[Portfolio]: Added Capitaland & Yanlord Land on weakness, stop out of Emperor Capital

The recent Dow sell off had sent shockwaves around the world. The sell off has triggered the 10% stop loss for Emperor Capital. Also, the sell off created many major opportunities for us to pick up undervalued stocks, mainly, Capitaland & Yanlord Land.

Capitaland.original

Capitaland have been on our watchlist for a long long time. It’s a strong blue chip stock in the property development industry which we believe will benefit from the recovery in property prices this year. Furthermore, Capitaland is grossly undervalued for a blue chip company. With a PE of 9.75 and NAV of $4.38, it gives us a huge margin of safety at our entry price of $3.60.

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As we can see from Capitaland’s chart, it has hit a high of $3.87 in January 2018 in speculation that the property sector in Singapore will rebound. The trend is similar across many developers like City Developments, UOL and many more. The Dow panic caused it to drop all the way down from the peak to the support level at $3.45. Recovery in prices and frequent share buybacks by the Capitaland’s management up to $3.67 per share prompted us to enter this stock with it’s juicy margin of safety and potential rerating of the stock.

yanlord land

As for Yanlord Land, it was a case of insider buying and the perfect Dow crash that prompted us to look at it. Yanlord Land is also a property developer listed in the SGX, however most of their businesses are in mainland China. As it is an S-Chip, we were especially careful when researching and limited our risk by allocating a smaller portion to it.

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The CEO bought back the shares aggressively from $1.58 all the way to $1.886 spending more than $5 million on Yanlord shares. That prompted us to dig deeper into the company. We realised that their 9M2017 results were actually fantastic and we were speculating that the FY result will be even better considering the CEO major buying of the shares.

Also with a PE of 5.7 and a NAV of $2.252, it presents us a juicy margin of safety as well. Knowing that the CEO bought so many shares, we entered Yanlord at $1.60. True enough, the FY results was good and they declared a higher dividend for the year. What we are speculating for Yanlord is that the CEO could be trying to privatise the company given the good business and how undervalued his company is right now. Only time will tell if this is true.

In conclusion,

having a watchlist of stocks and to capitalise on the stock market panic have gave us a favourable entry into these 2 stocks. As the saying goes, buy when others are fearful and sell when others are greedy. In actual fact it is never easy to do so. It was actually the clear margin of safety that gave us the conviction to enter the market when it is still suffering from the sell off.

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[My Story]: Investment outlook for 2018

We are one week into 2018 and most of us would have set our New Year’s resolutions for the new year! And it’s important to do that for investment as well, so that we know what are some of the rules guiding us in the year ahead.

2017 have been a rather uncertain year, and it’s also my very first full investing year (since I started in March 2016). I would have to say that I truly learnt a lot from my friends over at IN and from reflecting upon all my investing decisions throughout 2017.

A Quick Reflection of 2017

2017 was an exciting yet frustrating investing year for me as I started 1st Quarter of the year by hitting a multibagger. And then things went rather slowly for me as the next few stocks that I picked took rather long before showing any forms of gains. Most of them were range bound, and prices hover around my purchase price.

Some lessons I learnt in 2017 includes:
1) Buy towards the end of the week to avoid being trapped by traders.

2) No matter how good a stock is, it is vulnerable to the macroeconomic conditions. There were several times where the global markets was on a downtrend due to macroeconomic instability (like North Korea shooting missiles into the water etc). Those times were the true tests of emotional discipline to stick to your investment plan as all the stocks that I am holding can start recording losses as big as 5 – 10% in a few days to weeks.

3) Always buy stocks with the abilities to catch the industry’s tailwind. In 2017, semiconductor stocks were very much in play and many stocks in this industry recorded at least 50% increase in share price. I guess what many investors’ meaning of “a rising tide lifts all boats” was pretty clear last year. Some semiconductor companies who have weaker fundamentals did not rise as much but still were able to clock in a decent share price appreciation due to positive industry sentiments.

