Wednesday, April 4, 2018

We are coming

Looks like all the back-door negotiations have failed and the trade war has become real and staring at us. It is not just US and China. It would spread to other countries including India. We are very much on the radar.

If you see short term economic benefits, US seems to gain from the duties slapped on the international trade. US is the biggest consumer while China is export based economy. This move should make the US Dollar stronger in the shorter term. But at the same time you should not fail to notice the courage displayed by China in slapping back US with equal amount of trade tariffs. China is not standing on the loose ground. China is making arrangements to pay for its oil imports in its own currency avoiding the usage of US Dollar. Whole world is noticing it. Though US Dollar gained against emerging economies, it is falling against Euro and Japanese Yen at the same time.

Message is clear and loud. If you can look further into the future, China has ambitions to make its currency an international one, at the cost of US Dollar. It would slowly get off the vast US Dollar reserves it holds as and when its own currency finds takers. If we assume that Donald Trump continues to remain same in his approach, US Dollar will see serious damage to its valuation in the years to come. Its supremacy in the global market might end and Trump can make it as soon as possible by increasing the intensity of rivalry against China and other countries.

If we assume that US Dollar is going to lose value, it will have a greater impact on India too. Exporters (from India to US) will see their businesses shrinking and becoming infeasible. Talent drain will reverse at a faster pace. India is a consumption major economy unlike China which is export driven. Though two major industries (IT, Pharma) of India will see an adverse impact, rest of India would see things getting better for them with this structural change in the economy. Our currency getting better against US Dollar will help our economy as trade deficits would become thinner and gradually disappear.

Right now we say we are $2 trillion dollar economy with a national income $1500 to 2000 per person per year. If Rupee is going be stronger by 20-30% against USD, our GDP and per capita figures will also be revised by that gain in Dollar terms (though not much has changed in Rupee terms). This will help close the gap between us and rest of the world (mostly with the developed countries).

On PPP terms, India already has a decent ranking and it looks like it will only get better from here, may be at very fast pace than expected earlier. Except China, we can say confidently to rest of the world "We are coming."

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fundamental Stock Analysis: Sintex Plastics

Sintex is a household name. It was a synonym for the water tanks. They expanded their portfolio by venturing into PVC doors, pre-fab housing and also into automotive plastic components. After listing as a separate company, its stock is on a slide. In the last one year, this stock has lost 50% in the price.

Credit: Google Finance

The main reason for the fall can be attributed to negative revenue growth (though not very significant) over the last two quarters. If we assume last quarter’s earnings holds good (Rs. 0.88) as proxy for the entire year (0.88 x 4 = Rs. 3.52 yearly earning), it is trading at 16 P/E multiples and getting close to its book value of Rs. 51.


Credit: Trendlyne

Credit: India Infoline
If we look at balance sheet, we can notice that the company’s borrowings are at 40% of balance sheet size. It is not too high for the engineering sector companies. It seems reasonably healthy.

Trigger for re-rating:

What attracted me to this stock is the news of promoters increasing their holdings in the company. (Link: )

Promoters will pump in around Rs. 600 crores in the form of convertible debentures which will be converted into equity at the conversion price of Rs.90 a share. They have already paid 25% of the funds upfront. Company wants to use these funds to reduce debt.

This is a good news which I expect will trigger re-rating of the stock. Let us run our numbers to assess the impact.
  • Current Borrowings= Rs. 2,593 crores (Long term) + Rs. 894 crores (Short term)
  • Interest payment during last quarter = Rs. 73.47 crores (Avg. interest rate = 8.4%)
  •  Debt reduction = Rs. 600 crores
  • Yearly earnings increase due to reduced interest payment after debt reduction = Rs. 600 crores x 8.4% = Rs. 51 crores
  • Current outstanding shares = 58 crores
  • Increase in share base with warrants conversion = 6.6 crores
  • Total outstanding shares = 58 + 6.6 = 64.6 crores
  • Expected earnings per share = Rs.4.5 (approx. Rs. 1 increase due to debt reduction)


Promoters increasing stake and that money being used to reduce debt will add Rs.1 per share to the earnings. At current P/E multiple of 16, it adds a value of Rs. 16 to each share. But there is an improvement to quality of balance sheet as debt levels will come down. That would demand a higher P/E multiple. Though industry P/E multiple is at 35, we can conservatively expect it to raise to 20.

Estimated future value per share = 4.5 (EPS) x 20 (P/E) = Rs. 90

Interestingly our estimate coincides with conversion price of debentures too. That gives a sense that our estimate is realistic. This means there is upside potential of 50% to this stock. It may take an year or so to realize that benefit.

Down Risks to estimate:

We have not assumed any further deterioration to revenue as business seems to be stable as per the management commentary and order book position. If our assumptions are challenged, so will be our estimate too.

Potential upside to estimate:

There could be further upside to our estimate if business comes out stronger than last quarter which looks more probable. And the company is venturing into automotive sector which has higher potential to increase earning further. That estimate is considered out of scope for this post.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

5 Cultural Stages (TED Talk: Tribal Leadership by David Logan)

I have recently changed my job and was noticing the cultural differences between the organization I had worked for before and the one serving now. I was thinking what causes the difference in culture? Of course, it is it's people. But I wanted to get a better understanding how those people shape up the culture? This TED talk by David Logan gave the answers I was looking for. I found it impressive and interesting so I wanted to mention it on my blog.

