Nov 16, 2016 09:22:30

Coal Mining - Sector Has Mixed Expectations For 2017

We visited four coal miners recently, and got updates on their outlook for 2017. On production, only Indo Tambang is aiming for flat growth while Harum Energy has the highest target (+33% YoY). Up until now, none of the miners’ customers have locked in their FY17 coal purchase prices. Meanwhile, all players expect their stripping ratios to rise next year. We reiterate our BUY on United Tractors, as we expect earnings to recover (mostly on a rise in mining contracting volume). It would also benefit from a weakening IDR and is the safest play on the recovery in coal prices.

¨ No customer has locked in FY17 purchase prices. The increase in coal prices was faster than what the coal miners’ customers had expected. As a result, no customer has locked in their FY17 coal purchase prices yet. Some have only locked in their 2017 coal purchase volume, as they think coal prices may retreat from the currently high levels.

¨ Higher stripping ratios, but with unchanged mining contracting fees. Based on our talks with the coal miners, all of them expect their stripping ratios to rise next year. However, they still hope to see mining contracting fees remaining unchanged. Up until now, most of the firms were still negotiating mining contracting volumes and fees with their contractors. The miners’ expectations for an unchanged mining contract fee in FY17 are different from United Tractors. It expects less discounts in FY17 due to the recovery in coal prices.

¨ Harum Energy expects to see the biggest production increase. Harum Energy expects its coal production to hit 4m tonnes (vs its FY16 target of 3m tonnes) next year. In 2012, its production peaked at 12m tonnes. In 2011-2016, it cut down on coal production to preserve the long-term value of its assets, as coal prices fell. Meanwhile, Indo Tambangraya Megah (Indo Tambang) expects production growth to stay flat (Figure 1).

¨ Harum Energy is the most exposed counter to the spot coal price. Among the four coal miners, Harum Energy is the most exposed to spot coal price. This is as it sells its coal using spot prices. Therefore, it should start benefiting from the increase in prices from 4Q16 onwards. By contrast, its peers should fully benefit from the current increase in prices from 2017 onwards, as most of their coal selling prices for FY16 have been locked in.

¨ Indo Tambang has the biggest exposure to the China market. China is the main driver behind the increase in imported coal demand. Indo Tambang is the most exposed coal miner to this market (25% of sales are made to Chinese customers), followed by Adaro Energy (14% of sales) (Figure 1). As at 9M16, Harum Energy and Bukit Asam have not sold coal to China. However, they said they would record sales to China from 4Q16 onwards.

¨ All coal miners are the beneficiaries of the weakening IDR. We expect the IDR to continue softening to reach an average of IDR13,700/USD in FY17 (YTD average: IDR13,286/USD). The coal miners’ revenues are mostly dominated in USD terms. Meanwhile, the contribution of USD to their costs is less than to their revenue (Figure 1), which should improve profit margins. Harum Energy and Indo Tambang are likely to benefit the most from a weakening IDR, considering that the difference between USD contributions to their revenue and total costs are the highest.

¨ Reiterate BUY on United Tractors with a IDR24,700 TP. We reiterate our BUY call on United Tractors, as its earnings are set to recover in FY17 from higher heavy equipment sales, and mining contracting and coal sales volumes. We think this has not been factored in by consensus yet. The company should also benefit from the weakening IDR in its mining contracting and coal sales businesses. Also, with consensus lifting its earnings estimate, this should also boost United Tractor’s share price performance. We consider this stock as the safest play on the recovery in coal prices. (Hariyanto Wijaya CFA, CPA)