Those were the 3 big lessons I take away from 2017 and sadly to say my own portfolio didn’t outperform that of the STI but I will definitely give it another shot this year!

Now looking on to 2018!!

Looking ahead!

I am looking forward to an even more exciting year ahead as I am rather big on three themes in 2018. Mainly the O&G, construction and property industry. By applying Lesson 3 that I learnt in 2017, I will be parking more funds to catch the positive industry sentiments by investing in good qualities stocks in those industries.

I shall share a little more on why I feel these 3 industries should outperformed the rest in 2018. For O&G, the industry was hardest hit in late 2015 as oil prices started crashing until it hit about US$20-30 per barrel which is too low for many O&G companies to make a decent profit. These caused the industry to consolidate as many smaller companies went bankrupt or were bought out (like Ezra, Ezion etc) This was because many companies took on huge loans to run the company when the prices of oil were very high  and when the oil prices crash they weren’t able to finance their debt as their main source of revenue is heavily affected. Now in 2018, oil prices have gradually been recovering and are now sitting near US$60 per barrel. As with all economic cycles, the period after consolidation is the time most O&G companies that were stronger will tend to survive and ride the next uptrend. (Survival of the fittest haha)

Thus I am looking at strong O&G companies with low debts to ride on the potential uptick in the O&G sector.

As for construction and property, its more for local play. Construction sector have been the weakest link in Singapore GDP as it continues to post negative growth in 2017. The construction sector is a labour intensive industry that have not been disrupted by technology. The government have been encouraging the use of technology in the sector to raise productivity in order to lower costs. However, it has not been working as the initial costs of taking up new technology is high and having more competition from foreign construction firms has led many local construction firms to not make the switch. However, the government intends to support the industry by bringing forward more construction activities. With major developments, like the T5 and MRT lines yet to be build this should inject some activity into the constructions sector this year.

Also, there have been a spate of enbloc activities carried out by property developers in Singapore. This should help to boost the construction activities in Singapore too as the acquired buildings will have to be demolished and rebuild.

With private home prices rebounding slightly in 2017, developers are rushing in to stock up their land banks in hope to be able to build new properties to catch the uptrend in private property prices. This represents an opportune time to invest in construction related stocks with support from both the public and private sector this year. Property developers that have many new private property launches this year may benefit from stronger demand due to a possible rebound in private property prices to cash in on their developments.

In conclusion,

these are the areas where I should be parking most of my funds in hoping that a rising tide can lift all boats. My search for undervalued companies in these industries continues and hopefully I will be able to catch some of them before they fly! 🙂

 

[Portfolio]: Added Nordic Group

Hi all, recently I have started a portfolio where my friends and I will screen for opportunities and enter them together. We have decided to add Nordic Group into From Ground Zero’s Portfolio. Nordic Group have long been in my watchlist and we entered at the price of $0.530.

nordic-group-limitedNordic Group is a global systems integration solutions provider serving mainly the marine, offshore and oil & gas industries. Their business segments include 1) system integration, 2) maintenance, repair, overhaul and trading, 3) precision engineering, 4) scaffolding services 5) Insulation services. Most of their businesses are in the O&G sector but they also do serve the aerospace and medical industries.

Their revenue and net profit have been increasing for the past 5 years with little debt used.

nordic-financial-highlights
Furthermore, Nordic CEO have been owns a lion share in the company (55.38%) and also recently bought Nordic’s shares at $0.50.

Catalysts ahead

With oil prices heading upwards, we could see more O&G companies spending more on capital expenditure to upgrade their existing systems or even to build new ones. This should help Nordic gather more contracts from their O&G clients going forward.

Besides the possible positive industry tailwind, Nordic have about $96.9 million worth of order book as at 31 Sept 2017. This is a good record to have especially operating in a tough industry.

