Population growth to benefit construction, transport - DBS

PHOTO: Population growth to benefit construction, transport - DBS

SINGAPORE - DBS Vickers expects an upcoming white paper on Singapore's population to raise its population target to 7 million from 6.5 million, which will benefit construction, land transport, property and healthcare companies.

Singapore's infrastructure is taking the brunt of an expanding population and demand for additional investment in train lines and road expansions will benefit construction firms such as crane operator Tat Hong Holdings and Sin Heng .

"We expect to see a step-up in infrastructure spending to cater to a larger population following comments from the government that population growth has outpaced infrastructure capacities in recent years," said DBS.

Singapore said on Thursday it plans to double its rail network to 360 kilometres by 2030, which is expected to boost ridership to 13.8 million rides a day, benefitting transport operators such as ComfortDelGro Corp Ltd.

DBS raised ComfortDelGro's target price to S$2.05 and kept its 'buy' rating, citing population growth and improving public transport network. Another major transport operator, SMRT Corp Ltd, on which DBS has a 'fully valued' rating and a target price of S$1.50, however, will face near-term challenges from higher operating costs.

The larger population will mean a greater need for homes, DBS said, estimating demand to rise 31 percent. The brokerage is positive on property developers such as Capitaland for its diversified portfolio and Wing Tai Holdings Ltd for its larger exposure to residential projects.

DBS also noted that falling birth rates and ageing population will be a focus for the government, and healthcare providers such as Raffles Medical and IHH Healthcare will benefit in the long run.

Stem cord blood bank provider Cordlife Group is also likely to benefit from potential incentives to boost birth rates.