FULL TRUCK ALLIANCE(YMM.US):3Q22 RESULTS BEAT;DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION TO ADVANCE SECTOR-WIDE COST REDUCTION AND EFFICIENCY ENHANCEMENT

2022-11-25 13:30:09 和讯  中金公司Jiulu LI/Kai
  3Q22 results beat our expectations
  Full Truck Alliance (FTA) announced 3Q22 results: Revenue grew 46% YoY or 8% QoQ to Rmb1.81bn. Non-GAAP net profit was Rmb493mn (vs. -Rmb5mn in 3Q21). We estimate that Non-GAAP net profit totaled about Rmb343mn, excluding American depositary receipt (ADR)-related one-off gains, beating our forecast and market expectations. We attribute this to higher-than-expected revenue from freight brokerage services and transaction commissions, as well as better-than-expected cost control. The firm guides its 4Q22 revenue to grow 25.2-31.5% YoY to Rmb1.79-1.88bn.
  3Q22 operating data: Despite the COVID-19 impact, the firm had 1.85mn monthly active shippers in 3Q22 (up 15% YoY or 21% QoQ), reflecting the platform’s growth momentum since FTA resumed registration of new users. The platform fulfilled around 33.50mn orders (-5% YoY but +21% QoQ), with a fulfillment rate of 25% (+4ppt QoQ). Gross transaction value (GTV) of fulfilled orders rose 3% YoY or 6% QoQ to Rmb69.6bn. Average price per order grew 9% YoY to Rmb2,078, due to imbalance in supply and demand as well as rising oil prices.
  Trends to watch
  Earnings resilient despite macroeconomic pressure; industry leader’s advantages mitigate sector fluctuations. The firm’s 3Q22 operating profit amounted to Rmb142mn (vs. -Rmb202mn in 3Q21), turning positive for the first time since its IPO. We see greater difficulties in matching shippers and truckers in cross-city long-haul freight transportation, as well as high costs in empty miles and long waiting time. We believe that FTA’s extensive route coverage, large base of shippers and truckers and multiple value-added services have enhanced its competitiveness. We also mentioned in our report published on June 20, 2022 that the firm's market leadership will likely enhance its competitiveness. Despite uncertainties over the macroeconomy, the firm saw solid earnings growth, which we believe displays strong user loyalty thanks to its national network. Looking forward, we think the industry logistics index will likely remain under pressure in 4Q22 despite the traditional peak season. However, the firm’s new users increased and it upgraded the system for shippers and truckers. We thus expect the firm’s GTV of fulfilled orders to rise slightly YoY to Rmb71.1bn, Non-GAAP net profit to exceed Rmb300mn in 4Q22, and the full-year Non-GAAP net profit to reach nearly Rmb1.3bn, significantly beating our expectations.
  In the long term, we think compliance with regulations is the precondition for the firm’s operations, and the firm will likely continue its digital transformation to advance sector-wide cost reduction and efficiency enhancement.
  Optimizing structure of shippers; simplifying matching process. Since the resumption of new user registration in July, the firm has been focusing on optimizing the user experience. The number of fulfilled orders from end-market clients has increased from less than 30% two years ago to more than 40%.
  Improving ecosystem of platform; enhancing fulfillment efficiency. The firm improved the matching efficiency through algorithm optimization and layered operation for shippers and truckers. It also reduced duplicate orders, low-priced orders, and user complaints through the rating system, thus improving the fulfillment rate of the platform. We believe that the number of fulfilled orders will continue to grow, and the firm’s earnings growth will likely see large upside along with monetization of transaction commissions and marginal improvement in the economy.
  The firm has ample funds on hand. As of 3Q22, the firm’s cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments totaled Rmb26.8bn (excluding financial liabilities).
  Financials and valuation
  We raise our 2022 earnings forecast 50% to Rmb1.29bn, due to faster-than-expected monetization and more-effective-than-expected cost control in 2022. We cut our 2023 earnings forecast 11% to Rmb2.37bn, to reflect the uncertain macroeconomic environment in 2023. The stock is trading at 40x 2022e and 22x 2023e P/E. We maintain OUTPERFORM, but cut our TP 22% to US$10.5, implying 33x 2023e P/E with 51% upside.
  Risks
  Earnings expectations may be affected by policy initiatives that aim to safeguard truckers' rights and interests; COVID-19 resurgence; macroeconomic slowdown.
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