Demystifying Vijay Mallya Scam

Demystifying Vijay Mallya Scam | Vijay Mallya Case Study

A Study on Vijay Mallya Scam Case: Vijay Vittal Mallya, once known to you and me as ‘The King of Good Times’ or also dubbed ‘ The playboy of the East’ was born to the Indian Entrepreneur Vittal Mallya in 1955. Vittal Mallya was largely known for the role played as the director of United Breweries (UB) Group which he achieved at the age of 23. Following his fathers’ sudden demise Vijay Mallya became chairman of the UB Group.

Vijay Mallya was always known for his flamboyant and posh lifestyle. A testament to these were the lavish New Year Parties at his Kingfisher Villa in Goa or the birthday bashes thrown on his luxurious Yacht ‘ The Indian Empress’. These parties were filled with prominent sportspersons, Bollywood stars, and models. Baron to Indias biggest liquor company his riches also included a private jet, a yacht and a fleet of 250 rare cars. Today we take a look at the Vijay Mallya’s rise to the king of good times and his plummet into a debt-ridden slump.

LtoR: Vijay Mallya with his father Vittal Mallya; Vijay Mallya posing in one of his vintage cars; Vijay Mallya in an interview with Simi Garewal(LtoR: Vijay Mallya with his father Vittal Mallya; Vijay Mallya posing in one of his vintage cars; Vijay Mallya in an interview with Simi Garewal)

Let’s Begin With Vijay Mallya’s Achievements

Although his reputation as ‘The playboy of the East’ may create the fallacy that Vijay Mallya was just another spoilt brat squandering the millions he inherited. His achievements tell a completely different story. After becoming the chairman of the UB Group at the age of 28 in 1983, he transformed the beverage company into a multi-national conglomerate of over 60 companies.

One of his first major decisions was to consolidate the various companies under an umbrella group called the “UB Group”. This also involved spinning off the loss-making entities in order to focus on the core business which was alcoholic beverages. By 1998- 1999 the annual turnover had increased by 64% over 15 years to US$11 billion. The UB Group boasted a national market share in excess of 50% and also controlled 60% of the total manufacturing capacity for beer in India.

Vijay Mallya However did not stop with the success of his company in alcoholic beverages alone. He went further to acquire Berger Paints, Best, and Crompton in 1988; Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers in 1990, The Asian Age newspaper and the publisher of the film magazine, and Cine Blitz, a Bollywood magazine in 2001. He also went on the serve as the Chairman of Sanofi India and Bayer Crop Science among several other companies. These achievements catapulted him into the status of one of the great Indian business tycoons.

Vijay Mallya at the launch of the limited edition Kingfisher Calender. LtoR: Vijay Mallya with Preity Zinta; Models; and Enrique Iglesias(Vijay Mallya at the launch of the limited edition Kingfisher Calender. LtoR: Vijay Mallya with Preity Zinta; Models; and Enrique Iglesias)

Vijay Mallya’s reach also extended to the sports world. In 1996, he became to fist Indian tycoon to sponsor a cricket team to the world cup when he did so for the West Indies through Kingfisher (Indian beer brewed by UB). This gave birth to the famous jingle ‘Oo la Lala le o’.

His companies also owned the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore, I-league teams Mohun Bagan AC, East Bengal FC, and Formula 1 team Force India. Vijay Mallya is also a member of the World Motor Sport Council representing India in the FIA. He also took particular interest in horse racing and also owned stud farms with up to 200 horses.

Vijay Mallya also contributed significantly to protect Indian history by bringing back precious artifacts belonging to Tipu Sultan and Mahatma Gandhi. This included a bid that he won at 1.7 crores for the sword of Tipu Sultan at an auction in London in the year 2004. In addition to this, he also brought back 30 other items belonging to Tipu Sultan from auction houses based in the UK. In 2009 Vijay Mallya once again bid successfully for the belongings of Mahatma Gandhi at US$ 1.8 million at an auction in New York. 

Mallya also served in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, for his home state Karnataka.

Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines

Despite Vijay Mallya being successful in running various companies mentioned earlier, he isn’t known for their success, but for the failure of Kingfisher and the show that followed. The Kingfisher Airline was part of Vijay Mallya’s vision of having a world-class airline in India.

He was quoted saying to his core team before the launch that “We are not entering the business of transportation, but we are going to be in the hospitality business”. Mallya was also personally involved with the airlines and also personally interviewed the cabin crew in order to make sure that no mistakes were made.

(The Kingfisher Takeoff Demo which was ahead of its time. Vijay Mallya had roped in Yana Gupta ( featured in the video) for this purpose)

After its launch in 2005, Kingfisher Airlines soon became synonymous with Five Star Air Travel. This was thanks to the newly appointed planes, pretty flight attendants (whom Mallya claimed to personally appoint), good food, and also in-flight entertainment in 2006 which was first of its kind. Most importantly this domestic airline also had a first-class. Although domestic flights were not allowed to serve liquor in India, Kingfisher had free liquor in the lounges for first-class passengers. This made Kingfisher the first choice of business travelers. Executives would even give up flyer miles from competitors just to fly Kingfisher.

Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines

Vijay Mallya, however, was not content by flying Kingfisher only in Indian skies. He planned on expanding the airline globally. As per Indian rules, airlines that have been in existence for only 5 years are not allowed to fly overseas routes. Mallya decided to bypass this law by acquiring existing airlines. He first bid for Air Sahara in 2006 but lost to Jet. He later was successful in buying Air Deccan. In 2008, Kingfisher finally got permission to operate on international routes with its first flight being from Bangalore to London. By 2008, Kingfisher Airlines was carrying 10.9 Million passengers with a fleet of 77 aircraft operating 412 domestic flights daily. In 2009 Kingfisher airlines became the Indian market leader with a marketshare of 22.9%.

Despite its success, Kingfisher was consistently making losses since its inception. The shareholders kept waiting for their first dividends. Post-2010, the airline failed to capture markets which was a major red flag as its competitors continued to do so. In the year 2011, the airline first declared that it had cash flow issues. In order to keep the loss-making business functioning, Vijay Mallya resorted to continuously borrow money from the banks.

By 2012, Kingfisher Airlines was declared as an NPA by SBI. At this point, it had even failed to pay its employees which led to its pilots leaving it for better opportunities. Finally, the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines in 2012 and the cancellation of its license in December 2012 put an end to the Kingfisher journey.

What went wrong with Kingfisher?

— 2008 Recession

The news of airlines going bankrupt has been particularly dominant in the recent past. The huge capital costs with regards to airplanes, the ever-changing fuel costs, and country-wise regulations have made it one of the toughest industries to survive in. Kingfisher too got entangled with these problems post the 2008 recession. The recession had adverse impacts on all industries. As of March 2008, Kingfishers’ debt amounted to Rs. 934 crores. During the recession, the crude oil prices soared to $140 per barrel.

This was almost a two-fold increase in comparison to the 2005 – 2010 average of $72.68. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated that the global aviation market would suffer losses of $5.2 billion. The airlines in India were hit harder due to the taxes and levies imposed by the government. By the end of 2008, the debt with Kingfisher had increased to Rs.5665 crores.

— Issues with Air Deccan

What went wrong with Kingfisher

When Vijay Mallya first bought Air Deccan he allowed both to function as separate companies. But over time it became clear that Kingfisher was the golden child in between the two. If there were clashes between the schedules of the two, Kingfisher was always favored. The problem arose when passengers not only left Air Deccan due to this but decided to choose competitors other than Kingfisher. 

Post the closure of Kingfisher the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) found that serious corporate ethics were violated during the merger. Kingfisher had created three new departments in the airline to avoid paying capital gains tax.

— Business model followed by Kingfisher airlines

If we take a look at the picture offered by Kingfisher to the travelers at inception it would be safe to say that Kingfisher would be luxurious domestic travel. But over time this picture began to change. Kingfisher went ahead and purchased Air Deccan. Air Deccan did not fully suit the image that had been created by Vijay Mallya in consumers’ eyes. Air Deccan was set up as a low-cost airline.  By purchasing it Kingfisher gained a few consumers particularly those looking for cheap fares but in the process lost its distinctive sheen. This is just one of the examples of Kingfisher changing its business models. A regularly changing business model gave travelers the impression that Kingfisher wasn’t consistent and would only keep getting worse. 

Vijay Mallya Scam: Was it just Mallya’s fault?

Loans associated with Kingfisher amounted to Rs. 7000 crores. The table below shows the loans taken by Kingfisher from various banks

Was Vijay Mallya at fault

There has also been controversy when it comes to the means used and collateral placed to acquire these loans. BOI had given a loan of 300 crores to Vijay Mallya on items like office stationery, boarding pass printers, and folding chairs as collateral. The banks’ willingness to provide loans based on Current assets as capital created suspicion on the bank officials.

The loans given by SBI were on the trademarks and Goodwill of Kingfisher airlines kept as collateral. These trademarks which were worth over Rs. 4000 crores in 2009 have now plummeted to not more than Rs. 6 crores. IOB too faces similar issues where the 2 helicopters placed as collateral are not in a flying condition and hence cannot be sold to recover Rs. 100 crores of debt.

— What were the loans used for?

Over the course of time, the loans associated with Kingfisher were monumental. But the question arises if the loans that were taken by UB Group were actually implemented for its actual purpose. There have been allegations that the loans taken by Vijay Mallya were only to further his personal agenda. These allegations claim that the loans taken by Vijay Mallya were laundered overseas to various tax havens. This was done with the help of shell companies. Mallya would have the loan received from banks transferred to these shell companies where dummy directors were placed for this purpose. These companies were not active and did not even have an independent source of income. The directors placed here would act as per the directions received from the UB group at the command of Mallya. These companies were located in seven countries including the United Kingdom, the USA, Ireland, and France.

Furthermore, it is also alleged that Vijay Mallya also diverted these loans in order to fund his IPL cricket team The Royal Challengers Bangalore and his F1 racing team Force India. This was all in the midst of a period when the employees of Kingfisher were not paid their salaries. As of October 2013,  the salaries had not been paid for a period of 15 months. 

Vijay Mallya’s Viewpoint

According to Vijay Mallya, the reason for the failure of Kingfisher Airlines were the macroeconomic factors and then government policies. And as far as his name is being dragged in all NPA cases he claims that he is a victim of a media campaign. Vijay Mallya has also made an offer to banks where he would pay them Rs. 4,000 crores in order to settle all his accounts. But as per the news reports lenders together have decided that they need a minimum of Rs.4900 crores to be paid upfront.

Vijay Mallya Urges Govt To Take His Money & Close His Case

Closing thoughts

Vijay Mallya UKWhen the Vijay Mallya case is first looked at, it seems similar to those of businessmen getting unlucky. But a closer look reveals the possibility of money laundering that can only be proved once he is extradited back to India. The ability to turn UB into a global giant had turned him into a business superstar. Although his fast and flashy life inspired many to strive for such wealth, him placing himself above the greater good of all stakeholders associated with Kingfisher took all of this away.

One only wonders where did these skills evaporate when dealing with Kingfisher in times of crisis when his employees were not paid for 15 months. On being questioned about this he replied that “In a Public Limited Company where is one man, who might be the chairman, responsible for the finances of the entire Company? And what has it got to do with all my other businesses? I have built up and run the largest spirits company in the world in this country.”. Although he had already lost the billionaire status by the year 2013, his wealth still stood at over $700 million. This meant that he had the resources to provide his employees with some relief. But instead, he chose to celebrate his Birthday by spending lavishly where international singer Enrique Iglesias performed.  

His indifferent attitude shown towards the suffering of his employees coupled with the allegations of Rs. 4000 crore laundered made it impossible to sympathize with which is sad as he was looked up to by many. It is safe to compare him to Captain Edward Smith of the Titanic. Captain to the largest ship but when things go awry also the first man to get out.

What are Right Issues cover

What are Right Issues? And How it affect your investments?

Understanding What are Right Issues: Today if one is to pick up a newspaper he would find the pages riddled with issues on rights i.e. that related to liberty, equality, freedom of expression, opinions, speech, etc. However, you may be surprised that a few flips into the financial section will too include news with regards to the ‘Rights Issue‘. The rights mentioned here similarly outline the entitlement and privilege available but different from those concerned with social issues.

Today, we try and understand the term ‘Rights Issue’ as a corporate action as this would help in making a more accurate decision when offered rights by a company whose shares are held in our portfolio.

What are Right Issues

What are Right Issues?

A Right Issue is one of the options a company has in order to raise funds. In a Rights issue, the company gives an opportunity only to the existing shareholders to buy additional shares of the company.

The price offered by the company to the existing shareholders is at a discount to the market price. This is done in order to make the offer attractive to the shareholders and at the same time make up for any dilution of capital. A Right Issue also gives an opportunity for the shareholders the opportunity to increase their stake within the company. Shareholders here have a right but are under no obligation to purchase the shares. 

— Why do companies go for a Rights Issue?

The nature of a Right Issue also turns the corporate action into a trump card due to its ability to provide companies a shot at raising capital irrespective of the environment they are in. Troubled companies may opt for a rights issue in order to pay off their debts or use it as a means to raise funds for its operations when they are unable to borrow money.

— Is Right Issue a Red Flag that the Company?

Is Right Issue a Red Flag that the Company

A Right Offering is definitely not a red flag. This is because the right offering is also seen as a means to raise additional capital for its expansion and growth needs.

At times when the gestation period of a project undertaken by a company may be too long before it generates profit. In such cases opting for debt would be unwise as they would require regular interest payments even before the project is functional let alone be profitable making debt too expensive. Hence, a Right issue would seem like a Win-Win situation for both the company and the shareholders. This is because the right issue would not require regular servicing as long as the project remains on track to successful completion and future.

In a recent scenario Reliance Industries too opted for a rights issue but this was done in order to rid their balance sheets of all debt and at the same time reward the shareholders.

Can you buy unlimited shares in a rights issue?

Rights issues function differently than an Initial Public Offer(IPO) or a Follow on Public Offer(FPO). In a Right issue, the shareholder will be given the option to purchase rights but only in proportion to the shares they already hold. In the recent issue by RIL, the shareholders were offered shares in the ratio of 1:15. This means that for every 15 shares held one share may be bought in the right issue.

Hence the extent to which the shareholders can purchase shares is limited to the shares they already hold. Investors, however, have the option to sell their right to purchase the shares. The shareholders, however, are free to purchase a right some other investor wants to sell in the market.

Different types of Right Issues

There are two main types of rights issue of shares, which are as follows:

— Renounceable Rights Issue: When Renounceable Rights are offered to a shareholder he has the option to purchase the shares by exercising his right, or ignore the right, or sell his right at the price that the rights are being traded at in the stock market.

— Non-Renounceable Rights Issue: When Non-Renounceable Rights are offered to a shareholder he only has the option to purchase the shares by exercising his right or ignore the right. When these rights are offered the shareholder cannot sell his right to another investor.

Taking the ‘Right’ decision?

The Right Issue not being an obligation gives the investors the option to buy the shares of the company, ignore the issue, or sell the ‘right’ itself. Now, we take a look at the different options purely on a financial basis.

Taking the Right decision

Example: Say you are holding 1000 shares in the company Pineapple Ltd, whose shares are currently trading at Rs.21 in the market. Pineapple Ltd comes up with a rights issue where the shares are offered at a discount of Rs.15 per share. The right offering is made in the ratio of 2:10. The company already has 100,000 shares issued in its IPO and plans to further raise Rs. 300,000 through the rights issue bringing the total holdings to 120,000 shares.

1. Buying shares through the right issue

Here we look into the consideration of buying the shares. One of the integral portions of a rights issue is the Ex- right price. The Ex-Right price is a theoretical price that will result after the rights issue. Computation of this price helps an investor to take a stand on a financial basis on whether shares should be bought through the right or not. Let’s begin.

  • Shares held of Pineapple Ltd – 1000 shares (a)
  • The current holdings are valued in the market at Rs.21000.
  • The shares made available via. the rights offer is = (1000 x 2/10) i.e. ( shares held x ratio offered) = 200 shares. (b)
  • Cost that will be incurred through participation in the bonus issue = 200 x Rs. 15 = Rs 3000.
  • Total holdings if post right issue( if successful) = 1000 + 200 = 1200 shares.
  • Value of portfolio including investment from rights = 21000+3000 = Rs. 24000.
  • Ex Right price ( value per share post issue) = 24000/1200 = Rs. 20 per share

The investment above would prove to be beneficial as even though you have paid Rs.15 per share post the issue, they would theoretically be anticipated to be worth at Rs 20 post the issue.

2. Sell the right itself

The rights that you are entitled to as a shareholder with respect to the privilege to buy shares in a Right issue have an intrinsic value attached and can be traded in the stock market. These are known as Nil Paid Rights.

Above we have already calculated the ex right price. In certain cases, it is profitable if the ‘rights’ are traded at or above a price that is greater than the difference between the offered price and the ex right price.

I.e. (20-15) = Rs 5.

What happens if the shareholder simply gives up the right?

At times the shareholder may also choose to take no action on the right and simply ignore it. It is important for the shareholder to note that the preferential rights given here, come with the risk of dilution if ignored. This is because as discussed earlier, the shares issued derive value from the existing portfolio and investment made through the rights. This will be spread across the whole portfolio post the issue. 

Also if we go back to the previous example the shareholder would be left with only 1000 shares post the issue. Say the prices are equal to the ex right price. This would mean that the ex right shares that were earlier valued at Rs. 21,000 would be valued at Rs. 20,000 posts the issue. These would be only the beginning of the effects as the shares will be affected in the future as well eg. income from the company distributed in the form of dividends will now be distributed among 120,000 shares instead of earlier 100,000.

Right Issues in the Covid-19 environment

Right Issues in the Covid-19 environment

In the wake of the COVID-19 environment, several companies resorted to raising capital through the right issues. This included companies with strong credentials like Mahindra Finance, Tata Power, and Shriram Transport Finance. These companies have been able to raise a total of 10,000 crores during the pandemic. RIL saw its right issue s oversubscribed by 1.59 times and received applications worth more than Rs. 84,000 crores and raised 53,124 crores through the issue.

The rights issue route was adopted by the companies due to the ease of raising funds. This was because all that is required for the right issue is the board of directors’ approval. Unlike other means that require shareholders’ approval in the shareholders meeting as well which is an added risk in the current environment. In addition to this SEBI also undertook several steps to ease the process of rights issues like reducing the market cap requirements and also the minimum subscription requirements.

Also read:

Closing Thoughts

Even though Right issues have been particularly popular during the COVID-19 environment the response has not always been the same. Shareholders were always quick to realize that no matter how democratic the corporate action may seem they still are in a way forced. This is because the threat of their portfolio being diluted always remained.

Despite this, when faced with the choice to participate in a rights issue it is always better to not just rely on the financial aspect. It is also very important to find out what the purpose of the rights issue is. In addition to this, it is also a positive sign if the promoters take part in the rights issue. It shows that they themselves believe in the cause. Happy Investing.

Why Prices of Petrol and Diesel Increasing in India (2020)

Why Prices of Petrol and Diesel Increasing in India (2020)?

Demystifying increasing prices of Petrol and Diesel in India during Covid19 period: After 67 days of lockdown, the economy finally opened up on June 1st. Since then most of us have been trying to bring our lives together and adapt to the new normal of living with COVID-19. In the midst of threats on our borders and the steady rise of corona cases, petrol and diesel prices have steadily increased in the background for 22 days. These added to the unusual events of 2020, as the diesel prices were higher than petrol.

