[Building Blocks]: Understanding your FIRST step to financial freedom!

Hi all!! It’s been a while since I did a [Building Blocks] post. Haha if you were an avid reader of my blog, you will realise that I have been posting quite a bit in [Eye Candy], the segment where I do some analysis on stocks I am researching. Yup I have been rather busy digging through the stock market for gems that I could put my money into. As you can see from the title of the blog post, today I will be trying to help you understand your FIRST step to financial freedom. This FIRST step is essential as it lays a foundation for you to work your money. In other words, in order to INVEST your money you need to embark on this FIRST step.

So what is this FIRST step that is soooo important??

The answer is: SAVING!!

SAVING image

All of you might go “Duh” but how many of us are actually able to really save up your salary or money? We often have the goal to save up this amount but most of the time we give in to certain pleasures and decide to spend almost all our salary away. I know this because I myself is guilty as charged haha!

When I entered the army, its the first time whereby I was drawing a constant stream of income (unlike those adhoc jobs I did last time). With sudden inflow of money every month, I did not have a concrete saving plan and hence my expenses were very high at the start. In some months, I may be broke without the month coming to an end. I also know of friends who are like that too! I only started taking charge of my savings when I started investing as I  realise how meagre my savings are.

So I started reading up and created a system to force me to save, but before that let’s look at

1) The importance of saving

Saving is an important first step to your financial freedom because without savings, you will not be able to use that money to work for you. Imagine yourself spending every dime of your monthly salary, how will you be able to put any money into investing in stocks, property and so on. So if we ourselves do not understand the importance of saving it’s hard for us to grasp the power of investing and compounding!

2) Saving can be automatic!

Yes it can be. Nowadays with the advent of technology, most of us definitely have an ibanking account with any of the banks in Singapore. And it’s super easy to automate the entire process of saving. Let me show you how.

First, you will first need to set up 2 bank accounts

Bank accounts pic

Yes, create 2 separate bank accounts, one for purely savings, the other for expenses only.

Secondly, credit your salary into your savings account. After doing that, calculate a rough percentage of your monthly expenses. For me, I save about 75% of my salary and spend the other 25%.

Finally, set up an automatic transfer between the two accounts. Transfer the percentage for your expenses from your savings account to your expenses account.

Automate saving

Yes the end result should look something like the flow chart above.

3) Don’t touch your nest egg for fun!

Yes! You read it right! Don’t touch your nest egg (savings) for fun (entertainment). Put it another way, don’t spend your savings!! For me, I practise that by not bringing out the ATM card that belongs to my savings account. That way I will not be tempted to dip my hands into my savings.

Of course with that said, what if its an emergency and you need the money? If it’s an emergency, then I guess there will be no choice but to tap on your savings. However, if possible try to reduce your expenses in the subsequent months to repay the amount you took from your savings.

One point to note is that you should always ensure you plan a right amount to be set for your expenses. I tried to save 90% of my salary before, but it’s just too tight on me and I tend to keep tapping onto my savings because I ran out of money. So plan the amount carefully so that it does not give you ANY temptations to tap into your savings!!

In conclusion,

you might say that as a young person, saving is very insignificant to you since you probably can only save a few hundred a month. But take that few hundred and multiply it by 12 or 24 months you are looking at a few thousands already. Think BIG! And that’s not all, use your nest egg to work for you through INVESTING! Slowly but surely, this small amount will grow and compound.

saving final image.jpg

I really like the picture above. In the very first picture I showed you a hand dropping coins into a jar which signifies saving. And with your savings, it forms the soil and fertiliser to grow your money just like the above picture. Savings is a cliche topic and whatever I shared above may be shared by many others too. But, what I think is most important to you is TAKING ACTION to really start your saving plan because saving is the FIRST step to your financial freedom!

** Haha side note before I end. I have been toying with the idea of helping people who are keen to get into investing. I am still working out how should I deliver it. So do stay tuned for more update on this! 🙂 **

 

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[Eye Candy]: An update on Addvalue Tech

Hi all, I have decided to do an update on Addvalue Tech since a lot had happened since my last post on Addvalue. For those who may not know what I am referring to. You can check out my 2 posts on Addvalue below.

1. Addvalue Tech, a turnaround play? 

2. Addvalue Tech’s 3Q results 

1) What happened?

— New Investors —

A few things happened since my last post. Addvalue declared 2 trading halts in a span of a few weeks.

Addvalue news.png

Firstly, news were released about AT raising money to prepare for the commercialisation of the IDRS. If you are thinking that raising money = debt = even more financial trouble at AT, then these news will be slightly different. Money were raised in 3 forms, one is through the issue of new ordinary shares, convertible loan notes and lastly an exchangeable bond worth $2 million.

