Due Diligence Snapshot + Technical Cross-Section — Ador Fontech Limited — Nov 27 2012

Price – Rs. 81.30 per share

Earnings Per Share projected on the basis of quarter ended Sep 30 2012 – Rs. 12.62

Price to Earnings Ratio (thus, also projected) – 6.44

Price to Book Value Ratio – the stock is selling at approximately 2 x book value currently

Debt : Equity Ratio – Nil

Current Ratio – 2.73

Profit After Tax Margin – 12.51%

Return on Networth – 32.54 %

Pledged Shares %age – Nil

Face Value – Rs. 2.00

Dividend Payout – 50% -150% of face-value.

Average Daily Volumes – around 5 – 6 k / day on BSE.

Product – Reclamation of alloys, fusion surfacing (preventive welding), spraying and environmental solutions.

Promoters – JB Advani & Company Pvt Ltd (of Advani-Oerlikon fame) + a group of other Sindhi business-people.

Share-holding Pattern – Promoters (35.4%), Public (58.9%), Institutions (2.0%), NICBs (3.7%).

Technicals (see chart below) – This is a very low volume scrip, so there could be slippage. The scrip has corrected from its June 2011 peak of Rs. 150.90 to a pivot of Rs. 73.25 within about one year. This low pivot lies bang in between the 50% and the 61.8% Fibonacci levels of correction on the weekly chart. Currently, the scrip is quoting at Rs. 81.30, just below the Fib. 50% level. Volumes are average, with one high volume peak every 7 odd trading days. The scrip is trading in a broad band between Rs. 73.25 and Rs. 93.90. Perhaps it is trying to establish a base.

Comments – Fundamentals are good, and the company’s corporate governance is considered clean. Market for the company’s niche is considered small, and people view that as a long-term growth concern. Technically, correction has taken place, and thus value shines out fundamentally. Debt is nil. Dividend is excellent. Projected PE is low, though P/BV is a bit high. Cushion is there, and profitability and returns are exemplary. Future investment would be required to keep niche-segment status alive.

Buy? – I like the theme – reclamation and preventive welding. Contrary to what others say, I feel the market is going to grow phenomenally, as earth and rare-earth metals become difficult to source, and need to be reclaimed. Valuations are excellent, governance is great, payouts are great too, and a technical buying level has presented itself. Yes, it’s a long-term buy right now. Remember, this is not a trade we are speaking about, so we are not going to talk in terms of a stop-loss. This is a long-term investment, and we’ve been speaking in terms of margin of safety, which I’m sure you’ve noticed. Also, while buying, one needs to show caution regarding slippage, which is invariably going to occur owing to the low-volume nature of the scrip.

Disclaimer and Disclosure – Opinions given here are mine only. You are free to build your own view on the stock. I have bought a miniscule stake in Ador Fontech today. Data given here has been compiled from motilaloswal.com, moneycontrol.com and equitymaster.com. Technicals have been gauged and shown using Metastock Professional version 9.1 by Equis International.

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Due Diligence Snapshot – Mindtree Limited – Nov. 24 2012

Price – Rs. 665.25 per share

Earnings Per Share (projected on the basis of quarter ended Sep 30 ’12) – Rs. 70.61

Price to Earnings Ratio (thus, also projected) – 9.42

Price to Book Value – 2.82 (it’s ok for small to mid-sized IT companies to have a high price to book ratio, because book value doesn’t reflect human capital, and small to mid-sized IT companies are more about human capital than about real-estate, hardware etc. Thus, since the real book value is not going to be available, the given price to book ratio could be treated as an artefact, unless it is unreasonably high, which is not the case here).

Debt : Equity Ratio – 0.03

Current Ratio – 2.10

Profit After Tax Margin – 12.11%

Return on Networth – > 25 %

Pledged Shares %age – Nil

Face Value – Rs. 10.00

Dividend Payout – 25% – 30% of face-value.

Average Daily Volumes – around 1 Lakh per day on NSE.

Product – Product Engineering Services, IT Services, worked on Bluetooth technology, also worked on UID (Aadhaar) project.