Today we shed light on the rising petrol and diesel prices. We also try and answer the possible reason for the increase especially when just a few days ago the crude oil prices crashed into the negative territory.

coronavirus petrol diesel price meme

How are petrol and diesel Priced?

Before we look into the causes for the price increase, it is best to figure out the chain that crude oil moves through in order to better understand where the price increase has come from.

How are petrol and diesel Priced?

(Source)

Unlike other oil-rich countries, 80% of the crude oil consumed in India is sourced from other countries. This crude oil faces freight charges until it is transported to Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) which is dominated by public sector enterprises with very few private players. These companies go on to refine the crude oil into finished products.  The public players include IOCL, HPCL, BPCL, MRPL, etc. The ONC companies then charge their cut of profits in addition to the cost incurred by them for refining. The next cut is taken as profits to the dealers in petrol pumps etc. It may be surprising but the portion of the charges mentioned above make up only one-third of the amount paid by the consumers for petrol or diesel. 

The remaining two-thirds portion is made up of the taxes paid to the government. These taxes are levied in the form of excise duty, VAT and Cess charges. The excise duties are charged by the central government whereas VAT and Cess charged on petroleum are charged by the state governments.

Every Rupee that the government increases in taxes on diesel and petrol leads to Rs.14,000 crore of additional revenue to the government per annum. This sheds light as to why the government would target the petrol and diesel prices. In the current scenario, the additional revenues likely to be generated come up to 1.4-1.7 lakh crore rupees.

Reasons for the increase in prices of Petrol and Diesel

— Crude oil price normalizing

One of the major questions we would be having is that since the prices had gone negative, how is it that we are facing an all-time biggest increase in a fortnight. It is important to note that there exist different types of crude oil varying based on the place they are sourced from and the sulfur content present in them. WTI from the US, Brent crude from the UK, and the OPEC basket from the middle east. Of these the most expensive has been the Brent and the OPEC.

Unfortunately for us, these are the ones that India imports. And further depressing news has been that it was WTI crude that went negative and not the Brent and OPEC. At their lowest points in April, the Brent and OPEC were priced at $16 to $20 per barrel.Crude oil price normalizing

(Source: Oilprice.com)

These prices have since then been doubled crossing $40. The Brent and OPEC crossing $40 in recent times have been one of the reasons for the price increase. But this is not a major factor as these prices simply haven’t even touched pre-COVID levels of 2019.

— Setting off losses

As seen above despite Brent and OPEC being comparatively expensive, their global prices had reduced significantly in the months of April-May. This further raises questions as to why the prices of petrol and diesel were not reduced to match the global fall. The answer to these questions lies in the fact that the govt had chosen not to transfer the benefits to the consumers but instead use it to set off other losses.

These losses were primarily because of the COVID-19 environment. It had forced the government to move into a lockdown freezing most of the revenue channels for the govt. Which also included income from petrol and diesel as the consumption was dropped to only 30%. 

Union petroleum minister - Dharmendra Pradhan

Union petroleum minister – Dharmendra Pradhan

In this case, the government decided not to reduce the prices to match the crude oil price. But instead, they chose to maintain price levels to make up for the fall in demand for petrol and diesel and also fall in revenue from other sectors. This carried on till the lockdown was lifted at which point the crude oil prices kept increasing globally. 

The fall in demand to only 30% of consumption also caused the OMCs to sell every liter at a loss as the profit made was not able to cover the cost incurred. The OMCs were forced to further increase their margins in the’ Lockdown-Unlock’ period to cover the losses they operated on during the lockdown which led to a 22-day steady increase till the prices touched levels where they were profitable.

— INR to Dollar exchange rate

The exchange rates also impact the prices of petrol and dollar as the crude oil is traded only in exchange for the dollar. The COVID-19 pandemic hammered the already weakened rupee. The rupee currently hovers at over Rs. 75 for a dollar. The rupee traded at Rs.70 for one dollar in December 2019.

Closing Thoughts

rahul gandhi petrol diesel price

The increase in the prices of petrol and diesel-only would kick off the inflation domino effect on other products as well. The Jet Fuel too has already begun to see its share of the inflation. And we already know that ATF being the major expenses for an airline company will further be transferred to the consumer fares. Other products too face inflation in prices as the cost of freight and transportation would increase too. The already ailing Automobile industry has already started to feel the burn as the Demand for diesel vehicles has already dampened.

Needless to say, the diesel and petrol price increase is not welcome considering the state of the economy where the people are already facing job losses, pay cuts, and fear public transport in COVID-19 times

ROE vs ROCE difference

ROE vs ROCE – What’s the difference?

Understanding the difference between ROE vs ROCE: As investors, the financial ratios have become an essential part of our decision-making process. This is because ratios measure and give us a more comprehensive picture of companies’ operational efficiency, liquidity, stability, and profitability in comparison to the raw financial data from various statements. Today we look at two profitability ratios namely the ROE and the ROCE with an attempt to better understand them

power of ratios

Return on Equity (ROE)

The Return on Equity ratio enables us to measure a company’s performance by dividing the annual net returns by the value of the shareholders’ equity. The ROE ratio helps us to judge the effectiveness of a company’s management to use the shareholder contribution available in order to generate profits

— ROE Formula

Return on equity (ROE) can be calculated as Net Income of a company divided by its Shareholder Equity.

ROE formula

Net Income: The Net Income considered here is the income remaining after the taxes, interest, and dividend to preference shareholders is paid out.

Shareholder Equity: Assets – Liabilities

ROE brings together two financial statements. It includes the Net income from the income statement and the shareholders’ equity from the Balance Sheet.

— Example to understand ROE

Take two companies A and B in the ice cream business. Both companies have made a profit of 20 lacs for the financial year 2019-20. But how are we to compare the greater of the two in this scenario. After taking a  closer look we find that the investments received by the 2 companies are: Company A – 1 crore and Company B – 2 crores. 

The ROE computed for company A is 0.2 and for company, B is 0.1. 

This puts the returns from the two companies in a whole new perspective. Despite both of the companies reporting the same profits, the management of Company A is more efficient in converting the money invested into profits. Hence, it would be wise to invest in Company A as management is more efficient in generating profits.

When the ROE’s are compared over a period for a company it enables us to judge how the management had evolved in allocating the shareholders’ equity appropriately. An increasing ROE will mean that the management has been improving its efficiency of investing the shareholders’ capital over the years in order to generate higher profits.

On the other hand, a decreasing ROE represents a deficiency in the management’s ability in using the resources and poor decisions made in investing capital over the years.

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE)

The Return on Capital Employed ratio shows us the effectiveness of a company’s allocation of capital. The ROCE ratio is acquired by dividing a company’s operating income by the capital employed.

— ROCE Formula 

Return on capital employed can be calculated by dividing EBIT (Operating Income) by its Capital Employed.

ROCE formula Operating Income: The operating income is what we get after the total sales is deducted by the operating expenses like wages, depreciation, and cost of goods sold. In other words, it is the Earnings before interest and tax charged (EBIT).

Capital Employed: Assets – Current Liabilities or Equity + Debt.

— Example to understand ROCE

Let us take a similar example as that taken in the case of ROE. The same companies A and B are in the ice cream business. They have earned a profit of 20 lacs and have an investment as follows: Company A -1 crore and Company B – 2 crores. But in addition to this, the debt taken by the companies is Company A – 3 crores in loans and Company B – 1 crore in loans.

The ROCE computed for Company A is 0.05 and Company B is 0.067. 

This provides a better perspective as to how the two companies have employed the capital available with them in order to earn profits. This shows that an investment in company B would be favorable.

When it comes to ROCE, as the ratio considers capital as a whole it is also important to take into account the cost of capital when making judgments. When the Return on Capital (ROCE) is higher than the Cost of that Capital it would make a favorable investment. But a case where the Cost of Capital is higher than the return on that capital (ROCE) is a red flag. Here the existing shareholders would choose to exit and potential investors would prefer to stay away. 

ROE vs ROCE: Key Differences

 ROE ROCE
Income considerationThe income considered here is the Profit after all the Interest and Taxes are charged. 

In a situation where the government has increased the taxes, the ROE will take into effect its impacts.
The Income taken into consideration here is the earnings before the taxes and interests are charged. 

Changes in Interest and taxes do not impact the ROCE. The ROCE is only impacted by the changes in operating expenses like wages etc.
CapitalThe ROE considers only the shareholder capital employed.The ROCE considers the total capital employed (inc.debt)  by the company.
Ratio Depicts?Effective management of shareholders' capital. It shows the efficiency of a business operation. 
Stakeholder SignificanceThe ROE is of more significance to the shareholders as it shows them the returns the company provides for every Rs.1 they invest. It is of greater significance to shareholders as it shows them what is left for them after the debt is serviced.The ROCE is of significance to both the shareholders and the lenders. This is because the ROCE also shows the effectiveness of the total capital employed in the company.

Using ROE and ROCE – The right way?

A shareholder may also use the ROE and the ROCE ratios in comparison to each other. When the ROCE ratio is greater than the ROE it signifies that a major portion of the profits earned is diverted to service the debt of the company. This would not be taken positively by shareholders. However, it is also important to consider that a company with a high ROCE ratio is able to raise debt at attractive terms. The high ROCE improves the valuations of a company. This is because it shows that the company can easily raise debt for its future operations.

Both the ratios even when used individually cannot be used as a comparative across various industries. The averages ROE for the computer services industry is 17.29%. Whereas the average ROE for a Biotech company is 3.83%. Hence they can only be judged effectively only when they are compared with companies in the same industry.

Also read: #19 Most Important Financial Ratios for Investors

What Warren Buffet has to say about ROE and ROCE?What Warren Buffet has to say about ROE and ROCE?

In the case of judging companies on the basis of ROE and ROCE, Warren Buffet prefers companies that have ROE and ROCE which are close to each other. According to him, a good company should not have a gap of more than 100-200 basis points. A situation where the ROE and ROCE are close implies that both the equity shareholders and the lenders are taken care of. And at the same time not compromised at the cost of the other.

Why Ruchi Soya Share is Increasing continuously

Why Ruchi Soya Share is Increasing? +8,000% Within Six Months!

Since the start of this year, the Ruchi Soya share is rising continuously. And this resulted in most of the share market investors asking the same question: Is there a Secret Sauce due to which Ruchi’s shares increased +8,000% within 6 months? Before diving deeper into this topic, let’s try to understand the scenario of Ruchi Soya’s current share price with the help of a few examples. 

All the four graphs depicting share price movements shown below are from various leading stocks trading across different industries in the Indian stock markets. Can you find any anomaly in the share price movement of the below-shown shares?

ruchi soya share vs different stock returns

Further, even if we look into the different companies in the FMCF sector, you can find one stock that is performing particularly irregular compared to others.

ruchi soya share vs FMCG stocks performance

It takes only seconds for our eye to catch the outlier in both, the share of Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. But what is even more surprising is that the smooth and slick 8000% upward price movement of the stock is during the times of corona. Today, we have a closer look at Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd in order to provide an insight into what actually has led to the 8000% price increase.

Ruchi Soya Story till 2019

Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. has been around for 34 years and is one of the largest manufacturers of edible oil in India. The shares of Ruchi Soya would be a dream stock prior to 2015 for any investor looking for dividends. This is because the company gave out dividends for 15 years consistently from 2001-2015.

Ruchi’s run, however, was cut short post-2015. The company made continuous losses in 2016,2017 and 2018. An extremely unhealthy sign for a company that has accumulated huge debt in its expansion goals. The huge debt of 12,000 crores forced Ruchi to enter the insolvency proceedings in December 2017.

— Post-Insolvency Performance of Ruchi Soya

The insolvency proceedings saw Ruchi being bid for. Here a portion of the amount bid would be used to pay off the debts and the remaining infused into Ruchi. Patanjali eventually won the bidding war against Adani. In December 2019 Patanjali completed the acquisition of Ruchi Soya with an Rs. 4350 crore resolution plan.

ruchi soya's financial performance

You may be wondering why would players take part in an aggressive bid war for a company that now had further deteriorated its sales and market grip by 2019. The answer to this lies in the already set up distribution channels and 3.3. Million tonnes per annum edible oil refining capacity in the 13 refining plants across the country. Five of these plants are port-based. The port-based refining plants are of huge significance as 70% of edible oil consumed in India is imported.

— Ruchi Soya’s Situation Post “Acquisition”

The shares of Ruchi Soya were delisted from November 2019 to 27th January 2020 due to the restructuring process. The restructuring process saw the dilution of the stake held by existing shareholders. Their shares were reduced 100:1. This can be described as a reverse stock split to understand better, where 100 shares held are now reduced to 1, but there was no Corporate Action. This was done in order to make way for Patanjali which now has an ownership of 99%.

Out of Patanjali’s total equity infusion, Rs450 crore was invested in exchange of preferential shares. Interestingly enough shares were also allotted to Ashav Advisory on a preferential basis in April. April was also the month where the shares of Ruchi Soya kept increasing from Rs.180 to Rs.413. The preference shares were allotted to Ashav Advisory at Rs.7 a piece in exchange for an Rs.1.87 crore investment after the company’s board approval.

Current Scenario of Ruchi Soya

Current Scenario of Ruchi Soya share

The shares of Ruchi Ltd. were relisted on January 27th. The shares opened at Rs.17 but since then have been a nightmare for investors trying to get in on the action. Shares of Ruchi saw a continuous 5% increase every day. This has triggered the circuit breakers every day leading to the trading suspension of the shares on a daily basis.

This carried on for over a 100 day period until the shares touched Rs. 706.95. This was followed by a steady fall to Rs 519.80 which seemed like a market correction in order to touch an equilibrium price. But post-May 27th the 5% per day rally began once again. As of 24th June, the shares of Ruchi Ltd. have touched Rs. 1378.40, an 8008% increase in the value since January.

“ RSIL’s liquidity position also remains adequate as on 9MFY20, considering the absence of fixed debt obligations during FY21, a low average collection period, and the availability of unencumbered liquid 1 assets of over Rs. 380 Cr for meeting its required working capital needs.”  Brickworth rating

Brickworth Rating agency assigned a stable outlook to the companies long term and short term borrowings this year.

Although the Preferential Shares allotment to Ashav Advisory is still pending due to Covid-19 they are still one of the biggest winners in the COVID-19 environment. Their 13 crore investment in April is now worth Rs.2577 crores 

Reasons behind the 8,000% increase

The parade of Ruchi Soya has investors wishing they could somehow be a part of. The following reasons give an insight as to what were the reasons for the 8000% price increase. They would also help an observing investor take a better stand when it comes to the shares of Ruchi Soya.

— Baba Ramdev’s Vision in FMCG Industry

Patanjali first disrupted the FMCG segment when they bought their ayurvedic alternatives to the shelf. The Ayurvedic product giant now aims at completely dominating the FMCG segment in India. This would mean that Patanjali would have to take other giants like HUL head-on.

HUL in the year 2018-19 has had sales crossing over 37000 crores. Ruchi would play a crucial role in achieving this. But Patanjali however does not only aim at beating current FMCG market leaders but is aimed at per annum sales of Rs. 100,000 crores in the next two years. Current market leaders like HUL, Nestle, Procter and Gamble, Britannia, and ITC in the 320,000 crore FMCG market get over 75% of their sales from the conventional distribution channels. Whereas Patanjali, on the other hand, receives 70% of its sales from its branded franchise outlets.

Patanjali has set a target of increasing the current 5000 distributors to 25000 distributors in the next 2 years in order to achieve their sales goals. Analysts have predicted that Patanjali can achieve their 1 lakh crore sales targets by expanding their retail reach alone. In addition, Ruchi, which is part of these goals has been debt-free ever since its acquisition by Patanjali. 

— Minuscule Public Shareholding and Lack of Share Supply.Ruchi Soya latest Public Shareholding and Lack of Share Supply

(Source: Latest Shareholding Pattern of Ruchi Soya)

Post the restructuring that took place after Patanjali’s acquisition reduced the shareholding with the public shareholders by 99%. Patanjali currently owns up to 99% of the equity shares with less than 1% remaining with the public shareholders. This means that only 28.59 lakh of the 29.59 crore shares of Patanjali are held by the public. This has created a situation where there is a huge demand for investors but the supply available of shareholders willing to sell is too low.shows the trading volumes of the shares of Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd

(The graph above shows the trading volumes of the shares of Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. This shows the lack of significant trading volumes post-February 2020: Source

The huge increase in the share price has caused the market cap. of Ruchi to increase from Rs. 4350 crore when Patanjali bought it to 40,447.38 crores as of 24th July. Putting it at par with other giants like PNB, DLF, Cipla, etc.

This, however, raises the question as to how has Patanjali been able to legally hold 99% of the shareholding. This is because as per market regulations any majority stakeholder of a listed company cannot hold more than the permissible limit of 75%. Patanjali, however, is part of an exception as Ruchi Soya has just come out of the bankruptcy courts. Patanjali, however, has announced that they will be selling off 20-25% of their stake within the company over the next two years.

Closing Thoughts

The stocks of Ruchi Soya have been one of the biggest silver linings present in the Indian stock markets in the COVID-19 environment. But the question remains whether Ruchi will continue to be the diamond with demand exceeding the supply in the coming years. Investors after conclusively making a decision to get in will also have to decide the right time to do so.

The periods lie in either the current rally in order to be part of the Ramdev vision of which Ruchi is a part. Or to invest when Patanjali finally lets go of the 20-25% over the next 2 years when the supply will also be increased which in turn will affect the price. At the same time get an insight into role played and performance of Ruchi under Patanjali. Happy Investing!

What is Bharat Bond ETF And is it a good Investment option

What is Bharat Bond ETF? And Is it a Good Investment Option?

Understanding Bharat Bond ETF as an Investment option in India: On Dec 4, 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the formation of India’s first Bond Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). This first corporate bond ETF of the country was named ‘Bharat Bond ETF’. This news came nearly two years after the then FM Arun Jaitley announced a plan to launch a bond ETF in his 2018 -19 budget speech.

The FM Nirmala Sitharaman announced that this move was in order to deepen Indian bond markets and at the same time provide additional money for Public sector units. Today, we try and decode what these funds newly introduced in the Indian markets really are.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the formation of India’s first Bond Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)What are Bond ETFs?

Before we look into what a Bond ETF is it is actually better to look into bonds and ETF’s separately so as to understand them better.

A Bond is a financial instrument used by a company to raise funds from the stock market. Here, the investors are paid interest in exchange for the amount lent to the company. It is safe to say that bonds are a means of raising debt. Here the periodical interest is paid to the investor and the principal amount is repaid on maturity. A bond does not give any ownership right to the investor but there exists a risk of default on the loan. 

An Exchange Traded Fund(ETF) is a fund that is actively traded on the stock market. If you have noticed mutual funds, on the other hand, do not trade in the stock market. An investor who wishes to invest in a mutual fund does so based on a previous day’s calculated Net Asset Value(NAV) price. In the case of these mutual funds the demand and supply forces of the stock market do not influence the fund price directly and neither can they be bought and sold through the stock market.

An ETF removes this inconvenience faced by the fund. This is because ETFs are the answer for funds that hold different types of securities to be traded on the stock exchange.  This is made possible in ETFs through an arbitrage mechanism to keep the prices on the stock exchange close to the funds’ NAV.

In Bond ETFs, a fund is created that invests only in bonds and at the same time, it is made available to investors through the stock market. Bharat Bond ETF does the same while investing only in public sector bonds. 

How does Bharat Bond ETF work?

