Note: The analysis below is dated end of march – beginning of april. The stock has had a major jump since I started analysing the company. In interest of disclosure, I have a position in the stock. So please take this as a biased analysis. In addition I do not know if the jump in price is temporary and the price will fall again or it will continue rising. So as usual, please do your own analysis, read my disclaimer below and don’t blame me if your decision is based on my analysis alone. In summary – I am not recommending anyone to buy or sell the stock.
NIIT technologies is a 900 Crs company. It is a spinoff from NIIT ltd and is in the business of ITES and BPO. The company has 50% of revenue from Europe, around 30% from US and the rest from Asia, and other parts of the world
The company has a focus on a few key verticals such as BFSI (more in insurance), Transportation and retail services. The company has done a few targeted accquisition (such as ROOM solutions) in the above verticals in the last few years. In addition the company has signed a few JV’s too in the past. The company thus seems to be following an organic and in-organic path to growth
The company has done well in the past few years with ROE increasing from 17% to 30%+ in 2006. This has been driven by improvement in margins from 6% to around 12-14% in the recent years.
The revenue has also grown from around 500 Crs in 2004 to around 1000 odd crores in 2008 (expected). This translates into a revenue growth of around 18% p.a. The Net profit has grown from 33 Crs to around 110 Crs in 2007.
The company has a cash balance of almost 250 Crs (2007) which could rise to 350 odd crs (approximate). This would account for more than 60% of the market cap of the company.The company has almost 50% revenue from europe and thus is less exposed to the dollar risk and recession in the US.
In addition the company seems to be growing well, improving margins and increasing scale. At the same time the revenue from top 10 clients as a % of total revenue seems to be coming down, which is a good thing.
The company has a repeat business of almost 89% which shows good stability of revenue.
The obvious ones – US dollar, global slowdown etc etc.
The non obvious – The company is mid-tier ITES company. It still does not have the scale of the tier I vendor. However if the company focusses on the specific verticals and scales up in those verticals, then this disadvantage could be eliminated
In addition the company is pursuing accquisitions also. This is always a riskier way to grow.
The ITES business depends on the following key factors
a) scale : NIIT seems to be building scale in specific verticals. This would be the key to the company’s future
b) Customer lock in: This seems to be working for the company as the repeat business is fairly high
The other factors such cost advantage, overall scale etc is no longer a key differentiator as all ITES companies have this advantage and it is now considered as a minimum requirement in this business.
The company sells at 1-2 times Net profit (Net profit is equal to free cash flow here) if you take out cash. The market is pricing NIIT tech with a view that the company will be out of business by 2010.
Short the company shutting down by 2010, it cannot think of any other justification for such valuations.
Dollar depreciation, US slowdown and increase in taxation rate can hurt margins. However ITES companies have some flexibility and control on the net margins through variable pay, utilization etc. So even if the margins drop by 50% to around 6-7%, the company will still sell at 4-5 times PE which is still quite low.
In summary, the market is pricing NIIT tech to be out of business in the next 1-2 years. That is a very low probability event in my view