Also, their new acquisition Ensure Engineering have been doing very well for Nordic. The Group’s Maintenance Services business segment jumped by 83% from S$5.7 million in 3Q2016 to S$10.4 million in 3Q2017 mainly attributed to revenue contribution from Ensure.

In conclusion,

I would have to say that the management have been very shrewd and made many good decision for the company. All their acquisitions have been turning in good results for the company’s top line. Looking forward, the management have hinted at more acquisitions to diversify away from the O&G sector and to grow their maintenance services. By doing so, their revenue can be more recurring in nature compared to the main bulk coming from project services now. This is a positive development which should see the company growing even more in the next 1-2 year.

With the CEO’s putting his money where his mouth is, and being able to achieve such impressive record even in a downturn in the industry, I believe the future is bright for this company. We are LONG on Nordic Group.

[Building Blocks]: The “More-Than-5%” Dividend Yield Strategy

Imagine having cash passively deposited into your account every half a year. Nope not from your usual day job or work that pays you for your service.

Most companies in the stock market gives out dividends to their shareholders (people who bought their stocks), as a form of reward or to retain shareholders. The company distributes a portion of their cash they earned from their products/services to shareholders. Not all companies give out dividends as some management may feel that the company can use the cash to further grow their company and decide not to give out dividends.

Usually, for any particular company their dividend yield do not extend beyond 5%, let’s not talk about REITs as its an another investment vehicle altogether. So today I want to talk about how to achieve more than 5% dividend yield.

1) What is dividend yield?

Basically, dividend yield is the amount of dividend given per share divided by its share price.

So for instance lets take a look at ST Engineering,

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.33.14 PM.png

They give out 2 times of dividends in 2017, $0.10 and $0.05 respectively. So dividend yield on the current share price amounts to be about 4.32%.

$0.15/$3.47 x 100 = 4.32%

So if you are vested in ST Engineering for the entire 2017, you would have received 4.32% return just on the dividends alone (not inclusive of capital appreciation if any). In that sense, this is “free money” given to you if are invested in a company stocks.

2) Why would anyone prefer a dividend strategy?

In any dividend strategy, we are looking towards a long term investment horizon of a few years of holding that particular stock ( I mean no point buying for just 1 year of dividends as the return is minuscule of 3-5% only). So normally people who uses a dividend strategy are people who do not want to actively manage their investment, or do not want to take too much risks in their investment (since they can just live off the “free money” given by the company).

Building a portfolio of stocks for people of this profile means that the stocks chosen have to be sustainable in their dividends (you would not want a company to give you 10% this year and decides not to give anymore dividends next year). By sustainable I mean that the company must not be over-stretching themselves just to give out dividends. Imagine a company having to borrow money from the bank just to give you dividends, sooner or later they would have to find ways to finance those debts which is not good. A good dividend company would be one where giving out dividends does not affect their core operations.

That’s why most people who employ a dividend strategy prefers buying blue chips as they are big enough and have a history of giving dividends.

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But if you realise most blue chips dividends yield are in the range of 3-5%, very little actually surpass the 5% threshold.

3) Breaking the 5% threshold

Breaking the 5% threshold would require you to pick company in the middle of their growth phase and hold it for years. Before any company become a blue chip they all have to start somewhere small.

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So where we should look for are middle size companies that are only starting to give out their first or second year of dividends. When a company decides to instate a dividend policy this is usually only after the company feel that they are large enough and are able to now consistently give out dividends to their shareholders.

Using this concept above, we shall look at some examples.

In the example of ST Engineering above, the very first time that they gave out dividend was in 1998, when they just got listed. In 1998, they gave out $0.18 worth of dividends, that amounted to about 5.19% that year.

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Imagine that you now decided that you will buy ST Engineering in 1999 after you have studied their fundamentals and feel that its a growing company with the ability to sustain their dividends into the future. In Jan 1999, you bought ST Engineering at $1.50 per share. Fast forward to today, in 2017, your dividend yield for this year alone is 10%.

