The Cue from Disturbia

I am disturbed. 

This stock that I’m invested in is continuing to fall. 

That’s ok.

I want to be disturbed. 

That’s my cue…

…to invest more in the stock.

I’m in the stock for a reason. 

Something appeals to me. 

That something continues to appeal to me, despite the continuous fall. 

If that were not the case, the case for the stock would be closed, and one would look to get rid of it on a market high. 

However, that is the case,…

…and, I follow the small entry quantum strategy.

Where does that leave me?

My investment in the stock is small.

I am liquid.

That’s the beauty of the small entry quantum strategy.

It leaves you liquid.

Continued fall means better margin of safety, and that another quantum can go in.

The small entry quantum strategy ensures multiple entry opportunities as the stock continues to generate margin of safety.

When do my ears stand up?

When the fall is disturbing enough. 

The fall is the cue to go in. 

It is from Disturbia. 

Who said making money was easy?

This strategy works as long as one’s research is sound. 

Let’s go with what works.

Happy Eighth Birthday, Magic Bull!

Hey,

Today, we turn eight.

This is an extreme time.

Extraordinary moves have become normal.

How do we react to a world full of upheavals?

Does anyone have a satisfactory response?

We don’t know, and time will tell if our responses are correct.

However, we do know, that we possess common sense…

…, and we are going to hold on to it for all our life’s worth.

It has not come for free.

It has been earned after making costly mistakes.

It is very valuable.

It is going to see us through.

The topsiness and the turvyness is good for us.

It will set up opportunities.

We are only going to grab opportunities.

When there’s no opportunity, we do nothing.

We have learnt to do nothing.

Doing nothing actually means no entry.

We use this time to do due diligence for the future, when entry is allowed as per our entry criteria.

Doing nothing is a steady part of our repertoire.

However, when opportunity comes, we are going to let go of all fear, and we are going to pull the trigger.

We know how to pull the trigger.

We are not afraid.

Why?

We are debt-free.

Our basic incomes are in place.

Our families are taken care of.

Without that, we don’t move.

We invest with surplus.

We implement a small entry quantum strategy.

We enter again and again and again, upon opportunity.

Because of our small entry quantum, we are liquid for life.

Crash?

Bring it on.

We’ll keep going in, small entry quantum upon small entry quantum.

Don’t forget, we have rendered ourselves liquid for life.

And, we’ve got stamina!

Happy eighth birthday, Magic Bull!

What about Daddy Cool? 

Boney M sang this blockbuster hit in the ’70s.

I’m sure you’ve heard it, because it’s still the rage. 

he’s crazy like a fool – what about daddy cool? 

Who’s Daddy Cool? 

You tell me. 

Is it you, in a cool cucumber moment, slow to respond to stimulus, devoid of anger, master of your situation in a kinda non-bossy, non-micro-managing (cool) way? 

And what of Mr. Hyde’s Dr. Jekyll nature? 

We’re talking about your “like a fool” moment.

Just for your information, winning behaviour is often termed foolish by the crowd. 

Contrarian investing is one such example. 

Successful derivative trading is another. 

To cap it, let’s not even talk about private equity in real-estate. 

Did someone mention high-yield structured-debt? 

There are many examples of “foolish” behaviour. 

These same examples earn very well. 

So… 

… how do we do it? 

We maintain our cool. 

We keep all basics going, as they are. 

With a small portion of our surplus, we take calculated risks, in a controlled environment. 

Sure, these risks will appear foolish to someone on the outside. 

However, our controlled environment has installed riders for our safety. 

A balance-sheet might be stressed, but not stressed enough for bankruptcy. 

A lock-in might be ultra-short. 

A stop-loss might be in place. 

Collateral might be up to 4x.

There might be a highly reputed Trustee in between. 

What have you.

Have your Daddy Cool fool-moments. 

Take some calculated risks with small portions of your surplus. 

These should give your portfolios an extra-boost. 

What about the Spark?

Yeah, what about it?

Versatile word.

Used in spy mission abort code phrases.

Romance.

Automotive engineering.

Electrical engineering.

