Share Tip Telstra Tracking Higher (TLS)

Telstra Corporation Limited (TLS) is a full service domestic and international telecommunications provider and is without question the dominant telco in Australia.

The company provides telephone exchange lines to homes and businesses, supplying local, long distance and international telephone calls and supplying mobile telecommunications services. TLS also provides data, internet, on-line services and directory services.

TLS has five key business segments:

>Telstra Consumer and Country Wide, which is responsible for servicing metropolitan, regional, rural and remote parts of Australia with a full range of products and services.
>Telstra Wholesale, which provides a wide range of wholesale products and services to the Australian domestic market.
>Telstra Business is responsible for serving the unique needs of Australia’s small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
>Telstra Enterprise and Government unit is responsible for providing innovative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions to large corporate and government customers in Australia and New Zealand.
>Other, which includes all division that are not covered above and includes; Telstra Operations, Sensis and Telstra International Group.

FY12 Results

The groups’ FY12 results revealed low, but stable growth. EBITDA was $10.2 billion, a 2.1% increase on the prior year’s result on a guidance basis. Revenue over the year climbed 1.3%, to $25.4 billion.

TLS’s mobile division, which accounted for over 30% of entire group’s EBITDA, continues to be one of the company’s strongest contributors. The Mobile division reported an EBITDA of $3.12 billion, an 18.4% increase on the prior year’s result.

The group’s margins in this division also grew over the year from 33%, to an impressive 36% in FY12.

Investor day – strategy

The group’s investor day focused on the medium/long-term strategy and positioning of TLS. A few of the key points we gleamed from the presentation in regards to th core/mature business’s fixed lines, mobiles and internet:

>The focus will be on defence more so than attack. What we mean by that is TLS will focus on customer retention rather than an aggressive price war to maintain market dominance.
>Cost control will be used to protect margins and to a lesser extent grow earnings.
>The mobile division is going through a consolidation phase, with the 4G network’s expected two thirds coverage of Australia by June 2013 only expected to provide low growth.

The group plans to extract growth out of the less mature segments such as the Network Applications and Storage, Mobile Broadband or Foxtel.

Investor day – Decrease in Capex

A real positive announcement to come out of the investor day was the targeting of a lower capex/sales ratio.

TLS set it will target a capex/sales ratio of 14% in the medium-term, down from the 15% it has forecasts for FY13. This is most likely a result of the group’s involvement in the NBN, which is likely to be less capital intensive than its current network.

Looking ahead

TLS’s FY12 results showed the type of consistent growth we have come to expect. The investor update was a realistic approach to the business, with TLS understanding that it needs to protect its mature business rather than strive for unrealistic growth.

TLS is currently trading on a forecast yield (28c for FY13) of over 6.1%, fully franked, or 8.7% on a pre-tax basis. This yield, while not as attractive as before, is still likely to be enticing to investors given the low interest rate environment.

The aim of a lower capex/sales ratio is also good news as the high capital intensive nature of the business has always been a concern to market pundits. Overall we expect a solid result from TLS for the 1H13 and this should translate to further share price growth.

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