$0.15/$1.50 x 100 = 10%

And if you realise, you also benefit from the rise in share price. At $3.47 in 2017, you would have gain 231% just based on share price appreciation since you first bought back in 1999 (not counting the amount of dividends you collected from 1999 all the way up to 2017).

So if ST Engineering can keep up with giving $0.15 per share of dividends or even increase their dividends for the next 10 years, you are looking at a 10% return every year. (Sooo much more than the bank!)

We take a look at another example, Sheng Siong.

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Sheng Siong started paying dividends in 2012 at 2.89% dividend yield.

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Imagine now that you have decided that Sheng Siong is fundamentally sound and will be able to sustain their dividend payout. You decided to buy in 2013 at $0.539 per share. Fast forward to 2017, your dividend yield would be 6.3%.

$0.034/$0.539 x 100 = 6.3%

Share price appreciation would have been 178% just based on share price alone. If Sheng Siong can continue to sustain or even grow their dividend payout, your dividend yield will grow beyond 6.3%!

4) Is this too good to be true?

Yes! Employing this strategy requires more research than just dumping your money into existing blue chips. What you are doing here is buying the blue chips of tomorrow. Not every company that gives out dividends for the first time can sustain them throughout the next 10 years. They KEY here lies in choosing the ones that will.

So checking out their fundamentals, the management and future prospects are all equally essential to the success of this strategy.

In conclusion,

breaking the 5% threshold is easy if you are patient enough to hold a stock for years and choosing the right company at the right stage before it becomes a blue chip kind of status.

[Eye Candy]: What has happen to Tiong Seng so far?

It’s been about 6 months since my last post on Tiong Seng. What has happen so far? In this post I will share some catalysts that have happen and whether there are any more upcoming catalysts we can look forward to.

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1) Share buyback continues…

As we can see share buybacks have dominated most of the company announcements. The last time the company bought back their own shares was at 23 Oct 2017, at $0.37 – $0.375 per share.

2) Interesting acquisitions

Tiong Seng have made 3 acquisitions to increase their land bank way before the recent enbloc fever. The 3 acquisitions are:

  1. Sloane Court Hotel at 17 Balmoral Road at $80 million
  2. Two freehold sites in Jervois Road at $21 million

All 3 sites are to be redeveloped into residential properties.

Sloane Court Hotel 14380663.jpg

With the recent positive developments in the private residential market, it seems like Tiong Seng’s move to acquire these sites came at the right time. Give it another 2-3 years of development, property prices may have recovered and Tiong Seng could market the buildings at a profitable price.

Also all 3 of these sites are situated in District 10 area which is highly attractive. Their current property development project Goodwood Grand also had rather good response in the District 10 area.

3) Risks

– Dwindling order book –

After their recent Q2 financial results, it seems that their order book have dwindled to about $700 million. Each quarter recognises about $100-300 million so if Tiong Seng is unable to win anymore construction tenders, it will affect its revenue going forward.

Of course with the government pushing forward with more construction projects, hopefully it will only be a matter of time that Tiong Seng will grab some of these projects given their strong record in using technology for construction.

4) Catalysts ahead

– TOP of Goodwood Grand –

One of Tiong Seng’s property development project have achieved TOP in June 2017. With only 7 units left in the 73 units for sale, these seems to be a rather popular project. Tiong Seng owns 30% of the project. So far there have not been any revenue recognition from these project.

Maiden contributions from this project should give a boost to the upcoming Q3 and Q4 results.

– Expect fantastic results this FY-

This FY will be the best results that Tiong Seng have posted for the past 5 years!

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 9.21.29 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 9.21.59 PM

Its 1H2017 results are already very close to that of their FY2016’s results. With 2 quarters left to go, Tiong Seng is on track to crush their previous FY’s results.