Stocks.

Stocks?

Stocks.

Whacko?

No.

Explain.

Ok.

Stockscreener.

Yeah?

Spits out list.

Yeah.

Eyeballing.

Ya.

Spark? Look into stock.

No spark anywhere, in the whole list? Redefine screener. Screen again.

This is a typical chronology of the beginning of stock selection.

Of course, now follows deep due diligence.

However, what are you DDing in?

That’s decided by the spark.

Remember the word.

Let it come, then we’ll see…

Looking around for an opportunity?

Or letting one come?

Does it matter?

Is there a difference?

You bet!

When you’re looking around, you could be in a hurry. You want to get it over and done with.

Big mistake.

You are vulnerable.

Entry price will be expensive.

Your adversary feels your anxiety and jacks up entry level.

Quality? What quality? You’re in a hurry, right?

Don’t be.

Hurry spoils the curry.

Let the investment come to you.

It will.

Brokers are restless. They want to sell. They’ll knock at your doorstep once they know your funds situation. And, believe me, they won’t ask you about your funds situation. They’ll ask your banker. In fact, your banker could well be on retainer. He’ll make sure that high quality info ups his retainer fee. That’s how it works today. Don’t believe me? How come so many people have your cell number? Did you give it to them? No? Information is a commodity. It can be bought for a price.

So, wait.

Block your surplus funds as fixed deposits.

Get an overdraft going for one fixed deposit.

Delve into your normal activities.

Now you’re sitting pretty.

An opportunity comes.

It’s cr*p. Broker’s hoping you’ll bite into the nonsense being sold.

You tell the broker to buzz off. Lack of hurry gives you the clarity required to act like this.

Something lucrative comes along. Price is right. You overdraft on your FD. Yeah, it’s ok to pay the price for quality with margin of safety.

You can always fill in the overdrafted amount as new funds accumulate. The nominal interest paid for ODing is called opportunity fees. It’s chicken-feed. Just forget about it.

The best investments in life are worth waiting for.

Take that –>@&%# Mr. Peer Pressure

Dear Mr. PP,

I don’t give in to you, never have, never will.

You’re not that important.

I don’t spend my time thinking about you.

I don’t respect any entity without a backbone, and you certainly don’t have one.

I’ve met you many times.

At first, I felt you, and was taken aback. You wanted me to do something I didn’t wish to do. You were strong.

I was stronger.

When you don’t know anything about the reputation of your opponent, frankly, you don’t give a d*m*. You fight. Till you fall or till the other fellow backs down.

I won my first head to head with you. Thank my stars.

After that I found out who you were. Yeah, who was it exactly that I didn’t succumb to?

After I’d grown up and all, and fully realized your devastation potential, I always leaned back on my first head to head. I mean, you were beatable. Period.

Yeah, I was lucky to have beaten you first up. It’s been a huge psychological advantage.

I’ve carried over this advantage into my market life.

Take a hike, Mr. PP.

[As far as market related activities go, I follow and advocate an unbiased, singular and customized path which doesn’t follow any crowd or any myths as such.

This path certainly does not let me invest under any kind of pressure.

Where there’s pressure, there are vested interests.

Please beware of investments which don’t suit your risk profile and are touted to quench vested interests].

Taking the Pan out of Panic

Panic – Pan = ic = i see = I SEE.

Times are unprecedented.

We’re breaking new lows of evil everyday.

Ours looks to be a hopeless nation.
Is it over for us?

Shall we pack up our bags and migrate?

Just take a deep breath. Bear with me for a moment. Try and cast your panic aside. Try and think clearly.

I’ll share with you an observation. Take any Indian. Doesn’t have to be an outperformer. Take an under-averagely performing Indian, for all I care. Weed him or her out of our pathetic system, and place him or her in a nation with good governance.

Lo and behold, our candidate will start performing. Not only that, soon, he or she will be outperforming. After a decade or so, he or she will probably have mastered the system and punctuated it with innovative short-cuts.

Get my point?

We are a resilient race. We might look fickle, frail and harmless superficially, but we can struggle, bear, survive, and finally break out. Just give us good governance.
Don’t panic. We’re not going down that easily.