Bharat Bond ETF offers a portfolio to its investors which only includes public sector bonds that have a ‘AAA’ credit rating. Bharat Bond ETF offers investors two products. A BBETF maturing in 3 years and another maturing in 10 years. The main aims of the ETF are realized due to their ability to be accessed by small retail investors. The Bharat Bond ETF allows a minimum investment amount of Rs.1000.

An investor who would otherwise choose to invest in bonds directly would require investments of significantly higher amounts. The ETFs allow a maximum investment Rs. 200,000. The ETF functions as a growth model. Here the returns that are earned on the investments in the fund are reinvested. This adds to the benefits of compounding.

How does Bharat Bond ETF work

Why are the benefits of BBETF?

Investing in the newly introduced Bharat Bond ETF offers the following benefits:

— Reduced Investment size

Generally, when an investor would want to invest in the bond market he would be required to make a significantly higher investment. A retail investor would find this amount to be too much to be invested in one company alone.

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, the secretary of Dept. of Investment and Public Asset Mgmt.) highlighted that prior to Bharat Bond ETF retail investors would have no means of accessing bond markets as bond issuances would be done through private placements. The amounts required to be raised here was Rs 10 lakhs. 

What BBETF does is it provides investors with the option to invest with a minimum sum of Rs. 1000.

— Benefits of diversification

BBETF offers its investors the benefits of diversification. The investors receive these benefits as the ETF invests in multiple bonds. This protects the investors if a few of the investments fail as the investments that perform well set off the losses.

— Liquidity

As the Bharat Bond ETF trades in the stock market, it offers its investors liquidity as they can be bought and sold accordingly. 

— Taxation Benefits

Investments in Bonds that are held for more than 3 years receive an indexation benefit. The Bharat Bond ETF also offers the benefits of indexation. Through indexation, the tax imposed on the investors will be adjusted to the amount of inflation.

— Portfolio Quality 

BBETF invests only in funds that are graded as ‘AAA’ securities. ‘AAA’ is the highest rating issued to a bond by a credit rating agency. These ratings are issued based on the issuer’s ability to meet its financial requirements and at the same time have a low risk of default. 

— Projected Returns

Following were the projected Yield offered by the two Bharat Bond ETFs

  1. BHARAT Bond ETF April 2023 – 6.7%
  2. BHARAT Bond ETF April 2030 – 7.6%

The post-tax yield after the indexation benefits are considered to stand at 6.3% and 7% for the 3 years and 10-year bonds respectively. These returns are estimates and not guaranteed. They will vary depending on the market conditions and interest rates.

Who manages the BBETF?

Who manages the BBETF(Image: Nitin Jain, CEO- Edelweiss Global Investment Advisors, Radhika Gupta, CEO-Edelweiss Mutual Fund and Hemant Daga, CEO-Global Asset Management at the BHARAT Bond ETF launch)

Edelweiss was selected as the Bharat Bond ETF in its first tranche. Bharat Bond ETF has been dubbed as the world’s cheapest fund. This was because BBETF runs at almost zero cost at a 0.0005% charge per annum on the investments. This means that an investment of Rs 200,000 would have a charge of Rs. 1 per year. 

Where does the BBETF invest in?

Each of the 2 BBETF products follows separate independently created indexes. The index is constructed with the help of the NSE. These indexes involve only ‘AAA’ rated stocks of public companies. The indexes are rebalanced on a quarterly basis. The maximum exposure given to a bond in the index is 15%.

Is the BBETF without any risk?

The Bharat Bond ETF is not free from risks. They include the innate risks that come with bonds.

The interest offered by a bond will remain constant until maturity. The price of a particular bond reacts on the basis of interest offered by other bond securities. 

Say a year after bond ‘A’ is issued the other newly issued bonds in the marked start offering higher interest rates. This will lead to investors selling bonds ‘A’ as they would look for the higher returns from other bonds. This creates a situation where there is reduced demand for bond ‘A’ hence reducing its price.

How can I invest in BBETF?

Bharat Bond ETF is available to investors through two routes

— New Fund Offering (NFO)

An investor has the option of investing in a BBETF at the New Fund Offering. This is made available to investors twice in a year as BBETF is launched every 6 months.

— Fund of Funds (FOF)

Investors are also given the option of investing in the ETF through a FOF. This will be available to the investors throughout its tenure. The FOF also offers the investors to opt for SIP. Investors are not required to have a DEMAT account to invest via the FOF. The investor simply can do so through https://bharatbond.in/.

It should be noted that choosing the FOF route results in the increased cost charged. The added expenses of the FOF bring the cost of investment to 0.0515%.

Is there a lock-in period?

Bharat Bond ETF’s do not have a lock-in period. But they do however have an Exit load in the case of a FOF. An exit load of 0.10% is charged if an investment is withdrawn with 30 days. There is no exit load charged if the investment is withdrawn past the 30-day mark.

Bharat Bond ETF as an investment option?

Bharat Bond ETF was welcomed in the Indian markets with 1.7 times subscription. After raising Rs. 12,400 crore in its initial investment the ETF is now preparing for its second tranche. Edelweiss announced that the second tranche will take place in July for the two series maturing in 2025 and 2031.

The covid19 environment has disrupted the investment behavior of investors. Investors are now more risk-averse and look for the safety of their investments. This environment has made fixed schemes like the Bharat Bond ETF more attractive to investors. This can be owed to the mix of tax benefits, low cost, returns, liquidity, and security offered by the Bharat Bond ETF.

coronil baba ramdeo medicine

CORONIL – 100% Cure for COVID-19 found by Baba Ramdeo’s Patanjali?

Patanjali launches Ayurvedic medicine ‘Coronil’ for COVID-19 treatment: As the whole world still fights the uphill battle against corona, each passing week has bought news that elevates from bad to worse. On June 22nd WHO recorded 150,000 worldwide cases of coronavirus in a single day. This brings the total count to over 9 million. Chief Scientist at WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said that 2 million doses of vaccine would be ready by the end of next year whereas other frontrunners expect a cure in the final quarter of 2020. Unfortunately enough the news of extended periods of wait for the virus only adds grief caused by 474,000 deaths, increasing every day.

But July 23rd finally gave way to a ray of hope through the launch of a COVID-19 medicine by the Ayurvedic giant Patanjali.

patanjali's drug coronil

The Launch of Coronil

The launch introduced ‘Coronil’ the ayurvedic drug that not only promises control and cure from the COVID-19 virus but also helps in its primary and secondary prevention. The launch was presided by Acharya Balakrishna (CEO of Patanjali), Baba Ramdev (Founder, Patanjali) along with the scientists and medical professionals who were part of the research and discovery of the cure. Acharya and Baba Ramdev have claimed a 100% success rate through the drug Coronil.

Acharya backed this by claiming that the drug had undergone human trials on 100 patients. The clinical trials found that 69% of the patients tested recovered from COVID-19 within 3 days while the remaining were cured within a week.  Acharya also assured that all scientific rules were followed in the creation of the drug. The drug was made through the joint research by Patanjali Institute and National Institute of medical science in Jaipur. The kit offered by Patanjali currently costs Rs. 545.

baba ramdev on coronavirus drug coronil

The Drug Coronil is made out of important elements like Ashwagandha, Giloy, and Tulsi.  The news that Ayurvedic medicine has beaten all the scientific advances may seem shocking to us but Patanjali has not been alone in the search of an alternative cure. In Maharashtra, the worst affected state, a task force was set up to look into traditional medicines for measures against the virus. China, where the virus initially originated from too had used traditional medicines in search of a cure. The Chinese government has heavily promoted these traditional medicines as treatment for COVID-19. These medicines were even sent to Iran and Italy as foreign aid.

Other Covid-19 Drugs

There are currently over 100 vaccines in progress around the world. Apart from Patanjali 3 other Indian pharma companies too have released drugs to cure the virus. Glenmark released an oral antiviral drug Fanipiranir under the name Fabifluwhich is priced at Rs.103 per pill. The drug is used to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 infections. Hetero has released Remdesivir under the brand name Conifor and Ciple launched Remdesivir under the brand name Cipremi.

In Closing

world health organization on covid drug

The Ministry of AYUSH so far has refused to comment on Coronil. In India, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) is the apex body and nodal agency for COVID-19 treatment. It too has declined to be associated with the new medicine. Top sources in Patanjali claim that Coronil has received a license as a medicine.

But despite this government notifications bar companies from advertising a cure without government approval. Although the state of the pandemic has driven us to a state of desperation, it is also important that the rescue measures we resort to are genuine. This can only be verified after a certified government-backed agency officially backs Coronils usage.

what is insider trading meaning

What is Insider Trading? And What makes it illegal?

Understanding Insider Trading and its implications: Since the time the first stock exchange was established in the sixteenth century, a lot many people have tried different unethical ways to make money from it. Although a few are able to fool the market and make sustainable profits, however, most gets caught from the governing bodies. One such fraud on which most of the regulatory bodies keep an eagle eye is “Insider’s Trading”. In this article, we are going to discuss what exactly is Insider trading, why it is illegal and how you can protect yourself from it. Let’s get started!

What is Insider Trading?

The stock market is able to work in an efficient way when all the investors have the same information, this creates a level playing field. Here, the investors are rewarded for their analysis and expertise.

Insider Trading throws this level playing field out the window. In insider trading people who have access to sensitive private information take advantage of investors who are oblivious to these facts. Insider trading refers to trades made based on material price sensitive non-public information about the company. 

What is Insider Trading? meaning and concept

 

Insider Trading in India is governed by the SEBI Act of 1992. Any individual who is proved guilty of insider trading can be imprisoned for a maximum of 5 years and fined between Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 25 crores or 3 times of the profit made whichever is higher. The rules governing such trades and the degree of enforcement vary significantly from country to country.

What forms a part of insider trading?

The timing when the person in question makes the trade is also important. If the information in question is still non-public when the buy/sell of shares takes place it constitutes insider trading. It is also important to note that if the person accused of insider trading is linked to someone within the company or someone who is associated with the company, then both can be prosecuted. Acting on the information does not only constitute trading the share of the company in the stock market. Even further passing on the information is illegal. In India, close relatives of company officials are also considered as insiders.

Case 1: Say an employee of a company shares some price-sensitive information with his father. His father then goes onto share this information with his friend who uses it to profit from the stock market. Here all three involved can be prosecuted for insider trading.

Case 2: A person overhears material information at the cafeteria from employees of a company. He then goes onto profit based on this information. As long as he has no connection to the employees of the company he is not guilty of insider trading.

Case 3: An employee of a company enters into a disinvestment plan with his broker. According to this plan, he would sell his stake in the company over regular intervals over a period of one year. After 9 months the employee is made available with some material non-public information. According to this material information, the employee would make a loss if the shares are held by him. In this case, as long as the employee can prove his trades were part of a preexisting plan he can be acquitted of the insider trading charges.

Unfortunately enough at times, those accused of insider trading make use of ‘Case 2’ and ‘Case 3’ in their defense. Individuals who have brokers trading on behalf of them also claim that they had no idea of the trades taking place as they were acted on by the broker.

Who can be implicated for Insider Trading?

To understand insider trading better it is necessary to understand who can be implicated in insider trading. Generally, insider trading revolves around members of an organization who possess material information. But it isn’t always necessary for you to be a member of the organization to be a part of insider trading. Important decisions that may impact the share price involves parties that may not work within an organization. Say for example A company planning to undergo a merger with another company will involve many third parties like bankers, lawyers, and other professionals who offer their services to the company. If they act on the information they receive they can be prosecuted for insider trading.

The implementation of various decisions taken by the company requires prior approval from the government. Hence government officials too can be incriminated for acting on the confidential decisions they receive while executing their duties.

Insider trading, however, is not limited to white-collar relations. Members of an organization or employees may share the information with friends or family or acquaintances. If this information that is yet to be made public is acted on they will also be prosecuted under insider trading.

Infamous insider trading cases

— Dilip Pendse

Dilip Pendse insider trading

Dilip Pendse served as the Managing director of Nishkalpa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TATA Finance Ltd. (TFL). As of March 31st, 2001 Nishkalpa made a loss of 79.37 crores. This information was to be made public only a month later on April 30th. This information was price sensitive as it would lead to a fall in prices if leaked. Dilip Pendse was in access to this information due to the role he played within the company.

During this period Dilip leaked this price-sensitive information to his wife. In between this period, 90,000 shares which were held by his wife and a company jointly run by his wife and her father in law in Nishkalpa were sold in order to avoid losses. Dilip Pendse, his wife, and the company jointly owned by his wife and her father in law were found guilty of insider trading.

A penalty of Rs 500,000 was imposed on each of them and Dilip Pendse was banned from capital markets for three years. 

— Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart insider trading

(Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart on the sets of their TV Show. In 2003 Martha Stewart  was charged for insider trading)

Martha Stewart is a prominent TV personality who has also won an Emmy for her work on the ‘Martha and Snoops Dinner Party’. In the year 2001 Martha Stewart owned up to 4000 shares of the BioPharma Company ‘ImClone Systems’. Her broker received a tipoff that the CEO of ImClone Systems sold all his holdings held in ImClone. The CEO did this as he received information that the FDA was about to reject one of ImClone’s cancer treatment drugs. Shortly after this news became public the shares of ImClone dropped 16% in one day.

Martha Stewart was able to save herself from losses amounting to $45,676. In 2004, Martha Stewart was convicted as the trade was made on the information that the CEO sold his stake, which was non-public info. Martha Stewart and her broker were announced guilty. She received 5 months in a federal correction facility and fined $30,000. The CEO of ImClone Systems was also convicted and sentenced for 7 years with a fine of $ 4.3 million.

— Rajesh Jhunjhunwala

Rajesh Jhunjhunwala insider trading

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was probed by the SEBI in January 2020 on account of alleged insider trading. These allegations were based on the trades made by him and his family in the IT education firm Aptech. Aptech is the only firm in Jhunjhunwala’s portfolio in which he owns managerial control. SEBI also questioned Jhunjhunwalas wife, brother, and mother in law. This, however, is not the first time that Rakesh Jhunjhunwala has been embroiled in insider trading controversy.

In 2018 too he was questioned over suspicion of insider trading in the shares of the Geometric. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala settled the case through a Consent order mechanism. In a consent order, SEBI and the accused negotiate a settlement in order to avoid a long drawn litigation process. Here an alleged violation can be settled by the accused by paying SEBI a fee without the admission or denial of guilt.

Also read: Pump and Dump- The Infamous and Endless Stock Market Scam!

Other Controversial Insider trading cases

— Foster Winans

Foster Winans insider trading

Foster Winans was a columnist at the Wall Street Journal. Due to the reach of WSJ, the stocks that he wrote about would react accordingly. Winans then began leaking the contents of his columns to a group of stockbrokers who would position themselves accordingly to make a profit.

Winans in an interview with CCR, “One day, I met a stockbroker, Peter Brant, and was going to write an article about him. After a few months, that kind of fell beside the wayside. He one day said to me — that column you write is very powerful, it moves stocks, you are doing a great job, how much do they pay you, isn’t it terrible, only $25,000 a year, with all of the skill and talent that you have, if you told me what you were going to write about the day before it is published, we’d make a lot of money.”

Winans took the deal offered by Peter Brant and was eventually caught by the SEC after being involved in 24 influenced trades over 3-4 months. But in this case, the information was the personal opinion of R. Foster Winans. His defense argued in the courts that although what Winans did was wrong he still could not be considered an insider. This was because the case did not involve any insiders(people within a company or their relatives and connections).

He was still convicted as the information shared with the stockbrokers was not public until his column was published. Winans received a sentence of 18 months in prison which was later reduced.

— Barry Switzer

Barry Switzer insider tradingBarry Switzer was the football coach for Oklahoma in 1981. While at a track meet he overheard some executives talk about some sensitive insider information. This led him to buy shares of Pheonix Resources. By doing this Barry Switzer went on to make a profit of $98,000. Barry Switzer was later acquitted due to a lack of evidence. In this case, Barry Switzer would have been guilty if any of his players or someone he knew was related to the executives present at the track meet.

How to avoid being implicated in Insider trading?

After looking at the above it may be clear that dealing with data that is non-public could be just one step away from being accused of insider trading and hence become a victim of an unnecessarily long litigation proceedings. The following steps help in avoiding this:

-If you are an employee or are dealing with an organization in a role that involves dealing with sensitive data it is important that you are aware of who you share your data with. If you aren’t directly connected with the organization identify your sources ( whether they are in any way connected to insiders). Generally, organization employees and third-party players are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. 

-Even if you receive data that is important to your trade, verify that the data you have received is public. Do this by checking reliable public sources. If you find yourself in a dilemma it is best to report the information received to the authorities.

-Do not go looking for non-public information about the company from its personnel or those who deal with the company. This will further put you at risk of being investigated if the information is leaked out. You may be accused of insider trading even if you only divulge the info you have received, even if it was overheard.

Also read: Harshad Mehta Scam- How one man deceived entire Dalal Street?

Arguments for Insider Trading being legal

Foster Winans the WSJ journalist argued for insider trading asserting “ The only reason to invest in the market is that you think you know something others don’t.” Arguments have been drawn on who is actually harmed because of insider trading. As your transactions take place with parties that have already decided on the position and want to sell or buy. The Atlantic even described insider trading as “ arguably the closest thing that modern finance has to a victimless crime.”

There have also been arguments made calling to legalize insider trading that involves dealing with negative information. It is because this is the information companies generally keep from their shareholders. Milton Friedman who received the Nobel Memorial Price in Economic Sciences in 1976 said, “ You want more Insider Trading, not less. You want to give the people most likely to have knowledge about deficiencies of the company an incentive to make the public aware of that.”

Nifty Indexes Explained - Nifty50, Nifty100, Nifty Smallcap & More!

Nifty Indexes Explained – Nifty50, Nifty100, Nifty Smallcap & More!

A Guide on NSE Indexes that you should know: An Index is basically the stock exchange creating a portfolio of the top securities held by it. Indexes have always played an important role for both investors and companies by offering a reliable benchmark. They have also been used as an investment strategy where Investment Managers just set up their fund portfolios to simply track the index in an attempt to gain similar market returns. Indexes play an important role as they also stand in representation of a country’s market and economy.

Today, we discuss the various indexes offered by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the role they play for different stakeholders with an attempt to help you get a better insight into indexes. Here, we’ll look into popular NSE indexes and sectorial indexes like Nifty50, Nifty100, Nifty largecap, Nifty midcap, Nifty smallcap etc. Let’s get started.

Indexes offered by the NSE

— Broad Market Indexes

Broad Market Indexes are used to give an indicator of the movement of the economy. They are considered suitable for this as they include stocks from all industries. The indexes are designed to reflect the movement of a group of stocks considered in that portfolio or the market as a whole. The broad market index considers the stock from various sectors. Broad market indexes consider only the top stocks in the market. Hence it can be safe to say that the broad market indexes are the buffet among indexes.

Assessing the broad market index from their names

The broad market indexes generally have the Index_name pertaining to the stock market followed by the number of stocks of different companies it considers. This allows a stakeholder to assess accordingly the degree of diversification and exposure available in that index. 

Broad market indexes from NSE India

  • Nifty 50
  • Nifty 100
  • Nifty 150
  • Nifty 200 
  • Nifty 500

Here the number next to the index name ‘Nifty’ represents the number of stocks the index considers. The greater the number of shares the more diversified the portfolio will be. But the greater the number of stocks also represents the greater exposure to risk. Indexes like Nifty 500 will have the top 500 stocks available in the NSE universe. This index will have a considerable number performing well but also a great number of stocks performing negatively. The Nifty 200 will contains the top 200 stocks from Nifty 500. The Nifty 150 will contain the top 150 stocks from Nifty 200 and so on. The Nifty 50 consists of the top 50 stocks in the NSE.