– Positive industry outlook –

The construction sector is deem to pick up with the government introducing more projects to save this dying industry. Also, recent rebound of private property prices, coupled with the enbloc fever could see more private construction demands in the years ahead. This should benefit Tiong Seng positively given their strong record as I mentioned above.

In conclusion,

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some may be wondering if there is still value in entering Tiong Seng now after the recent run up in their prices. Like I mentioned in my previous post on the construction sector, the pick up in construction demand is almost certain, what is not certain is whether Tiong Seng can clinch any of these projects.

In my opinion, Tiong Seng’s ability to achieve such magnificent financial results in Q2 is partially because it was able to clinch a slew of contracts back in the earlier years. They have been able to keep their order book at around $1 billion dollars almost every year. Whether Tiong Seng can be a justifiable buy at this price really depends on whether they can ride the positive industry wind going forward in the form of more contract wins.

Tiong Seng have always been a share buyback play. Their aggressive buybacks have cause some investors to buy and ride on the buybacks. As of now, one thing for sure is that the management still feel that the current share price is undervalued, as they have bought back their shares on the date of this post, at $0.37 – $0.375 per share. Before the most recent buyback, there have been a massive buy up with more than usual volume, could this be a signal that smart money has entered and today’s buyback acts as a support for the current price? If that’s the case, it seems that more upside is likely. Thank you and always dyodd! 🙂

 

[Building Blocks]: The ‘Catalyst’ in catalyst investing

Hi everyone, first and foremost a Happy National Day to all of my readers! Today I am going further in depth into catalyst investing. I have mentioned quite heavily about how I like to look for catalysts in the company that will boost the share price. Generally, a stock catalyst is an event that will cause the price of the security to move and sometimes quite significantly. This can come in the form of a superb earnings release, a potential takeover offer, special dividend release etc.

The simple rule of thumb is that all catalysts should lead to an increase in either:

1. Revenue and profits

2. Shareholders’ value

It is purely because of events that lead to higher revenues/profits or enhanced shareholders’ value that will eventually cause investors to bid a higher price for a stock. Hence leading to an increase in share price. And depending on the impact of this catalyst, the magnitude of the share price movement varies.

1) Types of catalysts

When I look at catalysts, I tend to divide them into 2 types of catalysts, “Company-specific” and “Sector-specific”.

A company-specific catalyst is one that tend to be applied only to the company and is independent of other companies in the same sector or not. Examples of this includes, a potential takeover offer by another company, disposal of an asset of the company for a sum of money, spinning off of a subsidiary of the company, a new product that is disrupting an industry etc. All these catalysts are specific to the company and tend to either increase revenue for the company or enhance the value of the shareholders.

A sector-specific catalyst is one that tend to apply to an entire industry. This could come in the form of an increase demand of a particular industry like how the semiconductor boom this year have provided a favourable tailwind for many semiconductor companies. Those in this sector experience higher earnings QoQ which led to higher stock prices. Also events like lifting of regulations on a certain industry can also lead to higher stock prices as earnings is speculated to improve.

2) Real life examples

I will give you some real life examples of what catalysts can do to a stock price.

— Company specific —

1) Takeover offer

Some of you may know that Global Logistics Properties one of the largest logistics provider in Asia recently received a buy out offer of $3.38 per share from a Chinese consortium. However, this catalyst was not new. GLP had announced that it is undergoing strategic review early this year which eventually culminated in a buyout offer. If you had bought in when the strategic review was announced at $2.60, you are already sitting on a 30% return due to the buyout offer of $3.38.

GLP chart

2) Disposal of asset + special dividend

Neratel announced that they are in talks to dispose off their payment solutions subsidiary on April 29 2016 and are intending to pay out the divestment gains to investors.

neratel chart.png

This led to a gain of 18.4% if you had bought when the announcement is released in April at $0.49 to a peak of $0.58. Neratel eventually did dispose off the subsidiary and gave out a special dividend of $0.15 per share.