What’s happening currently is a purge. Yeah, it’s a catharsis with a big C. While it continues, asset classes across the board will probably get hammered.

What does that mean for you?

Only one thing.

Stay in cash. Accumulate it. Learn to sit on cash. Sit on it as long as the purge lasts. Let its value depreciate, doesn’t matter. Park it safely with a conservative private bank. Fixed deposits would be the instruments of choice. Yeah, you don’t want to leave unattached cash lying around. Potentially, unattached cash could be susceptible to online fraud. Attach your cash, safely, and keep it before your eyes. Put some watch-dogs in place, as in sms and email alerts. Password-change attempt? You are immediately alerted. New payee added? You are immediately alerted. Watch-dogs bark.

As per my instinct, though we probably won’t go bankrupt as a nation, we might just go a long way down before the purge is over. After the purge, there will be tremendous bargains on offer, across the board, in all asset-classes. Cash will be king. Save your cash and sit on it – for that day.

Meanwhile, your wealth-manager will try to push you into panic purchases with your cash. As in, buying gold at 32k, and the USD at 65. Don’t listen. These are crazy levels. One doesn’t invest at crazy levels. These are not even normal trading levels. Yes, they are institutional trading levels. One does not invest at institutional trading levels.

It’s time to use your common-sense and maintain a cool head.

You can only do that by refusing to panic.

Organic is In

Is your institution “organic”?

What could organic mean?

Let’s try and answer this based on sheer intuition, without surfing the net or getting biased by other opinions. It doesn’t matter if we’re wrong. At least we’re thinking independently, and that is invaluable.

So, what kind of an institution is organic?

A non-synthetic one? Hmm.

One that’s alive? Not bad.

In sync? Better.

One whose left hand knows what its right hand is doing? Good.

One that tugs at the same string at the same time in the same direction. Yeah!

One that’s devoted to a holistic boss. You got it.

Are you part of such an institution?

Yes? God bless you.

No?

Why?

Never looked?

Looked and never found?

Looked, found, and then couldn’t fit in? Keep trying. If you don’t fit in fully into any such institution, firstly, don’t get worried. It’s ok. Found your own organic institution. On the other hand, maybe you are your own institution, but don’t know it yet. When you do discover it, try and be an organic one.

Organic growth is digestible. It sustains.

Short cuts are big in our world.

Why do we try and cut others short?

As investments, look for institutions where employees are not cut short. When talent is rewarded, it starts to perform beyond boundaries.

Apart from good valuations, corporate governance criteria and organic growth are critical factors that one must look for in an investment.

Organic is in, and will remain in.

Due Diligence Snapshot – IL&FS Investment Managers Ltd. (IIML) – Jan 14 2013

Price – Rs. 23.85 per share ; Market Cap – 499 Cr (small-cap, fell from being a mid-cap); Equity – 41.76 Cr; Face Value – Rs. 2.00; Pledging – Nil; Promoters – IL&FS; Key Persons – Dr. Archana Hingorani (CEO), Mr. Shahzad Dalal (vice-chairman) & Mr. Mark Silgardo (chief managing partner) – all three have vast experience in Finance; Field – Private Equity Fund managers in India (oldest), many joint venture partnerships; Average Volume – around 1 L+ per day on NSE.

Earnings Per Share (on a trailing 12 month basis) – 3.55

Price to Earnings Ratio (thus, also trailing) – 6.7 (no point comparing this to an industry average, since IIML has a unique business model)

Debt : Equity Ratio – 0.35 (five-year average is 0.1); Current Ratio – 1.05

Dividend Yield – 4.7% (!)

Price to Book Value Ratio – 2.1; Price to Cashflow – 5.1; Price to Sales – 2.2

Profit After Tax Margin – 32.85% (!); Return on Networth – 35.24% (!)