Nifty 50 is considered to be a representation of the Indian markets over other broad market indexes by NSE. This is because it represents the best-case scenario in both bullish and bearish times represented by the best companies. All companies considered in these broad market indexes are large-cap.

Also read: What is Nifty and Sensex? Stock Market Basics

nifty nse chart

— Broad market indices based on capitalization.

The broad market indexes are made available based on the extent of capitalization. Market capitalization is the total value of the companies stock. Market cap is calculated by multiplying the share price of a stock with the total number of public shares offered by the company. This ensures that both the size and prize are given consideration. Based on this computation the stock market is divided into large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap.    

How are large-cap, small-cap, and mid-cap classified? 

  1. Large-cap refers to a company with a market cap of more than 28,000 crores.
  2. Mid-cap refers to a company with a market cap valuation of more than 8,500 crores and less than 28,000 crores.
  3. Small-cap refers to companies with a market cap valuation of fewer than 8,500 crores.

Assessing broad market indexes from their names

Here the indexes have the Index_name followed by the cap. size further followed by the number of shares held in the index portfolio. Eg. Nifty Midcap 50 — This shows that the index holds 50 different stocks of companies from the Mid-cap category.

Broad Market Indexes based on cap size offered by NSE India?

The broad market indexes offered based on capitalization are

  • Nifty Smallcap (50, 100, 250)

The companies included in this index portfolio are those with relatively small market capitalization. This index is important because they include stocks that are not considered in other broad market caps like Nifty ( 50, 100, 150, 200). This is because indexes like Nifty 50 include stocks from the top-performing industries which are from the large-cap category. The Nifty small-cap includes securities from which investors can earn higher amounts of returns due to the possibility of the range of growth available to small-cap companies. However, these higher returns come with higher risk from higher volatility to investors. The risk is increased considering that the information available on these companies is low.

  • Nifty Mid-cap (50,100,150)

The shares of the companies included here are those whose market cap falls in between large and small-cap. Mid-cap includes shares that offer better growth potential than large-cap funds and lesser risk than those from small-cap securities. The stocks included here are for investors with moderate risk appetite. The Nifty Midcap indexes can be used by companies that have a market cap of more than 5000 crores but less than 20,000 crores to assess their performance growth rate and returns offered to their investors. The same can be done by investors.

  • Nifty MedSml 400

The Nifty Mid Small 400 Index includes shares of 400 companies from both the Medium and Small-cap. The Nifty Midsml 400 is a combination of the Nifty Midcap 150 and Nifty Smallcap 250 index. Hence it includes 150 companies with medium-cap and 250 companies with small-cap. It is appropriate for funds to attract and offer investors a higher growth rate and returns from the small-cap companies and some degree of increased security from mid-cap companies.

  • Nifty Large Midcap 250

The Nifty Large Midcap includes a portfolio of 100 large-cap and 150 mid-cap companies. It is a combination of the Nifty 100 and the Nifty Midcap 150 index. This index can be followed by funds that want to offer the least risk but low returns available from large-cap to balance off the high risk and high returns of midcap.

Other Broad Market Indices

  • The Nifty Next 50

The Nifty Next 50 includes shares of stock that are from Nifty 100 but do not make it into the Nifty 50 Index. Therefore it is the Nifty 100 index excluding the Nifty 50.

  • Nifty VIX

The Nifty VIX stands for the Nifty volatility index. Generally, indexes only include shares of companies but this index includes derivative products. This index is based on the Nifty index option prices.

Also read: What is India VIX? Meaning, Range, Implications & More!

How have broad market indexes performed in the last 5 years?

IndexAs of 01/04/2020As of 24/01/2020% changeAs of 29/05/2020% change since 01/2020
Nifty 507713.0512248.2558%9580.3-21.78%
Nifty 1008404.1512386.9547.39%9648.2-22.11%
Nifty SmlCap 502696.593086.0514.44%1879.45-39.10%
Nifty SmlCap 2504051.1528030.33%3538.75-32.98%
Nifty MidCap 1504209.396742.4560.18%5053.7-25.05%
Nifty MidSml 4004151.766219.849.81%4507.5-27.50%

historical nse indexes

(Historical NSE Indexes Performance – Source Bloombergquint)

— Sectoral Indexes  offered by NSE

Sectoral indexes summarise top performing stocks from the respective industry together and provide a summary of how the specific sector is performing. This acts as a benchmark for its users to either compare company performance with the respective sector index or compare the sector’s performance to the market. This is done by comparing the sectoral indexes with the broad market indexes.

Sectoral Indexes Offered by the NSE

Sectoral IndexSectorTypes of companies includedNumber of companies Considered to portfolio
Nifty RealtyÊReal EstateÊReal Estate Companies10
Nifty BankÊBankingLarge Indian Banks12
Nifty AutoAutomobileAll vehicle Manufacturing, tires, and other auto auxiliaries15
Nifty Financial ServicesFinancialÊBanks, Financial Institutions, Housing Finance, and Other Financial Services15
Nifty FMCG IndexFMCGCompanies that produce durable and mass consumption productsÊ15
Nifty IT IndexIT sectorCompanies included are those that have over 50% of their income from IT-related activities like IT infrastructure, IT education and software training, Telecommunication services and Networking Infrastructure, Software development, hardware manufacturing, and Support and Maintenance.10
Nifty MediaMedia and EntertainmentStocks from printing and publishing are also included apart from Media and Entertainment.13
Nifty MetalMetalÊ and Mining SectorCompanies from both the metal and mining sectors.15
Nifty PharmaHealthcareHealthcare and Pharma companies15
Nifty Pvt Bank IndexBankingTop Private Banks10
Nifty Pub Bank IndexBankingTop PSU Banks13

historical sectorial indexes nse

(Historical NSE Sectorial Indexes Performance – Source Bloombergquint)

— Strategy Indices

Strategy indices involve adopting one of the following strategies to create a portfolio. They give investors the possible top stocks that suit the respective factors. The major strategy indices are

Nifty Alpa 50

Alpha is generally the difference between the returns from an investment or portfolio in comparison to the overall market. The condition for an alpha stock to be considered into the index portfolio is that it should have a pricing history of at least a year.

Nifty 100 Quality 30

A stock qualifies as quality stock if it has

  • A high Return on Equity (ROE = Net Income/ Shareholders Equity)
  • Low Debt-Equity Ratio
  • An average change in Profit After Tax(PAT)

The condition for the quality stock to be considered into the index portfolio is that it should have a positive PAT in the previous year.

Nifty 50 Value 20

A stock qualifies as value stock if it has

  • High ROCE ( Operating Profit/Capital Employed)
  • High Dividend Yield
  • Low Price to Earnings Ratio
  • Low Price to Book Ratio

The condition for the value stock to be considered into the index portfolio is that it should have a positive PAT in the previous year.

Nifty 100 LowVol 30

A stock qualifies as low volatility stock if it has a low standard deviation of price returns. The condition for the low volatility stock to be considered into the index portfolio is that it should have a pricing history of at least a year.

— Multi-Factor Indices

The quest to beat the returns offered by the broad market index has given rise to multi-factor indices. In investing when the fund manager follows the portfolio of an index it is known as Passive Investing. When the fund manager devises his own strategy to create a portfolio with the aim of beating the benchmark it is known as active investing. 

Multi-Factor indices use the rule-based approach of following an index from passive investing and the strategy of relying on multiple factors to select stock from active investing. The factors majorly used by strategy indices are – Alpha, Quality, Value, and Low Volatility. A strategy index creates a portfolio of 30 stocks based on 2 or more of these factors.

Some of the Multi-Factor Indices are-

  • NIFTY Alpha Low-Volatility 30
  • NIFTY Quality Low-Volatility 30
  • NIFTY Alpha Quality Low-Volatility 30
  • NIFTY Alpha Quality Value Low-Volatility 30

Performance of multi factor indices in comparison to other indices

Performance of multi factor indices in comparison to other indices(Source: All NIFTY multi-factor indices outperformed market cap based indices over the long term)

Closing Thoughts

The indexes discussed here form a very small portion of the indexes offered by the NSE. As of data in 2016, there were 67 Indexes offered by the NSE. Just like popcorn, which is not a necessity in any staple diet, it still has a role to play during recreation. Similarly, there are various indexes offered which may not represent the market but still have an important role to play.

what is ponzi scheme meaning concept etc

What is Ponzi Scheme? And How to Protect Yourself from it?

Understanding what is Ponzi Scheme and how to safeguard yourself from this plague: Frauds and scams are part of our lives for a very long time. From corporate frauds, government official frauds to individual scams, our society has witnessed all. Time and again we have heard of big scams like Indian Coal Allocation Scam 2012 – Rs 1,86,000 Crore, 2G Spectrum Scam 2008 – Rs 1,76,000 Crore, Commonwealth Games Scam 2010 – Rs 70,000 Crore, Satyam Scam 2009 – Rs 14,000 Crore, etc.

However, one such scam which is quite common but never came in a lot of notice or fame for the retail people is “Ponzi Schemes”. Although a lot of people have lost lakhs of rupees in these schemes, however, most of our population still do not understand what exactly are these and how they work. In this article, we are going to demystify this fraud and discuss what is Ponzi scheme, it’s history, some infamous Ponzi Schemes and how investors and common people can safeguard themselves from such fraudulent tricks. Let’s get started.

What is Ponzi Scheme?

A Ponzi scheme is an investment scam where returns are paid to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. In a Ponzi scheme, investors are duped by being promised high returns with little or no risk on their investments. The scammers then rely on cash flow from recent investors to provide returns to older investors. The scam runs along the lines of ‘Robbing Peter to pay Paul’.

Here the investors have no idea from where their returns come from. They are misled to believe that the returns are being generated from the success of a business opportunity or the superior skills of a portfolio manager. At the initial stages, if an investor wishes to withdraw money, the scammers ensure that this is done promptly in order to gain the investors’ trust. The liquidity coupled with the superior returns results in a social feedback loop where current investors amazed by the returns suggests it to their friends and relatives.

A Ponzi scheme, however, can only exist as long as new investors keep entering the scheme as their money is used to provide returns to the older investors. If at any time a huge number of investors demand their money back at once or if new investors stop coming in, the scheme stops functioning and the scam is unraveled. India too has had an ugly history with Ponzi schemes. 978 Ponzi schemes have been identified in India, 326 of them being from Bengal alone.

History of Ponzi Schemes

The scheme is named after a man called Charles Ponzi, an Italian who committed the fraud a century ago. He promised to pay investors a 50% profit within 45 days or 100% profit in 90 days. He claimed that he was able to raise the profits by acquiring Postal Reply Coupons from countries where it was cheaper and sell these coupons in countries where they were being sold at a higher.

However, using arbitrage could never generate such magnitude of profits in order to generate 100% returns in 90 days. The investors, however, did receive their returns initially but what Ponzi did here was just take investments that were coming in from newer investors and pay off the older investors.

As investors kept pouring in, Ponzi opened a new office and hired agents to create an aura of trust and further scale the fraud. Ponzi was soon raking in a million a per day within a year. Ponzi during this period lived a luxurious lifestyle further investing in a macaroni and wine company. The scheme eventually got too big and failed to bring in new investors.

History of Ponzi Schemes

At this point, the scam began unraveling. Investors lost close to $20 million (approx 193 million in 2019). Investors were able to recover only 30 cents to a dollar they had invested. The scam also brought down 6 banks in The United States.

How is the Ponzi Scheme different from a Pyramid scheme?

A Ponzi scheme may at times be confused with a Pyramid. A Ponzi scheme promises a high rate of return and the source of these returns is hidden from the investors (which is actually from the investments of new investors).

In a Pyramid scheme, it is made clear to investors that in order to gain returns they have to recruit new investors. The new investors further have to do the same after the initial investment and so on. In addition to this investors at times are also given a right to sell a product in exchange for a commission which also turns a pyramid scheme into a marketing and sales campaign. 

Some Other Infamous Ponzi Schemes.

— Bernie Madoff

The phrase ‘ Give the devil his due’ suits no one better than Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi Scheme. This is due to the size, period, and the ruse implemented by Bernie Madoff. Bernie Madoff was a pioneer in the investing world as he brought forward the advent of trading using electronic systems, and hence NASDAQ. He was also looked up to as he served as the non- executive chairman of the NASDAQ for 3 terms( 1990-93).

Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme

Bernie Madoff was convicted in 2009 which came as a shock to the investing world. But what is even more shocking is that he was only caught in 2008 for a scam investigators believe he started as early as 1964. Bernie Madoff had been described as a very charismatic individual which definitely helped in attracting naive investors towards his scam. 

We notice his brilliance as unlike other Ponzi schemes, not everyone was even allowed to invest in his scam. Madoff allowed investors to invest only if they were vouched for. This made it seem like an exclusive club and a privilege to have your money handled by Madoffs investment firms. But what enabled Madoff to sustain the scheme for so long was that unlike other Ponzi Schemes Bernie offered his clients returns of only 10%. This made it look like a conservative investment. In addition to this, he also had a backroom team that created fictitious financial statements and periodical reports to further deceive the investors.

Bernie Madoff fraud

The Bernie Madoff scheme unraveled in 2009 thanks to the housing crisis. A total of $36 billion was invested into the scam, of which $18 billion was recovered. 

— Crypto Ponzi

The success of cryptocurrencies took the world by storm due to the success of Bitcoin and Ethereum. But scamsters somehow have always have managed to be a step ahead adapting to cutting edge innovations. Cryptocurrencies too have not been free from scams as con-artists take advantage of investors who evidently have lesser knowledge of the working of cryptocurrencies. 

Plustoken a crypto from China received investments of $2 billion. They did this by marketing themselves as a crypto wallet service. Here the investors were promised higher returns if they exchanged Bitcoin or Ehereum in exchange for Plustoken’s own crypto. This scheme was just another Ponzi were over 3 million investors were cheated.

Plustoken scammers managed to cash out $185 million worth of bitcoin before they were caught. They even tried to cover their tracks by making 24000 transfers using 71000 different bitcoin addresses. 

How do you protect yourself from Ponzi Schemes?

1. High investment returns with little or no risk

25 din mey paisey double

Any investment opportunity that says this is a major flag that actually says you are never getting your money back. It is best to apply one of the basic rules of investing here that only with greater risk comes with greater reward. Low risk is accompanied by lower returns. Investors should also beware of words like ‘ everyone else is doing it and profiting’ as these create a fear of missing out. 

2. Overly consistent returns

Investments react to market trends barring a few outliers from time to time. If you are given proof or notice that the investments are able to generate consistent returns regardless of the market going through extended bearish periods, then it is another red flag. Bernie Madoff’s investment firm delivered consistent returns of 8-10% every year regardless of market trends. This was a major red flag that investors missed.

3. Secretive or complex strategies

When you receive investment opportunities it is best to try and understand how the business or investment opportunity works.

Scammers in the crypto world have made use of this obliviousness that investors had towards the working of a cryptocurrency.

Also read: Pump and Dump- The Infamous and Endless Stock Market Scam!

4. Believe numbers and data over individuals

“Man Lie, Woman Lie, Numbers Don’t Lie!” – Flloyd Mayweather Jr.

Scammers generally have charismatic qualities that attract people towards them. Bernie Madoff was always seen as the most genuine individual until the scam broke out. He was described as a person always reachable by phone. Investors have even claimed that he attended funerals when one of their loved ones passed away as a sign of support. This quality allowed Bernie to gain the trust of potential investors at the synagogues he prayed in and the country clubs he hung out in.

But Accountant Harry M. Markopolos claims that when he was shown Bernie Madoff’s investment firm’s data as an investment opportunity it took him 5 minutes to realize it was a fraud. Accountant Harry M. Markopolos is known as the whistle-blower to the Madoff scam. He claims that when he was shown Bernie Madoff’s investment firm’s data it took him 5 minutes to realize it was a fraud. Unfortunately, no one paid heed to his words due to Bernie Madoff’s influence in the investment world.  

5. Background Checks

ponzi scheme duck

It is always best to perform background checks when we are presented by investment opportunities by individuals. This can be done by verifying the firm’s registration numbers.

 And Finally, a lot of time going with your gut feeling can also help…

10 Biggest AMCs in India - Asset Management Companies List cover

10 Biggest AMCs in India – Asset Management Companies List 2020!

List of the Biggest AMCs in India 2020: An Asset Management Company (AMC) manages a pool of funds collected from investors. Investors prefer to invest their money with AMC due to the level of diversification, the skill of the investment manager offered, along with other professional services. AMC’s attract investors who either do not possess much knowledge of the markets and would benefit from an investment manager or those who would rather allocate their precious time elsewhere.

A small retail investor will be able to invest in a very few stocks with the limited savings he has. By doing so he exposes himself to the additional risk if the shares of the company he invested in make a loss. In products offered by the AMC’s the huge pool of funds collected from investors is invested in a huge number of stocks protecting its investors from the losses of focused investment. AMCs designs various products to suit the needs of different investors. They create portfolios that suit the different risk appetites, tenure, tax benefits, etc. that the investors look for.

In this post, we’re going to look into the biggest AMCs in India for 2020. We’ll also cover the Asset Under Management (AUM) size, the total number of funds, and more important pieces of information related to these AMCs. Let’s get started.

10 Biggest AMCs in India 2020

The following are the top Indian AMCs with the largest Assets Under Management (AUM) as of March 2020.

1. SBI Mutual Fund

SBI mutual fund Biggest AMCs in India

AUM (In crore)Number of Funds
373498.27150

The SBI mutual fund was founded in 1987. At its inception, the MF was fully owned by State Bank of India (SBI) a public sector bank. In 2004 SBI disinvested 37% stake from its mutual funds which was taken up by global leaders Societe Generale Asset Management. In 2011 the stake held by Societe General was taken up by Amundi as part of a global movement to merge its asset management business with Crédit Agricole. SBI Mutual Fund is currently a joint venture between SBI and Amundi of France.

2. HDFC Asset Management Company 

HDFC Asset Management Company 

AUM (In Crores)Number of Funds
369782.8122

The Housing Development Finance Corporation Bank provides mutual fund services through its subsidiary HDFC Asset Management Company Limited. One of the leading AMCs in India, HDFC formed this Mutual fund company with Standard Life Investments and holds approx. 57.4% of its shares.

3. ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company

ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company

AUM (in crores) Number of Funds
350634.37242

ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund was established in 1993 with 2 locations and 6 employees at the inception of the joint venture in 1998, to a current strength of more than 1000 employees with around 120 locations. Due to its substantial growth, it currently boasts more than 4 million investors. The AMC is a joint venture between ICICI Bank in India and Prudential Plc, one of the largest players in the financial services sectors in the UK.

4. Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund (BSLMF)

Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund (BSLMF)

AUM (in crores)Number of Funds
247521.68165

The Birla Sun Life Mutual fund was established in 1994 as a joint venture between Aditya Birla Capital Limited and Sun Life Financial Inc ( Canadian insurance provider founded in 1865)

5. Nippon India Asset Management Company 

Nippon India Asset Management Company 

AUM (in crores)Number of Funds
204857.79211

Nippon India AMC, earlier known as Reliance Asset Management Limited was founded by the late Dhirubhai Ambani and is one of the most popular AMCs in India. It was later run in a joint partnership with Nippon Life Insurance from Japan. In 2019 Nippon Life Insurance went on to own a 75% stake in the mutual fund allowing Anil Ambani owned Reliance to exit the Mutual fund industry.  After this, it came to be known as Nippon India Asset Management Company

6. Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company 

Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company 

AUM (in crores)Number of Funds
186081.33100

Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company (KMAMC) started operation in 1998. The Kotak Mahindra AMC is one of the few wholly-owned subsidiaries among the top AMCs. It is a subsidiary of Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL) and boasts an investor base of above 1.7 million investors.