3) Earnings accretive business venture and acquisitions

Acquisitions that are earnings accretive or entering into a new business with huge upside to earnings are also potential catalysts.

I did a post on GSS before here, which talks about their foray into the oil and gas industry (new venture) which many thought was an earnings accretive venture. This caused the stock price to rocket up. Buying at the top of the green circle at $0.28 also gave you about 30% return at the peak of $0.375.

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Another example would be MM2 Asia, an entertainment company in Singapore. They produce films like Ah Boys to Men. Since 2016, they have been on several acquisitions, they include buying over cinemas, buying over a concert production company Unusual Entertainment and subsequently spinning off Unusual Entertainment. All these acquisitions have improved MM2’s results tremendously and by spinning off Unusual, it also unlocks value for existing shareholders.

mm2.png

If you had held from the first catalyst announcement in Jan 2016 at $0.20 to the peak at $0.630, this would have been a 315% returns!!

— Industry specific —

Industry specific catalysts generally come in the form of improved sentiments in the industry. Some of yall may know how badly hit the O&G sector was hit due to the drastic drop in oil prices. On the contrary, an improved in sentiments can also bring up the entire industry. For instance, earlier this year MAS announced the relaxation of a regulation governing the financing of SMEs.

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This led to all 3 smaller banks listed in Singapore, Hong Leong Finance, Sing Inv & Finance, Singapura Finance to all rise in tandem as investors believe that it will benefit from the new regulations.

 

If you are following up till now, you will realise that industry specific catalysts are usually more unpredictable compared to a company specific catalysts. However, its also good to choose a company with a good mixture of both. Depending on industry-specific catalysts alone is too risky.

3) Some tell-tale signs to improve accuracy

As you can see from all the examples given above, catalysts are definitely a great booster to a stock’s price. However, one must understand that buying on catalysts is like betting on the future which as investors we should avoid. This is because catalysts depend on many factors to allow it to come to fruition. Just like a company announcement signalling their intention to acquire a new business, it will not become a good investment if the new business do not lead to higher revenue and profits for the company. In this case, it is definitely a catalyst but it has not led to the ultimate end goal.

Thus, it is important to understand how to improve our accuracy when picking catalysts stocks.

— Management —

The management must be capable in order to successfully allow the catalysts to manifest. Thus it is important that the management have a large enough stake in the company (Insider Ownership), so that their interests is aligned with the shareholders. Have the management live up to their promises? A quick run through their Annual Reports should shed some light on the managements’ aspirations for the company. Comparing that with actual results, should shed light to their capability.

 

Always look out for:

  1. Insider buying more shares
  2. Share buyback by the company

These moves are usually an indication of better things coming that will positively benefit the company.

— Timing your entry —

To maximise your returns, one should always look to enter before the catalysts are made known to the general public. This will give you sufficient margin of safety and allow you to lock in the gains when the public come to hear of the catalysts. Doing that is hard because you will not know when it will happen.

Usually, you will hear of news that this certain catalyst is going to happen to this company but there’s no confirmed date. The best thing you can do is to look for a consolidation phase in the chart and buy on the first breakout.

GLP chart

As you can see from the GLP chart. The first breakout in the first week of Jan 2017 is a good time to enter. This is in conjunction with the news released on 5 Jan 2017.

Hence, buying on a strong breakout with high volume is also another way to enter at a better timing as strong volume usually indicates a strong uptrend as buyers are usually funds and big buyers.

In conclusion,

I hope you have learnt a bit more about my own experience on catalyst investing. Buying on catalysts alone is not recommended and this should be mixed with fundamentals analysis of the company including its PE, debts level etc etc. A good stock with strong fundamentals plus good catalysts and a perfect entry timing will be a much safer way to invest on catalysts!