Promoters – Mr. Bagchi (set up Six-Sigma services at Wipro) and Mr. Soota (has now retired from Mindtree, ex-Wipro, amongst others, responsible for Wipro’s phenomenal growth). Mr. Natarajan is co-founder and current CEO, and is also ex-Wipro.

Share-holding Pattern – Foreign Promoters (3.5%), Indian Promoters (15.9%), Institutions (33.0%), Non-Institutional Corporate Bodies (30.2%), Public (15.7%).

Technicals – IPO days in March 2007 were big, with the scrip peaking at Rs. 1023.30 very early into its launch. By March ’09, though, Mindtree had bottomed out at Rs. 187.05. It then made a high pivot of Rs. 747.00 in Jan ’10, fell to Rs. 321.00 by August 2011, and is currently on the rise, forming a cup and handle pattern on the weekly chart, with the handle having broken out in Sep ’12 to 770.00 on average volume. This was a false breakout, and the scrip came down, to then move in a band between Rs. 633.80 and Rs. 699.90. Currently, Mindtree is quoting at Rs. 665.25, and Friday (Nov. 23rd, 2012) saw it rise by approximately 1 % on volume that was three times its 50-day moving average and many more times its 10-day moving average.

Comments – I like all the fundamentals. Couldn’t find any scams or frauds related to the company, looked only online though. Debt-equity ratio almost nil, great! Ex-Wipro people are the promoters. CEO is ex-Wipro. Friday’s higher volume has gotten me on alert. If all-round conditions in the markets remain stable, the scrip could break-out to beyond Rs. 770 soon. Glassdoor has “OK’d” work culture at Mindtree, with the same rating that Infosys has received. Salaries are considered on the lower side, though, at Mindtree. Also, some employees feel that company is stagnating. Reasons why Mr. Ashok Soota left the company are unclear to me. On the other hand, corporate governance still seems to be decent at Mindtree.

Buy? – Hmmmm, I like almost everything, except the salary and the stagnation bit. Mr. Soota’s presence would have been a bonus. I can take a “stagnating” company that generates good numbers. The ratios are all good, and profitability is decent. There’s almost no debt on the balance-sheet. No shares have been pledged. Dividend is decent. Excellent return on networth. Company does R&D too. Question is, will the scrip correct another 30 to 40 bucks to the lower end of it’s current band, so that one can pick it up 5 odd % cheaper? Anybody’s guess. One could actually go and pick it up now. Earnings are good, and so is the projected PE, well below the industry average, actually.

Disclaimer and Disclosure – Opinions given here are mine only. You are free to build your own view on the stock. Currently, I don’t hold a position in Mindtree Limited, but am considering long-term entry on the basis of what I have found and liked. Data given here has been compiled from motilaloswal.com, moneycontrol.com and equitymaster.com, and technicals have been gauged using Advanced GET 9.1 EoD Dashboard Edition.

Due Diligence Snapshot – Micro Technologies Limited – November 04 2012

Price as on Nov. 04 2012 – Rs. 44.60 per share

Earnings Per Share (trailing 12 month earnings)- Rs. 37.77

Price / Earnings Ratio – 1.18

Price / Book Value – 0.21

Debt : Equity Ratio – 0.55

Current Ratio – 5.63

Quick Ratio – 4.43

Net Profit Margin – 5.98 %

Face Value – Rs. 10.00

Dividend Payout – 10% – 20% of face-value.

Product – IT-based security products.

Promoter – Dr. P. Sekhar, ” a creative entrepreneur”.

Share-holding Pattern – Promoters (36.2%), Non-Institutional Corporate Bodies (42.1%), Individual Investors (19.0%).

Technicals – Since its January ’08 high of Rs. 192.50, the stock has corrected majorly to Rs. 26.80, recovered a little more than half-way (to Rs. 114.00), corrected again to Rs. 50.40, then recovered again to Rs. 91.40, again corrected to a low of Rs. 38.05, and is now in the process of rising, although institutional volume is not accompanying this rise.