Also read: 7 Best Mutual Fund Apps for Direct Investment

7. UTI Mutual Fund 

UTI Mutual Fund 

AUM (in crores)Number of Funds
151512.5182

UTI Asset Management is India’s oldest and largest mutual fund management company. The mutual fund industry in India originally began in 1963 with the Unit Trust of India (UTI). For a period it was the only source of mutual fund investment for Indian citizens in the 90s. UTI Mutual Fund is a Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India initiative.

8. Axis Asset Management Company

Axis Asset Management Company

AUM (in crores)Number of Funds
138401.6258

Axis Asset Management Company was launched in the year 2009. It is a joint venture between Axis Bank and Schroder Singapore Holdings Private Limited.

9. Franklin Templeton

Franklin Templeton

AUM (in crores)Number of Funds
116222.9582

 The American establishment was set up as Templeton Asset Management India Pvt. Limited in India in the year 1996. Over 2 decades of consistent growth made Franklin Templeton as one of the largest foreign fund houses in India. 2020 however was seen as the worst year for Templeton Asset Management India as they ended up winding six of their debt mutual fund schemes in India. This has led to the company currently facing multiple litigations across the country.

10. IDFC Asset Management Company

IDFC Asset Management Company

AUM (in crores)Number of Funds
103893.1659

 IDFC Asset Management Company is one of the leading AMCs in India since its inception in 2000. It formes a part of Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited a finance company based in India

pump and dump scam stock market

Pump and Dump- The Infamous and Endless Stock Market Scam!

Understand Pump and Dump scam in Share market: Starting from the Nigerian Prince in exile asking for money, us winning lotteries we never took part in, and a distant relative we never heard of trying to send us his inheritance, has bought us to a stage where we are waiting to find out how much more ridiculous these scams can get. Similarly, the stock market world with all its rules, regulations, and watchdogs is not free from scams. Today we have a look at one such method used to scam naive investors of their money called the Pump and Dump.

What’s the Pump and Dump?

pump and dump scamIn the Pump and Dump scheme, the promoter or large investors mislead the market into believing that a particular stock is valuable. They release false information which in turn gives rise to the first portion of the scheme known as ‘A Pump’. The con investors at this stage buy large portions of the valuable at cheap prices. Here due to the credibility held by the promoter or the large investor the market too begins investing in the stock.

This leads to a rise in the demand which causes the stock to be inflated with increased prices. Once the price increases the promoters begin the second phase ‘ The Dump’. Here the promoters and investors sell their stake at the higher prices making a profit. This causes a market reaction where the price falls and the naive investors who believed then news are left suffering the losses.

Furthermore, after the dump stage, the naive retail investors hold on to the stock thinking that the fall in prices is a small market corrected and still anticipate the prices to rebound. But to their misery, the stock prices keep falling to their original value making it too late for the naive retail investor to exit without losses.  

At times brokerage firms and other organizations also make use of the pump and dump. Here they are either hired by the promoters or they themselves purchase a stake in the company they wish to use in their scam. Once the shares are acquired the brokerage firms then begin spreading misleading statements that attract investment in the company which leads to increased prices. At this point, they dump the stock.

— Stocks used in Pump and Dump Scams

Generally, large investors or brokerage firms target penny stocks. This is because they have low values and are easy to inflate. Large-cap stock too are at times prey to this, but even a large investor with the ability to influence a Large-cap is rare. Pump and Dump also make use of the psychological Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Everyone regrets not being able to invest in big multi-bagger stocks like Apple, Google and Facebook etc during their initial stages. Hence, the search for similar stocks leads retail investors to fall victim to such Pump and Dump schemes.

— Channels/Mediums used in these schemes

Pumping and dumping were traditionally done through cold calling. Here the brokers would cold call innocent investors and pressurize them into buying these stocks. They would also use strategies where they would leave a message on the answering machine with misleading information regarding the stock. This made it look like it was missed call with the information not intended for the receiver. This scheme then moved onto emails and currently even makes use of social media.

Infamous Pumpers and Dumpers

Infamous Pumpers and Dumpers in stock market(From Left to Right: Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parekh, Jonathan Lebed, and Jordan Belfort) 

1. Harshad Mehta Scam

The pumping followed by Harshad Mehta in the 1990s caused the great bull run. This earned him the nickname the Big Bull. Harshad Mehta also had tricked banks to fund the bull run. He caused the stocks of ACC by 45 times. The markets crashed the day he sold. Harshad Mehta was arrested over numerous charges ( 70 Criminal Cases and 600 Civil Action Suits).

Read more: Harshad Mehta Scam- How one man deceived entire Dalal Street?

2. Ketan Parekh Scam

Ketan Parekh a Chartered Accountant earlier worked with Harshad Mehta. Parekh made use of circular trading to pump and dump. He would have one of his companies buy a  stock and have it sold to another company that he owned. He would do this involving many of his companies. This increased the trading volume of the stock which in turn attracted investors. This caused an increase in the prices and at this stage, Ketan Parekh would dump. Ketan Parekh was arrested in 2001.

3. Jonathan Lebed Scam

In 2000, Jonathan Lebed was only 15 years old when he successfully Pumped and Dumped. He would purchase penny stocks and then promote them at the message board. Once the prices increased he would sell them at a profit. He was caught by the SEC and a civil suit for security manipulation was charged against him. Lebed made $272,826 in profits. He settled his charges through these earnings.

4. Straton Oaks Scam

This may be perhaps one of the most famous pumps and dumps among millennials thanks to the movie Wolf of Wall Street. The movie is adapted from the memoir of Jordan Belfort. His brokerage firm Straton Oaks would inflate the prices of the stocks he owned through misleading statements and later sell them at profit.

Stocks that were Pumped and Dumped in Past

1. Surana Solar Ltd

Surana Solar Ltd pump and dumpIn the case of Surana Solar Ltd, the shares rallied over 725% after new broke into the market that India’s most successful investor Rakesh Jhunhunwala had purchased a stake in the company. Everyone wanted a piece in the company that Jhunjhunwala believed in. It was later clarified that another investor had used conned the market by investing in the company using the ‘Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’ name. Once this news broke out the shares fell causing huge losses to naive retail investors.

2. Sawaca Business

Sawaca Business pump and dumpThe case of Sawaca Business Machines Ltd is special because the pump and dump scheme here was not used once but twice. In the price graph movement above we can see a rally from 2011-13 and again from 2014-15. The shares rallied over 2500% reaching heights of Rs 225.50 per share from 2011-13 and then fell again to their original figures. After the fall the shares rallied again from 2013-15 touching prices od Rs 204 and giving gains of over 1000%. As of 10th June 2020, the shares are valued at Rs 0.53 per share. A con investor who would have even invested Rs 10000 would see his wealth scale over 25 lakhs if pumped and dumped at the right time during the two periods. However, the loss to retail investors has been incomputable.

How to protect yourself from Pump and Dump?

1. Tenurity of stock being traded on the exchange

Generally, stocks that are used by scamsters for pumping and dumping will have been made available for less than a year. These stocks are generally penny stocks. Companies that are considered small-cap do not have considerable information made available to the investors to make informed decisions. Investors fall victim to their emotions and the pressure selling by brokers in these cases.

2. Look at the long term Stock Patterns

Generally in cases of Pump and Dump it is possible for investors to notice similar patterns during the pumping stage. After the stocks are influenced and are in the pumping stage an investor will be able to notice a steady increase every day in the penny stock. This sudden increase in price would be bizarre when coupled with the previous low trading volumes.

3. Shade of Influence

If a broker pressurizes you to purchase a penny stock there is a good possibility that it is a scam. Great stocks sell themselves and do not rely on large investors or broker pressure. Irrespective of the medium, be it emails/social media/brokers, such schemes generally violate the basic rule of high return high risk. The proposal generally promises high returns with no or low risk. There may also be claims of insider information available to influence the proposal to buy the stock. Investors must be aware of such red flags.

 

Conclusion

Scammers have adapted to the changing times but for an honest investor, the requirement to remain safe remains the same. If an investor does his own research and homework as long as he stays away from so-called tips and recommendations the possibility of him being fooled remains non-existent.

pump and dump quote benjamin franklinThat’s all for this post on Pump and dump scam in stock market. I hope you have found this post useful and will try to stay away from these cheap scams in stock market. Take care and happy investing!

Raamdeo Agarwal Success Story cover

Raamdeo Agarwal Success Story -The Warren Buffet of India!

A Brief Study on Raamdeo Agarwal Success Story: If you are involved in the Indian stock market for quite some time, you might already have heard the name of “Raamdeo Agarwal” somewhere on financial websites or the News Channels.  Mr. Raamdeo Agarwal is one of the most renowned names in the Investing world. His influence and ‘so-called genius’ was such that he is also known as ‘Warren Buffet from India’.

Raamdeo Agarwal is also popularly known for co-founding Motilal Oswal Financial Services and his family today owns about 36% stake in the company. As of 2018, Mr. Raamdeo Agarwal had a net worth of $1 billion according to Forbes. Further, he is regularly in the spotlight where he has been even interviewed by Saif Ali Khan.

Today, we have a look at Ramdeo Agarwal’s journey in his personal life and in the investment world in search of the spark that has catapulted him to this status. We’ll particularly focus on Raamdeo Agarwal Success Story in the Indian stock market industry.

Raamdeo Agarwal’s Early life

Raamdeo Agarwal hailed from Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Being the son of a farmer he talks shares that the only investment strategy his father knew was saving and investing in his kids. Raamdeo Agarwal moved to Mumbai to complete his higher studies. He pursued Chartered Accountancy and completed the course in five years.

It was in Mumbai where he met his soon to closest associate and business partner Motilal Oswal. Their paths crossed as they lived in the same hostel. Oswal described him as a very bookish person who was very interested in reading company reports and Balance Sheets. 

Raamdeo Agrawal and Motilal Oswal

(Left to Right: Raamdeo Agrawal and Motilal Oswal)

Nothing so far? Let’s keep looking for that spark that one of the richest men in India must possess.

Life After entering the Stock Market

Raamdeo Agarwal and Oswal had one common interest, it was the Stock Market. In 1987 they decided to become sub-brokers in the BSE. He managed to become a stockbroker by 1990 and also began investing for himself in the stock market. By doing so he was able to develop a portfolio of over Rs 10 lac.

Over the next few years, we could say that he was lucky to have stayed invested in the stock market when the Harshad Mehta bull run arrived in 1992. His investment of 10 lac had now become 30 crores. Once the bull run was over reports of the Harshad Mehta scam broke out. This saw his investment value drop from 30 crores to 10 crores. 
Warren Buffet and Raamdeo Agrawal

(Left to Right: Warren Buffet and Raamdeo Agrawal)

This was the period where he took a step back to rethink his approach to the markets. In 1994, he went to the US to attend the shareholders meeting of Berkshire Hathway and meet his idol Warren Buffet. After his meeting with Warren Buffet, the first thing he focussed on was getting the most by reading all the letters written by Warren Buffet to Berkshire Hathaway.

It was after this that he changed his investment strategy. Till then his 10 crore portfolio included 225 stocks. He sold most of them and invested in only 15 stocks. This was because he realized that it was the quality and not the quantity that mattered. H later came to call this the Focus approach. His portfolio increased its value to 100 crores by the year 2000. In 2018 Forbes listed him as a billionaire.

Some of notable investments of Raamdeo Agarwal

Here are a few of the famous and most profitable investments made by Mr. Raamdeo Agarwal in the early phase of his career:

  1. Hero Honda – He had purchased Hero Honda stock at Rs. 30 in 1996 and sold it Rs. 2600 in the year 2016. In the 20 year period, he also received a dividend of around Rs 600 per share.
  2. Infosys – He purchased shares of Infosys in mid-90s and sold them to get a return of over 12 times. In this holding period, he also received consistent bonuses and dividends from this stock.
  3. Eicher Motors – He purchased Eicher at Rs. 900. The investment touched over Rs. 32,000 in 2017.

If we consider an investment of one lac in each of these stocks, the three lac portfolio would increase wealth to 1.5 crores i.e over 50 times.

Raamdeo Agarwal Success Story: Secret Sauce

(Source)Secret Sauce of Raamdeo Agarwal Success Story

The investment strategies followed by Raamdeo Agarwal have been suited as per his experience. They are as follows

— QGLP (Quality, Growth, Longevity & Price)

QGLP stands for the four factors considered while purchasing a stock.

1. Quality

Raamdeo Agarwal realized the importance of this factor after investing in Financial Technologies. This is an example he shares as one of his poor choices. He made a loss while investing in Financial Technologies (India) Ltd. This made him realize the importance of the quality of management in a company. He purchased the shares of at Rs. 1150 and later was forced to sell at Rs. 150.

Raamdeo ensured that after this he always paid extra attention to the management. He also considers this as a deciding factor as in comparison all the other data is accessible or computable by the regular public. But it is the management that is left in the dark. He ensures that his investments have good, honest, and transparent management. The management should also take care of the shareholders and give timely dividends and at the same time also have capita for growth.

2. Growth

Raamdeo considers a growth stock as one that is of a big company that is not yet popular. By investing in these companies the returns will be high but secured at a low cost. Raamdeo says that investing is nothing but figuring out the present value of all the future earnings and deciding accordingly.

3. Longevity

This factor encourages investors to invest in companies that have been around for a long time. This not only gives the investments some stability but also gives the investors enough data to enable them to take decisions.

4. Price 

According to this at the time you buy the stock, its price must be lower than its valuation.

Raamdeo Agarwal’s Strategy with regards to portfolio

According to Raamdeo an investor for his personal purposes should have invested in a maximum of 15 stocks. According to him, 15 stocks is too much. He instead would suggest 4-5 stocks. Investing in multiple stocks gives investors the benefits of diversification.

But 90-92% of the benefits are claimed by the time the portfolio reached 15. From here on the benefits are slim. An investor wishing to tap into the final 10% would have to invest in numerous stocks. It would reach a point where it also impairs the quality judgment. This because it would not even enable him to go deep enough into finding about the stock.

— Buy and Sell Strategy 

Raamdeo put forward the theory of ‘Buy Right, Sit Tight’. According to this, one should research in-depth while purchasing a stock. He should be confident enough to invest at least 10% of his portfolio. He also adds that if things go really awry the price of a quality stock will not just suddenly drop. An investor who has researched enough will see it coming and the gradual decline will give ample time for the investor to exit.

— Disciplined Approach to portfolio

The discipline Raamdeo follows with regards to his portfolio is remarkable. When he noticed that the shares of Berkshire Hathway no longer suit his portfolio filters he decided to sell them. This was despite his idol Warren Buffet remaining invested.

Also read: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala Success Story- Rs 5,000 to Rs 19,000 Crores!!

Closing Thoughts

The success story of Raamdeo Agrawal is one of hope to all investors. Throughout his journey, we never found the special greatness spark that we thought is made available to only a selected few. His story shows that at times luck may be in our favor but not to be dependant on it.

Most importantly it also shows that we are to have a disciplined approach to our investments and also to learn from our mistakes. It shows how market tests patience and reward conviction. 

Boycott China - Is it Actually Possible for India?

Boycott China – Is it Actually Possible for India?

A Study on being real about ‘Boycott China’: Last week, the internet has blown up with #BoycottChina trends. This comes after Sonam Wangchuk released a video calling all Indians to boycott Chinese products. This has been due to the aggression shown by the Chinese Army in the Indian territory. But India has not been alone to call for such boycotts in the recent past against China, other countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, and even separatist movements within China have started too.

My patriotic sentiments (which mean good) inspire me towards this call for a few minutes. But the reality where I type these words on a Chinese branded computer keeps me grounded. It goes without saying that none of us want to fund Chinese bullets that may be fired at Indian soldiers. Hence, today we have a deeper look at facts that may help clear this dilemma and also offer possible solutions.

 

Why boycotting China sounds right?

In the past, boycotting China has not only been called for because of Chinese military aggression towards its neighbors but also because of its human rights violations of its own citizens. Open firing at peaceful protestors in Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government has even been accused of illegally harvesting organs from Falun Gong (religious movement practitioner) and other political prisoners. This led to activists around the world calling for a boycott of Chinese products.

Sonam Wangchuk (whose role was popularly played by Amir Khan in 3 Idiots movie) has claimed that the aggression from China is only a means for the ruling communist party to divert the attention of the people away from its internal problems. 

A Trade where Chinese products and services are bought by Indian consumers to finance aggression by the Chinese troops not only on its own citizens but also towards Indian soldiers is as far as it gets from being fair.

Sonam Wangchuk released a video calling all Indians to boycott Chinese products

Have boycott movements been successful?

There have been various boycott movements throughout history. The US consumer forum tried to boycott French goods in 2003 in protest of France dissuading attacks on Iran. India too has had similar Boycott China movements in the past. #BoycottChina was trending in 2016 too after China supported Pakistan post the URI attacks.

A similar fact in all these boycott movements is that they have achieved nothing. After a few weeks, people lose interest or are caught up with the next most interesting issue. In other words, these movements eventually lose momentum. 

Another important factor why the Indian Boycott China movement does not follow up with greater action is economics. When a consumer goes to buy a product he would find that Chinese products are not only cheaper but also of superior quality in comparison to their Indian counterparts. In such a situation a choice made to purchase a product which is expensive and at the same time of inferior quality in comparison to the Chinese is only self-destructive.

Why an immediate boycott of China doesn’t make sense?

Trade Deficit occurs when the country’s imports are more than its exports. One of the major consequences of a large trade deficit is the weakening of one’s currency. This is precisely the case with India. In the years 2018-2019, the imports from China were at 70,319.64 Million. During the same period, the exports to China stood at 16,752.20 Million leading to a deficit of 53,567.44 Million.

But India is not the only country that has suffered this fate when dealing with China. Numerous countries around the world have faced this resulting in China becoming one of the countries with the largest trade surplus.

Why an immediate boycott of China doesn’t make sense?

(Countries with the highest trade surplus in 2018)

The trade deficit not only shows the dependence of Indian consumers but also of Indian industries on Chinese exports. Indian market leaders like Bajaj, TVS Motors, Mahindra, and Tata get their parts from China. Even pesticide and fertilizer companies based in India are overtly dependant on China. Take the example of United Phosphorous where over 55% of its products are sourced from China. 

China currently has an investment of 8 billion in the Indian markets. The year 2019 alone saw investments of $3.9 billion by Chinese firms in Indian startups. 

china betting on Indian startups

BigBasket, Byju’s, Delhivery, Dream11, Flipkart, Hike, Ola, Oyo, Paytm, Quickr, Snapdeal all these startups have secured funding from China. Even banks like HDFC have received investment from China. Although it may seem as if even though we are naming all renowned Indian companies it is apparent that there is no escaping China. 

Almost every company has links to China, through ownership or have raw material sourced from China to make finished products. From our food that we consume, means to travel, our access to technology all can somehow be webbed back to China.

Let’s talk about “Aathma Nirbhar”

The Prime Minister in his most recent address has pushed for an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. Say due to this influence Indians strictly buy only Indian products. If we are to look at the 1947 -1991 environment where due to the protectionist views of the government the consumers were forced to buy only Indian. This led to the producers producing low-quality products.

This was because they were certain of receiving a market share irrespective of the quality. The 1947-91 period ended up doing more harm than good. The same period also saw the Chinese producers preparing their markets for global competition. This gave the Chinese a 40-year head start over their Indian competitors.

