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Robust tourism demand keeps SIA a 'buy': KGI Research

Samantha Chiew
Samantha Chiew9/21/2022 02:10 PM GMT+08  • 3 min read
Robust tourism demand keeps SIA a 'buy': KGI Research
The tourism boom is expected to give SIA a much needed boost. Photo: Bloomberg
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Thanks to the post-Covid boom in the tourism sector, KGI Research is keeping its “buy” call on Singapore Airlines (SIA) with a target price of $5.50. KGI also has an entry price of $5.28 and a stop loss price of $5.17. It has also noted that Bloomberg consensus average 12-month target price is $5.86 for SIA.

According to statistics by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), there has been an exponential increase in visitor arrivals this year. This increase was thanks to the reopening of Singapore’s borders to vaccinated travellers without quarantine in April.

Between January and August this year, there were a total of about 2.96 million visitors, a y-o-y increase of 1,833% as compared to the same period in 2021. In August alone, Singapore welcomed approximately 729,000 visitors. However, this sentiment may be slowing down as visitor growth only saw a slight increase of 2,000 visitors from July to August.

With the travel resumption, SIA has benefited from the growth in passenger traffic. It more than doubled its monthly available seat kilometres and boosted the number of passengers it flew by more than ten-fold. “With both business and leisure travellers increasing, the airline will have to manage resources and manning shortages well,” says KGI, as labour issues plague several industries in Singapore.

Nonetheless, KGI believes that aviation will continue to recover as it sees more borders opening up and people take advantage of their freedom to travel.

Additionally, with the upcoming events to be held in Singapore and the year-end holiday season coming up, the research house expects travel demand to remain robust for the rest of the year.

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To be sure, STB is expecting the events industry at large to post a strong recovery this year. Already, the Singapore Grand Prix F1 Race 2022 is back after a two year hiatus. Happening from Sept 23 to Oct 2, this is one of Singapore’s largest global events, as historical data shows that around 40% of those attending the race are from overseas, while the attendance for the race days can range between 250,000 to 300,000. According to STB, since its debut in 2008, the race has generated more than $1.5 billion in incremental tourism receipts and attracted more than 550,000 unique international visitors.

Meanwhile, STB is also expecting the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry to see a comeback, expecting a full recovery for the MICE sector in two to three years. Already, STB boasts a strong pipeline of events for the rest of this year, including some of its large events such as Food and Hotel Asia (FHA), World Cities Summit, Asia CEO Summit and more.

SIA’s growth intact

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The SIA Group has over 20 subsidiaries, covering a range of airline-related services, from cargo to engine overhaul. Its subsidiaries also include SIA Engineering Company, Scoot, Tiger Airways, Singapore Flying College and Tradewinds Tours and Travel. Principal activities of the group consist of air transportation, engineering services and other airline related activities.

In its latest 1QFY2023 ended June, the local carrier recorded net profit of $370 million, bouncing back from a $409 million loss in the previous year, thanks to the sharp revival in travel demand following borders reopening. Additionally, SIA’s operating statistics showed significant m-o-m passenger traffic growth since April, with August seeing a tapered increase.

As at 2.10pm, shares in SIA are trading at $5.30.

Photo: Bloomberg

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