Share-holding Pattern of IL&FS Investment Managers – Promoters (50.3%), Public (39.2%), Institutions (4.9%), Non-Institutional Corporate Bodies (5.5%). [The exact shareholding pattern of IL&FS itself is as follows – LIC 25.94%, ORIX Corporation Japan 23.59%, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority 11.35%, HDFC 10.74%, CBI 8.53%, SBI 7.14%, IL&FS Employees Welfare Trust 10.92%, Others 1.79%].

Technicals – IIML peaked in Jan ’08 at about Rs. 59.50 (adjusted for split), bottomed in October of the same year at Rs. 13.60, then peaked twice, at Rs. 56.44 (Sep ’09) and Rs. 54.50 (Aug ’10) respectively, in quick succession, with a relatively small drop in between these two interim high pivots. By December ’11, the scrip had fallen to a low pivot of Rs. 23.30 upon the general opinion that the company wasn’t coming out with new product-offerings anytime soon. A counter rally then drove the scrip to Rs. 32, which is also its 52-week high. During the end of December ’12, the scrip made it’s 52-week low of Rs. 23. People seem to have woken up to the fact that a 52-week low has been made, and the scrip has risen about 4 odd percentage points since then, upon heavier volume.

Comments – Company’s product profile and portfolio is impressive. No new capital is required for business expansion. Income is made from fund management fees and profit-sharing above designated profit cut-offs. Lots of redemptions are due in ’15, and the company needs to get new funds in under management by then. If those redemptions are done under profits, it will increase company profits too. Parag Parikh discusses IIML as a “heads I win (possibly a lot), tails I lose (but not much)” kind of investment opportunity. His investment call came during the mayhem of ’09. The scrip is 42%+ above his recommended price currently. What a fantastic call given by Mr. Parikh. Well done, Sir! Professor Sanjay Bakshi feels that IIML has a unique business model, where business can keep on expanding with hardly any input required. He feels, “that at a price, the stock of this company would be akin to acquiring a free lottery ticket”. I opine that the price referred to is the current market price. Before and after Mr. Parikh’s call, the company has continued to deliver spectacular returns. The company’s management is savvy and experienced. They made profitable exit calls in ’07, and fresh investments were made in ’08 and ’09, during big sell-offs. Thus, the management got the timing right. That’s big. I have no doubt that they’ll get new funds in under management after ’15, alone on the basis of their track record. Yeah, there’s still deep value at current market price. Not as deep as during ’08, or ’09, but deep enough.

Buy? – Fundamentals are too good to be ignored. They speak for themselves, and I’m not going to use any more time commenting on the fundamentals. Technicals show that volumes are up over the last 3 weeks. People seem to be lapping the scrip up at this 52-week low, and the buying pressure has made it rise around 4% over the last 3 weeks. If one has decided to buy, one could buy now, preferably under Rs. 24. The scrip seems to be coming out of the lower part of the base built recently. There is support around Rs. 23 levels, so downside could be limited under normal market conditions.

Disclaimer and Disclosure – Opinions given here are mine only, unless otherwise explicitly stated . You are free to build your own view on the stock. I hold a miniscule stake in IIML. Data / material used has been compiled from motilaloswal.com, moneycontrol.com, equitymaster.com, valuepickr.com, safalniveshak.com and from the company websites of IIML & IL&FS. Technicals have been gauged using Advanced GET 9.1 EoD Dashboard Edition. I bear no responsibility for any resulting loss, should you choose to invest in IIML.

Stock-Picking for Dummies – Welcome to the Triangle of Safety

Growth is not uniform – it is hap-hazard.

We need to accept this anomaly. It is a signature of the times we live in.

Growth happens in spurts, at unexpected times, in unexpected sectors.

What our economic studies do is that they pinpoint a large area where growth is happening. That’s all.

Inside that area – you got it – growth is hap-hazard.

To take advantage of growth, one can do many things. One such activity is to pick stocks.

For some, stock-picking is a science. For others. it is an art. Another part of the stock-picking population believes that it is a combination of both. There are people who write PhD theses on the subject, or even reference manuals. One can delve into the subject, and take it to the nth-level. On the other hand, one can (safely) approach the subject casually, using just one indicator (for example the price to earnings ratio [PE]) to pick stocks. Question is, how do we approach this topic in a safe cum lucrative manner in today’s times, especially when we are newbies, or dummies?