David Logan shows how the tribes (a group of around 20 to 150 people) form and adopt a culture suiting their outlook towards life. He shows most organizations operate at Stage 3 which is incidentally the larger population too.
Having this knowledge allows us to identify what kind of tribe we are part of and why there are  cultural differences across the groups operating at different cultural stages and how to evolve and move forward. And this understanding also makes us more tolerant towards the groups in the lower stages of culture.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Book Review: Portrait of a Serial Killer by Khushwant Singh

This is a collection of 58 short essays written by Khushwant Singh over many decades published in various newspapers and magazines but not in a book form before. This book is divided into four sections, grouping the essays by People, Places, Indian Way and Politics.

In the first section about people, author writes about his meetings with Lata Mangeshkar at her home and a dinner with Dev Anand. There is a chapter on author's perspectives on Nehru as a writer and in another chapter he describes the life Amir Khusrau had lived being a courtier and being close to a saint at the same time. Book’s title ‘Portrait of a serial killer’ is a chapter in this section where in author constructs the life story and looks into how the mind of a serial killer works based on the information available about him.

Second section is about places. Here author gives summary of his experiences in visiting the places across India and the fascinating stories behind them. It has an interesting story of sudden appearance of numerous snakes in a village and how they find what had caused it. This section has chapters on Hyderabad, Agra, Amritsar, Haridwar, Delhi and villages in Madhya Pradesh.

Third section is about the way Indians think and behave. And the last section is about the political dramas and the stories as seen by the author. Here author dons the role of a journalist and the language becomes critical and he suggests how we should see things differently and act.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two sections of this book. This book was on my night stand for a week as a warm companion to relax and put me to good sleep.

Khushwant Singh had many hats to wear – that of author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist and politician. He read and wrote voraciously and has numerous books to his credit. He died in 1994 at the age of 99. This book was a compilation of his works by his daughter and was published in 2015 on the hundredth anniversary of author’s birth.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Competition is good but who are we competing with?

From childhood we have been taught by our parents and teachers to compete and win. We were told competition is good and necessary. Probably they wanted to introduce us early in our lives to the unfairness life. But who are we competing with? During school days, we had running races with our own classmates. Of course, I did not win in any of them but I was congratulating the winners. I was scoring well in academics. It had made me feel good to draw attention and feel like a winner. But what about those who did not win either in sports or academics? How did they feel? In the eyes of teachers and winning students, they had remained an unimportant mediocre mass. Were they not destined to be successful?

Out of curiosity, I started learning how those my classmates are doing in their lives after a gap of 20 years we finished our schooling. Some of them had remained mediocre, time had not brought any change in them. But few were surprisingly successful. I started looking into details of their lives. They did not draw attention when they were in school but they had better social lives and had a wider circle of friends than winners had. They gelled with a broader society with ease. These mediocre students did not make their parents proud but they were the dependable most and were available at a call for any petty help to make things run during their absence. They made their parents social circles theirs too and slowly got into the business their fathers were running. When they had passed out of school or college, they were confident enough to run the business their parents were running. Over time they became street-smart businessmen too. Some of them ventured into politics. Few of them built schools though themselves were weak in studies but had hired the right people to run those schools. And the interesting point is, they had formed a network of friends (who too were mediocre in school days) and they stood for each other always. They became a testament to how good life can be if we learn to cooperate than compete with our own fellow schoolmates.

And those who were winners during school life, got on to corporate life and have continued competing at every phase of life. Today I was seeing how the office-goers rush out of a Metro station in Bangalore competing with fellow passengers to check out as early as possible. I was wondering how many seconds they would save by outsmarting fellow travelers. Well, competition is in their blood now, they would not let any opportunity slip off their hands. They cannot let go of any promotions in their office and they would compete fiercely to get to the top-notch job. They will tell you if they let go of the opportunity, someone else will seize it and step on you in the career pyramid. Wow, winning makes them less empathetic. They do care less about who are not winning. They did promote competition in their kids too. And the relay continued to the next generation.

Taking a step back, seeing both instances from a longer-term perspective of life, it feels important for me to have a happier life than competing constantly and winning. Winners will be left with few friends as their ability to to make friends reduce as preferences differ and they will be left with little choice. It makes sense for me not to win and retain friends thereby. I would rather cultivate cooperation in my kids than competition. I would feel good if we stood for each other than force ourselves through career pyramids. I see that many European countries are valuing life more than career (especially the Scandinavian countries). No wonder people are happier there than rest of the world.

After the metamorphosis, I took a conscious decision to get off the corporate treadmill. I still need employment for some more time but I would avoid competing with my own friends and make way for those who are in a hurry. I have changed the job to have a better work-life balance and foreclosed much of my debt. I have informed my family that I would not be buying any assets in future rather prefer a slow life being a non-rich person. I am letting go of the opportunities to earn higher amounts of money and acquire assets thereby. I am out of that race and I would not mind being termed a loser.

My desires are tamed now and I am at peace with myself. I think this is what Buddha had realized two thousand years ago, under a Bhodhi tree. And that is all any fool would learn in future as well.