Top Stock Market Highlights: Nanofilm Technologies, Billion-Dollar Club and Singtel’s Optus

Welcome to this week’s edition of top stock market highlights.

Nanofilm Technologies (SGX: MZH)

Nanofilm Technologies released its third quarter 2023 (3Q 2023) and nine-month (9M 2023) business update.

The nanotechnology specialist saw a 19% year on year decline in revenue for 3Q 2023 but reported an improvement in gross margins to over 40% (first half of 2023: 32%) due to cost efficiency efforts.

The group was profitable in 3Q 2023 and managed to reduce its operating expenses by 10% year on year.

For 9M 2023, group revenue fell by 29% year on year to S$128 million as customers continued to be cautious about their capital spending given the uncertain macroeconomic environment.

Despite this weakness, Nanofilm is progressing on its geographic expansion initiatives.

Its Vietnam Site 2’s phase one construction is on track with operations slated to commence in 1Q 2024.

Over in India, Nanofilm’s Indian subsidiary has been set up and the team is undergoing training alongside the site preparation.

The small operation there is targeted to commence also in 1Q 2024.

Nanofilm is also planning for its European expansion of functional film coatings for industrial applications.

Management has identified a total addressable market of €13 billion of which the serviceable obtainable market stands at €400 million.

This market is expected to grow at 10% per annum, giving the group ample opportunities to capture and scale its business over time.

The group intends to enter Europe via Germany as its leading market followed by ongoing site assessment for future locations or through choice acquisitions.

Source: Nanofilm Technologies 3Q 2023 Business Update

The slide above shows the three market verticals that the group is targeting in Europe along with potential applications in industries such as hydraulics, dental devices, and medical robotics.

Management provided a cautious outlook for 2023 by stating that its financial performance will depend on end-consumer demand for new 3C product launches.

Should demand remain muted, this will hurt its bottom line.

The Edge’s Billion-Dollar Club

The Edge Singapore has unveiled the winners for its annual Billion-Dollar Club (BDC) and Centurion Club awards.

These awards recognise Singapore-listed companies that have performed better than their peers in three key metrics – growth in net profit, shareholder returns, and weighted return on equity (ROE).

The BDC category is for companies with a market capitalisation of S$1 billion and more while the Centurion Club is reserved for companies with market capitalisations of between S$100 million to S$1 billion.

The Company of the Year award for BDC goes to The Hour Glass (SGX: AGS), which chalked up wins in all three key metrics.

For Centurion Club, the Company of the Year goes to AEM Holdings (SGX: AWX) in the technology equipment sector.

AEM also took home the award for highest weighted ROE over the past three years.

Other notable winners in the BDC include iFAST Corporation (SGX: AIY) for the highest three-year shareholder returns and DBS Group (SGX: D05) for the highest net profit growth in three years.

REITs such as CDL Hospitality Trusts (SGX: J85) and Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust (SGX: BUOU) also took home awards in the REIT category.

Sheng Siong (SGX: OV8) bagged an award in the food retailing category while blue-chip Sembcorp Industries (SGX: U96) took home the award for the utility category with the highest shareholder returns in the past three years.

Singtel (SGX: Z74)

Optus, a unit of Singtel, reported a nationwide outage that wreaked havoc in Australia as millions of customers were left without phone or internet services.

Some trains even stopped in Melbourne because of the disruption.

Australia’s second-largest telecommunication company did not provide details on the cause of the outage but said its engineers were investigating a “network fault”.

The downtime affected a multitude of customers who rely on Optus for a wide range of services.

Stranded train customers in Melbourne were unable to call for ride-share services such as Uber (NYSE: UBER) while Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) was unable to take some calls.

Singtel’s Optus later issued a statement apologising for the disruption and confirming that services for both Optus’ fixed and mobile networks are close to full restoration, with a promise that the rest of the services will be progressively restored.

This network failure represents another blow for Optus, which had to grapple with a cybersecurity incident last year that exposed the details of nearly 10 million former and current customers.

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Disclosure: Royston Yang owns shares of DBS Group, iFAST Corporation and Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust.

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