Before we plunge into the stock-picking formula for dummies that I’m just about to delineate, let me clarify that it’s absolutely normal to be a dummy at some stage and some field in life. There is nothing humiliating about it. Albert Einstein wasn’t at his Nobel-winning best in his early schooldays. It is rumoured that he lost a large chunk of his 1921 Nobel Prize money in the crash of ’29. Abraham Lincoln had huge problems getting elected, and lost several elections before finally becoming president of the US. Did Bill Gates complete college? Did Sachin Tendulkar finish school? Weren’t some of Steve Jobs’ other launches total losses? What about Sir Issac Newton? Didn’t I read somewhere that he lost really big in the markets, and subsequently prohibited anyone from mentioning the markets in his presence? On a personal note, I flunked a Physical Chemistry exam in college, and if you read some of my initial posts at Traderji.com, when I’d just entered the markets, you would realize what a dummy I was at investing. At that stage, I even thought that the National Stock Exchange was in Delhi!

Thing is, people – we don’t have to remain dummies. The human brain is the most sophisticated super-computer known to mankind. All of us are easily able to rise above the dummy stage in topics of our choice.

Enough said. If you’ve identified yourself as a dummy stock-picker, read on. Even if you are not a dummy stock-picker, please still read on. Words can be very powerful. You don’t know which word, phrase or sentence might trigger off what kind of catharsis inside of you. So please, read on.

We are going to take three vital pieces of information about a stock, and are going to imagine that these three pieces of information form a triangle. We are going to call this triangle the triangle of safety. At all given times, we want to remain inside this triangle. When we are inside the triangle, we can consider ourselves (relatively) safe. The moment we find ourselves outside the triangle, we are going to try and get back in. If we can’t, then the picked stock needs to go. Once it exits our portfolio, we look for another stock that functions from within the triangle of safety.

The first vital stat that we are going to work with is – you guessed it – the ubiquitous price to earnings ratio, or the PE ratio. If we’re buying into a stock, the PE ratio needs to be well under the sector average. Period. Let’s say that we’ve bought into a stock, and after a while the price increases, or the earnings decrease. Both these events will cause the PE ratio to rise, perhaps to a level where it is then above sector average. We are now positioned outside of our triangle of safety with regards to the stock. We’re happy with a price rise, because that gives us a profit. What we won’t be happy with is an earnings decrease. Earnings now need to increase to lower the PE ratio to well below sector average, and back into the triangle. If this doesn’t happen for a few quarters, we get rid of the stock, because it is delaying its entry back into our safety zone. We are not comfortable outside of our safety zone for too long, and we thus boot the stock out of our portfolio.

The second vital stat that we are going to work with is the debt to equity ratio (DER). We want to pick stocks that are poised to take maximum advantage of growth, whenever it happens. If a company’s debt is manageable, then interest payouts don’t wipe off a chunk of the profits, and the same profits can get directly translated into earnings per share. We want to pick companies that are able to keep their total debt at a manageable level, so that whenever growth occurs, the company is able to benefit from it fully. We would like the DER to be smaller than 1.0. Personally, I like to pick stocks where it is smaller than 0.5. In the bargain, I do lose out on some outperformers, since they have a higher DER than the level I maximally want to see in a stock. You can decide for yourself whether you want to function closer to 0.5 or to 1.0. Sometimes, we pick a stock, and all goes well for a while, and then suddenly the management decides to borrow big. The DER shoots up to outside of our triangle of safety. What is the management saying? By when are they going to repay their debt? Is it a matter of 4 to 6 quarters? Can you wait outside your safety zone for that long? If you can, then you need to see the DER most definitely decreasing after the stipulated period. If it doesn’t, for example because the company’s gone in for a debt-restructuring, then we can no longer bear to exist outside our triangle of safety any more, and we boot the stock out of our portfolio. If, on the other hand, the management stays true to its word, and manages to reduce the DER to below 1.0 (or 0.5) within the stipulated period, simultaneously pushing us back into our safety zone, well, then, we remain invested in the stock, provided that our two other vital stats are inside the triangle too.

