## How to Find Intrinsic Value of Stocks Using Benjamin Graham Formula?

Find the intrinsic value of stocks using the Benjamin Graham formula: Valuation is one of the most important aspects while investigating any stock for investing. A good business might not be a good investment if you overpay for it. However, most valuation methods like DCF analysis, EPS valuation, dividend discount model etc requires little assumptions and calculations.

Luckily, there are also a few valuation methods available that are pretty simple to use in order to find the true value of a company. In this article, we are going to discuss one such valuation method which is really straightforward and simple to use. And this valuation method is known as the Graham formula.

Overall, this post is going to be really helpful for all the beginners who are stuck with the valuation of stocks and want to learn the easiest approach to find the true intrinsic value of companies. Therefore, make sure to read this post till the end. Let’s get started.

## A brief introduction to Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham was a British-born American investor and economist. He was a sincere value investor and often credited for popularizing the concept of value investing among the investing population. Graham was also:

Graham was a strict follower of value investing and preferred purchasing amazing businesses when they were trading at a significant discount.

In his book – Security analysis, Benjamin Graham mentioned his formula to pick stocks which become overly popular among stock market investors for valuing stocks since then.

## The Benjamin Graham formula to find the intrinsic value of stocks

The Original formula shared by Benjamin Graham to find the true value of a company was

V* = EPS x (8.5 + 2g)

Where,

• V* = Intrinsic value of the stock
• EPS = Trailing twelve-month earnings per share of the company
• 8.5 = PE of a stock at 0% growth rate
• g = Growth rate of the company for the next 7-10 years

Anyways, this formula was published in 1962 and was revised later to meet the expected rate of return as a lot concerning the market and economy has changed since Graham’s time to present. The revised Graham formula is:

During 1962 in the United States, the risk-free rate of return was 4.4% (this can also be considered as the minimum required rate of return). However, to adjust the formula to the present, we divide 4.4 by the current AAA corporate bond yield (Y) to make the formula legit.

Presently, the AAA corporate bonds are yielding close to 4.22% in the United States. (Source: YCharts). In order to make an apple to apple comparison, we’ll consider the bond yield for 1962 and the current yield- both for the United States. Therefore, you can consider the value of Y equal to 4.22% currently, which may be subjected to change in the future.

Quick note: You can also use the corporate bond yield of India in 1962 and the current yield to normalize the equation for valuing Indian stocks. In such a case, the value 4.4. will be replaced by the Indian corporate bond yield in 1962 and Y will be the current corporate bond yield in India. Make sure to use the correct values.

Note: The Adjusted Graham formula for conservative investors.

Many conservative investors have even modified the Graham formula further to reach a defensive intrinsic value of the stocks.

For example, Graham originally used 8.5 as the PE of the company with zero growth. However, many investors use this zero growth PE between 7 to 9, depending on the industry they are investigating and their own approach.

Further, Graham used a growth multiple of ‘2’ in his original equation. However, many investors argue that during Graham’s time, there were not many companies with a high growth rate, such as technology stocks which may grow at 15-25% per annum. Here, if you multiply this growth rate with a factor of ‘2’, the calculated intrinsic value can be quite aggressive. And hence, many investors use a factor of 1 or 1.5 for the growth rate multiple in their calculations.

Overall, the adjusted formula of conservative investors turns out to be:

V* = EPS x (7 + g) * (4.4/Y)

## Pros and cons of the Benjamin Graham formula

The biggest pros of Graham’s formula is its ease and straightforwardness. You do not require any difficult input or complex calculations to find the intrinsic value of a company using the Graham formula. In a few easy calculation steps, this method can help the investors to define the upper range of their purchase price in any stock.

However, as no valuation method is perfect, there are also a few cons of the Benjamin Graham formula. For example, one of the important inputs of the Benjamin Graham formula is EPS. Anyways, EPS can be manipulated a little by the companies using the different loopholes in the accounting principles, and it such scenarios the calculated intrinsic value might be misleading.

Another problem with the Benjamin Graham formula is that like most valuation methods, this formula also completely ignores the qualitative characteristics of a company like Industry characteristics, management quality, competitive advantage (moat) etc while calculating the true value of stocks.

## Real-life example of valuing stocks from the Indian stock market using the Benjamin Graham formula

Now that you understood the basics of how you can value stocks using the Benjamin Graham formula, let us use this formula to perform a basic stock valuation of a real-life example from the Indian stock market.

Here, we are taking the case study of HERO MOTOCORP (NSE: HEROMOTOCO) to find its true intrinsic value using the Benjamin Graham formula. For Hero Motocorp,

• EPS (TTM) = Rs 186.29
• Expected growth (for the next 5 years) = 9.89%

(Past 5-year EPS growth rate per annum (CAGR) of Hero Motocorp is 14.14%. Taking 30% safety on this growth rate as it is a large-cap, we can estimate a conservative expected future growth rate of 9.89% for the next few years).

Now first, let us find the intrinsic value of Hero motocorp using the original Benjamin Graham formula,

V* = EPS x (8.5 + 2g)
= 186.29 x (8.5 + 2*9.89) = Rs 5268. 28

Now, using the revised formula with conservative zero-growth PE of 7 and growth multiple of one, the intrinsic value of Hero motocorp turns out to be:

V* = EPS x (7 + g) x (4.4/4.22)
= 186.29 x ( 7 + 9.89) x (4.4/4.22) =3280.65

At the time of writing this post, hero Motocorp stock is trading at a market price of Rs 2961.90 and PE (TTM) of 15.90.  Therefore, by using the Benjamin Graham formula, we can consider this stock to be currently undervalued.

Disclaimer: The case study used above is just for educational purpose and should not be considered as a stock advisory. Please research the company carefully before investing. After all, no one cares more about your money than you do.

You can also use Trade Brains’ online GRAHAM CALCULATOR to perform your calculations fast.

## Closing thoughts

An important point worth mentioned here is the concept of margin of safety that Benjamin Graham repeatedly taught in his books. Graham offered a very simple formula to calculate the intrinsic value of a growth stock and it can be applied to other sectors and industries.

In simple words, according to the concept of margin of safety, if the calculated intrinsic price of a company turns out to be Rs 100, always give your calculations a little safety and purchase the stock at a 15-25% below that calculated value, i.e. when the stock trades below Rs 75-85.

Overall, the Benjamin Graham formula is a fast, simple and straightforward method to find the intrinsic value of stocks. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should definitely use this valuation approach while performing the fundamental analysis of any stock.

## Investing for Beginners

If you are new to investing, you can learn how to perform stock valuation and pick profitable shares for consistent returns in the Indian stock market with the Trade Brains flagship course ‘How to pick winning stocks’. It is a self-paced online course with lifetime access so that you can learn on your own schedule. This course is currently available at a discount. Check out more here. Happy investing!!!

Additional credits: Vasanth (for data inputs in Benjamin Graham Formula)

## Understanding Profit & Loss Statement: Making Sense of Earnings!

A Guide on what is a Profit & Loss Statement and how to read it: One of the most important aspects an investor looks into before investing in a business is whether the business is profitable. That is how much earnings the company is making every quarter and year, along with how much is growing in the earnings compared to the last year or so. And this can be found by reading the Profit & Loss Statement of a company.

Today, we have a look at the financial statement that provides us with this earnings info i.e. the Profit & Loss Statement in order to better understand it. Let’s get started.

## What is a P&L Statement?

A profit and loss statement (P&L) or income statement is a financial report that summarizes the revenues, costs, and expenses incurred over a given period of time. The P&L statement shows a company’s ability to generate sales, manage expenses, and create profits.  It is also known as the statement of operations.

## Why do we need a P&L Statement?

For the sake of understanding the concept better take the example of a household that earns Rs.30,000 p.m. with the assumption that due to a tight budget it does not spend on assets. If a member of the family were to compute how he arrived at the savings for a month, how would he do so?

He would simply jot down all the incomes he receives from various sources and subtract that with the expenses say Rs 25,000 in order to arrive at the amount he has saved. Although in the case of a company we do not have savings, instead we try to find out the profit or loss from a similar but tabular method. We jot down the total revenue earned by the firm from all sources and subtract it with expenses in order to arrive at the respective profit or loss and that is exactly what the P&L statement does.

In the simplest words, the goal of a P&L statement is to measure the profits by excluding the expenses from the income and provide an overview of the financial health of the business. The profit and Loss statement shows exactly where the revenues come from to the business, and what are the costs and expenses that are paid for. It shows us the ability that a business has to manage its profits by either cutting costs or driving revenue.

#### The P&L Statement is very important to various stakeholders.

• Within the company, the statement shows where the company could be possibly lagging behind in generating revenue or on what costs and expenses the company is overspending and should reduce. Such information also helps then plan and budget for the coming years. The statement also provides insights into whether the profit margins they have allocated on the products are sufficient.
• For investors, the P&L statement answers the primary questions they have, which is whether the company is profitable or if it is making a loss? And even if it is doing so what are its prospects to breakeven or increase profits.
• The P&L statements also help other government entities and the tax departments to assess the tax position of the company.

## How to read a P&L statement?

Before going through the tabular format let us have a look at the basic formula the P&L report is based on:

Revenue – Expenses = Profits

But arriving at Profits is not as simple as the formula depicts. There are various incomes and expenses that simply cannot be grouped together and they must be shown separately in order to aid future decision making. These include revenue, Income from other sources, operating expenses, other expenses, taxes, etc.

This would expand the above formula to

1. Gross Profit = Net Sales – Cost of Sales
2. Operating Profit = Gross Profit – Operating Expense
3. Profit before Taxes = Net Operating Profit + Other Income − Other Expense
4. Net Profit (or Loss) = Net Profit before Taxes − Income Taxes

Looks confusing right. In addition simply following the above would make a comparison to previous years’ data or comparison with other companies difficult. Hence the P&L statement comes in a simple tabular format that makes understanding and comparison easier.

## Format of the P&L statement

STATEMENT OF PROFIT & LOSS

Name of the Company…………………….

Statement of Profit and Loss for the period ended…………….

