210 rubles. No reason for further growth of the stock was not observed, although some analysts believed that, if the company decides to increase the share of dividend payout from the current 27% to 50% of net profit, it can give a new impetus to the growth of securities. And so it happened: at the beginning of June the management of the gas company announced the revision of dividend policy (in this year "Gazprom" intend to develop a new strategy, involving the growth of payments to 50% of net profit according to IFRS), and its stock went up again, jumped in one day by 17% and breaking the bar in 251,65 of the ruble. In the end, the company has firmly taken the leadership in the capitalization market, overtaking long time occupied the position of Sberbank.
Traders celebrated the significantly increased trading volume in the securities of "Gazprom" on the exchange. Released on the same day the news of the impending resignation of the head of "Gazprom" Alexei Miller have not been confirmed: the company's representatives denied these rumors. Rather, such a rapid rise in prices was influenced by technical factors: the market had a lot of short positions, investors have discovered, without waiting for new take-offs from already highly appreciated shares of "Gazprom". After sharp growth of quotations of investors who made a bet on shares falling, the company had to hastily buy the securities and to exit trades.
the Battle for gas
Gazprom has long been one of the most unloved stock in the Russian market. After 2008, the company was unable to recover. "For the last ten years the company has lost the index of Masuri. During this time, the last rose, taking account of the dividends on 471%, and the shares of "Gazprom" — only 115%", — says Manager of "Raiffeisen Capital" Anton Kravchenko. As a result, according to the financier, is formed a negative attitude of investors to the company and has led to a significant "underweight" in its share in the portfolios of both international and local investors.
the Statement of Gazprom's top managers came just in time. In the Wake of the race for dividend investors were willing to forget about the problems in Gazprom's business, possible sanctions, etc. the Question is how strong will be this interest and whether it is justified? Because the dividend is no guarantee, and in case of a negative trend in the market or, for example, falling energy prices, investors run the risk of not getting the expected result. According to the analyst of "Finam" Sergey Drozdova, dizzying rise of the stock of the gas company calls into question the continuation of such rapid dynamics in the future. "Investors who failed to buy shares in Gazprom, is to wait for the end of a correction and watch for further behavior paper", — believes the expert. He recommends to buy, if the quotes to fix above 251 ruble. The analyst "BKS the Prime Minister" Sergey Suverov considers that the dividend story in "Gazprom" already largely priced in. "The latest jump in prices was caused by speculation about personnel changes in top management, and if they are not confirmed, it is highly probable profit-taking, especially as gas prices in Europe are falling, and the yield free cash flow of the company is low," he says.
In favor of the fact that the growth of shares of "Gazprom" may be only temporary and while reasons to continue the rally there, said the decline in his performance this year. The increase in revenues (due to the growth of ruble prices for gas) sales volumes decreased markedly: the delivery to the countries of the former USSR and in Europe decreased in the first quarter of approximately 13%. PSB I doubt that the results of the second quarter the situation will change. "The company may not be too competitive, since the spot price of gas in Europe due to increased us LNG has already fallen below $ 200 per cubic meter, while Gazprom supplies gas for 259 dollars per cubic meter", — says Bank analyst Ekaterina Krylova.
At the same time "Gazprom" it is increasingly difficult to compete with other suppliers of hydrocarbons. In particular, companies earn on the sale of liquefied natural gas. In the first quarter of its main competitor, NOVATEK increased sales by 9.5%, exports to Europe increased by 3.5 times. From the point of view of the fundamentals of the "national treasure" also looks weaker than the company Leonid Mikhelson. The profitability of "Gazprom" below, and the debt burden is higher. In particular, the rate of return on equity (ROE) lower than 4 times than that of NOVATEK, and the ratio of debt to pretax income (Debt/EBITDA) above 5 times.
However, the last two years, Gazprom has consistently reduced debt burden. From 2017 the proportion of debt to assets has decreased from 34.12% to 33.38%. Ekaterina Krylova draws attention to the huge free cash flow of the company (243,7 billion) and the increased profitability of the company's profits. Compared to the first quarter of 2018, this figure rose from 17% to 23%.
the Promised three-year wait
does all this Mean that the action "Gazprom" it is time to sell, since their growth is a big question? Not at all. The shares of gas companies, there are at least three reasons in order to finally gain a foothold in the leaders of the Russian stock market by capitalization and even to return to pre-crisis levels. After all, until 2008 the company's stock was trading above 340 rubles, and its market capitalization — more than 8 trillion rubles.
the first Reason is technical. Gazprom is even now very cheap company. For example, the company's market capitalization significantly below its carrying value, thus at the end of the first quarter of 2019 the ratio of capitalization to revenue (P/S) was at the level of 0.64, while the "NOVATEK" — 4,46. This means that the market needs only a reason to again began buying. To grow the company Leonid Mikhelson harder. "On the fundamentals of the paper is already very expensive, and its dividend yield is significantly lower than that of Sberbank, "Rosneft" and "Gazprom". In fact, investors drove the company's valuation to levels that can be justified in 3-4 years, but during that time can happen a lot of changes," — says analyst "Discovery Broker" Andrei Kochetkov.
the second Reason — expected production growth, associated with the growth of gas consumption. According to the energy research Institute, natural gas in the period until 2040 will lead in terms of absolute consumption growth among all energy sources. One of the main consumers — China, which the authorities are thus trying to fight pollution from coal-fired power plants. With the commissioning of the "Power of Siberia", "Gazprom" has good chance to increase its gas exports. It is clear that in the case of a global recession or crisis, the Chinese economy, the plans of the gas supply chain can be disrupted. However, while analysts have very optimistic forecasts. "In the period 2019-2020, the company completes three important major project: "Nord stream — 2", "Turkish stream and Power of Siberia". Through these projects, the supply of gas to far abroad countries increased by more than 100 billion cubic meters per year, or one and a half times current volumes," says Kochetkov. This means that the company can significantly increase its revenue from exports and to reduce investment costs. "We can count on earnings growth to 2-2. 5 trillion rubles, compared with about 1.5 trillion rubles in 2018", — the expert predicts.
the third Reason — the growth of dividend payments that will make Gazprom one of the main favorites of investors who rely on dividend strategies. In Sberbank CIB believe that in the future the dividend yield of the company's shares could reach 14-15%, and it will push quotes above 270 rubles. As said Andrei Kochetkov, even while maintaining the previous dividend policy net profit may increase payments up to 25-30 rubles payments for the paper. "Accordingly, the price of shares of "Gazprom" in 300-350 rubles doesn't have to be fantastic," concludes the analyst.
albert KOSHKAROV, Banki.ru
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