Why I would say this will be slightly different is because majority of those who gave their money to AT are affluent investors. They include investment firms and some accredited investors. The placement shares were priced $0.039 per share.

placement subscribers

As for the convertible loan note, its a 5% per annum with a choice to convert it into shares of the company at $0.055.

loan note subcriber.png

Once again, most of the subscribers of the placement shares are also subscribers of the loan note.

Also a venture investment firm known to be Cap Vista, the investment arm of DSTA invested $2 million in the form of exchangeable bonds for 5 years. It is a 5% per annum payable in full on maturity, however in the event that AT spin off Addvalue Solutions (AVS) a subsidiary of AT, these shall be exchange for shares in the company. FYI, AVS is the arm in AT that is focusing on the development of the IDRS, hence the investment.

These shows that there is a form of quiet optimism that AT’s IDRS will succeed. That’s the reason for the slight difference.

— Uptick in sales —

AT uptick in sales

It’s current product the Wideye iFleetONE terminal have earned an initial trial order of about US$1.0 million. It is also in discussion with potential customers for an additional order of about US$3.5 million.

3q2017

I am not sure if the initial trial order amount of 1m is going to be recorded in Q4. But let’s assume it is. This would mean a revenue of more than US$10 million for FY 2017, as Q4 usually records 2-3 million in revenue. That would be much higher than the 9 million revenue recorded in 2016. Using a bold estimate, we could see AT returning to the black, as AT have been trying to cut cost in recent Qs. Currently, 9M2017 is a loss of US$1.2 million. Of course the above is my personal estimation, we shall see if its true in the coming FY announcement.

2) Risk remain

The recent spate of events have ticked some of the catalysts that I have laid out in my first post on AT. However, risk like their cash flow still remain in this business.

— Cash Flow —

Having sales is of no use if the company cannot bring in cold hard cash to finance the company’s operations. As for now, it could be a race against time to see if they can fully commercialise the IDRS before their money eventually run out. I am still hoping that they could finally reach a deal to sell away AVC one of their subsidiary in order to spice up their balance sheet. I will be watching its cash flow closely in the coming earnings report.

In conclusion,

AT new chart.png

The recent events have caused the stock to run up from $0.044 to $0.062. I have a tiny portion at $0.04 just 0.1 cent higher than the placement share. For now, I am holding out since I am already in the money. I am looking to add to my position when the stock consolidate or after the upcoming earnings results. Personally, I feel quite confident of the IDRS project, now the ball is in AT’s court to translate what they have into an earnings generating monster!

 

 

 

 

 

[Eye Candy]: Tiong Seng, a sleeping giant?

Recently, I have been trying to look at sectors that have been through a rough patch to see if I can find any hidden gems within this depressed sectors. One sector that pops up is the construction industry. Property prices have been stuck on the ground for some time now. As property developers grapple with the cooling measures imposed by the government, this means lesser construction demand by property developers which affects the construction industry as a whole. I feel it is in times like this we are able to look for promising companies that are strong enough to weather this storm and thrive when the sectors eventually recovers. One such company that came across is Tiong Seng Holdings Ltd.

tiong-seng-1

A little bit about Tiong Seng. Tiong Seng is a homegrown construction and civil engineering company with  58 years of track record. JTC@Tuas, Mediapolis@One North the new home of MediaCorp, SIM Campus were just some of the projects that Tiong Seng have undertaken. They are also into property development in China, mainly with projects in the second and third-tier cities like Suzhou and Yangzhou.

1) Fundamentals

– Debt level –

Tiong Seng’s debt is a bit on the high side. It have a 92m dollars cash & cash equivalent but debt of about 175m dollars (ST+ LT).

TS BS1.png

TSBS2.png

That’s about 2 times its cash & cash equivalents. As the construction industry is a very competitive industry that require high upfront costs, I wanted to see if this figures are considered over-leverage. Hence, I decided to do a comparison across some of the big construction companies listed in the SGX. I chose 4 companies with comparable market cap to Tiong Seng and did a comparison of their debt levels.

TS compare debt

Hence, in my opinion, Tiong Seng debts/CCE of about 2 times seem to be acceptable for a construction company.

– Cash Flow –

Managing cash flow in a construction company is rather challenging. There’s always a risk when any business take on a huge capital to finance a project. Furthermore, earnings in the construction industry are usually lumpy in nature as they receive their earnings in phases. This could lead them into a huge debt spiral if they borrow huge amounts and are unable to repay them in time due to unsuccessful project tenders, costs overrun etc.