ParticularsNote
No.
Figures
as at end
of
current
reporting
period
Figures
as at end
of
previous
reporting
period
Analysis
1234
I. Revenue from
operations
xxxxxxxxHere revenue on
account of company’s
main operating
activity is shown.
II. Other income xxxxxxxxHere, other revenue
not arising out of
company’s main
operating activity is
shown.
III. Total Revenue (I
+ II)
xxxxxxxx
IV. Expenses:
Cost of materials
consumed
xxxxxxxxThis section is applicable for companies that manufacture their own products. This section will include the cost pertained to manufacture those products in the form of Raw Materials, Packing Material and other material such as purchased as intermediates and components which are consumed in the manufacturing activities of the company. This section also includes Semi-Finished Goods purchased for
processing and
subsequent sale.
Purchases of
xxxxxxxxThis is applicable to
and would comprise
of goods purchased
normally with the
intention to resell or
processing /
manufacture at their
end.
Changes in
inventories of
finished goods
work-in progress
xxxxxxxxThis represents the
difference between
opening and closing
inventories of finished
differences would be
shown separately for
finished goods, workin-progress and
Employee benefits
expense
xxxxxxxx
Finance costs xxxxxxxx
Depreciation and
amortization
expense
xxxxxxxx
Other expenses xxxxxxxxExpenses not
covered above are
required to be
aggregated here. Examples of other
expenses are
consumption of stores and spare parts,
power and fuel rent,
repairs, insurance
etc.
Total expensesxxxxxxxx
V. Profit before
exceptional and
extraordinary items
and tax
(III-IV)
xxxxxxxx
VI. Exceptional
items
xxxxxxxxHere total impact of
the exceptional items
like gain / loss on
disposals of long-term
investments,
legislative changes
having retrospective
application, litigation
settlements disposals
of items of fixed
assets and other
reversals of provisions etc are to
be shown.
VII. Profit before
extraordinary
items and tax (V -
VI)
xxxxxxxx
VIII. Extraordinary
Items
xxxxxxxxHere total impact of
the extraordinary
items like expense
related to previous
periods, arising out of
long term settlement
with the employees,
loss due to fire etc
are to be shown.
IX. Profit before tax
(VII- VIII)
xxxxxxxx
X Tax expense:
(1) Current tax
(2) Deferred tax
xxxxxxxx
XI. Profit (Loss) for
the period
from continuing
operations
(VII-VIII)
xxxxxxxx
XII Profit/(loss)
from
discontinuing
operations
xxxxxxxx
XIII. Tax expense of discontinuing
operations
xxxxxxxx
XIV. Profit/(loss)
from
Discontinuing
operations
(after tax) (XII-XIII)
xxxxxxxx
XV. Profit (Loss) for
the period
(XI + XIV)
xxxxxxxxThis represents the
profit after tax
XVI. Earnings per
equity share:
xxxxxxxx

## Where to find the Profit & Loss Statement of a company?

If you want to find the last five years’ profit &loss statement of any publically listed company in India, you can use Trade Brains free stock research portal here.

Here, you can read the simplified profit and loss statement of any company that you’re researching from the list of over 5,000 publically listed companies in India. For this, simply go to https://portal.tradebrains.in/ and search the name/symbol of the company in the search bar. Then, you can go to the stock details page of that company to read its profit & loss statement.

## Closing Thoughts

The profit and Loss statement has a very important role to play when it comes to guiding investment decisions. The Profit and Loss statement should however not be considered as the only basis for making decisions. The Profit and Loss statement includes expenses while computing Net Profit but leaves out any changes made to the assets and liabilities during the year.

Also, a high Net Profit will not necessarily mean that the company has adequate cash to spend. There is still a possibility that the company may have made a profit but still has a negative cash flow. The reasons for this can only be understood after viewing the Cash Flow Statement. A complete analysis using financial statements requires a combination of P&L Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement.

## 8 Financial Ratio Analysis that Every Stock Investor Should Know!

List of Must Know Financial Ratio Analysis for Stock Market Investors: Evaluating a company is a very tedious job. Judging the efficiency and true value of a company is not an easy task it demands rigorously reading the company financial statements like balance sheet, profit and loss statements, cash-flow statement, etc.

Since it is tough to go through all the information available on a company’s financial statements, the investors have found some shortcuts in the form of financial ratios. These financial ratios are available to make the life of a stock investor comparatively simple. Using these ratios, the stock market investors can choose the right companies to invest in or can compare the financials of two companies to find out which one is a better investment opportunity.

In this post, we are going to discuss eight of such Financial Ratio Analysis that Every Stock Investor Should Know.

This article is divided into two parts. In the first part, we’ll cover the definitions and examples of these eight must know financial ratios. In the second part, after the financial ratio analysis, we’ll discuss how and where to find these ratios. Therefore, be with us for the next 8-10 minutes to enhance your stock market analysis knowledge. Let’s get started.

Quick note: Do not worry much about calculations of these ratios or try to mug up the formulas by-heart. All these financial ratios are easily available on various financial websites. Nonetheless, we will recommend you to understand the basics of the financial ratio analysis as it will be helpful in building a good foundation for your stock research in future.

## PART A: 8 Financial Ratio Analysis For Stock Investor

### 1. Earnings Per Share (EPS)

EPS is the first most important ratio in our list. It is very important to understand Earnings per share (EPS) before we study any other ratios, as the value of EPS is also used in various other financial ratios for their calculation.

EPS is basically the net profit that a company has made in a given time period divided by the total outstanding shares of the company. Generally, EPS can be calculated on an Annual basis or Quarterly basis. Preferred shares are not included while calculating EPS.

Earnings Per Share (EPS) = (Net income – Dividends from preferred stock)/(Average outstanding shares)

From the perspective of an investor, it’s always better to invest in a company with higher and growing EPS as it means that the company is generating greater profits. Before investing in any company, you should always check past EPS for the last five years. If the EPS is growing for these years, it’s a good sign and if the EPS is regularly falling, stagnant or erratic, then you should start searching for another company.

### 2. Price to Earnings (PE) Ratio

The Price to Earnings ratio is one of the most widely used financial ratio analysis among investors for a very long time. A high PE ratio generally shows that the investor is paying more for the share. The PE ratio is calculated using this formula:

Price to Earnings Ratio= (Price Per Share)/( Earnings Per Share)

Now let us look at the components of the PE ratio. It’s easier to find the price of the share which is the current closing stock price. For the earnings per share, we can have either trailing EPS (earnings per share based on the past 12 months) or Forward EPS i.e. Estimated basic earnings per share based on a forward 12-month projection. It’s easier to find the trailing EPS as we already have the result of the past twelve month’s performance of the company.

For example, a company with the current share price of Rs 100 and EPS of Rs 20, will have a PE ratio of 5. As a thumb rule, a low PE ratio is preferred while buying a stock. However, the definition of ‘low’ varies from industries to industries.

Different industries (Ex Automobile, Banks, IT, Pharma, etc) have different PE ratios for the companies in their industry (Also known as Industry PE).  Comparing the PE ratio of the company of one sector with the PE ratio of the company of another sector will be insignificant. For example, it’s not much use to compare the PE of an automobile company with the PE of an IT company. However, you can use the PE ratio to compare the companies in the same industry, preferring one with low PE.

### 3. Price to Book (PBV) Ratio

Price to Book Ratio (PBV) is calculated by dividing the current price of the stock by the book value per share. Here, Book value can be considered as the net asset value of a company and is calculated as total assets minus intangible assets (patents, goodwill) and liabilities. Here’s the formula for PBV ratio:

Price to Book Ratio = (Price per Share)/( Book Value per Share)

PBV ratio is an indication of how much shareholders are paying for the net assets of a company. Generally, a lower PBV ratio could mean that the stock is undervalued.

However, again the definition of lower varies from industry to industry. There should be an apple to apple comparison while looking into PBV ratio. The price to book value ratio of an IT company should only be compared with PBV of another IT company, not any other industry.

### 4. Debt to Equity (DE) Ratio

The debt-to-equity ratio measures the relationship between the amount of capital that has been borrowed (i.e. debt) and the amount of capital contributed by shareholders (i.e. equity).

Debt to Equity Ratio =(Total Liabilities)/(Total Shareholder Equity)

Generally, as a firm’s debt-to-equity ratio increases, it becomes riskier as it means that a company is using more leverage and has a weaker equity position. As a thumb of rule, companies with a debt-to-equity ratio of more than one are risky and should be considered carefully before investing.

### 5. Return on Equity (ROE)

Return on equity (ROE) is the amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders’ equity. ROE measures a corporation’s profitability by revealing how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested. In other words, ROE tells you how good a company is at rewarding its shareholders for their investment.

Return on Equity = (Net Income)/(Average Stockholder Equity)

As a thumb rule, always invest in a company with ROE greater than 20% for at least the last 3 years. Year-on-year growth in ROE is also a good sign.

### 6. Price to Sales Ratio (P/S)

The stock’s price/sales ratio (P/S) ratio measures the price of a company’s stock against its annual sales. P/S ratio is another stock valuation indicator similar to the P/E ratio.

Price to Sales Ratio = (Price per Share)/(Annual Sales Per Share)

The P/S ratio is a great tool because sales figures are considered to be relatively reliable while other income statement items, like earnings, can be easily manipulated by using different accounting rules.

### 7. Current Ratio

The current ratio is a key financial ratio for evaluating a company’s liquidity. It measures the proportion of current assets available to cover current liabilities. The current ratio can be calculated as:

Current Ratio = (Current Assets)/(Current Liabilities)

This ratio tells the company’s ability to pay its short-term liabilities with its short-term assets. If the ratio is over 1.0, the firm has more short-term assets than short-term debts. But if the current ratio is less than 1.0, the opposite is true and the company could be vulnerable. As a thumb rule, always invest in a company with a current ratio greater than 1.

### 8. Dividend Yield

A stock’s dividend yield is calculated as the company’s annual cash dividend per share divided by the current price of the stock and is expressed in annual percentage. Mathematically, it can be calculated as:

Dividend Yield = (Dividend per Share)/(Price per Share)*100

For Example, If the share price of a company is Rs 100 and it is giving a dividend of Rs 10, then the dividend yield will be 10%.

A lot of growing companies do not give dividends, rather reinvest their income in their growth. Therefore, it totally depends on the investor whether he wants to invest in a high or low dividend yielding company. Anyways, as a thumb rule, consistent or growing dividend yield is a good sign for dividend investors.

## PART B: Finding Financial Ratios

Now that we have understood the key financial ratio analysis, next we should move towards where and how to find these financial ratios.

For an Indian Investor, many big financial websites where you can find all the key ratios mentioned above along with other important financial information. For example –  Money Control, Yahoo FinanceEconomic Time Markets, ScreenerInvesting[dot]com, Market Mojo, etc.

Further, you can also use our stock market analysis website “Trade Brains Portal“, to find these ratios. Let me show you how to find these key financial ratios on Trade Brains Portal. Let’s say, you want to look into all the above-mentioned financial ratios for “Reliance Industries”. Here’s what you need to do next.

### Steps to find Key Ratios on Trade Brains Portal

1) Go to Trade Brains Portal at https://portal.tradebrains.in/ and search for ‘Reliance Industries’.

2) Select the company. This will take you to the “Reliance Industries” stock detail Page.

3) Scroll down to ‘5 Year Analysis & Factsheet’ and here you can find all the financial ratios for the last five years.

You can find all the key financial ratio analysis discussed in this article on this section of stock details. In addition, you can also look into other popular financial ratios like Profitability ratio, Efficiency ratio, Valuation ratio, Liquidity ratio, and more.

## Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the list of Must Know Financial Ratio Analysis for stock market investors. Now, let us give you a quick summary of all the key financial ratios mentioned in the post.

8 Financial Ratio Analysis that Every Stock Investor Should Know:

1. Earnings Per Share (EPS) – Increasing for last 5 years
2. Price to Earnings Ratio (P/E) – Low compared to companies in the same sector
3. Price to Book Ratio (P/B) – Low compared to companies in the same sector
4. Debt to Equity Ratio – Should be less than 1
5. Return on Equity (ROE) – Should be greater than 20%
6. Price to Sales Ratio (P/S) – Smaller ratio (less than 1) is preferred
7. Current Ratio – Should be greater than 1
8. Dividend Yield – Consistent/ Increasing yield preferred

In addition, here is a checklist (that you should download), which can help you to select a fundamentally strong company based on the financial ratios. Also, feel free to share this image with those whom you think can get benefit from the checklist.