Comments – Fundamentals are strong. They absolutely do not match the sell-off to a low of Rs. 38.05 very recently. Why is there a mismatch between fundamentals and technicals?

Possible Reason – There seems to be employee dissatisfaction doing the rounds, owing to questionable corporate governance. Another case of highly debatable corporate governance seems to come to light. In my opinion, this case seems to affect all shareholders negatively. Primarily, this case affected all FCCB (Foreign Currency Convertible Bond) holders, but then the company’s actions concerning the FCCBs possibly disillusioned a part of the shareholders, who went on to sell the scrip. Increase in selling pressure led to a tanking share-price, and this was negative for all share-holders.

Outlook? – You need to decide whether a part of the company’s corporate governance policy is a deal-breaker that overrides the strong fundamentals on paper.

Disclaimer / Disclosure : The opinions given above are mine only. You are free to form your own view on the stock. I don’t hold any position in Micro Technologies Limited. Data given here has been compiled from motilaloswal.com, moneycontrol.com and equitymaster.com, and technicals have been gauged using Advanced GET 9.1 EoD Dashboard Edition.

Isn’t This Other Party Getting Too Loud?

We in India have decided to go for gold after the Olympics.

I mean, there’s a whole parallel party going on in gold.

What’s with gold?

Can it tackle inflation?

No.

Is there any human capital behind it?

No.

Meaning, gold has no brains of its own, right?

Correct.

Is there a storage risk associated with gold?

Yes.

Storage volume?

Yes.

Transport inconvenience?

Yes.

Price at an all time high?

Yes, at least for us in India. We’d be fools to consult the USD vs time chart for gold. For us, the INR vs time chart is the more valid one for gold, because we pay for gold in INR.

Getting unaffordable?

Yes.

No parameter to judge its price by, like a price to earning ratio for example?

No.

Then how am I comfortable with gold, you ask?

Right, I’m not.

Can I elaborate, is that what you are requesting?

Sure, it’s exorbitance knocks out its value as a hedge. A hedge is supposed to balance and stabilize a portfolio. Gold’s current level is in a trading zone. It is not functioning as an investor’s hedge anymore.

Why?

Because from a huge height, things can fall big. Law of gravity. And gold’s fallen big before. It doesn’t need to begin it’s fall immediately, just because it is too high. That alone is not a valid reason for a big fall, but the moment you couple the height with factors like improvement in world economics, turnaround in equities (if these factors occur) etc., then the height becomes a reason for a big fall. Something that can fall very big knocks out stability and peace of mind from an investor’s portfolio. The investor needs to bring these conditions back into the portfolio by redefining and redesigning the portfolio’s dynamics.

How?

By selling the gold, for example, amongst other things.

What’s a good time to sell?

Well, Diwali’s a trigger.

Right.

Then, there are round numbers, like 35k.

What about 40k?

Are you not getting greedy?

Yeah – but what about 40k?

Nothing about 40k. Let 35k come first. I like it. It’s round. It’s got a mid-section, as in the 5. It’s a trigger, the more valid one, as of now.

Fine, anything else?

Keep looking at interest rates and equities. Any fall in the former coupled with a turnaround in the latter spells the start of a down-cycle in gold.

Is that it?

That’s a lot, don’t you think?

I was wondering if you were missing anything?

No, I just want to forget about gold max by Diwali, and focus on equities.

Why’s that?

There are much bigger gains to be had in equities. History has shown us that time and again. Plus, there is human capital behind equities. Human capital helps fight inflation. What more do you want? Meanwhile, gold is going to go back to its mean, as soon as a sense of security returns, whenever it does.

And what is gold’s mean?

A 1 % return per annum, adjusted for inflation, as seen over the last 100 years.

That’s it?

Yeah.

And what about equities?

If you take all equities, incuding companies that don’t exist anymore, this category has returned 6% per annum over the last 100 years, adjusted for inflation.

And what if one leaves out loser companies, including those that don’t exist anymore.

Then, equity has returned anything between 12 -15% per annum over the last 100 years, adjusted for inflation.

Wow!

Yeah, isn’t it?

Is This Blood?