[Building Blocks]: 3 ways to tell if a company’s debt is good or bad

In today’s blog post, I would like to talk more about debt. Many a times, debts are always cast with a negative light as we are used to the narratives told to us like how one can go bankrupt due to mounting debt. There are definitely some truth to that but debts can be good as well. Generally if debts are used to purchase income generating assets that can yield more than the interest rate of the debt then it is good debt. On the other hand, many people tend to get into debt spiral because their purchase are often liabilities than an asset. For instance, swiping your credit card for a new bag or a new gadget etc.

The general rule of thumb is that:

Total assets’ yield  > Interest rate of debt

for it to be a good debt.

Likewise for a company, the understanding of debt is the same. For whatever reason that the company decides to take on debt, the things that the debt is use for should generate a yield that is more than the interest rate of the debt. I will show you 3 ways to tell if the company’s debt is good or bad in a company.

Debt pic

1) Look at the revenue and profit

For a company to take up debt, it’s foremost objective is to grow the business. If taking on the debt does not lead to higher revenue and profit growth, then there is reason to believe that the debt the company take on is not really good.

2) Is there cash flow into the business?

Another important way to tell if the company’s debt is good or not is based on whether the business can generate cash flow to pay off the debt. If the business can bring in monthly cash that are more than the debt payment then the debt is good. Likewise if the company is consistently registering negative cash flow it is likely that the company may take on more debt to pay off current debt which is not good.

3) Is there cash to pay off interests?

Having back up cash is important for emergency uses. In order for the company to be able to operate smoothly it should be able to pay off its interests with some of the back up cash it have. This ensures that the company don’t run into a situation whereby they are unable to meet debt obligation because there are some bad months in the business.


Case Study

We shall take a look at two different company and their use of debt to try to understand good and bad debts.

Company A:

Noble Debt.png

Total Debt for Company A = USD $ 4,042,853,000

Company B:

Geo Debt.png

Company B total debt = USD $ 68,678,591

 

— Revenue and Profit —

Company A:

Noble revenue.png

Declining revenue and loss making company.

Company B:

Geo Rev.png

High revenue growth and profit making.

 

— Cash Flow —

Company A:

Noble cash from ops.png

Cash not coming into the company from their existing business.

Company B:

Cash flow frm Ops geo.png

Cash into company from existing business is positive.

 

— Sufficiency of cash to meet debt obligations —

Company A:

noble cash.png

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Interest expense is about USD $ 200 million every year, but Company A have only USD$ 300 million left in 2016. Will they be able to tide through another year?

Company B:

geo cash.png

Geo debt payment.png

Company B’s yearly payment is about US$ 6 million which is easily covered by the amount of cash and cash equivalents they have.


In conclusion,

hopefully the above case study is able to show you in real life the difference between good and bad debt in a company. For those who are curious, Company A is Noble Group and Company B is Geo Energy Resources. All the 3 ways describe above should be look in totality with a company’s business model to understand if the debt are sustainable. For instance, in a cyclical industry, company’s earnings can be very high in a bullish up cycle, this can mask out some of the red flags of their debts. Hence it’s good to use these 3 ways and compare it across a few years to understand if they have been able to manage their debts well.

[Building Blocks]: 5 good to know investment ratios for better investment analysis

Looking at a company financial statements and not knowing what to look out for can be a headache for investors, which is why certain investment ratios have been widely used to explain certain important aspects of a company’s financial statement in a more simplified manner. For those who have some investment knowledge would have heard of terms like PE ratio, Debt to Equity ratio etc. These ratios make use of certain elements of the financial statement to give investors an easy understanding of certain strengths or weaknesses of the company. In this post, I shall try to explain some of the key ratios that investors normally use and what it means.

investment ratios.jpg

These are the 5 common investment ratios that I will explain below:

  1. Price to Earnings (PE) ratio
  2. Price to Book (PB) ratio
  3. Return on Equity (ROE) ratio
  4. Quick Ratio
  5. Debt to Equity Ratio

1) Price to Earnings ratio

Just as the name suggests, PE ratio simply means:

 

PE Ratio

PE ratio is widely use by a lot of value investor to see if the stock is undervalued or not. Generally a low PE ratio of less than 10 is considered to be undervalued. Whereas a high PE stock usually are found in high growth stock. For instance the FANGs stocks, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, most of their PE are above average PE ratio in the US. This is because investors believe that these tech stocks will continue to grow their Earnings per share (EPS) rapidly hence at present times they are willing to bid up its present stock price to a high level ==> Thus a high PE ratio.

