In an earlier post, I discussed about a new mental construct – value trade. This is basically an investment operation where one buys a super cheap stock in the hope that it will become merely cheap (as my good friend neeraj puts it).
The idea is to buy a stock which is selling at dirt cheap price due to various short term reasons such as selling pressure, unexpected bad results or sheer neglect. The hope is that the market will get over this extreme pessimism (temporary) soon and will price it at slightly more reasonable levels (though still cheap).
In such cases, I am out as soon as the stock recovers (as I have done with some ideas in the past – Globus spirits).
Infinite computers is a 1400 Cr IT services company. The main business segments of the company are application management services, infrastructure management services, Product engineering services and a new division – Mobility solutions.
The application management services involve the usual ADM and other support services. This is the bread and butter of the Indian IT industry. This segment contributed to around 68% of the revenue for the company and is characterized by repeat revenue, moderate levels of margins and high levels of competition
The infrastructure management services contributed around 16% of the revenue and is similar to the application management services in terms of profitability and competitive pressures. These two segments are being commoditized across the industry and the days of fantastic profits are gone.
The product engineering services involves some kind of IP based revenue sharing model. I could not find any revenue data for this segment, but based on the other segments would assume around 14-15% of the total revenue.
The mobility solutions segment is a new segment referred to as Infinite convergence solutions. This is a messaging platform (details here) acquired from Motorola and supports around 100 Mn+ global subscribers.
The company has grown from around 350 Crs in 2007 to around 1400 Crs for the year 2013 which translates to around 25% CAGR growth. The net profit for the company has grown from around 3 Crs to around 120-130 Crs for the current year. The net margins have improved from around 9% to around 11% levels, mainly due to a small reduction in the manpower cost (as % of sales)
The company has been able to deliver an ROE of 20%+ in the last five years. In addition the company been able to maintain receivables at around 25-30% of revenue which seems reasonable for a company of its size.
The company is a debt free company and has around 130 Crs cash on the books (30 % of market cap). The management has been investing capital into the business, has a 30% dividend payout ratio and the rest has been accumulated as cash on the books. In addition, the company also did a small buyback in the last one year.
The company has a very strong balance sheet and good returns ratio. The management has invested capital sensibly in the past and has a reasonable dividend policy in place. In addition, the top management is a buyer of the stock at the current levels (though one should not read too much into it)
The company has a high level of repeat business, which provides a high level of confidence to the sustainability of the revenues.
The company has been able to grow the topline and profits since 2007 and now has considerable cash on the books. At the same time, the company was not very profitable from 2005 to 2008 (average 2-4% margins) and had a very low topline growth of around 5% per annum during this period.
The company operates in a highly competitive, global and fragmented industry – IT services. The industry is facing commoditization and is very likely to have lower profitability in the future. The company is focused on the telecom industry which has its own competitive pressures with the additional risk of a very high proportion of revenue from the top 5 clients. This exposes the company to a high level of topline and profit risk, if there is any loss of business from the top few customers.
Finally, the company is also expanding into the product space which is a high risk, high return kind of a business. The company has invested in excess of 80 Crs on various product related businesses and these intangible assets may incur a write down if these ventures were to prove unsuccessful.
In case of a long term idea, a buy and hold strategy works quite well as the company is growing its intrinsic value. In case of mid cap IT companies, the economics of the industry over the long term is not very clear (atleast to me). As a result, the returns have to come over the next 9-12 months and this is usually driven by a catalyst.
In case of infinite computer solutions, the 2013 profits have been a bit suppressed by the forex losses and once this headwind dies down , we should see a better growth in the net profits. A consistent dividend payout of 30% - growing with the profits should serve as another catalyst.
What can go wrong? A loss of any of the top 5 customers would hit the topline and profits. A sudden slowdown in north america would impact the company as this region accounts for almost 80% of the revenue. If any of this happens, the stock is likely to drop in the short term
Finally, if the management does an overpriced acquisition or has to write down the intangible assets, the market is not going to like that.
The company sells at a PE of around 4 and an EV/EBDITA of 1.7 (after excluding cash). At these levels, the market believes that the company will soon be out of business. The company does face multiple risks (which company doesn’t), but none of the risks appear to be fatal. In addition, as far as I can tell, the management seems to be doing a good job of managing the business and a fair job of allocating capital.
If one believes that the company is not going out of business, then one does not need any fancy calculations to realize that the stock is cheap.
Why a value trade?
I am not comfortable with the economics of the IT services industry. This industry is commoditizing and the wage arbitrage game is slowly coming to an end. The super high returns on capital are likely to trend down – as has already occurred for several mid cap companies in this space.
At the same time, I cannot resist an undervalued stock which can deliver above average returns in the medium term (9-12 months).
Note: This idea was emailed to me by chaitanyya and it is not an original idea. I have a small starter position and will add or reduce based on the price and performance of the company. Please do your own due diligence.
Disclaimer : Stocks discussed in this post are for educational purpose only and not recommendations to buy or sell. Please contact a certified investment adviser for your investment decisions. Please read disclaimer towards the end of blog.