When there’s blood on the streets, that’s when you should go out and invest.

That’s an ancient proverb.

The 64 million dollar question is, IS THIS BLOOD?

I’m going to focus on India, because that’s my playground.

So ICICI Bank breached the 700 mark, did it? The 2009 low was around 250 bucks. At 700, it’s not blood. True, the banking sector is down. However, we are nowhere near blood levels. State Bank of India might have fallen around 50 % this year, but it’s still double the price of its 5 year low.

The Sensex shows an average price to earnings ratio of around 14. Remember 2008 and 2009? Average PE of about 9? Well, in my opinion, those are blood levels. These aren’t.

True, the mid-cap segment has taken a hammering. Let’s take Sintex Industries. At 75 levels, this stock has fallen big. Nevertheless, it’s still double the price of it’s 2009 low. At 98 rupees, Jain Irrigation has really fallen too. The PE ratio has come down from 35+ to around 14, and this looks attractive. Even Sintex’s sub-5 PE ratio looks very attractive, also because the company is aggressively pursuing water-purification and “green-innovation”. Agreed, attraction to invest is present, especially in the mid-cap arena, where you’re likely to find quality in management too, as opposed to the small-cap area, where this is less likely. However, to say that there’s overall mayhem here would be going too far.

The BSE small-cap index has halved since late 2010, but is again at double the 2009 low. Many small-cap stocks are bleeding badly, though. Most small-caps haven’t proven their pedigree yet. Thus, people are letting them bleed.

Then there are stocks like Karuturi Global and KS Oils, that have been hammered down to penny-stock levels. One has problems getting into such stocks, because the underlying story can be shady. With penny stocks, there’s always the danger of oblivion, i.e. they might cease to exist down the line. Such stocks need to be traded at best, with small amounts and for the short-term. In their present conditions, they are not investment-grade stocks.

The picture that emerges is that there are selective attractive bets being offered by Mrs. Market. There are good investments to be made for long-term investors, if you possess patience and holding-power. I’m short on patience, so I like to trade India. That should not deter you. If you are a long-termer, and have what it takes, well, then you are a long-termer. And this market is offering you some good bets, so be very selective and go for it, but don’t bet the farm, since we’re not seeing all-out blood on the street yet.

Watch Out for Bottomless Pits

A shareholder-friendly management?

Forget about it.

Very difficult to find, nowadays.

Gone are the days where you’d see an Azim Premji driving his 800, or a Narayana Murthy travelling economy class.

These legends believed in increasing the shareholder’s pie. And this they did, big time. Ask any Wipro or Infosys shareholder. These legends were very clear about one thing: there was no question of pumping in useless expenditure into their public limited company at the cost of the shareholder.

The norm, btw, is totally opposite. Public limited company managements live it up at the cost of the shareholder. Very few promoters are actually bothered about their shareholders. It is the norm to put medical bills, day to day living / wining / dining / entertainment costs, personal property purchases etc. into the company. Why should the promoter bear such costs when there is the public limited company to put these and such costs into? Logical?

Don’t expect too much from your average promoter. He’s not in the game for you.

Where does all this leave you, by the way?

Firstly, you need to look out for, and avoid bottomless pits. These are companies that bear huge amounts of expenditure emanating from the whims and fancies of the promoter. For example, the total sports sponsorship bill for Kingfisher Airlines is staggering. Then there’s this huge red flag in their balance sheet – the company is in under a mountain of debt. On top of that, this company just reported almost a 100 million USD Q2 loss. Math doesn’t add up for you to be investing in such bottomless pits, does it?

In your search for idealistic and shareholder-friendly managements, you might come up with a handful of names. Next you’ll find that it’s no secret. If there’s an idealistic and shareholder-friendly promoter around, people can see this in his or her deeds and of course in the balance sheet of his or her company. Savvy early investors make a beeline for such companies, with the result that by the time you get there, the concerned share-price is already quite inflated. You’ve identified a good investment, but you are not going to enter at an expensive price. If you do, you’ll not be able to sit on your investment for the long-term. Even slight volatility will shake you out of it.