What would Adam Smith the father of modern economics say?

Adam Smith speaks about competitive advantage in his book the Wealth of Nations published in the year 1776. He takes the example of two countries England and Portugal and also of two products, wine, and cloth. Here, Portuguese are the best in producing wine and England in producing cloth. According to Adam Smith, Portugal should focus on creating wine instead of focussing on both wine and cloth. This would only lead to substandard products. England should focus on cloth and both countries should reduce the scarcity of cloth or wine respectively through trade.

Let us take the example of TVS Motors. They are known for producing good two-wheelers in the mid and low-priced segments. An attempt to produce the two-wheeler 100% in India would only result in more expensive vehicles of poorer quality. Hence TVS Motors taking materials manufactured in China that are of high quality and lower cost has resulted in them suiting the Indian markets today. We may be ready to purchase the more expensive Indian alternative if available in the future.

Our current situation

But if we are still are not convinced and before we decide conclusively let us take a moment and come out of our privileged shells. The recent pandemic has shed light on the poverty plights of our nation. The first relief package of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore aimed at feeding 800 million poor people. The increased price alternatives would only shove two-thirds of a section further down the wealth ladder. 

Also read: The 20 Lakh Crore Relief Package – Overview!

What about “Retaliation”?

So far we have considered retaliation only from our end. Boycott China and dumping Chinese products will definitely have a two-factor effect when done on a large scale. A similar retaliation from China will further the consequences on the Indian producers and companies.

Role of the Indian Government

Why doesn’t the Indian government simply put trade restrictions on Chinese goods? India being a member of WTO is required to abide by its rules. As per the WTO, countries are not allowed to discriminate amongst their trading partners.

When it comes to investments the government of India has allowed investors from neighboring countries to invest only up to 10% in an Indian company. Despite this Chinese companies have found loopholes to invest in the Indian markets. Chinese giant Alibaba gained a stake in Paytm by investing through its non-Chinese subsidiary ‘Alibaba Singapore Holdings Pvt Ltd’.

What’s the Solution?

From all the arguments made above, it becomes clear to us than an outright boycott of China is not possible. Boycotting China would only cause the Indian industries that have received funding or use Chinese materials more harm.

An alternative here is to look for products from other countries as and when the need arises to replace the Chinese products we have in our homes over time. A long term solution would be to steadily keep improving Indian quality. The best solution for the current issue which involves a standoff would be diplomatic talks. A war waged by consumers would only be self-destructive.

The Telecom War in India - Jio, Airtel, Vodafone cover

The Telecom War in India – Jio, Airtel, Vodafone?

Understanding the Telecom war in India and current Scenario: The Telecom industry in India has gone from being one of the most attractive to a cruel environment to all its players. The industry currently consists of three players i.e. Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea. But if we look over the last two decades there have been over 16 players who have tried their hand in the industry.

We already know about the innate challenges the industry poses due to the ever-evolving technological environment. A newly arrived technological advancement may be completely obsolete in the next five years. But these are the challenges that a telco foresees and enters the industry with. Today, we’ll discuss the telecom war in India. Here, we’ll try to find out the key factors that have brought the industry to currently operate with barely three players and also look into the current telecom scenario.

telecom war in India

Telecom Industry – The Story So Far

In the pre-liberalization period, there existed only state-owned companies like BSNL. The operations of these companies can be dated back to the British era. Post the liberalization the government began issuing licenses to private players in exchange for a license fee.

This license fee set, however, was in accordance with The Telegraph Act of 1885 set to govern the state players. The private telcos found it hard to adhere to this and constantly defaulted on the fee payments.

Noticing this the government introduced the National Telecom Policy in 1999 where the telcos were given the option to either pay the existing license fee or share a percentage of their revenue which was called AGR ( Adjusted Gross Revenue)

— The More the Better

During this period the government believed that the greater the number of players the greater the benefits the consumers would receive. This has bought up to 16 players in the telecom industry. This, however, ended up doing much more harm to the industry due to the competitive pricing practices followed by the telcos to emerge as the top players.

Telcos kept entering the industry and vanishing from the industry at the same time. The majority of the players were acquired or forced to merge with the top players. The remaining players went bankrupt or had their licenses revoked.

telecom companies in india that went bankrout

(Source: Wikipedia)

— AGR Dispute

During this period the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) entered into legal disputed with the players. If must be noted that Revenue meant that any income received by the company irrespective of it making profits or losses. The companies agreed to pay AGR assuming that the revenues to be paid would be from the core(telecom related) activities of the industry. The DoT argued that a percentage of the revenue from all sources ( core and non-core) is to be paid.

This involved installation charges, value-added services, interest income, dividend, and even profit on the sale of assets, insurance claims, and forex gains. This meant that the telcos now owed 1.47 Lakh crore in AGR to the DoT. Other government entities like TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) also voiced their concern over this claim.

AGR Dispute in India Telecom Industry

Both TRAI and TDSAT supported the telcos in this against the DoT. The TRAI even recommended excluding non-telecom revenues from the AGR but DoT challenged the TRAI recommendations. This led to a 14 year legal battle between the telcos and the DoT. The decision ultimately came in favor of the DoT on 24th October 2019. The courts ordered the telcos to pay  1.47 Lakh crore in AGR to the DoT. 

GAIL and PGCIL telecom Industry

Interestingly government entities like GAIL and PGCIL also had acquired a license from the DoT. The DoT also a government entity now claims that it is owed 1.72 Lakh Crore from GAIL. This is after computing its share from any revenue that GAIL made. The amount sought by the DoT is more than 3 times the net worth of GAIL.

— Enter Jio: A Mukesh Ambani Offering

These troubles in the telecom industry seem monumental and we have not even considered other factors like the 2G scam that took place. The worst, however, was yet to come for the telcos. In 2016, a new player Jio entered the industry. The predatory pricing strategy followed by Jio offered consumers 4G data for free. This further put tremendous stress on the telecom industry.

When Reliance Jio entered the markets in 2016 there were up to 7 telcos who had a substantial footing in the industry. By the end of 2019, there were only 3 other companies competing. Out of the three only Jio was profitable by extremely slim margins and airtel running but on losses. Vodafone and Idea too in losses were barely surviving the pricing onslaught. 

— Spectrum Dues

spectrum dues telecom

Apart from the AGR the telcos also owe the government dues from spectrum allocation auctions. The telecom industry makes the use of electromagnetic waves that are made available through a spectrum. Hence a spectrum is considered a national resource and allocated carefully by the government. The spectrum allocation charges are paid in installments to the government. With the telcos already in debt, they further started defaulting on these too.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a moratorium on these installments for 2 years. But the moratorium provided by the government does not come interest-free as they will still have to pay additional interest accrued during the 2 year period. Airtel currently owes Rs. 11,476 crores on its installments with Vodafone Idea owing Rs. 23920 crores.

Telecom War in India: Current Scenario

All sympathies do not lie with the telcos. Prior to the Jio’s entrance, the telcos enjoyed a  period where they charged consumers exorbitantly. This was the main reason why Jio already had their stage set in 2016. Their offer of charge-free services to customers enabled them to immediately gobble up a section of the market share.

This was followed by the telecom war in India and competitive pricing which forced existing players like Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea to lower their prices and profit margins. 

How telcos are adapting to increased debt & 5G Preparation?

The telecom industry has forced its payers to adapt to raising funds from foreign investors in exchange for a stake in the company.

— Reliance Jio

After Reliance entered the telecom sector its debt shot up by 438%. Mukesh Ambani has set out to make Reliance a zero net debt company. This would mean wiping out 1.54 lakh crore of its debt. The following table shows the stakes sold and amount raised

Stake sold to% of Stake Sold Amount raised (Rs Cr)
Facebook9.9943,574
Sterling Silverlake1.155,655.75
KKR2.3211,637
General Analytics1.346,598
Vista Equity2.3211,637
Mubadala1.859,094
Total18.9788,195.75

Read More: Facebook- Jio Deal: What $5.7B investment means to Stakeholders?

— Airtel 

Airtel remains the only major player other than Jio which able to survive, compete, and raise capital with ease at this stage. It recently announced a 2.75% stake sale to raise 7500 crores ($1billion). In January, Airtel raised $15000 crores through qualified institutional placement and foreign currency convertible bonds for 7,500 crores ($1billion)

— Vodafone Idea

Vodafone and Idea have merged to form Vodafone Idea. This has enabled VodafoneIdea to become the top company in terms of subscribers. But this has only ensured their survival in the Indian markets. 

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read has vowed to not invest in the Indian markets. This can be justified due to the court ruling against the telcos with regard to AGR.  This has made investing in India a lost cause for Vodafone as all incomes earned by the companies ill be used to pay back the existing AGR dues apart from the new AGR dues that will keep on accruing.

Also, their survival will require debt to finance 5G costs. This investment which does not generate any income in the foreseeable future will be hard to be explained to Vodafone shareholders in the UK. Vodafone Idea not only faces difficulty in raising investment but also struggles with its low 4G utilization. (Also read: Vodafone Idea has managed to attract attention from Google which eyes a 5% stake in the telco.)

In an advent, if one of the 3 players does not survive it would lead to the Indian markets turning into a duopoly. The two telcos that do survive may form cartels which will eventually result in a pricing agreement. This in addition to the AGR dues to the DoT and 5G spectrum will result in the consumers holding the burden through increased prices.

RankOperatorSubscribers (millions)Market ShareOwnership
1Jio382.8932.99%Jio Platforms
2Airtel329.0228.35%Bharti Airtel Limited
3Vodafone Idea325.5428.05%Vodafone Group (45.1%), Aditya Birla Group (26%), Axiata Group Berhad (8.17%), Private Equity (20.73%)
4BSNL123.1310.61%Government of India

(Table: Mobile Operators in India as of 29 February 2020 according to TRAI)

What the Government can do? 

To reduce the burden on the telecom industry the existing players have requested the Telecom Secretary to provide the 5G spectrum free of cost to existing players in an attempt to rescue the industry. The government can also ensure that cartels are not formed and players survive by benefitting the consumers.

This can be done by providing the 5G spectrums in exchange for the telcos agreeing to adhere to both floor pricing and price ceiling. By doing this the telecom industry will be provided some relief through 5G spectrum allocation as requested by telcos. The floor prices and price ceiling will ensure healthy competition and limit any adverse impacts on consumers.

Closing Thoughts

The story of the Indian Telecom Industry so far shows that the government is just inches away from slaughtering the golden duck in an attempt to increase its revenue. It is high time the Center interferes so that both the industry does not lean towards a duopoly or monopoly and at the same time the consumers do not face the brunt. Any efforts from the government to recover unreasonable amounts from AGR will push the telcos to increase debt borrowing from the banks.

This increased debt in addition to the cost of surviving by further investing in the 5G spectrum will force the burden towards the consumers. In an event of intense telecom war in India where a major player throws in the towel to quit, the already ailing banking sector will be further hit. Other stakeholders like the employees who earlier dependent on the telcos will further be added to the casualty lists.

9 Best Performing Industries During COVID-19 Storm

9 Best Performing Industries During COVID-19 Outbreak

A study of best-performing Industries during COVID-19 / Coronavirus storm: Even after COVID-19 changing soo much in our lives we still are faced with the question, “What is life going to be like from tomorrow?”. Covid-19 has the governments and other influential intellectuals scratching their heads due to the level of uncertainty it poses. Will the virus just disappear in a few months? Or Will a vaccine come in time? Or Will we just have to learn to live with it just like AIDS? This uncertainty has even made it hard to get a peek at what the future will be like let alone predict it.

Despite all this chaos, some businesses have still found a way to make lemonade out of lemons and keep striving. Today, we are going to cover a few of the best performing industries during COVID-19 outbreak. Here, we’ll have a look at which sectors and industries these companies come from and why they were able to do so.

best-performing Industries during COVID-19 / Coronavirus storm

Best Performing Industries During COVID-19

1. Pharma Industry

pharma industry best-performing Industries during Coronavirus times

Although the doctors and nurses battling the virus have had to face the risk of the virus, the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, however, remains immune. This is because of our dependence on the pharma and healthcare at the frontlines against COVID-19. Due to changes in consumer behavior and hygiene practices any industry remotely connected has also benefitted. Disinfectants and sanitizers have recorded their highest prices and sales.  

2. Information Technology (IT) Industry 

The IT sector is in a relatively good position in the midst of the pandemic in comparison to others. This can be owed to the fact that a stable internet connection and laptop are all that is required in most of the cases, enabling them to work at ease from home. The Work From Home(WFH) approach adopted by most commodities has given rise to apps like Zoom.

most downloaded apps during coranavirus times

Zoom has seen a 187% increase in its share prices since December. Other software companies that provide solutions for WFH have also seen a similar response. The inherent privacy concerns in WFH have also increased the demand for cybersecurity.

The current scenario will also see an increased push for technological acceleration. The Indian IT sector is majorly reliant on the US and European markets. Hence the impact it receives will also be dependent on the impact on the US and European markets.

3. Telecommunication Industry

The telecommunication industry may have been impacted in its day to day functioning but its market demand has increased. This is because of the increasing need to connect during lockdowns has led to an increase in the data used.

4. E-commerce Sector

ecommerce booming during coronavirus times

Many countries have found lockdowns the only option to buy some time as they try to grasp the changes. This has been a silver lining for the E-commerce segment as many consumers have turned to them for their needs. This also involves E-Retail shops that deal in fast foods like BigBasket and Grofers.

Also read: Amazon has the right businesses to weather coronavirus.

5. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)

The FMCG sector had seen reduced demand for the initial few weeks during the lockdown but these will return to normal during the easing period. The FMCG sector, however, will benefit from the reduced crude oil prices. This has come in two forms. Firstly the benefit if one of the components is crude oil or if crude oil is part of the manufacturing process. Secondly from the reduced cost of packaging which requires crude oil in its production. Packaging currently makes 15-20% of the cost.

6. Paint Industry

Companies in the painting industry will be benefitted from the reduced crude oil prices. This is because 45% of the raw material of these companies are crude oil derived. A few of the leading companies in the paint industry are Asian paints, Kansai Nerolac, Berger paints, etc.

Also read: How Crude Oil Prices Impact Indian Market & Economy?

7. BFSI Sector

Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance companies also have an opportunity to increase their demand post the lockdown. This is because the reduced rates will result in cheaper loans. In addition to this, the government has encouraged loans to the MSME sector by acting as the guarantor in many cases.

Insurance companies will also see an increase in their product sales. This is if they are tweaked to match the Covid-19 environment once the government stops playing a major role. Companies like Paytm which are an eCommerce payment service and in the fintech business have continued their growth from demonetization into the great lockdown. This is also because of the nature of the virus and people’s increasing aversion towards cash.

8. Online Streaming, Gaming and EduTech

sectors performing well during coronavirus

With all forms of existing entertainment shut down, increased demand has been seen in online streaming websites and gaming companies. Netflix and Youtube have had to reduce the streaming quality in Europe to ease the pressure on the internet.

gaming industry boom post coronavirus lockdown

Gaming companies will have a good run during with issues being faced in its console production which will be fixed once the economy opens up.

The online education market in India was already forecasted to grow to become an $18 billion market by 2022. The great lockdown has only given a boost as numbers will be met much sooner.

9. Home Fitness

home fitness industry rise post coronavirus

The nature of the virus has made accessing Gyms and other public areas to maintain fitness dangerous. Companies like Peleton which offer an interactive experience along with their equipment have seen a rise in their share price this year.

Post Corona Environment

The post-Corona environment will be rigged against industries that have been affected during the lockdown. This is due to the changes in behavioral patterns. A level laying field can only be expected after a year or two after the pandemic. Be it a business or a human, sticking to old behavior patterns and not adapting to suit the environment will get you killed!

What are Corporate Spin-Offs meaning

What are Corporate Spin-Offs? Meaning, Pros & Cons!

Understanding corporate Spin-Offs and how they work: There are many corporate actions that act as a catalyst in the market and results in the prices of a share changing drastically within a short frame of time. A few common examples of such catalysts are mergers, acquisitions, bonus shares, buybacks, etc. The announcement of all these events results in rapidly increasing (and sometimes decreasing) of share prices in a short period. Therefore, share market investors and participants need to know what exactly these catalysts mean.  One other typical example of such events are corporate spin-offs. 

In this post, we are going to understand what are corporate spin-offs, how they work, their advantages, disadvantages and why does a company opt for spin-off. Let’s get started.

What are Corporate Spin-Offs?

A corporate spinoff is an operational strategy where an existing division of the parent company is dissolved and a new company is created in place of the division which is now independent of the parent company. Ownership in the newly formed independent company is given to the shareholders of the parent company on pro-rata based on the holdings in the parent company.

The new company resulting from this corporate action is known as the company spun-off. The company spun-off acquires its assets, employees, and other resources from the parent company.

corporate spin off

A spin-off is a mandatory corporate action. In a mandatory corporate action, the board takes the decision and the shareholders are not permitted to vote.

To make the topic more comprehensible we shall be referring to the division of the company that is spun off and becomes independent as  ‘Spinoff Ltd’. The portion of the company that remains with the existing company earlier will be referred to as ‘Parent Ltd’. The shares of the newly created Spinoff Ltd are distributed to the existing shareholders of Parent Ltd in the form of a stock dividend.

Why does a company opt for Spin-off?

There are a number of reasons why a company may opt for a spin-off. Here are the top grounds why a company may go for a spin-off:

1. Benefits of Focus

Companies that go for a spinoff generally have divisions that are least synergetic and have distinct core competencies from that of the Parent Ltd They find turning these divisions into independent companies i.e. into Spinoff Ltd would be most appropriate.

A spin-off would enable both the Parent Ltd and the Spinoff Ltd to sharpen focus on its resources and manage themselves better off independently. 

Spinoff Ltd benefits from the spin-off the most because they get a new management that is focussed only on the goals of Spinoff Ltd. The newly assigned leaders present here would be experts in the field with focus only on the goals of the Spinoff Ltd. This would also help Spinoff Ltd override corporate bureaucracy that was impeding its growth in Parent Ltd.  

2. Due to Failure to sell a division

At times Parent Ltd might have decided to sell off one of its divisions but does so unsuccessfully. In such cases, the company uses spin-off as a last resort to separate itself from the division.

3. Reduced agency costs 

At times the parent company may enter sectors that are soo diverse from its core competencies that its investors may show no interest in the new division or may even oppose the new division. In these cases, the company incurs agency costs while resolving disagreements between the management and the shareholders.

If the new division is the cause of disagreement a spin-off will prove beneficial to Parent Ltd.

This will also result in satisfied shareholders.

4. Risk, Profitability, and Debt

If a division of a company increases its overall risk due to the sector it operates in the board may take a decision to spin-off that division. 

A division may also have all the characteristics of growth in the future but its current performance or losses may be affecting the parent company. In such a situation the division may be spun off.

 When a Spinoff Ltd is created it may take on the debt of the Parent Ltd. Or at times Parent Ltd. may give Spinoff Ltd a fresh start by not transferring any debt. This will depend on the strategic perspective of the board.

5. Reduced Overheads 

Parent Ltd will benefit from the reduced overheads that pertain to the division which now becomes Spinoff Ltd. On the other hand, Spinoff Ltd will enjoy the freedom of taking care of its own overheads as required without any interference.

parent company and spinoff company

Although there are a number of reasons why a company may opt for a spin-off it is basically due to the fact that it feels that by doing so it would turn out to be beneficial to both Parent Ltd and Spinoff Ltd if they operated independently.

What is the Spin-off Process?