That’s all for this post. Hope this article on ‘8 Financial Ratio Analysis that Every Stock Investor Should Know’ was useful for you. If you have any doubt or need any further clarification, feel free to comment below. We will be happy to help you. Take care and happy investing.

## #19 Most Important Financial Ratios for Investors!

List of most important Financial ratios for investors:  Reading the financial reports of a company can be a very tedious job. The annual reports of many of the companies are over hundreds of pages which consist of a number of financial jargon. Moreover, if you do not understand what these terms mean, you won’t be able to read the reports efficiently. Nevertheless, there are a number of financial ratios that have made the life of investors very simple. Now, you do not need to make a number of calculations and you can just use these financial ratios to understand the gist.

In this post, I’m going to explain the 19 most important financial ratios for investors. We will cover different types of ratios like valuation ratios, profitability ratios, liquidity ratios, efficiency ratios, and debt ratios.

Please note that you do not need to mug up all these ratios or formulas. You can easily find all these ratios of any public company in India on our stock research portal here. Just understand them and learn how & where they are used. These financial ratios are created to make your life easier, not tough. Let’s get started.

# 19 Most Important Financial ratios for Investors

## A) Valuation Ratios

These ratios are also called Price ratios and are used to find whether the share price is over-valued, under-valued, or reasonably valued. Valuation ratios are relative and are generally more helpful in comparing the companies in the same sector (apple to apple comparison). For example, these ratios won’t be of that much use if you compare the valuation ratio of a company in the automobile industry with another company in the banking sector.

Here are a few of the most important Financial ratios for investors to validate a company’s valuation.

### 1. Price to Earnings (PE) ratio

The price to earnings ratio is one of the most widely used ratios by investors throughout the world. PE ratio is calculated by:

P/E ratio = (Market Price per share/ Earnings per share)

A company with a lower PE ratio is considered under-valued compared to another company in the same sector with a higher PE ratio. The average PE ratio value varies from industry to industry.

For example, the industry PE of Oil and refineries is around 10-12. On the other hand, the PE ratio of FMCG & personal cared is around 55-50. Therefore, you cannot compare the PE of a company from the Oil sector with another company from the FMCG sector. In such a scenario, you will always find oil companies undervalued compared to FMCG companies. However, you can compare the PE of one FMCG company with another company in the same industry, to find out which one is cheaper.

### 2. Price to Book Value (P/BV) ratio

The book value is referred to as the net asset value of a company. It is calculated as total assets minus intangible assets (patents, goodwill) and liabilities. The Price to book value (P/B) ratio can be calculated using this formula:

P/B ratio = (Market price per share/ book value per share)

Here, you can find book value per share by dividing the book value by the number of outstanding shares. As a thumb rule, a company with a lower P/B ratio is undervalued compared to the companies with a higher P/B ratio. However, this ratio also varies from industry to industry.

### 3. PEG ratio

PEG ratio or Price/Earnings to growth ratio is used to find the value of a stock by taking into consideration the company’s earnings growth. This ratio is considered to be more useful than the PE ratio as the PE ratio completely ignores the company’s growth rate. PEG ratio can be calculated using this formula:

PEG ratio = (PE ratio/ Projected annual growth in earnings)

A company with PEG < 1 is good for investment.

Stocks with a PEG ratio of less than 1 are considered undervalued relative to their EPS growth rates, whereas those with ratios of more than 1 are considered overvalued.

### 4. EV/EBITDA

This is a turnover valuation ratio. EV/EBITDA is a good valuation tool for companies with lots of debts. This ratio can be calculated by dividing enterprise value (EV) of a company by its EBITDA. Here,

• EV = (Market capitalization + debt – Cash)
• EBITDA = Earnings before interest tax depreciation amortization

A company with a lower EV/EBITDA value ratio means that the price is reasonable.

### 5. Price to Sales (P/S) ratio

The stock’s Price to sales ratio (P/S) ratio measures the price of a company’s stock against its annual sales. It can be calculated using the formula:

P/S ratio = (Price per share/ Annual sales per share)

Price to sales ratio can be used to compare companies in the same industry. Lower P/S ratio means that the company is undervalued.

### 6. Dividend yield

Dividends are the profits that the company shares with its shareholders as decided by the board of directors. Dividend yield can be calculated as:

Dividend yield = (Dividend per share/ price per share)

Now, how much dividend yield is good? It depends on the investor’s preference. A growing company may not give a good dividend as it uses that profit for its expansion. However, capital appreciation in a growing company can be large. On the other hand, well established large companies give a good dividend. But their growth rate is saturated. Therefore, it depends totally on investors whether they want a high yield stock or growing stock.

As a rule of thumb, a consistent and increasing dividend yield over the past few years should be preferred.

### 7. Dividend Payout

Companies do not distribute its entire profit to its shareholders. It may keep a few portions of the profit for its expansion or to carry out new plans and share the rest with its stockholders. Dividend payout tells you the percentage of the profit distributed as dividends. It can be calculated as:

Dividend payout = (Dividend/ net income)

For an investor, a steady dividend payout is favorable. However, a very high dividend payout like 80-90% maybe a little dangerous. Dividend/Income investors should be more careful to look into the dividend payout ratio before investing in dividend stocks.

## B) Profitability ratio

Profitability ratios are used to measure the effectiveness of a company to generate profits from its business. A few of the most important financial ratios for investors to validate the company’s profitability ratios are ROA, ROE, EPS, Profit margin & ROCE as discussed below.

### 8. Return on assets (ROA)

Return on assets (ROA) is an indicator of how profitable a company is relative to its total assets. It can be calculated as:

ROA = (Net income/ Average total assets)

A company with a higher ROA is better for investment as it means that the company’s management is efficient in using its assets to generate earnings. Always select companies with high ROA to invest in.

### 9. Earnings per share (EPS)

EPS is the annual earnings of a company expressed per common share value. It is calculated using the formula

EPS = (Net Income – Dividends on Preferred Stock) / Average Outstanding Shares

As a rule of thumb, companies with increasing earnings per share for the last couple of years can be considered as a healthy sign.

### 10. Return on equity (ROE)

ROE is the amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders’ equity. It can be calculated as:

ROE= (Net income/ average stockholder equity)

It shows how good is the company in rewarding its shareholders. A higher ROE means that the company generates a higher profit from the money that the shareholders have invested. Always invest in companies with an average ROE for last three years greater than 15%.

### 11. Net Profit Margin (NPM)

Increased revenue doesn’t always mean increased profits. The profit margin reveals how good a company is at converting revenue into profits available for shareholders. It can be calculated as:

Profit margin = (Net income/sales)

A company with a steady and increasing profit margin is suitable for investment.

### 12. Return on capital employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the company’s profit and efficiency in terms of the capital it employs. It can be calculated as

ROCE= (EBIT/Capital Employed)

Where EBIT = Earnings before interest and tax. And further, Capital employed is the total number of capital that a company utilizes in order to generate profit. It can be calculated as the sum of the shareholder’s equity and debt liabilities. As a rule of thumb, invest in companies with higher ROCE compared to their competitors.

## C) Liquidity ratio

Liquidity ratios are used to check the company’s capability to meet its short-term obligations (like debts, borrowings, etc). A company with low liquidity cannot meet its short-term debts and may face difficulties to run it’s business efficiently. Here are a few of the most important financial ratios for investors to check the company’s liquidity:

### 13. Current Ratio

It tells you the ability of a company to pay its short-term liabilities with short-term assets. The current ratio can be calculated as:

Current ratio = (Current assets / current liabilities)

While investing, companies with a current ratio greater than 1 should be preferred. This means that the current assets should be greater than the current liabilities of a company.

### 14. Quick ratio

It is also called an acid test ratio. The quick ratio takes accounts of the assets that can pay the debt for the short term.

Quick ratio = (Current assets – Inventory) / Current liabilities

The quick ratio doesn’t consider inventory as current assets as it assumes that selling inventory will take some time and hence cannot meet the current liabilities. A company with a quick ratio greater than one means that it can meet its short-term debts and hence quick ratio greater than 1 should be preferred.

## D) Efficiency ratio

Efficiency ratios are used to study a company’s efficiency to employ resources invested in its fixed and capital assets. Here are three of the most important financial ratios for investors to check the company’s efficiency:

### 15. Asset Turnover Ratio

It tells how good a company is at using its assets to generate revenue. Asset turnover ratio can be calculated as:

Asset turnover ratio = (Sales/ Average total assets)

The higher the asset turnover ratio, the better it’s for the company as it means that the company is generating more revenue per rupee spent.

### 16. Inventory Turnover Ratio

This ratio is used for those industries which use inventories like the automobile, FMCG, etc. A company should not collect piles of shares and should sell its inventories as early as possible. The inventory turnover ratio helps to check the efficiency of cycling inventory. It can be calculated as:

Inventory turnover ratio = (Costs of goods sold/ Average inventory)

The inventory turnover ratio tells how good a company is at replenishing its inventories.

### 17. Average collection period:

The average collection period is used to check how long the company takes to collect the payment owed by its receivables. It is calculated by dividing the average balance of account receivable by total net credit sales and multiplying the quotient by the total number of days in the period.

Average collection period = (AR * Days)/ Credit sales

• Here, AR = Average amount of accounts receivable
• Credit sales= Total amount of net credit sales in the period

The average collection period should be lower as a higher ratio means that the company is taking too long to collect the receivables and hence is unfavorable for the operations of the company.

## E) Debt Ratio

Debt or solvency or leverage ratios are used to determine a company’s ability to meet its long-term liabilities. They are used to calculate how much debt a company has in its current financial situation. Here are the two most important Financial ratios for investors to check debt:

### 18. Debt/equity ratio

It is used to check how much capital amount is borrowed (debt) vs that of contributed by the shareholders (equity) in a company.

As a thumb rule, invest in companies with debt to equity ratio less than 1 as it means that the debts are less than the equity.

### 19. Interest coverage ratio

It is used to check how well the company can meet its interest payment obligation. Interest coverage ratio can be calculated by:

Interest coverage ratio = (EBIT/ Interest expense)

Where EBIT = Earnings before interest and taxes

The interest coverage ratio is a measure of the number of times a company could make the interest payments on its debt with its EBIT. A higher interest coverage ratio is preferable for a company as it reflects- debt serving ability of the company, on-time repayment capability, and credit rating for new borrowings

Always invest in a company with a high and stable Interest coverage ratio. As a thumb rule, avoid investing in companies with an interest coverage ratio less than 1, as it may be a sign of trouble and might mean that the company has not enough funds to pay its interests.

## Closing Things

In this article, we discussed the list of most important Financial ratios for investors. If you want to look into these financial ratios for any publically listed company on Indian stock exchanges, you can go to our stock research portal. Here, you can find the five year analysis and factsheet of all these ratios.