In other words, it represents the amount one is willing to pay for each dollar worth of earnings of the company.

2) Price to Book ratio

Price to Book ratio (PB) is also another widely used indicator by value investors to determine if the stock is overpriced or not.

 

PB Ratio.png

In this case the book value of a company is the value of the assets of the company on the balance sheet =>  since Total Asset – Total Liabilities = Total Equity 

Thus, PB ratio is simply at what price are you paying for the value of the underlying assets in the company. A low PB ratio means that you are paying a low price for the value of assets in the company, the opposite is true for high PB stocks.

However one have to understand that PB ratio has it own shortcomings, for instance, it is more accurate for company that are capital intensive or company with a lot of assets.

3) Return on Equity (ROE)

ROE is a measure of how many dollars can a company generate on every dollar of equity.

 

ROE

Many termed the ROE as a measure of efficiency as it measures how well the management deploy the shareholder’s capital. Being able to get more dollars of profit out of lesser dollar of equity is a good thing to look out for (High ROE). Thus, usually company with high ROE is preferred over one with low ROE.

However also note that ROE can be artificially affected if the total equity portion is changed. For instance share buyback decreases total equity and hence boost the ROE.

4) Quick ratio **

Although not used by many, I feel quick ratio is a rather important measure of the company ability to manage their debt obligations.

 

Quick Ratio.png

Quick ratio provides an understanding of whether a company can meet its short term debt obligations. In this case, the short term investment refers to any securities the company hold that can be liquidated in a year.

A high quick ratio of more than 1 would mean that the company are able to pay off their debt in a year and hence the company would not run into any issues with the debtor within the financial year.

A low quick ratio of less than 1 would show that the company may have troubles meeting the near term debt obligations and could run into financing issues which as investors we would not want. This can prompt management to take on more long term debt to finance their short term obligations or raise funds through rights issues which we usually try to avoid.

5) Debt to Equity ratio **

Debt to Equity ratio is another way to understand about the company’s debt status.

 

Debt to Equity Ratio.png

Debt to Equity calculates the amount of financial leverage the company has.

High debt to equity ratio (usually more than 1.5x, in my opinion) mean that the company is highly leverage and can be rather risky. If the company cannot generate enough cash to pay off the debt that could spell trouble for the company.

Whereas an extremely low debt to equity ratio can mean that the company are too conservative and may be missing out on the extra growth benefits that taking on some debt can bring.

 

** For both of the ratios used to determine the debt status of a company. It is important to distinguish the nature of the debt. Is it being use to expand operations, or is it used to pay off loans that are going to expire? Choosing a company that uses debt well to expand operations that lead to higher profits and growth is good. Whereas a company that consistently borrow to pay off bad debts is definitely bad.

Another indicator would be to examine their cash flow to see if they are earning enough from their operations to cover the amount of debt they incur. Hence, one should never fear away from company that takes on debt, but instead study them closely.

 

In conclusion,

no one ratio can tell you the full story of any company. You would need to actively look at a few ratios, compare across the industry, look at their growth prospects before you can derive at a fuller picture. Hopefully, you have learnt more about certain ratios that are widely used by investors. If you are looking to learn more about how to read annual reports you can click here (for part 1) & here (for part 2) which should greatly aid in helping you make better use of the ratios you have learnt here!

[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! 🙂