Enersis Is A Defensive LatAm Play With Attractive Yield And Significant Growth Potential

| About: Enersis Americas (ENIA)

Summary

Better contract prices and recovery of hydrology, with stronger El Nino phenomenon in Chile, to improve prospects going forward.

Diversified business along with compelling dividend yield of 3-4% makes it a strong defensive in turbulent markets.

Significant opportunities that are likely to be unlocked in Brazil and Argentina to drive Enersis' growth.

Enersis S.A. (NYSE:ENI)

Fundamentals (FYE- Dec. 31st)

Enersis S.A. is a Chilean integrated electricity holding company and a subsidiary of Italy-based multinational energy group Enel (60.6% stake). Enersis is the largest private power platform in Latin America owning 17.3 GW of installed generation capacity spread between Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Enersis controls six distribution companies that service 15.1 million clients: Chilectra (Chile), Ampla and Coelce (Brazil), Edesur (Argentina), Edelnor (Peru) and Codensa (Colombia). Enersis' main subsidiary is listed generation company Endesa Chile (60% stake).

Enersis corporate restructuring - The spinoffs will become effective in 1Q16, creating six companies: ENI Chile and Americas, EOC Chile and Americas, Chilectra Chile and Americas. ENI Americas will launch a tender offer for EOC Americas' minority shareholders in 2Q16. The second EGMs to vote the merger of the Americas entities to create ENI Americas will occur 90 days after the split - 60 days of trading plus 30 days prior to the session. Minority shareholders will have a withdrawal right period of up to 30 days after the second round of EGMs. The merger of Enersis Americas is expected to complete in 3Q16 (around July/August). In order to persuade the AFPs (Chilean managers of pension funds) to vote in favor of the restructuring, which proved successful, ENI's Board of Directors resolved to amend the proposal for the tender offer for EOC Americas' shareholders (post-split), raising the price from CLP (Chilean Peso) 236/sh to CLP285/sh.

Financials

FYE- Dec. 31

FY10

FY11

FY12

FY13

FY14

In US$ mn

Revenue

9,393.9

9,352.9

9,297.20

8,965.86

10,381.96

Revenue growth (%)

1.41

(0.44)

(0.60)

(3.56)

15.79

Gross profit

3,817.4

3,746.8

3,492.8

3,966.7

4,113.4

Gross profit margin (%)

40.6

40.1

37.6

44.2

39.6

Operating profit

2,439.2

2,241.7

2,105.0

2,491.9

2,562.5

Operating profit margin (%)

25.9

23.9

22.6

27.8

24.7

Net profit

695.9

537.4

540.1

942.5

873.3

Net profit margin (%)

7.4

5.7

5.8

10.5

8.4

EPS (GAAP)

1.04

0.80

0.83

0.96

0.89

Dividends per Share

0.33

0.53

0.41

0.30

0.48

Capital Expenditures

1,003.5

978.7

1,008.2

1,106.0

1,554.9

Cash & ST Investments

1,387.1

1,747.3

1,445.9

3,375.1

2,570.1

Total Assets

18,614.4

19,656.3

18,958.8

21,722.7

22,787.1

Total Debt

5,269.3

5,643.9

4,778.7

4,971.8

5,132.7

Total Equity

5,346.4

5,575.7

5,572.9

8,828.6

8,876.4

ROA

8.40

6.53

6.62

7.83

6.62

ROE

13.41

9.84

9.69

13.09

9.86

No. of Employees

12,264

10,844

11,087

11,574

12,275

Click to enlarge

Competitive Advantage

The company owns a difficult-to-replicate network of transmission and distribution assets providing essential electricity to its customers. Its hydroelectric generating plants, around 50% of its generating fleet, are some of the lowest cost power-generation sources and have extremely long operating lives. Chile represents almost 25% of consolidated EBITDA net of minority interest and is widely recognized as the most stable market in Latin America. It also has the region's most predictable and reliable regulatory framework. Enersis' true earnings power has been masked by recent droughts in several countries and hence gross margins are expected to improve once normal rainfall returns.