That’s all for this post. I hope this article on the most important Financial ratios for investors is useful to the readers. In case I missed any important financial ratio, feel free to comment below. Happy Investing.

## What is CAPM – Capital Asset Pricing Model?

Simplifying what is CAPM – Capital Asset Pricing Model: One of the most popular and prevalent laws states that “Greater the risk, greater the reward”. This holds true even when we take into account the stock market and the returns earned. Assets like government bonds come with low risk-low returns, blue-chip equities come with medium risk- medium return, and high risk-returns in equity stock is generally noticed with new entrants.

All seems well and good when we are able to compare different asset classes as above. But how would you differentiate the expected returns between stocks of the same asset class? And even when done among different asset classes how is this differentiation quantifiable?

Today, we discuss the CAPM an investment theory that provides the answers to these very problems. The model has been so integral to financial management that it has even been suggested that finance became a full-fledged scientific discipline’  only when William Sharpe published his derivation of the CAPM in 1986.

## What is CAPM?

The Capital Asset Pricing Model provides us with a formula that describes the relationship between expected return and the risk of investing in that security. The CAPM formula provides investors with an expected return that they should be expecting taking up the risk on the security.

On the other hand, it is also used by the management of the company to calculate the cost of equity or the rate at which the will service the shareholder equity in order to fairly compensate its shareholders for taking up the risk.

## How to Calculate returns using CAPM?

The expected return for security can be calculated using the following formula:

Where,

1. Rf = Risk-Free Rate
2. Rm = Expected return of the market
3. Ra = Expected return from the security.

## Simplifying the Expected Return Calculation Formula

A first glimpse of the formula shown above is good enough to spin heads. Now we go ahead and simplify it in order to make it more understandable.

### 1. Rf = Risk-Free Rate

Generally, government-issued bonds are known to be one of the most secure investments. This is why the rate provided by these government bonds is termed as the risk-free rate.

### 2. Beta – Stock’s volatility Measure

Beta here is the measure of the stock’s risk which is captured by measuring the volatility a stock faces in relation to the overall market. Here the average market return is 1. Say the Beta of a company A is 1.5. This would mean that for every 1% increase in the market return the shares of A’ will increase by 1.5%. But also a 1% decrease would mean that shares of A will decrease by 1.5%. Stocks like this are highly volatile.

Take another example where the Beta of a company is 0.5. This would mean that for every 1% increase in the market return the shares of A’ will increase by 0.5%. But also a 1% decrease would mean that shares of A will decrease by 0.5%. Stocks like this are of low volatility.

### 3. Rm = Expected return of the market

The expected return from the market is achieved by either following what research companies estimate. Or by computing historical averages from the past say for eg. the average Nifty return for the last 10 years. This is used in the formula in order to find the market risk premium. The market risk premium is shown in the formula as (Rm-Rf). This in simpler words shows the additional return available from the market in comparison to the Risk-Free rate.

After reading the above the formula simply becomes,

Expected Return from the Mkt. = Risk-Free Rate + (Beta * Market Risk Premium)

## A Simple Example to Understand it further

Let us calculate the expected rate of return for ABC company. Say the risk-free rate is 3% by looking into the current government-issued bond rates. ABC operates in the textile industry which has a Beta of 1.3%. Indian Markets, on the other hand, are expected to rise in value by 8% per year.

Here, the expected return rate can be calculated as,

Expected Return from the Mkt. = Risk-Free Rate + (Beta * Market Risk Premium) = 3% + 1.3 * (8% – 3%) = 9.5%

## Assumptions of the CAPM

Before concluding this article, let us also discuss a few of the assumptions considered during CAPM calculations:

1. All investors have relevant information about the companies.
2. All investors are rational, risk-averse, and seek to maximize their returns from investments.

As in most cases, the assumptions are unrealistic in the real world turning them into limitations of the model.

## Closing Thoughts

In this article, we tried to simplify what is CAPM i.e. Capital Asset Pricing Model. This approach has both its pros and cons while calculating the expected rate of return of an asset.

Over the years a number of shortcomings have come about with regards to the CAPM but it still remains widely used because of its simplicity and ease of comparison of investment alternatives. The CAPM however does not remain restricted to finding expected returns but is also used in portfolio building by investors. Its key advantages however will always lie in its ability to translate into estimates of expected return, keeping it useful.

## How to read Financial Statements of a Company?

A Beginner’s Guide on How to read financial statements of a company:  If you want to invest successfully in the stock market, you need to learn how to read and understand the financial reports of a company. Financial statements are tools to evaluate the financial health of the company. In this post, we are going to discuss the basics of how to read financial statements of a company. Here you’ll learn how to read the balance sheet, income statement, and cashflow statement of a company.

To be honest, you won’t find this post very interesting. Many of the points might sound complex and boring. However, it’s really important that you learn how to read financial statements of a company for achieving success in your investing journey. Reading and understanding the financials of a company is what differentiates an investor from a speculator.

As Warren Buffett used to say “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.”. And you can find the risk and potentials of a company through its financial reports. Without wasting any further time, Let’s get started.

## How to get the financial statements of a company?

Before we start analyzing the financial statements of a company, the first thing that you need to know is where exactly to find them. Where can you see or download the financial statements of a company that you’re researching?

Well, you can find the financial statements of a company in any of the following sites: 1) BSE/NSE Website, 2) Investor relation page on Company’s website 3) Financial websites (like screener, money control, investing, etc)

In India, Securities exchange board of India (SEBI) regulates the financials announced by the company and try to keep it as fair as possible. Further, if you are using any other non-reputed website, make sure that the reports are correct and not tempered.

Quick Note: We recently launched our stock research and analysis portal, where you can also get the details about the financials of the +4,000 publically listed company in India. You can check out our portal here.

## Three Core Financial Statements of A Company

Now, let us understand the different financial statements of a company. The financials of a company are split into three key sections. They are:

1. Balance sheet
2. Income statement (Or Profit & loss statement)
3. Cash flow statement.

The balance sheet shows the assets and liabilities of a company i.e. what it owns and owes. Second, the income statement shows how much profit/loss the company has generated from its revenues and expenses. And finally, the Cash flow statement shows the inflows and outflows of cash from the company.

It’s essential that you know how to read all of these financial statements. Let’s understand each statement one-by-one.

## 1. Balance Sheet

A balance sheet is a financial statement that compares the assets and liabilities of a company to find the shareholder’s equity at a specific time. The balance sheet adheres to the following formula:

Assets = Liabilities + Shareholders’ Equity

Here, do not get confused by the term ‘shareholder’s equity’. It is just another name for ‘net worth’ of the company.  In other way, the above formula can be also written as:

Shareholder’s Equity = Assets – Liabilities

Quick Note: You can easily understand this with an example from day to day life. If you own a computer, car, house, etc then it can be considered as your asset. Now your personal loans, credit card dues, etc are your liabilities. When you subtract your liabilities from your assets, you will get your net worth. The same concept is applicable to companies. However, here we define net worth as the shareholder’s equity.

### Why are balance sheets important?

The balance sheet helps an investor to judge how a company is managing its financials. The three balance sheet segments- Assets, liabilities, and equity, give investors an idea as to what the company owns and owes, as well as the amount invested by shareholders.

#### Key elements of a Balance Sheet

Assets and liabilities are two key elements of a balance sheet. However, both assets and liabilities further comprise of different elements. Let’s define both of these to understand them in details:

1) Assets: It is an economic value that a company controls with an expectation that it will provide a future benefit. Assets can be cash, land, property, inventories, etc. Further, assets can be broadly categorized into:

• Current (short-term) assets: These are those assets that can be quickly liquidated into cash (within 12 months). For example cash and cash equivalents, inventories, account receivables, etc.
• Non-Current (Fixed) assets: Those assets which take more than 12 months to convert into cash. For example- Land, property, equipment, long-term investments, Intangible assets (like patents, copyrights, trademarks), etc.

The sum of these assets is called the total assets of a company.

2) Liabilities: It is an obligation that a company has to pay in the future due to its past actions like borrowing money in terms of loans for business expansion purposes etc. Like assets, it can also be broadly divided into two segments:

• Current liabilities: These are the obligations that need to be paid within 12 months. For example payroll, account payable, taxes, short-term debts, etc.
• Non-current (Long-term) liabilities- There are those liabilities that need to be paid after 12 months. For example long-term borrowings like term loans, debentures, deferred tax liabilities, mortgage liabilities (payable after 1 year), lease payments, trade payable, etc.

Now, let us understand these segments with the help of the balance sheet of a company from the Indian stock market. Here is the balance sheet of ASIAN PAINTS for the fiscal year 2016-17. I have downloaded this report from the company’s website here.

Please note that there are always at least 2 columns on the balance sheet for consecutive fiscal years. It helps the readers to monitor the year-on-year progress.

Although the balance sheet looks complicated, however, once you learn the basic structure, it’s easy to understand how to read the financial statements of a company. A few points to note from the balance sheet of Asian Paints:

1. There are three segments in the balance sheet of Asian paints: Assets, equity, and liability.
2. It adheres to the basic formula of the balance sheet: Assets = Liabilities + Shareholder’s equity. Please note that the first column of asset (TOTAL ASSETS = 9335.60) is equal to the second & third column of equity and liabilities (TOTAL EQUITY & LIABILITY = 9335.60).

Now, let us move to the second important financial statement of a company.

## 2. Income Statement

This is also called the Profit and loss statement. An income statement summarizes the revenues, costs, and expenses incurred during a specific period of time (usually a fiscal quarter or year). The basic equation on which a profit & loss statement is based is:

Revenues – Expenses = Profit

In simple words, what a company ‘takes in’ is called revenue and what a company ‘takes out’ is called expenses. The difference in the revenues and expenses is net profit or loss.

#### The fundamental structure of an income statement:

Revenue
– Cost of goods sold (COGS)
——————————————-
= Gross Profit
– Operating expenses
——————————————-
= Operating Income
– Interest expense
– Income taxes
——————————————–
= Net Income

Note: The revenue is called TOPLINE and net income is called the bottom line in the income statement.

Most of the investors check the income statement of a company to find its earning. Moreover, they look for growth in their earnings. It’s preferable to invest in a profit-making company. A company cannot grow if the underlying business is not making money.

Here is the Income statement of Asian paints for the Year 2016-17:

Here are a few points that you should note form the income statement of Asian Paints:

1. The top line (revenue) increased by 8.04% in the fiscal year 2016-17.
2. On the other hand, the bottom line (net profit) increased by 11.84% (Rs 1802.76 Cr –> Rs 2016.24 Cr) in the from the fiscal year 2015-16 to the fiscal year 2016-17.
3. This shows that the management has been able to increase the profits are a better pace compared to the sales. This is a healthy sign for the company.

For Asian paints, the diluted EPS also increased from Rs 18.19 in the year 2015-16 to Rs 20.22 in year 2016.17. This is again a positive sign for the company.

## 3. Cashflow statement

This is the third key part of a company’s finances. Cash flow statement (also known as statements of cash flow) shows the flow of cash and cash equivalents during the period under report and breaks the analysis down to operating, investing, and financing activities. It helps in assessing the liquidity and solvency of a company and to check efficient cash management.

