The Prospects in Astro

February 19, 2008


Some readers ask me various questions about Astro.I will answer all questions in this posting. 

Pirated movies and Internet may affect Astro in a short term but in long term,Astro will still dominate the pay tv industry.The monthly fees for pay tv is cheap compared to the number of channels offered.Just compare your family phone bills with Astro’s bills. Currently,Astro is benefiting from economies of scales.When Astro makes it so cheap to view pay tv with additional channels in the future, buying pirated or download movies from Internet will be less feasible.

IPTV won’t be able to steal Astro’s customers because of:

1. IPTV needs a least a broadband speed of 10Mbps .Please read

A good example is to look at US and European countries.Despite having fast internet connections and IPTV,pay tv still maintain their market share. 

2. You can subscribe to Astro at RM70/month and able to view so many channels.The decoder is free.Meanwhile,IPTV has to invest in fibre optics wiring,decoders and buying contents.That’s why Vincent Tan is unable to gather the capital to fight with Astro.Large start up capital hampers IPTV.

3. Almost all the licenses for famous contents have been acquired by Astro.What type of contents IPTV able to offer to three major etnics in M’sia?

4. Malaysia is changing its analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting.RTM has successfully converted its broadcasting to digital form.All free channels are given until 2015 to do so.Astro is the first pay tv in the world to invest in digital broadcasting. Consumers with analog receivers must buy a new tv,an analog decoder or subscribe to pay tv slowly.

5. HDTV platform will come to Malaysia by 2009.Please visit

6. Another satellite will be launched in 2009.New features such as dobly surround sound system and more channels will be introduced in Astro.

 7. The continuous improvements in Astro is due to its management team. Essentially,you are investing in its people.

8. Astro’s new ventures into Indonesia,India,China and UK makes sense because Malaysia’s media industry is highly political.It is wise to diversify its businesses.

9.There are rumuors that Astro may buy TVB in Hong Kong. If it happens, Astro will own almost all the Chinese contents in the world.To do this,Astro needs a strategic investors.

10.Technology advancement enables consumers to buy plasma / LCD TV at lower prices.It is reasonable to subscribe to Astro when you have a plasma TV.

11.Watching Astro has becomes a culture in Malaysia.Just look around when you go to restaurants,mamak,cafe,pubs and hotels.Astro has successfully build a ‘need’ in its customers.A home without Astro is “incomplete”.Astro has become a ‘status’ and ‘lifestyle’.That explains the strong increase in revenue.

As a value investor,Astro’s valuation is undemanding looking at its strengths in business models, financial standing and exciting prospects.

Astro: A long term play

January 17, 2008

In this post,i would like to share one of the hidden jewel overlooked by the financial community.With the boom in the commodities and Oil & Gas industries,all attention seems to be focusing on companies in these industries. This has left some jewels to be undervalued.

By valuation,Astro’s operation in Malaysia is estimated at RM 4.30 (TheEdge,31/12/07). Compared to the current price of RM 3.70, the price provided a safety margin of around 14%. This valuation is only based on financial numbers only.

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If you look at management side of the valuation, Astro has the best corporate governance. Let’s look at what happened to A.K’s companies like Tanjong plc, Measat and Maxis. We can be sure that A.K has always created value for its shareholders in long term. The companies which A.K controlled never destroyed value in long term. In short term,the share price is a bit bumpy. But that’s business.Without taking risk,a company will not grow.And growth caused money! (TheEdge)

Many financial analysts just look at short term. They reported losses in Astro as something bad. Do you want a company which keep on growing or just sit there? Being in a business myself, i saw the potential that A.K wanted to seize in India and Indonesia. In the world of globalisation,those who refuse to fight will be wipe out.That’s why A.K took all his companies out from M’sia even before the globalisation idea came into Malaysia.

The next thing you might want to ask is the level of risk that Astro is taking currently.A company can crumble because of bad management and financial factors.In term of management,there is no doubt that the management is extremely great people.Just check out their profile.Next,is the cash part.Astro has very healthy cashflow and currently has no borrowings plus Astro’s account has over RM 1 billion cash in its account.That means around RM 0. 50 per share.If you buy it at RM 3.70,you are paying RM 3.20 for Astro only and get the cash for free.It offers a 26% of safety margin over its RM4.30 valuation.

If you pay RM 3.70 today (actually you are paying only RM3.20), what do you get in return? Let’s me explain this in two parts: Venture in Indonesia and India. No point discussing about Malaysia because we know Astro has satelitte pay-tv license until 2017.

Indonesia’s Venture (Please read the following news)

News 1

News 2

Astro, the dominant satellite tv operator in Malaysia, is hoping to finalise arrangements with the Jakarta-based Lippo Group to jointly operate an Indonesian satellite pay tv service undertaken by Lippo’s unit, PT Direct Vision, in a preliminary deal that was concluded in March this year.

News 3

The Lippo Groupis a giant conglomerate based in Jakarta, Indonesia, with interests in banking, finance and other enterprises. Its flagship, Lippo Ltd., listed $3.6 billion in assets in 1995. The firm owns only one small bank in the United States but has extensive interests in Indonesia, Hong Kong and China. It was founded by Mochtar Riady, an ethnic Chinese born in Indonesia.

News 4

Khazanah Nasional Bhd and CIMB Group have decided to merge Lippo Bank and PT Bank Niaga of Indonesia to comply with Bank Indonesia’s single-presence policy.

Bank Niaga, a 64%-owned subsidiary of CIMB Group, has submitted Khazanah’s plan to merge the two banks to the Indonesian central bank.

The single-presence policy requires those who control two or more banks in Indonesia to merge them, sell their stakes or form a holding company for their banks by end-2010, and are required to submit their plans by Dec 31.

Khazanah owns a 93% stake in Bank Lippo and 64% indirect stake in Bank Niaga via CIMB.

News 5

“The operators of the Astro service, MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, are a wholly owned subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc, a consortium company comprising of government-linked and private companies. Major shareholders include the Usaha Tegas Group (42.7%) and Khazanah Nasional Berhad (21.6%). Astro was listed on Bursa Malaysia in October 2003”.