The third vital stat that we are going to work with is the dividend yield (DY). We want to pick companies that pay out a dividend yield that is more than 2% per annum. Willingness to share substantial profits with the shareholder – that is a trait we want to see in the management we’re buying into. Let’s say we’ve picked a stock, and that in the first year the management pays out 3% per annum as dividend. In the second year, we are surprised to see no dividends coming our way, and the financial year ends with the stock yielding a paltry 0.5% as dividend. Well, then, we give the stock another year to get its DY back to 2% plus. If it does, putting us back into our triangle of safety, we stay invested, provided the other two vital stats are also positioned inside our safety zone. If the DY is not getting back to above 2%, we need to seriously have a look as to why the management is sharing less profits with the shareholders. If we don’t see excessive value being created for the shareholder in lieu of the missing dividend payout, we need to exit the stock, because we are getting uncomfortable outside our safety zone.

When we go about picking a stock for the long term as newbies, we want to buy into managements that are benevolent and shareholder-friendly, and perhaps a little risk-averse / conservative too. Managements that like to play on their own money practise this conservatism we are looking for. Let’s say that the company we are invested in hits a heavy growth phase. If there’s no debt to service, then it’ll grow much more than if there is debt to service. Do you see what’s happening here? Our vital stat number 2 is automatically making us buy into risk-averse managements heading companies that are poised to take maximum advantage of growth, whenever it occurs. We are also automatically buying into managements with largesse. Our third vital stat is ensuring that. This stat insinuates, that if the management creates extra value, a proportional extra value will be shared with the shareholder. That is exactly the kind of management we want – benevolent and shareholder-friendly. Our first vital stat ensures that we pick up the company at a time when others are ignoring the value at hand. Discovery has not happened yet, and when it does, the share price shall zoom. We are getting in well before discovery happens, because we buy when the PE is well below sector average.

Another point you need to take away from all this is the automation of our stop-loss. When we are outside our safety zone, our eyes are peeled. We are looking for signs that will confirm to us that we are poised to re-enter our triangle of safety. If these signs are not coming for a time-frame that is not bearable, we sell the stock. If we’ve sold at a loss, then this is an automatic stop-loss mechanism. Also, please note, that no matter how much profit we are making in a stock – if the stock still manages to stay within our triangle of safety, we don’t sell it. Thus, our system allows us to even capture multibaggers – safely. One more thing – we don’t need to bother with targets here either. If our heavily in-the-money stock doesn’t come back into our safety zone within our stipulated and bearable time-frame, we book full profits in that stock.

PHEW!

There we have it – the triangle of safety – a connection of the dots between our troika PE…DER…DY.

As you move beyond the dummy stage, you can discard this simplistic formula, and use something that suits your level of evolution in the field.

Till then, your triangle of safety will keep you safe. You might even make good money.

PE details are available in financial newspapers. DER and DY can be found on all leading equity websites, for all stocks that are listed.

Here’s wishing you peaceful and lucrative investing in 2013 and always!

Be safe! Money will follow! 🙂

Anatomy of a Multibagger

Wouldn’t we all like to rake it in?

A multibagger does just that for you. Over a longish period, its growth defies normalcy.

In the stock markets, a 1000-bagger over 10 years – happens. Don’t be surprised if you currently find more than 20 such stocks in your own native markets.

Furthermore, our goal is to be a part of the story as it unfolds.

Before we can invest in a multibagger, we need to identify it before it breaks loose.

What are we looking for?

Primarily, a dynamic management with integrity. We are looking for signs of honesty while researching a company. Honest people don’t like to impose on others. Look for a manageable debt-equity ratio. Transparency in accounting and disclosure counts big. You don’t want to see any wheelin’-dealin’ or Ponzi behavior. If I’d been in the markets in the early ’80s and I’d heard that Mr. Azim Premji drove a Fiat or an 800, and flew economy class, I’d have picked up a large stake in Wipro. 10k in Wipro in ’79 multiplied to 3 billion by ’04. That can only happen when the management is shareholder-friendly and keeps on creating value for those invested. Wipro coupled physical value-creation with market value-creation. It kept announcing bonus after bonus after bonus. God bless Mr. Premji, he made many common people millionaires, or perhaps even billionaires.

