April 24, 2007

You can be a stock market genius – Recaps, stub stocks,warrants and options

The final section of the book starts with recaps. Under a recap, a company may decide to buy back stock from the investor via cash, bond or through preferred stock. Thus the proptional ownership of the investor remains the same. However the company doing the recap is able to create value for the investor. For example, a company is trading at 200 Rs per share. The company earns 20 Rs per share (post-tax). The company returns Rs 150 to the shareholder by raising debt. Post the recap, the company has say Rs 15 of interest expense. As a result the post tax earnings are now are Rs 11 share (assuming 40% tax rate). Even if the company continues to sell at 8 times earning, the net gain for the shareholder is now Rs 38.

The stock after the recap is called as a stub and an investor can benefit from buying such stub stocks after the announcement of the recap. The reason for this is that the stub is a leveraged position on the stock. As the company has high amount of debt, the equity value is depressed due to high leverage. As the company pays off debt, the earnings grow rapidy. Also the multiple could expand at the same time due to reduction in the risk. As a result a small improvement in the debt level can result in a large improvement of the stock price.

Recaps are rare (and even rarer in the indian markets). As stubs via re-caps are rare, the same result can be achieved through LEAPS (Long term equity anticipation security). Leaps are a form of long term call options on the company. They are a leverage call on the medium to long term performance of the company. For sake of an example, lets assume that the stock price of company is Rs 88 / share. The company is highly leveraged and I feel that the company should do well in the next 1-2 years. I could (theortically speaking) buy a LEAP at 50 Rs/ share. If the company does well and the stock goes to 150 Rs/ share in two years, my gain would be 300%. The downside is that if the stock goes below the strike price, then I lose my money completely. LEAPS are thus a leveraged bet on the performance of a company. However, I think the indian market does not have LEAP securities yet.

Warrants provide an alternative route to put in a leveraged bet on the performance of the company. Warrants however have an advantage that their duration is much longer than options and LEAPS. The book has specific examples on recaps and all the other specific arbitrage options like spin-offs, arbitrage, and merger securities.

For all the previous posts on the book
Bankruptcy and restructuring
Arbitrage and merger securities

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