Three key components of Cash flow statements

1. Cash from operating activities: This includes all the cash inflows and outflows generated by the revenue-generating activities of an enterprise like sale & purchase of raw materials, goods, labor cost, building inventory, advertising, and shipping the product, etc.
2. Cash from investing activities: These activities include all cash inflows and outflows involving the investments that the company made in a specific time period such as the purchase of new plant, property, equipment, improvements capital expenditures, the cash involved in purchasing other businesses or investments.
3. Cash from financial activities: This activity includes inflow of cash from investors such as banks and shareholders by getting loans, offering new shares, etc, as well as the outflow of cash to shareholders as dividends as the company generates income. They reflect the change in capital & borrowings of the business.

In simple words, there can be cash inflow or cash outflow from all three activities i.e. operation, investing, and finance of a company. The sum of the total cash flows from all these activities can tell you how much is the company’s total cash inflow/outflow in a specific period of time.

Here is the Cash flow statement of Asian paints for the fiscal year 2016-17.

From the Asian paints cashflow statement, we can notice that the net cash from operating activities has declined from Rs 2,242.95 Crores to Rs 1,527.33. This may be little troublesome for the company as the net cash from operating activities shows how much profit the company is generating from its basic operations.

As a thumb rule, an increase in the net cash from operating activities year over year is considered a healthy sign for the company. However, while comparing also look at the data for multiple years.

Quick note: In financial statements, generally accountants do not use the negative sign. For example, if the expense is to be deducted, it is not written as -40. When writing minus sign, accountants use parentheses (—). For the same example, it will be written as (40), not -40.

## Summary

Through this post, we tried to explain the three core financial statements of a company. It is important to read and understand all the three financial statements of a company as they show the health of a company from different aspects.

1. The balance sheet shows the assets and liabilities of a company.
2. The income statement shows how much profit/loss the company has generated from its revenues and expenses.
3. Cash flow statement shows the inflows and outflows of cash from the company.

While investing in a company, you should pay special attention to all these financial aspects of a company. As a thumb rule, invest in a company with high-income growth, large assets compared to its liabilities and a high cash flow.

That’s all! This is how to read financial statements of a company. Although it’s not enough, however, this post aims to give a basic idea to the beginners about the financial statements of a company.

If you want to learn (in details) about where to find the financial statements of an Indian company and how to effectively study the reports, feel free to check out my online course on HOW TO PICK WINNING STOCKS here. I have explained everything about financial statements in this course.

Further please comment if you have any questions. I’ll be happy to help you out. Happy Investing!

## 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

## 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.

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.

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.

## 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.

## What is a Company Annual Report? And How to read it Efficiently?

An overview of Company Annual Report, it’s meaning, purpose, contents and more: You might not be surprised to know that Warren Buffett, the third most richest person on this planet and one of the most successful investor of our time, reads over 500 pages each day. Most of the time, he’s busy reading the annual reports of different companies that either he’s planning to invest or already invested in. And believe me, reading the annual report of multiple companies is not an easy task as each report easily consists of 200-300 pages or more.

“So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” – Warren Buffett

In this article, we are going to discuss what is a company annual report, its meaning, purpose, why investors read annual reports and finally how to read annual reports efficiently. Let’s get started!

## What is a Company Annual Report?

While some companies publish their Annual Reports to provide necessary information about its company’s financial performance and to comply with the statutory requirements, there are some other companies that use the Annual Reports as a tool to advertise their products and services and that is reasonable too.

The Annual Report is the medium of communication between the company and its shareholders, investors and other readers. It is the best source to know about any company’s operations, services along with its financial performance in the past, present and what are its upcoming plans and goals.

Moreover, the Annual Report is a statutory compliance every company must adhere to. It is a single source of highly useful information that is used differently by a different set of users such as Shareholders, Income Tax Authorities, Investors, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), etc. Be it either financial statements or corporate governance, or company vision and mission or ratio analysis, everything is compiled and presented in an Annual Report. The financial health is measured from these reports.

## What is Purpose of the Annual Reports?

Basically, the purpose of issuing an Annual Report is to communicate to the shareholders, stakeholders, media and other relevant authorities that how the company performed in the financial year, its vision and mission, whether the company is working towards its set targets, what all are its assets, liabilities, what are their main areas of operations and what other activities they are doing. The ultimate purpose is to showcase the financial performance and provide an assurance that the company’s financials have been audited by the professionals and they represent true and fair financial statements in all manner.

## Contents of the Annual Report

Whilst the fundamental purpose of publishing the Annual Report is to provide company information, financial performance, significant accounting policies and related notes and future goals to its shareholders, investors and other related users, many companies use Annual Report to advertise their products and services and other achievements along with the basic necessary information as discussed above. We will be highlighting the critical and important contents of every Annual Report that is required by every company by some of the other regulatory body.

(Example: Asian Paints Annual Report for Year 2018/19 – Source)

### — Director’s Report

The Director’s Report is a letter from the Board of Directors of the company to its shareholders and other investors and readers about a brief of the company’s main activity, financial performance, management’s responsibility in preparing the books of accounts and financial statements and appointment or re-appointment of auditors in the annual general meeting of the company along with other particulars of major accounting policies followed in the recently completed financial year.

The report will also communicate details if the company is planning anything major that will impact significantly on shareholders’, investors’, its payables’ or receivables’ decisions such as any merger or acquisition, or any other occurrence of extraordinary event. The Directors will also communicate the reasons if the company had losses during the financial year and their plan to recover or make it profitable.

### — Auditor’s Report

The Auditor’s Report is a letter of auditor’s opinion about the truthfulness and fairness of the financial statements and that the financial statements comply with generally accepted accounting principles and any other recognized accounting standards. Auditors address the shareholders of the company and express their opinion about the financial statements to them.

Auditors are the professional Chartered Accountants recognized and authorized by the professional bodies and government authorities to issue and certify such reports. The auditor’s report contains auditor’s opinion on the financial statement, the basis of the opinion, auditor’s responsibility to carry out the audit and to issue such report, management’s responsibility and any other reporting responsibility such as compliance to legal and regulatory requirements.

For the readers of the financial statement, an auditor’s report and his opinion provide very crucial details. The opinion can be unqualified opinion, qualified opinion or the auditors may give a disclaimer of opinion.

The unqualified opinion means that in an auditor’s opinion, the financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial statements. Whereas, the qualified opinion means the auditors believe that the company has deviated from its mandatory compliance to represent true and fair financial statements or certain accounting policies and principles are not complied by the company. The disclaimer of opinion represents that the auditor is not able to give any opinion on the financial statements for certain reasons such as, the management might not allow them to qualify the report or they were refrained to carry out the audit as per their satisfaction or any other such matter.

### — Statement of Financial Position or Balance Sheet

The statement of financial position is a balance sheet of a company as on the last date of the financial year. The balance sheet contains assets, liabilities and shareholders’ funds or equity. This statement will indicate what are the Non-current assets, current asset a company holds, how much non-current or current liabilities a company needs to settle and how much is shareholders fund including accumulated profits and reserves.

### — Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income

This is the statement where readers of the Annual Report will find financial performance during the year for a company. The statement contains Income, Expenses and other extraordinary income or expense made by the company during the financial year. The income and expenditure from operations and major services and other general, sales and distribution expenses are covered under the first part of the income statement that will give the net income or net profit during the year. The second part will include details of unrealized income, foreign currency transaction loss or gain, dividend, transfer to reserves under comprehensive income statement.

### — Statement of Cash Flow

The Income statement will include only the income and expenses of that year for a company which may also include such income or expenses that are accrued but actually not paid. For example, the receipt of payment for the revenue booked in the last week of the financial year might be pending. Hence, it may happen that actual cash has not been received or paid but it is booked as it relates to that year and to comply with the accounting principles. However, from the statement of cash flow, the readers can understand that how much cash inflow or outflow has been made by a company from operational, financial and investing activities.

### — Notes Accompanying to Financial Statements and Significant Accounting Policies

This portion of an Annual Report will contain company basic information about the activities, its date of incorporation, its license number and the shareholding pattern. The significant accounting policies will contain the company’s policies for accounting income, expense, recognizing asset or liability or any other such policy as approved and issued by the relevant accounting bodies for companies to mandatorily follow. The notes will also include off-balance-sheet items such as contingencies from which the information regarding the company’s liability or gain can be guessed based on its possibility to occur.

## Types of Readers of an Annual Report and their Purposes

The different kind of audience of an Annual Report would fetch different information and the focus of information will also be changing depending on who is reading the financial statement.

Shareholders: Shareholders of the company would want to know from the company’s Annual Report whether the money they invested is being utilized properly or not, whether the company is adequately utilizing its resources and utilizing them for the main activities of the company keeping in mind the vision and mission of the company and if it makes enough profits to pay dividends.

Investors: The investors would want to know whether the company is making money if they invest into their company’s stocks, what are company’s future plans that will raise its market value so that if they invest now, they can get more return, is the company paying the dividend to its shareholders.

Employees: Employees would read the Annual Report to understand how much company as a whole has performed during the financial year and if the company is making necessary profits to pay their salaries and other benefits in future. Many times, employees are working at some remote location where the corporate offices are not located, when they read the Annual Report, they can understand the ‘big picture’.

Customers: Customers would focus on the quality and new additions to the products and services. The Annual Report will provide and highlight these details and ensure the sustainability of the business.

Apart from the above, there are other readers too such as suppliers who would focus on company’s business progress and how quickly they can repay their dues and receivables would focus on whether to continue buying from them as a trusted supplier or not.

Quick Note: If you want to download the annual report of any specific publicly listed company, you can check the stock page of our Stock analysis and research portal here.

## Other Key Information Provided in Annual Reports

• The off-balance-sheet items in the notes to accounts will provide how much liability or any unrealized income company has which has yet not been effected into the financial statements since its possibility to occur or not to occur is remote.
• The notes will also contain whether corporate governance is maintained or not and if there are deviations to it then what caused such deviations.
• Audit Report’s other regulatory and legal reporting section shall provide the company’s adherence to such other statutory compliances.
• The notes will also reveal if the company has changed any particular accounting policy and if the change is made then to what extent it has impacted the financials.
• The notes will also communicate whether the company is undergoing any legal proceedings or not that any potential investor would want to know.

The risk analysis is also given in the notes from where various associated risks such as credit risk, interest risk, foreign currency risks are detailed. The company will also mention what steps are taken to mitigate such risks.

## What is Free Cash Flow (FCF)? And How to Calculate it?

Understanding Free Cash Flow (FCF) Meaning & Calculations: Hi Investors. One of the most popular topics in company valuation is the Free cash flow. If you are involved in the fundamental analysis of stocks, you definitely have heard about this term. Nevertheless, for beginners, free cash flow can be a mystery.

In this post, we are going to discuss what exactly is a free cash flow and why it is important to evaluate while researching a company. This might be one of the most important articles for the people interested to learn stock valuations. Therefore, read this post completely. Let’s get started.

