TPIPL reported 3Q08 earnings of Bt576mn, up 28.1% YoY and turning from a loss of Bt6.8bn in 2Q08. Its normalised profit was Bt567mn, up 10.2% YoY but down 6.6% QoQ.
The result was 5.0% below the market’s expectation. The improvement YoY was backed by the increase in the selling price of cement offsetting lower sales volume, and improved chemical earnings. Meanwhile, the drop in normalized profit QoQ was due to higher tax expenses (effective tax rate of 22.0% in 3Q08 versus no tax expenses in 2Q08).
The outlook remains uncertain, given i) the unclear timing and sources of funds for its huge fine payment (stock manipulation cases) of Bt6.9bn, and ii) the possible delay of its refinancing from the end of 2008. Reiterate Underperform on the counter with a 2009 target price of Bt4.00.