Major Risks

  • Hydrology risks - In a scenario of continued scarce rainfall, lower hydro load factors would be compensated by higher thermal load factors leading to higher expenses and lower margins
  • Deteriorating Brazilian economics and utility sector fundamentals - Further deterioration in macroeconomic conditions in Brazil, power rationing and unfavorable regulatory changes are some of the risks that could negatively impact and may lead to substantially lower demand
  • Rationing in Chile - A scenario of extremely low rainfall and thermal shutdown (due to unavailability of fuel) could lead to power rationing which would negatively impact the company
  • Corporate restructuring remains an overhang

Outlook

Targeting growth in Brazil - Enersis has US$1.2B left from the 2012 capital increase to be used in M&A in Brazil, and the company's priority is to grow in the distribution business. Its holding is targeting distressed distribution concessions from Eletrobras (NYSE:EBR) that is likely to be privatized in 2016. The first in the pipeline is Goiás-based disCo Celg whose lengthy privatization process has just kicked off. Brazil is expected to be the main growth platform for the future Enersis Americas, as Colombia and Peru impose market share restrictions for the company which restrict growth potential while Brazil doesn't have such restrictions. Colombia and Peru forbid Endesa Chile from having a market share in generation of more than 25%. Enersis has a market share of 22% in the Colombian generation sector and 24% in the Peruvian sector, and hence, Enersis could add no more than ~470 MW in Colombia and ~100 MW in Peru, while in Brazil, the growth potential is hypothetically unlimited. Environmental and social issues in Chile limit the approval and construction of new generation projects while Argentinean macroeconomics remained as an impediment to new investments in the past several years.

Sound dividend stream in the near future - Post the conclusion of El Quimbo (late 2015), the only Greenfield project under construction will be Los Cóndores which is expected to start-up in late 2018/early 2019 with a capex budget of US$662M to be spent over four years. Hence, a boost in cash flow generation that should allow Endesa Chile to pay higher dividends, with an estimated dividend yield of 3-4% from 2016 onwards, could be attractive to defensive investors searching for yield.

Investment Rationale & Conclusion

LatAm consolidator poised to grow - Post the ongoing corporate reorganization, Enersis will focus on growth in Latin America and will prioritize Brazil which is hiking return rates for new investments. Low levered at 0.9x net debt/EBITDA, and with US$1.7B cash left from the 2012 capital increase, Enersis will also look for growth outside Chile and has declared interest in acquiring Brazilian distribution assets.

Argentina is an important optionality for Enersis - The Argentine generation units El Chocón, Endesa Costanera and Dock Sud represent 26% of Enersis' generation capacity but only 6% of the genCo business EBITDA. The distribution company Edesur accounts for 24% of Enersis' distribution sales volumes but contributed with only 10% of consolidated disCo EBITDA in 9M15, and hence, its margins in Argentina are expected to significantly improve over the next few years.

Enersis' stock provides an attractive valuation and, most importantly, offers the greatest upside potential coming from regulatory improvements in Argentina and growth in Brazil (Greenfield and brownfield projects). It provides a direct exposure to the benefits of El Niño and recovering hydrology in Chilean utilities. Colombia and Peru are expected to outperform their South American peers in terms of GDP and power demand growth, offering opportunities for Endesa Chile which is the most relevant player in both countries behind the local players.

Enersis currently trades at $12.77 (closing price as of Feb. 22, P/E TTM of 11.76), with its 52-week range of $10.33-$18.72, and looks attractive with strong potential to outperform over the medium to long term for reasons outlined below -

  • The impact of a stronger El Nino phenomenon will results in normal rains and will decrease operational expenses, resulting in higher margins.
  • Margin gains resulting from lower fuel prices to drive profitability.
  • Significant potential from Brazil and Argentina markets to drive growth.
  • Endesa's experience and track record in Peru and Colombia will be key drivers for capturing growth opportunities in those markets.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: References : Company Annual Reports, Company Press Releases, Investor presentations, SEC Filings -Form 20-F and 6-K, Morningstar, BNamericas, Yahoo Finance