## 1. What is a Free Cash Flow (FCF)?

Free cash flow is the excess cash that a company is able to generate after spending the money required for its operation or to expand its asset base. It represents the cash that is available for all the investors of the company.  Now, you might be wondering what is so ‘FREE’ about this cash flow and how it is different from the earnings of the company?

Here you need to understand that not all income is equal to cash. If a company is making earnings, it doesn’t mean that it can spend all the income directly. The company can only spend free cash. There is a crucial difference between ‘cash’ versus ‘cash that can be taken out of a business’, or in accounting terms: cash from operating activities and free cash flow (FCF).

The cash from operating activities is the amount of cash generated by the business operations of a company. However, not all of the cash from operating activities can be taken out of the business because some of it is required to keep the company operational. These expenses are called capital expenditures (CAPEX).

On the other hand, free cash flow is the cash that a company is able to generate after spending the money required to stay in business. This is the cash at the end of the year, after deducting all operating expenses, expenditures, investments etc and is available for distribution to all stakeholders of a company (Stakeholders include both equity and debt investors.)

## 2. Why is free cash flow important?

It’s important for an investor to look into the free cash flow of a company carefully because it is a relatively more accurate method to find the profitability of a company than the company’s earnings.

This is because earnings show the current profitability of the company. On the other hand, the free cash flow signals the future growth prospects of the company as this is the cash that allows the company to pursue opportunities to enhance shareholder’s value. Free cash flow reflects the ease with which businesses can grow or pay dividends to the shareholder.

The excess cash can be utilized by the company in expanding their portfolio, developing new products, making useful acquisitions, paying dividends, reducing debt or to pursue any other growth opportunity.

Further, free cash flow is also used as the input while calculating the intrinsic value of a company using the popular valuation technique- Discounted cash flow (DCF) Model.

(Besides, as free cash flow is the additional money that can be taken out of the company without affecting the running of the business, it is also called the “Owner’s Earnings”.)

## 3. How to calculate free cash flow of a stock?

Companies in the stock market are not obliged to publish their free cash flow. That’s why you can’t find FCF directly in the financial statements of the companies. However, the good point is that it is easy to calculate them.

To calculate the free cash flow of a stock, you’ll require its financial statements i.e income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements. There are two calculation methods to find Free cash flow of a company.

Method 1: From the Income statement & Balance sheet

FCF = EBIT (1-tax rate) +(depreciation & amortisation) -(change in net working capital) – (capital expenditure)

Method 2: From the cash flow statement

This is the more popular approach to calculate FCF of a company. Here, Free cash flow is calculated as cash from operations minus capital expenditures (from the cash flow from investing activities).

FCF = Cash flow from operating activities – capital expenditures

Quick Note: To make things simpler, Yahoo Finance has already made the free cash flow of the companies available on their website. Just go to the Stock page –> Financials –> Cashflow statement, and you can find the Free cashflow of the company for last multiple years.

(Source: Yahoo Finance)

In addition, you can also find the free cash flow of companies on other financial websites like Screener.in, Tickertape, etc. Nevertheless, we advise our readers to do the calculations themselves to avoid any computer-based miscalculations.

## 4. How to analyze the free cash flow of a company?

While studying the cash flow of a company, it is important to find out where the cash is coming from. The cash can be generated either from the earnings or debts. While an increase in cash flow because of the increase in earnings is a good sign. However, the same is not true with debts.

Moreover, if two companies have the same free cash flow, it doesn’t mean that they have a similar future prospect. Few industries have a higher capital expenditure compared to other industries. Further, if the Capex is high, you need to investigate whether the reason for the high capital expenditure is due to expenses in growth or expenditure. In order to learn these, you have to read the quarterly/annual reports of the companies carefully.

Also check out: Online Discounted Cashflow (DCF) Calculator

### Negative FCF of a company.

A consistently declining or negative free cash flow of a can be a warning sign for the investors. Negative free cash flow is dangerous because it may lead to slow down in the business. Further, if the company didn’t improve its free cash flow, it might face insufficient liquidity to stay in the business.

Quick Note: If you want to learn free cash flow and discounted cash flow (DCF) model in depth, feel free to check out this online course: HOW TO PICK WINNING STOCKS? Enroll now and learn stock valuation techniques today.

## 5. Conclusion

In this post, we discussed the Free cash flow (FCF). It is a measure of a company’s financial performance. Free cash flow represents how much cash a company has left from its operations i.e. the cash that could be used to pursue opportunities that improve shareholder value.

However, the absolute value of the free cash value doesn’t tell you the whole story. You have to find out where this cash is coming from and how the company is using it. Whether they are spending this money effectively on operations like giving healthy dividends, buybacks, acquisitions etc- or not. And finally, a consistent negative free cash flow of a company might be a warning sign for the investors.

That’s all for this post. I hope it was useful to you. If you’ve got any doubts related to finding the free cash flow of a company, comment below. I’ll be happy to help. Happy Investing!!

## Dupont Analysis: A Powerful Tool to Analyze Companies

Introduction to Dupont Analysis: As investors in the stock markets, it is important to find high-quality along with fairly valued companies to invest our capital. The rationale behind this is simple. Our aim in the markets is to always preserve our capital first and then produce profits.

There are several robust tools that investors use during their stock analysis. In this post, we will make an attempt to share one such powerful framework to assess the quality of stocks that we target for our portfolio -The Dupont Analysis. Here, you’ll learn how to incorporate the Dupont analysis in your study while researching stocks.

The post should be an easy read and we hope our readers find this to be of great value to their time. Feel free to reach out to us or post comments in case of any doubts or clarifications.

## 1. What is DuPont Analysis? Who made it?

DuPont analysis was created around the 1920s by Donaldson Brown of Dupont Corporation. Initially, when Brown invented the framework it was used for assessing the managerial efficiency of the company before it got adopted by public market investors. His genius was breaking down the formula for Return on Equity (ROE) into its constituent parts to analyze the root cause of ROE.

## 2. The technical background of the DuPont Analysis

Breaking ROE into its constituents helps us investors analyze the company’s business model and how it manages to achieve excess returns for its shareholders.

Since most investors (including Warren Buffett) use ROE to judge the quality of a stock it would be of great use to us to understand how deep “Quality” actually runs within the business.

To understand how the analysis technique is used let’s start with the very basics. As most of us already know, Return on Equity (ROE) is calculated from the following formula –

Now, our friend Brown brown multiplied and divided the expression to get the following–

This expression is now also summarised as below-

But Brown did not stop there, he took this expression and went one step further. This time he multiplied and divided the expression with Total Assets to give us the DuPont formula-

Which is again summarised as,

From the last expression, it becomes clear that ROE is not merely a ratio (as per the formula we started with) but a framework to understand the business and capital position of the company as a whole.

Valuable insights can be derived from knowing which of the attributes drives the rise or deterioration of ROE over a period of time. It can also be used to compare companies with their peer sets to get a deeper understanding of the differences in the business models between the companies.

## 3. Real world DuPont Analysis on Eicher Motors:

Let us perform the DuPont analysis on Eicher motors for the period 2014-2018. The summary table and the evolution of the three attributes from the analysis is as given below.

Financial Ratio20142015201620172018Net Effect
ROE19.224.531.331.227.9Increased
Net Profit Margin5.8721.923.721.9Increased
Asset Turnover203.3222.4105.5100.394.1Decreased
Leverage Ratio162.9156.2135.2131.1135.5Decreased

From the table, we can see that the company has improved its ROE from 19.2% to 27.9% in 5 reporting periods.

We can also see that the company decreased its leverage and asset turnover but this drop was offset by close to 3.7 times rise in the net profit margins.

Further, notice that the leverage ratio has been stable since 2016 while asset turnover has seen a drop in 2015-2016 and then moderate decreases from 2016-2018.

This analysis can now set the foundation for further analysis, the questions raised from the above figures could be as below ( this may not be very exhaustive but may give an idea as to how the framework is used)-

1. What is causing the decrease in asset turnovers? Is it because of rising inventory? A fall in efficiency? Or perhaps a decrease in capacity utilisations at manufacturing facilities?
2. Is the Net Profit Margins led by rise in prices or decrease in costs of goods sold?
3. What caused the spike in net profits and the corresponding drop in asset turnover?

Answering the above questions in additions to questions generated by assessing the financial statements could help the investors analyze Eicher Motors in greater depth.

## 4. Conclusion

Since ROE is used as a measure of the quality of management by many investors, the incorporation of DuPont Analysis could help quell any illusions developed by using ROE at face value.

According to DuPont formula, ROE is a function of net profit margins, asset turnover, and the leverage ratios. A rise or dip in ROE could be because of a corresponding rise/fall in any of these metrics and hence a high ROE doesn’t always indicate better performance.

Our readers are advised to use DuPont Analysis along with the other stock evaluation frameworks and not to solely depend on data provided by the financial websites. In addition, you can read further about DuPont analysis here.

That’s all for this post. I hope it was helpful to you. Happy Investing!!

## How Dilution Affects the Company’s Valuation?

Dilution of a company’s shares is a common scenario in the equity market. However, there is multiple effects on the valuation of the company in terms of market value and EPS (earning per share) calculation after dilution. In this post, we are going to discuss how dilution affects the company’s valuation.

This is going to be a technical yet interesting post and we would advise our readers to read this carefully. Feel free to reach out to us or post comments in case of any doubts or clarifications.

## 1. What is dilution?

Simply define dilution is the term used to describe the reduction in ownership or voting rights in a company.

Let’s understand this through the following example.

Assume a Company A’s equity is divided into 100 shares and we own 10 shares in the company, i.e we own 10% equity in the company. Now, let us assume that the company decided to fund its expansion plans by issuing new shares in the stock market (follow-on offerings). So, on the day of issue, the company issued 100 new shares in the market and a foreign firm with interests in the Indian market acquired all of the new shares issued.

Now, the company’s new equity is broken up into 200 shares out of which the foreign investor owns 100 shares (50% of equity) while we own 10 shares (5% of equity).

In the example, the follow-on offering is said to be dilutive for the company’s shareholders since their effective ownership has decreased in the firm.

## 2. What causes dilution?

Dilution can happen due to various some of the reasons are given below (may not be an exhaustive list)

1. Follow-on offerings in capital markets
2. Conversion of options and warrants by the holders
3. Conversion of convertible bonds into equity
4. Offerings of new shares to partners during acquisition or Joint-Ventures

## 3. How to identify companies where dilution is likely?

In most cases dilution happens when the company has desperate needs for infusing capital into its operations. Since modern financial ecosystem provides multiples routes and opportunities to achieve this aim, the most common strategies used by companies are to raise capital through debt offerings or through the issuance of new shares in the secondary public markets.

In case the company raises money through debt, this route need not always result in dilution of equity holdings for the investors. Dilution through debt happens only in case the company pledges to give its equity as collateral for a certain amount of debt.

## 4. How to calculate the shares outstanding after dilution for calculating market cap?

The shares outstanding after dilution would simply be as per the following equation,

Total dil. shares outstanding = common shares +newly issued shares

where, the newly issued shares could primarily come from (but not limited to) conversion of convertible preferred shares, conversion of convertible debt and also from shares issuable from stock options

This is shown by the following expression,

Newly issued shares
= shares from conversion of conv. preferred shares + convertible debt + issue of stock options

The calculation of the new shares from convertible preferred shares and convertible debt are pretty straightforward since most of the time these shares and debt are issued at a fixed conversion rate.