A spin-off may take anywhere from half a year up to over 2 years or even more to be executed. Once the board takes the decision there are multiple steps that follow. They include identifying well-suited leaders for Spinoff Ltd. Creating an operating model and financial plans to suit the business of Spinoff Ltd.

This is because the parent company is still responsible for its division. Proper communication about the terms of the spin-off to the shareholders is also necessary. This is followed by completing the legal requirements. The parent company also focuses and helps Spinoff Ltd to create a new distinct identity before the spin-off.

Types of Corporate Spin-offs

Here we classify spinoff on the basis of the ownership retained by the parent company.

– No ownership retained

In what is called a pure spin-off the parent company does not retain any ownership in Spinoff Ltd. 100% of the ownership in Spinoff Ltd is distributed among the existing shareholders of the company. Here Spinoff Ltd gets greater autonomy in its operations once the spin-off is complete.

– Minority Ownership Retained

Parent Ltd is also allowed to hold up to 20% of Spinoff Ltd. In such a case say if 20% is retained by Parent Ltd, the remaining 80% is distributed among the shareholders on a pro-rata basis. Here the parent company enjoys a greater focus on is operations and still retains some influence and decision making ability in the company spun-off. 

There is also a possibility of a partial spin-off where the company may only spin-off a part of its division and retain minority or not retain ownership accordingly.

Effects of spin-off on price of securities of the company involved

Once a spin-off takes place the share prices of Parent Ltd will fall. This is because a spin-off involves the transfer of assets from Parent Ltd to Spinoff Ltd. This will result in reduced book value of Parent Ltd and hence its reduced price. However, the reduction in price is set-off by the share price of Spinoff Ltd. This is because Spinoff Ltd will receive the same assets transferred from Parent Ltd. Hence the investor will not face any immediate loss of value.

For eg. say the market cap of the company before the spin-off stands at Rs.10 crores and its current share price is Rs.100. Say the assets that will be transferred to Spinoff Ltd are worth Rs.2 crores. After the spin-off, the market cap of Parent Ltd will be worth 8 crores resulting in a post spinoff share price of Rs.80. The share price of Spinoff Ltd would be Rs.20 with a current market cap of Rs.2 crores.

Reduced demand from Funds

These prices will remain temporarily as the shares will be subject to market volatility. Spin-offs are said to cause sell-offs, particularly in the index-based funds. This is because an index shows the topmost companies in a market based on their market cap. The companies undergoing spin-off may no longer suit the requirements of the market index.

Parent Ltd too may lose its position among the top stocks due to the reduced market cap after the spin-off. This will cause funds that follow the indexes to sell the shares of Parent Ltd as well. Other funds may too sell the shares of Spinoff Ltd. This is because Spinoff Ltd may not suit their capital requirements, dividend requirements, etc. This will result in a reduced demand and fall in the price.

Also read: 11 Must-Know Catalysts That Can Move The Share Price

Disadvantages of Corporate Spin-Offs

1. Increased cost

The cost of the spin-off will have to be borne by Parent Ltd. They will include legal duties and other costs of set-up.

2. Employee’s Discomfort

The employees in the division being spun may have joined the Parent Ltd owing to its reputation. They may be put in a situation where they will lose that identity and at the same time be confronted by the uncertainty of Spinoff Ltd.

Spin-offs as part of an Investing Strategy

The share price of Parent Ltd gets reduced after the spin-off. But this is made up for by the shares of Spinoff Ltd that the existing shareholders receive as a stock dividend. As discussed earlier due to market reactions the price may further fall.

After a spin-off takes place investors have the option to either hold onto both the shares of Parent Ltd and the shares of Spinoff Ltd. Or they have the option to sell both or either one. But before deciding which is better let us have a look at what historical studies have shown us about a spin-off.

Spin-offs as part of an Investing Strategy

— Parent company shares   

According to a study by Patrick Cusatis, James Miles, and J. Randall Woolridge published in 1993 issue of The Journal of Financial Economics, it was observed that the parent companies beat the S&P 500 Index by 18% during the first 3 years. A study by JPMorgan showed the parent companies beating the market returns by 5% during the first 18 months.

A more recent study by the Lehman Brothers investigated by Chip Dickson between 2000 and 2005 showed that parent companies beat the market average by 40% during the first two years. Due to their strong market cap, holding onto shares of Parent Ltd will be well suited for those investors that look for stable and low-risk returns. This is because as we will observe ahead, the returns from Spinoff Ltd are higher in comparison. But the shares of Parent Ltd are observed to perform even in times of market downturn.

— Shares of the company spun off

According to the same study published in the 1993 issue of The Journal of Financial Economics, it was observed that the companies spun-off beat the S&P 500 Index by 30% during the first 3 years. The study by JPMorgan showed the companies spun-off beating the market returns by 20% during the first 18 months. The study by Lehman Brothers, investigated by Chip Dickson between 2000 and 2005 showed that parent companies beat the market average by 45% during the first two years. 

All the studies show that the shares of Spinoff Ltd would not only beat the market but also would perform better than the shares of the Parent Ltd. It, however, should be noted that the share price of the spun-off companies is highly subjective to market volatility. They outperform in strong markets and underperform in weak markets. Hence they are much more suited for individuals with risk appetite.

Investors should also note that it is not the case that all spin-offs are successful. There have been situations where spinoffs have performed negatively. The best way to assess future performance is for the investor to find out why the company is attempting to have the division undergo spin-off. This is to assess if the company is using the corporate action to simply get rid of its debt or if the company is getting rid of a division in which they do not see much future prospect. In such situations, a study of debts and losses pertaining to the division in the companies books will help.

WHAT IS DELISTING OF SHARES_

Delisting of Shares – Here’s what you need to know!

Understanding what is delisting of shares and what it means to shareholders: With the latest news of Vedanta delisting plans buzzing in the market, a lot of investors are confused about what delisting of shares actually means and why companies go for delisting. Moreover, investors are worried about what happens to the shareholders once the company gets delisted from the stock exchange. 

In this article, we take a look at the delisting of shares and will try to demystify most of the frequently asked questions and facts around it. Let’s get started.

What is Delisting of Shares?

Delisting refers to a listed company removing its shares from trading on a stock exchange platform. As a consequence of delisting, the securities of that company would no longer be traded at that stock exchange. The company will now be a private company.

A long as the stock is traded in one of the exchanges that are made available to investors throughout the country it is considered as a listed stock. Anyways, if a company is listed in multiple stock exchanges in a country and decides to stop trading from just one of the exchanges, it is not considered as delisting. However, if it removes its shares from all the stock exchanges barring people to trade, then it is considered as delisting of shares. 

Types of Delisting

If we try and figure out why a company is getting delisted the reasons can be grouped into two categories.

1.  Voluntary delisting

Voluntary delisting occurs when a company decides on its own to remove its securities from a stock exchange. The company pays shareholders to return the shares held by them and removes the entire lot from the exchange. 

Why would a company want to delist from the exchange?

Voluntary delisting generally occurs when the company has plans to expand or restructure. At times a company may be acquired by an investor who is looking to hold a majority share. This share may be greater than that permissible by the government. In India, it is mandatory that at least 25% of the shareholding be available to the public. An acquirer who wants over 75% of holdings may expect the company to go private and hence delist. At times the company is also delisted to allow the promoters a greater share. 

The exchange regulations may also be a cause for voluntary delisting.  This is because companies may find it difficult to comply with regulations as they may hinder their functioning. These companies would prefer to delist.

Existing shareholder approval for delisting

A delisting that is of voluntary nature can only occur if shareholders holding up to 90% of the share capital agree to the delisting offer made by the company. The shareholders at times may not agree to delist. if they foresee a rise in the price of the shares or are not happy with the current offer made by the company to buyback the shares as they feel the shares are worth much more. A delisting process may take years to complete hence the shareholders get ample time.

2. Involuntary or Compulsory Delisting

In the case of involuntary delisting, the company is forced by the regulatory authority to stop its shares from trading.  This is also used by the regulatory authority to penalize the company. The investors do not have the opportunity to vote against the delisting in this case.

Here are the Grounds for the company being compulsorily delisted:

  1. Failure to maintain the requirements set by the exchange
  2. The shares of the company being suspended from trading for more than 6 months or being traded infrequently over the last three years
  3. Bankruptcies, where the company has posted losses for the last three years and has a net worth which is negative

Here, the Promoters are required to purchase the shares from the public shareholders as per a fair value determined by an independent valuer.

Voluntary Delisting process

Assuming that promoters, shareholders, and the company’s board of directors agree, the delisting process will take a minimum of 8-10 weeks from the date of announcement of the shareholder meeting to approve the delisting proposal. Here are the steps involved in voluntary delisting of stocks:

1. Appointment of a Merchant Banker

Once the board takes the decision to delist the first major step is appointing an independent merchant banker. A merchant banker overlooks the Reverse book building process. Reverse book building is the process by which a company that wants to delist from the bourses, decides on the price that needs to be paid to public shareholders to buy back shares. Here, it has to follow a detailed regulatory process.

2. Initiate the Reverse Book Building Process through online bidding

The merchant banker oversees the Reverse book building process. It is the process used by the company to set a price that is used to attract the investors into agreeing to the delisting. In this process, the shareholders bid online the prices at which they would be willing to sell the shares. The reverse book building process is used only in India.

To protect the investors the SEBI has also set a floor price which is the minimum the company can offer to the shareholders. The floor price should be the average of weekly closing highs and lows of 26 weeks or of the last two weeks, whichever is higher.

3. Set up Escrow Account before offering terms of delisting to public

To ensure that the company has the ability to purchase the shares from the shareholders it is required to create an account specifically for this purpose. This account is known as an Escrow account. The amount in the escrow account will only be used towards delisting.

4. Gaining Shareholder Approval

 Once the merchant banker receives the prices he makes an appropriate offer to the shareholders in the form of Offer Letters sent by post. The shareholders may or may not accept the offer. The company has to gain the approval of over 90% of the shares of all the shareholders. To acquire this approval what the company does is, make an offer to the existing shareholders to buy the shares from them at a premium. The shares must be bought back by the company at a price that is equal to or higher than the floor price.

Say a situation arises where 25% of the shareholders do not participate in the book-building process. Here as long as it can be proved that the offers were delivered to the shareholders by registered or speed post and the delivery status can be confirmed, the shareholders will be deemed as compliant to the divesting of the company.

If 90% of the shareholders agree to the prices and the companies decision to delist then the company can go ahead and delist from the stock exchange. 

What happens to shareholders who refuse to sell?

If investors do not take part in the reverse book building process they still have the option to sell their shares back to promoters. It is mandated that the promoters accept the shares. The price here would be the same price exit price accepted from the reverse book building process. The shareholders will be allowed to do this for one year from the date of closure of the delisting process. 

If a shareholder still doesn’t sell the shares back within a year he will end up holding non-tradable securities. Shareholders do this in cases where they expect the company to begin trading publicly again after a period. The shares of the shareholder, however, will still be affected by all corporate actions taken by the company.

It must be noted here retail investors (i.e. investment of less than 2 Lakh in the company) do not have much influence over the price and delisting decisions. In the case of a recent delisting announcement of Vedanta Ltd, Retail investors made up only 7.26% of the total holdings.

vedanta delisting

However, if the shareholders are unhappy with the prices or the delisting they can move to the courts. In 2005, shareholders who held 2.4% holdings moved to the courts over Cadbury offering Rs. 500 per share for being delisted. This was done despite Cadbury acquiring over 90% approval for delisting. After a decade the Bombay High Court ordered the company to pay Rs.2014.50 per share.

Also read: 11 Must-Know Catalysts That Can Move The Share Price

Using Delisting as an investment strategy

In 2010 the government made it compulsory for companies that are traded in the stock exchange to make at least 25% available to the public. This encouraged companies that had promoters owning more than 75% of the company to delist their securities. This caused investors to target companies where the promoters have ownership of 80-90%. This was done in anticipation that the company will buy back the shares at a premium. This increased the demand and hence increased the prices. 

Investors also have to consider that a failed delisting may result in a fall in the prices as investors who may have anticipated premiums may engage in mass selloffs. Not to mention that a delisting procedure may take years.

Apart from this investors also should take note of the period during which a delisting takes place. Say a company tries to delist in times of market downturn or elongated bearish markets, it may be a strategy to buy back shares at a cheaper rate when investors are desperate for liquidity. 

HARSHAD MEHTA SCAM - complete story

Harshad Mehta Scam- How one man deceived entire Dalal Street?

Explaining the Harshad Mehta Scam of 1992: The magnitude of the Harshad Mehta scam was soo big, that if put into perspective today, it brought a bear market in the Dalal street. If we look into the numbers, this single man deceived the entire nation with an amount of over Rs 24,000 crores (which is way bigger than Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallaya scams).

Today we take a look at how the Harshad Mehta scam was executed and possibly try to understand how he was able to fool the entire Dalal market and even the Indian banking systems. Further, we’ll also discuss why he plays such a considerable role in our pop culture and that too not as an antagonist.

the big bull harshad mehta scam

Harshad Mehta’s Rs 40 Journey

Perhaps what makes the Harshad Mehta story even more interesting is that despite migrating to Mumbai with only Rs. 40 in his pocket he managed to influence the country in such a massive way. Once he discovered his interest in the stock market he worked for broker Prasann Panjivandas in the 1980s. Harshad considered Prasann Panjivandas as his guru. Over the next decade, he went on to work for several brokerage firms eventually opening up his own brokerage under the name GrowMore Research and Asset Management.

By the 1990s, Harshad Mehta had risen to such prominence in the Stock market that he was known as the ‘Amitabh Bachchan of the Stock Market’. Terms such as ‘The Big Bull’ and ‘ Raging Bull’ were regularly used in reference to him. Over time he became particularly known for his wealth in the 1990s which he did not shy away from boasting about through his 15,000 sq. ft. penthouse and array of cars. He was described by Journalist Suchita Dalal as charismatic, ebullient, and recklessly ambitious. Perhaps it was this recklessness that led to his downfall through his ambitious schemes. 

The Broken Financial Environment of the 1990s

The year 1991 marks the year of liberalization of the Indian economy. Today we are grateful for this opening-up, however, Indian businesses found their own set of challenges. The public sector was forced to face increased competition and was under pressure to display profitability in the new environment. The private sector, however, responded positively to this news as this would mean more funds from foreign investments.

The new reforms also were welcomed by the private sector as they now were allowed entry into new sectors of businesses that were earlier reserved for the government enterprises. The stock market reacted positively to this with the Bombay Stock Exchange touching 4500 points in March 1992. But liberalization was not the only factor responsible for this. The period also an increase in demand for funds. The Banks were pressured into taking advantage of the situation to improve their bottom line. 

The banks are required to maintain a certain threshold of government fixed interest bonds. The governments issue these bonds with the aim of developing the infrastructure of the country. Million-dollar development projects are taken up by the government which are financed through these bonds. How much is to be invested in these bonds depends on the bank’s Demand and Time Liabilities. The minimum threshold that the banks had to maintain as bonds in the 1990s was set at 38.5%. This minimum percentage that banks have to maintain in the form of bonds or other liquid assets is known as the Statutory Liquidity Ratio(SLR).

Along with this, the banks were also pressured to maintain profitability. Banks were, however, barred from participating in the stock market. Hence they were not able to enjoy the benefits of the Stock Market leap during 1991 and 1992. Or at least they were not supposed to.

What did banks do if they couldn’t maintain the SLR ratio?

The banks at times may have temporary surges in the Net Demand and Time Liabilities. In such times banks would be required to increase their bond holdings. Instead of going through the whole process of purchasing bonds the banks were allowed to lend and borrow these liquid securities through a system called Ready Forward Deals (RFD). An RFD is a secured short term loan (15 days) from one bank to another. The collateral here is government bonds.

Instead of actually transferring the bonds the banks would transfer something called Bank Receipts (BR). This is because the bond certificates held by the banks would be of bonds worth 100 crores whereas the requirements by the banks to maintain their SLR would be much lower. Hence BR’s were a much more convenient way of short term transfer.

The BR’s were a form of short term IOU’s (I Owe You). However, when an RF deal was exercised they never looked like loan transfer but a buy and sale of securities represented by BR’s. The borrowing banks would sell some securities represented by BR’s to the lending banks in exchange for cash. Then at the end of the period say 15 days the borrowing bank would buy the BR back (securities) at a higher price from the lending bank. The difference in the buy snd sell prices would represent the interest to be paid to the lending banks. Due to the BR’s, the actual transfer of securities doesn’t take place. BR’s could simply be canceled and returned once the deal was completed.

Was the use of Bank Receipts (BR) allowed?

The RBI set up a  Public Debt Office (PDO) facility to act as the custodian for such transfer of bonds. As per the RBI BR’s were not permitted to be used for such purposes. However, the PDO facility was plagued with inefficiencies. Hence the majority of the banks resorted to BR. This system existed with the knowledge of the RBI which allowed it to flourish as long as the system worked.

What roles did the brokers play here?

Brokers in the markets played the role of intermediaries between two banks in the RFD system. They were supposed to act as middlemen helping borrowing banks meet lending banks. A brokers’ role should have ended here where it is done in exchange for a commission. 

Where the actual exchange of securities and payments should have taken place only between the bank’s brokers soon found a way to play a larger role. Eventually, all transfer of securities and payments were made to the broker. Banks also began welcoming these because of the following reasons

  • Liquidity: Brokers provided a quick and easier alternative to dealing with in comparison to dealing with another bank. Loans and payments would hence be provided on short notice in a quick manner.
  • Secrecy: When deals were made through a broker it would not be possible for the lending banks to find out where the loans were being moved to. Similarly, the borrowing banks too would not be concerned where the loans would be coming from. The dealings were both done only with the broker.
  • Credit Worthiness: When banks would deal with each other, the transaction would be placed depending on the creditworthiness of the borrowing bank. However, once brokers took over the settlement process this benefitted the borrowing banks as they would have loans available regardless of their creditworthiness. The lending banks would lend based on the trust and creditworthiness of the broker.

Brokers entering the settlement process made it possible that the two banks would not even know with whom they have dealt with until they have already entered into the agreement. The loans were viewed as loans to the brokers and loans from the brokers. Brokers were now indispensable.

The Role played by Harshad Mehta.

Harshad Mehta used to broker the RF deals as mentioned above. He managed to convince the banks to have the cheques drawn in his name. He would then manage to transfer the money deposited in his account into the stock markets. Harshad Mehta then took advantage of the broken system and took the scam to new levels.

In a normal RF deal, there would be only 2 banks involved. Securities would be taken from a bank in exchange for cash. What Harshad Mehta did here was that when a bank would request its securities or cash back he would rope in a third bank. And eventually a fourth bank so on and so forth. Instead of having just two banks involved, there were now multiple banks all connected by a web of RF deals. 

Harshad Mehta and the Bear Cartels

Harshad Mehta used the money he got out of the banking system to combat the Bear Cartels in the stock market. The Bear Cartels were operated by Hiten Dalal, A. D. Narottam and others. They too operated with money cheated out from the banks. The Bear Cartels would aim at driving the prices low in the market which eventually undervalued various securities. The Bear Cartels would then purchase these securities at a cheap price and make huge profits once the prices normalized.

Harshad Mehta countered this by pumping money from the stock market to keep the demand up. He argued that the market has simply corrected the undervalued stock when it revalued the company at a price equivalent to the cost of building a similar enterprise. He put forward this theory with the name replacement cost theory. This theory was a fallacy on his behalf or an illusion he resented to the public to justify his investments. Such was his influence in the stock market that his words would be blindly followed similar to that of a religious guru.