TS Cash Flow.png

It has recorded positive cash flow from operations for 4 out of 5 years. Net change in cash is positive for 2 out of 5 years. It’s cash flow is still considered decent in my opinion.

– Management –

Tiong Seng was founded by the current CEO’s father, Pek Ah Tuan. Peck Tiong Choon which is a company founded by the current CEO’s father and his brothers. Peck Tiong Choon have a 59.8% stake in Tiong Seng. One of the non-executive director, Lee It Hoe also deemed to have about a 63.1% stake in the company.

Ownership2.png

What I think it means is that members in the board like Mr Lee It Hoe have Tiong Seng’s shares through Tiong Seng Shareholdings. Furthermore, the current CEO being the son of Mr Pek Ah Tuan should have a vested interest to advance the business started out by his father. Of course, that is hard to say. Family business can be prone to infighting and can fail as well. But I have to say I have been rather happy with the management’s decisions so far. I will share with you why below.

2) Prospects

– Technology focused –

The adoption of technology in the construction industry have been a long drawn process. In an environment where competition to offer the best tender is strong, it is hard to see these companies adopting technology to aid productivity. However, Tiong Seng have a different approach in this. For instance, Tiong Seng invested in the very first Precast Automation Hub in Singapore where they have experienced a significant 70.0% reduction in manpower while raising output and maintaining consistency. They also use computer software programs to ensure that their buildings are well designed before starting actual construction reducing wastage. Tiong Seng also employ the use of PPVC and PBC where a portion of the building are fabricated off-site. Building Construction Authority (BCA) have also been encouraging the use of such approach.

TS tech

TS tech 1

In my opinion, Tiong Seng’s innovation to the construction industry will put it in good stead to provide not just quality but also efficiency. Being one of the few construction firms in Singapore to focus so heavily on technology, I think this factor should play out well in favour of Tiong Seng in the future.

– Construction industry to be boosted by public sector demand in 2017 –

Given the current property outlook, private demand for construction remains soft. However, the government have announced more public construction work in 2017, valued to be around $24 billion. Tiong Seng have the highest A1 grade from BCA for both civil engineering and general building which allows it to undertake public sector projects with unlimited value. To illustrate how prestigious that is, take a look below.

BCA A1.png

BCA grades the construction sector in two categories, General Building and Civil Engineering. To be able to obtain A1 for both categories is certainly not an easy feat. Most companies only have 1. Hence, with public sector demand rising, Tiong Seng should be in a nice position to grab a share of the pie given its strong track record. Besides, it is becoming a common practice for the government to award contracts to companies that may not be the lowest bidder in tender exercises.

 

3) Risks

– China Property Bubble –

Property prices in China have been running sky high. In the short term, that could definitely be a boost to Tiong Seng’s revenue. However, like every bubble, there will be a correction coming. China’s government have put in place many cooling measures like tighter loan restrictions to simmer down the property market.

china house price

As we can see a top has formed, and a correction will definitely not be good for Tiong Seng’s property developments business in China. Revenue will definitely be affected. However, in my opinion, the main issue with China property prices, is speculation. Prices can raced up about 23% in a year.

An article in Business Insider also explains that the Chinese government is looking for healthy developments of the real estate market.

business insider.png

Hence, I believe that although Tiong Seng’s China venture will be impacted when the property bubble burst. Their strategy to only develops in 2nd and 3rd tier cities will help them in the long run as China embraces the OBOR initiatives to connect more of their cities together through building infrastructure. Furthermore, by developing in the 2nd and 3rd tier cities, it can translate to lower costs compared to a 1st tier city. We shall see how their China venture pans out, hopefully they have learn their lesson from their overseas venture debacle in 2014.

– Execution risk –

And like all construction companies, execution risks remain the most probable. Having to deal with rising labour costs, material costs, safety etc etc. It is important that a construction companies do not run into a Stop Work Order, which will be no good to the company. However, given Tiong Seng’s track record, that risk should be relatively smaller compared to other construction firms.

 

In conclusion,

Tiong Seng’s PE stands at 7.7 as of today with a price of $0.260 per share. Tiong Seng’s PE don’t really tell much as most construction firms are undervalued at the moment. Also, the construction industry being a lumpy in nature, we may experienced very wild fluctuations in their earnings and hence their PE ratio. A better indicator would be their Net Asset Value (NAV), it stands at $0.594 with $0.164 cash in hand per share.

Tiong Seng chart.png

Also, based on the chart, it has been consolidating at a rather low price for some time now, which provides a favourable entry point. If Tiong Seng can achieve more contracts in 2017, there will be a strong reason to believe an upward break out in price can be achieved. Currently, I am not vested yet as I am still observing the price movement of the stock. Do always remember to DYODD! Cheers! 🙂