Major Cineplex Public Company Limited (SET: MAJOR) is looking to make a turnaround in 2022 after a gradual reopening for economic activities in Thailand from late 2021 that gave a boost in tourism as well as domestic spending.
Theatres in Thailand had been temporarily closed not long after the coronavirus outbreak posed as a global threat in 2020. The company, operating mainly in the theatre business, recorded its first net loss in that year since its first year being listed in the Thai stock market at a loss of 527 million baht.
Nevertheless, a number of blockbuster movies in late 2021, especially Spider Man: No Way Home, gave MAJOR a kick in sales revenue. This leads to positive recommendations from analysts on MAJOR’s operating performance in 4Q21 prior to the official earnings announcement that is right around the corner.
Credit Suisse wrote that in spite of omicron concerns, the financial firm sees potential that MAJOR could beat its ticket sales projection in 4Q21. ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and Thai movie ‘4 Kings’ grossed Bt250 million and Bt120 million, respectively. This increased the likelihood that MAJOR could break even (or even show profit) in 4Q21, according to Credit Suisse.
The financial firm added that the relationship with Netflix has improved. Netflix has been more involved in script writing for the movies it contracted MPIC to produce exclusively for its streaming platform or even for the movies MPIC produces for cinemas, but Netflix has interest in buying. Thai has the potential to enhance the profit of its content business under MPIC.
In addition, Credit Suisse maintained Outperform rating on MAJOR with a target price at Bt27.50 per share. Besides likely operational turnaround and improving content business outlook, MAJOR’s multiple is attractive and the balance sheet is strong.
FSS International Investment Advisory (FSSIA) expected MAJOR’s 4Q21 bottom line to turn profitable at Bt59 million, compared to the Bt389 million loss in 3Q21, thanks to Spider-Man and 4 Kings that posted strong box office revenue in 4Q21.
However, FSSIA expected 1Q22 to come out weak due to less attractive movie lineups in the quarter (Uncharted, The Batman and Morbius), compared to Spider-Man. Still, 2Q22 would be a peak season for MAJOR with more than eight movies having a chance to reach over Bt80 million at the box office, especially Doctor Strange.
FSSIA gave a BUY recommendation on MAJOR with a target price at Bt25.00 per share.
Country Group Securities (CGS) also gave a BUY recommendation on MAJOR with a target price at Bt23.70 per share. The firm expected the company to report Bt47 million of net profit in 4Q21, a seven-quarter high in terms of core business operation. The EBITDA in 4Q21 is expected to turn positive, driven by pent-up demand after lockdown together with impressive ticket sales from Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Moreover, the number of potential earnings upside remain intact; 1) new investment funded by cash from SF’s shares divestment, 2) signature popcorn sales in modern trades, and 3) in-house content production to serve streaming platforms.
The era of selling popcorn, though a signature product, in delivery platforms to sustain itself during Covid-19 outbreak is now over. The company has returned to focus on its theatre business that could potentially drive its revenue higher moving onward.