Instead, you choose to wait for the right price to arrive, and then you enter. Well played.

The deal is, that more than 90% – 95% of managements don’t play it like an Azim Premji, or a Narayana Murthy, or an Anu Aga for that matter. However, shareholder-unfriendly promoters sometimes own companies that are lucrative investments. This can be due to niche, cycles, technology, crowd mentality, whatever. When do you buy into such companies?

As a long-term investor, you wanna be buying such companies at a deep discount to real value. My thumb-rule is a single-digit price to earnings ratio. You can have your own thumb-rule. You might have to wait a long time to get this kind of a price, but that’s what long-term investing is about.

As a trader, you buy into such a company with the momentum. You can buy after a resistance is broken. Or after a high is taken out. Or upon a substantial dip after the first burst of momentum. As a trader, what is far more important for you is to know when to let such a company go. Know the level by heart below which or at which you will exit such a company. In trading, exits are far more important than entries.

The mistake you don’t want to be making is to invest in a bottomless-pit, no matter how cheap the share price is.

An Elliott-Wave Cross-Section through a Crowd Build-Up

At first, there’s smart money.

Behind this white-collared term are pioneering investors who believe in thorough research, and who are willing to take risks.

Smart money goes into an underlying, and the price of this underlying moves up. Wave 1.

At the sidelines, there are those who have been stuck in this underlying. As the price moves above their entry level, they begin to off-load. There’s a small correction. Wave 2.

By now, news of the smart money has perforated through the markets. Where is it moving? What did it pick up? Who is behind it? Thus, more investors following news or fundamentals (or both) enter. The price moves past the very recent short-term high of Wave 1, accompanied by a surge in volume.

This is picked up on the charts by those following technicals, who enter too. By now, there are analysts speaking in the media about the turn-around in company so and so, and a large chunk of people following the media do the honours by entering. Wave 3 is under way.

Technical trend-followers latch on, and soon, we are at the meat of Wave 3, i.e. the middle off the trend.

Analysts on the media then speak about buying on dips. All dips are cut short by a surge of entrants seeking to be part of the crowd.

The first feelings of missing the bus register. The pangs of these cause more people to enter.

Meanwhile, the short community has been getting active. Large short positions have been in place for a while, and they are bleeding. Eventually, the short community throws in the towel, and there’s massive short-covering, causing a further surge in price.

Short-covering is sensed by gauging buying pressure despite very high price levels. It is the ideal time for smart money to exit. That’s exactly what it does, without any dip in the price of the underlying whatsoever.

Short-covering is over. Smart money starts boasting about its returns of X% in Y days, openly, at parties, in the media, everywhere. This causes pangs of jealousy and intense feelings of missing the bus in those still left out. Some enter, throwing caution to the wind.

The price has reached a level at which no one has the guts to enter. Demand dries up. With no buying pressure, the price dips automatically. Bargain hunters emerge, and so do shorters. The shorters sell to the bargain hunters right through a sizable dip. This dip happens so fast, that most of the crowd still remains trapped. Wave 3 has ended, and we are now looking at the correcting Wave 4 in progress.

At this stage, technical analysts start advising reentry upon Fibonacci correction levels. Position traders buying upon dips with margin of safety enter, and so does the second-last chunk of those feeling they’d missed the bus. The price edges up to the peak of Wave 3 and past it. That’s the trigger for technical traders to enter.

We now see a mini-repeat of Wave 3. This is called Wave 5. Once Wave 5 crosses its meat, the last chunk of those still feeling they’d missed the bus makes a grand entry with a sharp spike in the price. These are your Uncle Georges, Aunt Marthas and Mr. Cools who know nothing about the underlying. They cannot discern a price to earnings ratio from an orangutan. They desperately want to be a part of the action, since everyone is, at whatever the price. And these are the very people that traders sell to as they exit. With that, the crowd is at its peak, and so is the price. There are no more buyers.

What’s now required is a pin-prick to burst the bubble. It can be bad news in the media, the emergence of a scandal, a negative earnings report, anything.

The rest, they say, is History.