He would use the money from the banks which was temporarily in his account to hike up the demand of certain shares. He selected well-established companies like ACC, Sterlite Industries, and Videocon. His investments along with the market reaction would result in these shares being exclusively traded. The price of ACC rose from Rs.200 to nearly Rs. 9000 in a span of 2 months

Harshad Mehta celebrated this victory by feeding peanuts to the bears at the Bombay Zoo as it signified his victory over the bearish trends.

Benefits to Banks

The banks were aware of Harshad Mehta’s actions but chose to look away as they too would benefit from the profits Harshad would make from the stock market. He would transfer a percentage to the banks. This would also enable banks to maintain profitability.

The Scam within the Scam

Harshad Mehta noticed early on the dependence of the RF deals on BR’s. In addition to this, the RF deal system also placed a great deal of reliance on prominent brokers like Harshad Mehta. So he along with two other banks namely Bank of Karad (BOK) and the Metropolitan Co-operative Bank (MCB) decided to further exploit the system. With the help of these two banks, he was able to forge BR’s. The BR’s that were forged were not backed by any securities. This meant that they were just pieces of paper with no real value. This is similar to a situation where you can avail loans with no collateral. Harshad Mehta further would pump this money into the stock market increasing his amount of influence. 

The RBI is supposed to conduct on-site inspections and audits of the investment accounts of the banks. A thorough audit would reveal that amount represented by BR’s in circulation was significantly higher than the government bonds actually held by the banks. When the RBI did notice irregularities it did not act decisively against Bank of Karad (BOK) and the Metropolitan Co-operative Bank (MCB). 

Another method through which the collateral was eliminated was by forging government bonds themselves. Here the BR’s are skipped and fake government bonds are created. This is because PSU bonds are represented by allotment letters making it easier for them to be forged. However, this forgery amounted for a very small amount of funds misappropriated. 

Exposing the Harshad Mehta Scam

Journalist Sucheta Dalal was intrigued by the luxurious lifestyle of Harshad Mehta. She was particularly drawn to the fleet of cars owned by Harshad Mehta. They included Toyota Corolla, Lexus Starlet, and Toyota Sera which were rarities and a dream even for the rich in India during the 1990s. This further interest had her further investigate the sources through which Harshad Mehta amassed such wealth. Sucheta Dalal exposed the scam on 23rd April 1992 in the columns of Times of India. 

It has been alleged that the Bear Cartel ganged up on Mehta and blew the whistle on him to get rid of him and the bullish run altogether. 

Aftermath of Harshad Mehta Scam Exposure

— Effect on the Stock Market

Less than 2 months after the scam was exposed, the stock market had already lost a trillion rupees. The RBI created a committee to investigate the matter. The Committee was called the Janakiraman Committee. As per the Janakiraman Committee Report, the scam was of the magnitude of Rs.4025 crores. This impact on the stock market was huge considering that the scam amounted to only 4025 crores in comparison to a trillion or 1 lakh crores.

This major fall, however, cannot be attributed to the scam alone but also to the governments’ harsh response. In an attempt to ensure that all the parties involved are brought to justice, the government did not permit the sale of any shares that had gone through the brokers in the last one year. This affected not only the brokers but also the innocent shareholders who may have gone through these brokers to purchase securities. The shares came to be known as tainted shares. Their value was reduced to pieces of paper as their holder was not allowed to sell them. This just resulted in a worsened financial environment.

Effect on the Political environment

The opposition demanded the resignation of the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh and the RBI Governor S. Venkitaramanan. Singh even offered his resignation but this was rejected by prime minister P. V. Narasimha Rao.

Effect on the Banking Sector

When the scam was exposed the banks started demanding their money back and recovery efforts made them realize that there were no securities backing the loan either. The Investments in the stock market by Harshad Mehta were tainted and had reduced by a significant value. A number of bankers were convicted. It also led to the suicide of the chairman of Vijaya bank. 

— Further Investigation

The investigations revealed many players like Citibank, brokers like  Pallav Sheth and Ajay Kayan, industrialists like Aditya Birla, Hemendra Kothari, a number of politicians, and the RBI Governor all had played a role in the rigging of the share market. The then minister P. Chidambaram also had utilized Harshad Mehta’s services and invested in Harshad Mehtas Growmore firm through his shell companies.

harshad mehta scam

— Effect on Harshad Mehta’s Life

Harshad Mehta was charged with 72 criminal offenses and more than 600 criminal action suits. After spending 3 months in custody Mehta was released on a bail. The drama however never subdued but only intensified. In a press conference, Harshad Mehta claimed that he had bribed the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao for Rs 1 crore to secure his release.

Harshad Mehta even displayed the suitcase in which he allegedly carried the cash. However he CBI never found any concrete evidence of this. Harshad Mehta was now also barred from participating in the stock market.

Investigators felt that Harshad Mehta was not the original perpetrator who forged the bank receipts. It was clear that Harshad Mehta capitalized and made profits using these methods. They also saw the possibility of the bear cartels ganging up on Harshad Mehta to get rid of the bearish markets by blowing the whistle on him and having the scam exposed through Sucheta Dalal. This, however, drew the investigators’ attention to the bear cartel as well as they too had used the same means as Harshad Mehta. These other brokers were eventually tried too.

In addition to this, the IT department claimed an income tax owed to them Rs.11,174 crores. Harshad Mehta’s firm GrowMore had significant clientele and the IT department had linked all the transactions that may have involved Harshad Mehta or his firm with Harshad Mehta’s income. His lawyer addressed this as bizarre as Harshad Mehtas lifetime assets were worth around Rs.3000 crores. He highlighted the possibility where by making Harshad Mehta the face of the scam allowed other powerful players a chance to have the focus lifted away from them and escape or slowly be exonerated.

Life after Release and Death

Harshad Mehta made a comeback as a market guru sharing advice on his website and newspaper columns. In September 1999 the Bombay Highcourt convicted him and sentenced him to 5 years of imprisonment. Mehta died while in criminal custody after suffering from cardiac arrest in Thane Prison on 31st December at the age of 48.

— Effect on Harshad Mehta’s Family

When Harshad Mehta died he still had 27 cases pending against him. Although all criminal cases have been cleared before his death there were still several civil cases pending in court. His wife still fights cases with recent victories over the IT department and a broker who owed Harshad Mehta 6 crores. The broker was ordered to pay the amount with 18% interest which roughly accumulated to 524 crores. The cases have dragged on for so long that his brother secured the law degree in his 50’s and represents the family in court. Harshad Mehta’s son now makes headlines regarding his investments.

Also read: 3 Past Biggest Scams That Shook Indian Stock Market

Closing Thoughts

Despite the scam, Harshad Mehta is still looked up to in certain circles, As reported by Economic Times some financial experts believe that Harshad Mehta did not commit any fraud, “he simply exploited loopholes in the system”. When Harshad Mehta was first released out of prison in 1992 he was greeted with cheers and applause as his return would signify the return of his bullish trend. It is doubted that if businessmen who have been embroiled in scandals with the likes of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi will receive the same welcome. 

The Harshad Mehta scam can be looked on from two sides. The first as a scam where Harshad looted the stock market and the public or the second way where Harshad Mehta was made the scapegoat as someone had to be blamed and at the same time kept other influential people away from the limelight. The Year 1991 is generally referred to as the year of progress due to liberalization but if seen from this perspective discussed here it just makes one exclaim “ What a mess!”.

Coffee Can Investing - Does This Approach Works Anymore?

Coffee Can Investing: Does This Approach Work?

An overview of Coffee Can Investing Approach: A middle class Indian would spend most of his youth being forced into education, his early adulthood building a career, and taking care of his parents. He would be hit by a midlife crisis before 50. His late adulthood would be spent preparing for retirement i.e. if he hasn’t started already and ultimately banks on his kids to take care of him. As young adults, the kids now take up the responsibility with pride as is demanded by the Indian tradition and culture.

A squirrel life, on the other hand, lives chiefly on trees as they forage for food and escape predators. One thing that is interesting about squirrels is that they too try and stock up on nuts for the future. Unfortunately for the squirrels and fortunately for us, millions of trees are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts and then forget where they hid them. Because of a squirrels life spanning only 11-12 months, they do not generally get to reap the benefits of an oak they planted, as oaks take up to 30 years to grow. But they still live in forests that may well have been accidentally planted by squirrel fathers decades ago.

sqrriel coffee can investing

What does it take to retire?

Humans, unlike the squirrel, have an average lifespan of 79 years. Yet we see the middle-class Indian category struggling and not reaping any benefits. According to Saurabh Mukerjea, for a couple to retire and survive for another 25 years with a reasonably good lifestyle post-retirement, they’ll need a crore a year pre-tax which is 60-70 lakhs post-tax.

This does sound reasonable considering the expenses of their adolescent children, the fragility of their health, and most importantly inflation a few years hence. This will mean that for a family to retire in a good shape they’ll need to have financial assets of at least 15 crores. Need a minute? Today we discuss an investment strategy called Coffee Can Investing that shines some light on what seeds to plant for our 15 crore oaks in the long term.

What is coffee can investing?

Coffee Can Investing was first coined by Robert G. Kirby in a paper written by him in 1984. The strategy gets its name because in the old west people who invest in the stock market would receive physical certificates of proof which they would put away in coffee cans. They would hide these cans in their mattresses later forgetting about them.

These stocks would eventually grow enormously making its holder rich when he found it again. The success of Coffee Can Investing depends entirely on the wisdom and foresight used to select stocks in the portfolio.

The Story behind Coffee Can Investing

Robert Kirby first observed the pattern dramatically in the 1950s when working in a large investment counsel organization. One of their woman clients who had just been widowed approached him. She wanted the securities inherited from her husband to be added to her portfolio under the organization. Her husband, who was a lawyer, would look after her financials.

Robert Kirby noticed that the husband had been piggybacking on the advice she would get from the advisors within the company. He would apply the advice as directed by the advisors to his wife’s portfolio. But when it came to his portfolio he would only follow those that were related to buying shares. He paid no attention whatsoever to the sell recommendations. He would simply put $5,000 in all purchases.

When Robert Kirby reviewed the portfolio created, the husband had many stocks that were worth only $1000. However, there were quite a few considerable investments that were now worth $100,000. One jumbo holding worth $800,000 exceeded his wife’s whole portfolio. These were shares of a company called Haloid. This investment later turned out to be a zillion shares of Xerox. 

This surprised Kirby as the wifes’ portfolio was no match to that of her deceased husband. This happened despite the wifes’ portfolio being managed by an Investment organization. And all he did was buy the shares as suggested by the investment counsel organization but ignore the sell orders even if the stocks were moving negatively. 

Coffee Can Investing and Index Funds

When Kirby first wrote the paper in 1984, he noticed that there was an increase in the index funds following. This has continued to this day. An Index in a market creates a portfolio of the top securities held in that market. The Index, however, does not hold the securities. The US has the S&P 500 Index. What Index Funds do is create an actual portfolio by investing in the securities.

In the paper, Kirby criticizes these funds as they are required to trade securities on a regular basis to keep up with the portfolio the index would have. Kirby also explains how the S&P 500 Index made several hundred stock additions and eliminations. An Index fund would actively be required to trade on these stocks. The transaction costs on these alone would have a huge impact on the portfolio and the index funds growth. Hence Kirby introduced Coffee Can Investing. He identified that leaving the stocks alone was one of the reasons why the widows’ husband had grown his portfolio enormously in the 1950s. And he also considered transaction costs from trading as the greatest detriment to superior investment returns.

What is required for a Coffee Can Strategy?

To tap into these superior investment returns of Coffee Can Investing one would have to 

  1. Carefully assess and select stocks based on the company’s performance.
  2. Invest and forget about them for a long period of time. In Coffee Can Investing to reap the maximum benefits, one would have to let the investments be for at least a period of 10 years.

coffee can investing quote

How to pick stocks for this approach?

In their book, ‘Coffee Can Investing: The low-risk road to stupendous wealth’ Saurabh Mukherjea, Rakshit Ranjan, and Pranab Uniyal discuss how to pick stocks to create a Coffee Can portfolio. According to them, the stocks considered must be filtered in the following manner.

1. The company selected must have a market cap of at least 500 crores.

This is because we will need a company that has established itself. Also because we will need the past records of the company for at least 10 years. 

2. Revenue growth of the company must be at least 10% each year for the last 10 years.

3. The ROCE of the companies must be more than 15%

The ROCE will show if the management is capable of allocating that the money put by you into the company correctly. ( ROCE = Net Income/ Shareholders Equity)

The stocks selected in the portfolio still have to be diversified. The investment must be done across industries and also across different capital classes. This would, however, depend on the investor and vary accordingly. The investor would have to keep in mind that the scope for growth is limited when the companies are too big. The potential for smaller companies to grow is much higher. This, however, does not stand true for longer periods. In long term say 20 years this benefit no longer would exist with the companies in the small-cap in comparison to large-caps.

Results of Coffee Can Investing Approach

After studying trends and putting together a portfolio, The book ‘Coffee Can Investing: The low-risk road to stupendous wealth’ brings forward the concept of Patience Premium. As per Patience Premium, a period greater than one year would give you a higher probability of higher returns. Investors are not really rewarded much for periods like 1 year or even up to 7 years. The chances of returns as per the book even reduce during the 3 to 5 year period. After the 7-year and 10-year mark, the patience premium is much higher.

The best-case scenario occurs when patience premium combines with quality premium. Quality premium is the premium associated with the quality companies selected in the portfolio. A dream mix would be of good quality companies selected as per the Coffee Can portfolio filter and an investor letting the investment be for a long period. With both the premiums combined the probability of losing money is -3% yearly. After a period of 10 years, the returns would stand at 20%. They would, however, remain stagnated after this period. Hence 10 years onward the returns expected will be more or less 20%.

Why do the returns stagnate after 10 years? 

Pranab Uniyal explains this citing reference to the book ‘Mathematics of everyday life’. According to the book, large numbers behave differently from small numbers. They use a dice analogy to explain this. Say 3 people were each to roll a dice 5 times. The average obtained from rolling the dice 5 times will vary or have an extremely high probability to vary from each other. On the other hand, if all of them roll the dice say 1000 times, the average will cumulate to 3.5 for all of them.

Similarly in investing. Short periods will subject us to market volatility, which would be the easiest way to lose our investment and the results would vary too much to different investors. However, when we look at longer periods say 10 years if different investors create a Coffee Can portfolio the returns would converge at 20% yearly.

Greater the Risk, Greater the reward?

The book also challenges the quote on every investor’s tongue which says more the risk, higher the reward. Coffee Can Investing provides a way for investors to earn huge returns on their investments instead of gambling in the short term. These returns can only be achieved however only if the portfolio is held for a long period of time. One of the major reasons the investor earns here is by saving up on all the transaction costs.

Why not select assets outside the stock market? 

warren buffett quote on gold

Only 2% of the Indian population indulges in the Indian stock markets. Over 95% prefer to invest their savings in Land and Gold. This could be because we as people tend to put our trust in assets that we can see and touch. Also, a great deal of cultural influence is at play when it comes to gold.

The land came to be considered as one of the best investments due to the boom in the period between 2003 to 2013. Due to this India has currently become one of the priciest markets in the world. But the prices are not followed by an apt demand. This has left a lot of unsold properties in the market. This has made land and gold one of the worst investments in recent times especially if one wants to stay ahead of inflation. And an even worse investment if they want to compete with the stock market. 

warren buffett quote investing

Benefits of Coffee Can Investing

1. Minimum Expenses

Coffee Can Investing can be said to have been built on this factor. Apart from the cost that occurs during the one-time investment, there will be no more transaction cost for the remaining 10 year period. Tracking an index involves multiple additions and eliminations to a fund portfolio. Due to this, the investments are affected regularly from brokerage and other expenses transaction costs.

coffee can investing quote

In addition to this investment management firms have their own set of charges charged to the investors. Expenses to the investment manager are spread to all the funds and not just Index funds. Also, the quest for alpha in the market has investment managers charging investors for their apparent skills. However, for the period the investors remain the market we rarely see them beat the markets.

A Coffee Can Portfolio created by the individual would not have an Expense Ratio. Also, investors rarely consider how taxes affect their investments. Regular purchases and sales would result in added taxes on any profit earned. 

2. No need for tracking the portfolio.

This is also one of the necessities of Coffee Can Investing. Once we have filtered and achieved a portfolio of quality stock the only thing that is required is for them to be put aside and left alone for a decade.

When we invest we unfortunately always try and keep track of what is going on with the company. CEO changes, political and other economic changes would all stimulate us to act on our holdings. In fact, a Coffee Can Portfolio would even require us to not even look at our stocks during the pandemic.

3. Not Affected by volatility

The filters to create a suitable coffee can portfolio ensures that only the best stocks as per the present scenario make it to your portfolio. However, in the short term, these stocks will face very high volatility in reaction to the market, political, and other changes. In the long term, the stocks will only be judged by their intrinsic quality. However, even if a few stocks turn out to be bad investments it is best to cite what Kirby saw in the deceased husbands’ portfolio. There were stocks that did not perform as well as the others but they were more than made up for by the stocks that performed better. In the long term, the portfolio will face reduced impact from market volatility.

4. Outperformance by 8-10%

According to ‘Coffee Can Investing’ a portfolio that has followed all the steps will be performing better than the market and beating it by 8-10%

Why don’t funds just follow Coffee Can Investing?

If this investment strategy enables you to outperform the market by such a large margin then the question arises as to why shouldn’t mutual funds just follow this investing strategy.

— One of the major reasons is the wait for 10 years. In Coffee Can to judge how you have performed, you will have to wait for over a decade. Very few investors would be willing to commit to such a fund.

– Imagine a scenario where a fund does start coffee can investing. It would have to set up a team that would prepare a portfolio for the fund. What next? Coffee can would require you to simply ignore the investment for the next decade. Setting up a fund only as Coffee Can will have a huge setup cost at the beginning with returns only after a decade. In regular investment firms, the employees are rewarded for the right decisions, investments, and performance. These benefits would only be available to the employees of such firms only after a decade. This would be highly unfair to them.

Despite Coffee Can Investing not being popular in the Indian markets there still are a few Asset management companies still offering the coffee can route.

Closing Thoughts

Coffee Can Investing makes us question if we really are investors. Or due to our reaction to every market change has resulted in us inadvertently become traders. Traders holding the facade of an investor. 

At the end of his paper where Robert Kirby introduced Coffee Can Investing, he makes it clear that his argument wasn’t against index funds. They were directed towards the transaction costs, brokerage fees, taxes that are associated with every trade. Instead, if the stocks are just left alone they would perform much better

What should an Investor with limited liquidity do?

If we take a regular Indian Investor, for him to be expected to contribute a huge amount for the one-time investment would be unrealistic. Instead if one would want to follow coffee can investing but is not able to set aside a huge amount at once it would be better if he does the following.

Create a coffee can portfolio where the investor invests what he can and set it aside for a decade. When he has saved enough again say in a year, create a coffee can portfolio which is completely independent of the one he created earlier with no references to it. It should be solely based on the market conditions prevalent filtering companies based on the present scenario and set it aside for a decade.

Coffee Can Investing: The Book

For a thorough study, I would recommend giving ‘Coffee Can Investing: The low-risk road to stupendous wealth’ by Saurabh Mukherjea, Rakshit Ranjan, and Pranab Uniyal a read. Although there might be quite a few books out there on investing there are very few books written keeping the Indian Markets particularly in mind.

It would be highly rewarding to break the loop mentioned in the introduction. Happy Investing.