For example, Assume a Company ABC has issued 1000 preferred shares and 50,000 convertible bonds amounting ₹50 Lakh in debt. Also, the company on the date of issue stated that each of the 10 shares of preferred shares could be converted for 1 common share and 5,000 of the bonds could be converted for 100 common shares.

The newly issued shares post-dilution would be the sum of 100 (from preferred shares) and 1,000 (from convertible bonds) which is equal to 1,100 new shares.

(The shares issued from stock options is slightly complicated and is usually calculated using the treasury stock method. We shall review this method in another post.)

## 5. How dilution affects the company’s valuation?

Dilution affects the company’s valuation of terms of its different calculations. Here’s how dilution impacts the company’s market value and eps calculation-

### — Market Value

Due to the rise in the total number of shares outstanding after the dilution, Market Value may change significantly after dilution, depending on the extent of the dilutive effect of the newly issued shares.

The formula for calculating Market Value remains the same, except that we will now use.

Total Diluted Shares Outstanding instead of Total Common Shares Outstanding.

Market Value = Price per share Total Diluted Shares Outstanding

### — Earnings per share

The impact on earnings per share due to dilution is may become quite profound depending on the extent of dilution and is very important since EPS is very commonly used by investors in the final calculation of the intrinsic value of a stock.

Since companies normally get a tax benefit for interest paid on debt, after dilution this benefit is no longer applicable and we may see our net income being boosted by the after-tax amount of debt.

Another change that happens is due to dilution of the convertible preferred shares, in case the preferred shareholders were paid the dividend out of the net income of the company earlier, they need be paid anymore after dilution since they have the same status and rank as the common equity holders in the company. The change in the formula due to the dilution is illustrated by the following expressions,

The basic EPS of a company is given by the following formula,

The diluted EPS of a company is using from the below formula,

## 6. Bottom line

In this post. we understood the impact of dilution on the valuation with the help of equity dilution example. Today, we learned that dilution can have a significant impact on the Market Value and EPS calculations of a company and may distort the true value if it is not incorporated during the analysis of a company.

Since dilution mostly comes at the expense of the common investor, we advise that our readers scrutinize the annual report to find whether dilution is good or bad for them. A careful look at the financial statements is required to make the necessary changes during dilution analysis. Afterall, a decrease in the existing shareholder’s ownership in a company also means a decreased profits.

That’s all for this post. I hope this is helpful to the readers. Happy Investing.

## What You Need To Know About Intangible Assets!

Evaluating the intangible assets of a company is a crucial part of the fundamental analysis, especially in a generation with a lot of leading companies in the technology and service-based industries.

However, most investors ignore this part and focus more on the physical assets like land, building, equipment, etc. One of the major reasons why people skip the part of studying intangible assets is because these assets are a little difficult to evaluate. After all, how would you correctly measure the value of a brand or non-physical assets of a company?

In this post, I’ll try to demystify intangible assets in simple words so that you can understand what exactly are intangible assets, why are they valuable for a company and how can you evaluate the intangible assets of a company.

Overall, it’s going to be an exciting post. Therefore, please read it till the end because I’m sure it will be helpful to you in assessing companies better.

## What are intangible assets?

Intangible assets are those assets that are not physical in nature, yet are valuable because they contribute to the potential revenue of the company.

A few of the common examples of intangible assets are brand recognition, licenses, customer lists, and intellectual property, such as patents, franchises, trademarks, copyrights, etc.

Quick Note: Contrary to these, TANGIBLE Assets are those assets that have a physical form. For example- land, buildings, machinery, equipment, inventory, etc. Further, financial assets such as stocks, bonds, etc. are also considered tangible assets.

Although intangible assets do not have an obvious physical value such as land or equipment, however, they can be equally valuable for a company for its long-term success or failure.

For example, companies like Apple or Coca-Cola are highly successful because of the significant brand equity. Since it is not a physical asset and tricky to calculate the exact value, still brand equity is one of the primary reasons for the high sales of these companies. In India, companies like Hindustan Unilever, Colgate, Patanjali, etc also enjoy the benefits of enormous brand value.

Further, a few more examples of intangible assets can be marketing-based (ex- Internet domain names, non-competition agreements etc), artistic-based (ex- literary works, musical works, pictures etc), Contract-based (ex- franchise agreements, broadcast rights, use rights etc) and technology-based (example- computer software, trade secrets like secret formulas and recipes etc). [Credits: Examples of intangile assets- Accounting tools]

### Moreover, in a few industries, intangible assets are more valuable:

Unlike manufacturing companies where inventories and fixed assets contribute to the majority of their total assets, in a few industries the intangible assets are more valuable:

• Consumer product companies depend on the brand name. For example- Hindustan Unilever, Godrej, Colgate, etc. The bigger the brand name, the easier are the sales.
• Technology companies get the most success by their technical know-how and skilled human resource. Ex- Infosys, TCS, etc.
• Banking companies have their computer software license, stock exchange cards and electronic trading platform (websites). Ex- HDFC bank.
• Telecom industries use their bandwidth licenses (including spectrum) to enjoy benefits. Example- Bharti Airtel
• Drugs and pharmacy companies protect their sales through patents, which means that they can sell unlimited medicines of patented drug and their competitors can’t enter or replicate the same. Ex- Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory, Glenmark Pharma, etc.

And that’s why the leading companies in these industries spend a lot of money in building these intangible assets.

For example, in the IT industry, training and recruiting are more prominent than investing in physical assets like buildings.

Similarly, pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of capital in the Research and development (R&D) which may help them get a patent on a revolutionary drug. And that’s why, while evaluating companies in this industry, the capital expenditure of the different companies/competitors in their R&D work should be carefully evaluated.

If you look into the consumer product companies, they spend a lot of money in advertisement just for brand awareness. Although, this may not lead to instant sales and may add overhead expenses, However, over the long term. branding help these companies to generate more profit.

## Valuing Intangible Assets

The intangible assets of a company can be found on the asset side of the balance sheet of a company. For example- here is the intangible assets for Hindustan Unilever (HUL)

Source: Yahoo Finance

You can use the intangible to total asset ratio to evaluate the worth of intangible assets in a company. For example- in the case of Hindustan Unilever, its intangible assets make around 2.05% percent of its total assets.

However, valuing intangible assets are easier said than done. One of the biggest reasons equipment high sales of HUL in India is its prominent brand recognition. A few of the popular brands of HUL are Lux, Lifebuoy, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel, Fair & Lovely, Pond’s, Vaseline, Lakmé, Dove, Clinic Plus, Sunsilk, Pepsodent, Closeup, Axe, Brooke Bond, Bru, Knorr, Kissan, Kwality the and Pureit

Here, do you really think that the brand value of HUL contributes only around 2% of its net assets? I don’t think so. It must be worth more. However, there’s no easy way to correctly evaluate the worth of the brand recognition and other non-physical assets.

Quick fact: According to Forbes, COCA COLA’s brand value amounted to 57.3 billion U.S. dollars. It is the only company in the top seven list that sells carbonated sugar water beverages. Rest all are technology companies with Apple and Google as leaders. This is the power of branding. Read more here: The world’s most valuable brands.

## Bottom Line

Although intangible assets do not have a physical presence, they add huge value to the company. There may be even cases where the intangible assets are of far greater value than the market value of the company’s tangible assets.

However, while valuing such companies, you may have to put some efforts to study these assets as the accounting conventions do not always value the exact worth of a few intangible assets and they may be reported below their true value in the balance sheet.

Anyhow, look for the intangible assets that are definite (i.e. stays with the company for as long as it continues operations) and difficult to replicate.

## What is Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)?

While investing in a company, one of the most critical factors to look at is its growth rate. At what percentage the company is estimated to grow in the upcoming years? This is because, as the company grows & generate more profits, generally, your investment will grow along with it. Moreover, it’s not a viable strategy to invest in declining companies or the ones with no significant growth aspects.

But how to calculate the growth rate of a company?

A common approach that most investors follow is to look into the historical growth rate. Here, they try to find out the rate at which revenue, earnings, etc are historically growing, to assume a similar growth rate in the future.

Although past performance doesn’t guarantee future growth, however, it can give you a rough estimation if you expect the company to perform similarly in the future. Here, investors can use the compounded annual growth rate approach to define growth.

However, forecasting growth based on such estimations may not always be valid. Besides, the estimates can change depending on the ‘number of years’ that you’re considering. For example, past 3-years, 5-years, and 10-years historical growth rate might be totally different. Which one should the investors focus on while forecasting the future?

A better approach while studying growth is to look into the sustainable growth rate (SGR) of a company that focuses on different factors like earnings, shareholder’s equity, payout, etc to find out the growth percentage of a company. But what exactly is a sustainable growth rate? This is what we are going to discuss in this post.

## Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)

The sustainable growth rate is the maximum growth rate that a company can sustain using its own resources i.e. without financing the growth using debt or equity dilution. It is calculated as:

### Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) = ROE * Retention Rate (RR)

Where,

• Return on Equity(ROE): ROE is the amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders’ equity. It can be calculated as: ROE= (Net income/ average stockholder equity). ROE shows how good is the company in rewarding its shareholders. A higher ROE means that the company generates a higher profit from the money that the shareholders have invested.
• Retention Rate (RR): This is the percentage of net income that is retained to grow the business, rather than being paid out as dividends. Retention rate is calculated as: RR= (1 — Payout ratio) = ( 1 — DPS/EPS), where DPS is the dividend per share and EPS is earnings per share.

For example, if a company ABC has a ROE of 15% and payout ratio of 40%, then its sustainable growth growth rate can be calculated as: SGR = 15 * ( 1–0.4) = 15 * 0.6 = 9%.

Ideally, the growth of a company funded by its own resources is the best form of growth compared to any other leveraged growth options. The later scenario may lead to financial stress and in the worst case, bankruptcy.

Moreover, any company can grow faster if it takes a lot of debt and spends on marketing, new product development, acquisitions, etc. However, returning that debt can be a troublesome process if it’s business model is not that strong.

By looking into the SGR of a company, Investors can find out its long-term growth, current life cycle stage, cash flow projections, borrowing & dividend allocation strategies, etc.

### Maximum SGR:

According to the sustainable growth rate formula, SGR = ROE * RR = ROE* (1  –  Payout Ratio)

Here, when the payout ratio is zero, the SGR becomes equal to the ROE of the company. You can maximize the sustainable growth rate by increasing ROE or decreasing payout (i.e. retaining more earnings rather than paying out as dividends).

Note: You can also analyze the root cause of ROE further using the DuPont Analysis.

Technically, a few ways to maximize SGR is by increasing sales & profit margin, managing account payable & receivables, efficient inventory management, etc. However, a point to note here is that a high SGR is always difficult to maintain. As the company matures, it cannot sustain similar high past growth rates.