A good management will have a clean balance-sheet. That’s the number two item.

The company you’ re looking at will need to have a scalable business model.

It will need to produce something that has the ability to catch the imagination of the world for a decade or more.

The company you’re looking at will need to come from the micro-cap or the small-cap segment. A market-cap of 1B is not as likely to appreciate to 1000B as a market-cap of 25M is to 25B.

Then, one needs to get in at a price that is low enough to give oneself half a chance of getting such an appreciation multiple.

Needless to say, the low price must invariably be coupled to huge inherent value which the market is not seeing yet, but which you are able to correctly see.

After that, one needs the courage and conviction to act upon what one is seeing and has recognized.

One needs to have learnt how to sit, otherwise one will nip the multibagger in the bud. Two articles on this blog have already been dedicated to “sitting”. Patience is paramount.

The money that goes in needs to be a small amount. It’s magnitude shouldn’t affect your normal functioning.

Once a story has started unfolding, please remember one thing. If a stock has caught the imagination of the public, it can continue to quote at extended valuation multiples for a long time. As long as there is buying pressure, don’t exit. One needs to recognize buying pressure. That’s why, one needs to learn charting basics.

Phew, am I forgetting something here? Please feel welcome to comment and add factors to the above list.

Here’s wishing that you are able to latch on to many multibaggers in your investing career.

🙂

A Critical Look at Debt on the Balance-Sheet

Borrowed money needs to be paid back.

Pray where is a company going to pay it back from?

From current reserves and /or earnings, of course.

Unless you do a Suzlon and restructure your 2 billion dollar debt.

When I hear the word “restructure”, I feel like puking.

By the way, one can even do a “Mallya”, and expect the government to pay off chunks of one’s almost 1.5 billion dollar debt.

By now, I’m really throwing up.

I mean, first, some people borrow. Then comes a spending frenzy. Then these people don’t want to pay back what they borrowed. Oh, sorry, some don’t even want to pay the interest back, let alone the principal.

Frankly, I don’t wish to invest in companies run by people who delay paying back their debt through maneuvering and manipulation.

I detest manipulation. Prefer it straight-forward.

You guessed it – I’m a debt-averse human-being. What pleases me most in a company is a debt-free balance-sheet. It is challenging to find debt-free companies that are able to grow freely and fast, and when one runs into such a company, it’s like a home-run. After that one waits for the right price, but that’s another story.

Most companies borrow. They wish to grow, and funds are not there, while opportunity is.

Fine. Borrow.

Then, show me that you want to pay back. On time. ( = integrity ).

Show me that you haven’t lost your marbles while borrowing, and have borrowed an amount which by no means risks the existence of your company. ( = balance ).

Furthermore, show me that you are creating value with the borrowed amount. ( = shareholder-friendliness ).

Show me, that after payment of interest on borrowings, you can still generate a reasonable earning per share. ( = diligence ).

That would make me want to invest in your company, despite your debt.

Oh, one more thing, I would only stay invested long-term in your company, if I see you decreasing your debt-burden year upon year. ( = like-mindedness, i.e. debt-aversion ).

Also, if any new debt taken on doesn’t fit the above criteria, I would look to exit. ( = over-confidence because of earlier successes ).

Once invested, keep rechecking the story every few months. Times are bad. If you don’t look, it is likely that a CEO will pull a stunt right under your nose. Yes, it’s totally possible that your investment doesn’t meet your criteria anymore, and that you are still invested. Don’t let that happen.

At least with regards to debt, have an exact check-list. If a company doesn’t meet your standards regarding debt, discard the company. During times of high interest-rates, large debt on the balance-sheet is like a raging fire which refuses to be stilled, and which can well terminate the existence of a company.

Your success as a long-term investor depends much on how you react to debt.

Here’s wishing you wary and successful investing!

Cheers!   🙂