### Closing Thoughts:

An efficient management’s goal is to grow the company at its sustainable growth rate.  If the SGR is 15%, the company can safely grow at this percentage per annum without taking any additional financial leverage. It can be considered the ceiling growth rate of a company while using its own resources.

## How Do Companies Cook The Books?

Financial statements are one of the widely relied upon tool to analyze a business. However, there are many ways in which companies cook their books and create a false impression of the company’s financial health using accounting gimmicks and financial shenanigans. In this post, we are going to look at how companies cook books and how you can identify such financial shenanigans using accounting red flags.

If you look into the past, you will find that cooking books is not a recent phenomenon, but has existed for a long time. We all know one or the other company which has resorted to accounting gimmicks to dupe investors into believing that the company is doing well. Each market has its own share of such “gutsy” companies which, instead of genuinely improving the business, resorts to cooking books to show improved performance.

## Why Companies Cook Books?

The question is, why do companies need to cook books? Why does the management resort to such gimmicks instead of being honest with their investors? Well, cooking books is not just about looking great on paper, some of the common reasons why companies do so are explained below:

### 1. To meet or exceed market expectations:

Let’s honestly admit one thing, the world is a fiercely competitive place and everyone wants to be on the top of their game. Miss the mark by a few points, and the company’s stock price gets hammered badly by the market.

With ever intensifying competition and “Go big or go home” thinking, the management of every company is pressed to either beat or at least meet the growth expected by the market.

With such mounting pressure to perform, companies that fail to deliver as per expectations, often get involved in cooking books and create a false image of healthy growth.

### 2. Vested Interests of the Management:

The second reason why companies cook books is because the management has its own vested interest behind it. Nowadays, many companies offer share price linked incentives to their managers.

Such schemes are offered to align the interests of the shareholders to that of management so that both can benefit from the good performance of the business.

Incentives linked to the share price motivates the managers of the company to work harder and deliver a good performance.

When the times are tough, and business struggles to perform, top managers, driven by greed of incentives and fear of being penalized for poor performance start window dressing the accounts to paint a rosy picture of company’s performance.

### 3. To show a consistent growth rate by under-reporting current spurt of growth:

This is something that does not happen pretty often, but there are times when companies do under-report their financial performance. Why? Let me explain.

Investors love companies with strong consistent performance and growth, and company managers know this very well. There are some companies that have a seasonal business, where they perform well when times are favorable and do poorly otherwise.

Such companies during good times minimize the current earnings by under-reporting the revenues or by inflating current period expenses by postponing good financial information for the future period when the company is more likely to underperform.

This again creates an illusion for investors that the company has performed well compared to its peers even during tough times.

As a result, such companies command higher valuations which they do not actually deserve.

## How Companies cook books?

Management of the companies may have different reasons behind cooking books, but the way it is achieved has hardly ever changed.

The only way management of the companies can manipulate books is by concealing information, in other words, by hiding it in places where it is difficult to detect easily.

So how do companies cook books? Well, as I said earlier, it’s all about hiding crucial information about the company within the financial statements so that they are not easily traceable.

There are only three ways a company can manipulate earnings, by manipulating earnings, profit, and cash flow.

### 1. Earnings Manipulation:

Earnings manipulation occurs when companies try to inflate (or in some cases, hide) their earnings such as revenue. There are two ways companies manipulate their earnings.

— Recording Revenue prematurely: Booking revenues in advance is one of the most commonly used financial shenanigan by the companies. It includes booking revenues even before the goods are sold or a project is completed.

An example of such premature recording of revenue was seen in Sobha Developers in 2008-09. In Q1 of 2008-09, Sobha Developers decided to recognize the revenue earlier during a project cycle. This led to a 20% jump in the company’s profits before tax.

— Recording income from investment as revenue: The second most common way to manipulating earnings is by recording revenue from other sources as operating revenue.

If proceeds from the sale of an asset (such as land, building, plant, and machinery) or income from an investment (such as maturity of a bond or proceeds from the sale of shares) is recorded as revenue, it will boost the total revenue of the company.

Since these are a one-time phenomenon, and cannot be repeated in the future, recording such one-time sources of revenue gives a false impression of improved financial performance.

### 2. Profit Manipulation:

Profit is considered to be the blood of a business, something which is necessary for the survival and prosperity of a business. Just like revenue, even profits can be manipulated in many ways.

From hiding expenses to making a simple change in the way in which depreciation is calculated, there are numerous ways a company can manipulate its profits numbers. Some of the most common ways companies cook books in terms of profit are as follows:

— Making expenses look like earnings: A simple change in accounting policy can have a significant impact on the way profits are presented. Many companies use this approach to manipulate Net Profits.

For example, a simple change in the way depreciation is calculated can change the entire picture, helping company management boost profits.

For Example, a small change in depreciation policy in case of Jet Airways created profits out of thin air. In the Q2 of 2008-09, Jet airways changed its depreciation policy from written down value method to straight-line value method, as a result of which, Jet Airways was able to write back ₹920 crores to its Profit and Loss account.

— Hiding Expenses as Capital Expenditure: Another way to boost profits is by treating expenses as capital expenditure; that is instead of treating it as expenses during the current financial year, it is treated as investment made to expand the business.

One such incident can be found in the USA, wherein the years 1990, AOL was found guilty of delaying expense.

AOL was distributing installation CDs as a part of its marketing campaign, but instead of treating it as an advertising expense, AOL decided to view it as capital expenditure. As a result of this, the entire amount was transferred from profit and loss statement to balance sheet of the company where the campaign would be expended over a period of years.

Because of AOL’s treatment of expenses as Capital Expenditure, the entire amount was written off the P&L Statement, which resulted in boosted profits.

### 3. Cash Flow Manipulation:

Cash flow is considered to be the most reliable source of the true financial health of the company for the simple reason that cash is difficult to manipulate. Investors like Warren Buffett rely heavily on numbers like free cash flow to assess the financial health of the business.

Since companies know this well, they have devised new ways where it is possible to manipulate the cash flow of a company using accounting gimmicks.

Detecting such tricks can be quiet challenging for an amateur investor who does not have a deep understanding of accounting and finance or does not have free time to go through the books of the company.

Some of the most common cash flow related financial shenanigans are explained below:

— Showing financing cash flow as operating cash flow: There are two ways a company can generate cash for itself, first, from its own business, where profits earned by the business get converted to cash, and second by borrowing cash from an external source in the form of loan by issuing bonds or bank loan.

The cash received from business operations is called Cash Flow from Operating Activity, and cash received from an external source is treated as cash flow from financing activity.

Many companies try to boost their operating cash flow by treating financing cash flows as operating one, which leads to a wrongful impression that the company is generating a lot of operating cash flow from its business.

— Using acquisitions as a boost to operating cash flow:

Cash flows can also be manipulated using mergers and acquisitions, especially if the target company is rich in cash.

Management often tries to win support from its shareholders by convincing the shareholders that a particular acquisition will be highly beneficial for the company.

As soon as the merger takes place, all the cash that belonged to the target company, now becomes a part of the parent company, thus boosting overall cash flow statements.

Investors must always be wary of the financial history of the target company and its business and find out if the merger is really going to benefit the business.

If an acquisition is happening just because it will boost the EPS or the cash flows of the parent company, with no meaningful benefit to the business, then such acquisitions must be avoided at all costs.

## Some Additional ways companies cook books:

Cooking books is not limited to manipulating earnings or hiding crucial details about the weak performance of the company, management of companies go beyond the books and create their own parameters of measuring the growth and performance of a company.

Such parameters, though necessary in certain industries, are still non-standard as per the accounting standards. Because of such creative parameters, managements get an opportunity to change their definition of performance as per their requirements, allowing them to use creative methods to put encouraging but false performance numbers in front of investors.

Some of the examples of such no-standard parameters are explained below:

### — Same Store Sales (Used In Retail Stores and Restaurants):

Same store sales is a parameter to measure the performance of retail stores. It gives information about how much sales revenue a store is generating during a fiscal year or more.

Same store sales also give investors an idea of how much revenue a company is generating from its existing stores and how much is contributed by new stores. If the percentage of sales revenue from new store sales is rising, it’s strong evidence that new stores are performing well, sounds rational, right?

This is where companies get a chance to manipulate with numbers without getting noticed. The management of the company may alter the criteria of eligible stores to be used in the metric.

For example, in one financial year, a company may use only those stores older than 3 years to show the same store sales performance while in the next year, if the performance of the stores older than 3 years deteriorates, the management may change the criteria and use only those stores that are older than 5 years.

Companies may keep changing their eligibility criteria as per their suitability to present the desired picture.

### — ARPU (Average Revenue Per User):

ARPU stands for Average Revenue Per User and is a performance metric generally used by Telecom companies or DTH service providers. Just like same store sales, ARPU can also be used for manipulating earnings of a company.

Most telecom companies, especially in this age of smartphones, not only generate revenue from selling data, but also by selling ad space, and this is where the manipulation begins.

The right way to calculate ARPU is by calculating total revenue generated from data services provided divided by the total number of subscribers.

However, some companies, to show encouraging revenue growth add advertising revenue to the revenue from subscription, thereby falsely boosting the total ARPU.

## How to detect if a company is cooking books?

So far we have seen why and how companies cook books, but the biggest question is, is it possible to detect these financial shenanigans? How would you know that a company is cooking books?

While detecting some of these financial shenanigans requires a degree in finance, most of them can be traced pretty easily if you just observe carefully.

### — Improved Revenue with an absence of Cash Flow:

If the complicated accounting terms are giving you nightmares, and you have no clue what to do, here is something very simple and logical thing you can do. Just Watch out for cash flow.

Increase in revenue of the company should be reflected with an increase in cash flow of the company. If you see operating cash flow declining or stagnant even if the revenue is marching upwards, or if cash flow is much slower than the revenue generated, it usually means that the company is generating revenue but is unable to collect cash, or even worse, the revenue numbers are simply fake and bogus.

### — If Q1+Q2+Q3+Q4 is not equal to FY:

In an ideal situation, if the financial results are audited, the annual sales and profits should simply be a sum of all the four quarterly sales and profit numbers, except for minor variations.

If there is a significant variation between annual sales and profit numbers and sum of all quarterly numbers, you can say that the books have been manipulated at least to some extent.

### — If a company is on an acquisition spree:

Companies make acquisitions as it helps the acquirers grow inorganically while making an acquisition, companies make sure that the interests of both the companies are aligned and that the resources that an acquiring company needs are available with the company that is being acquired, at a bargain price.

In simple words, any acquisition should add value to the company more than what is being paid for it. There are many instances when companies are on an acquisition spree. Firms that make numerous acquisitions can get into trouble, their financials get restated and complicated to understand.

Aside from complicating things, acquisitions usually increase the risk of cooking books and bury the evidence under many layers of financial statements. So if a company is a serial acquirer, but does not show significant improvement in its financial performance, there is a good chance that the acquisitions were made simply to manipulate the numbers.

### — If the company has bulging Trade Payables:

Many companies, especially in a competitive, customer-centric market loosen their credit terms, attracting more customers to buy goods and services now and pay later. While this is a great move that helps boost sales revenue, it may create a liquidity crisis in a company.

Longer credit duration means that company has to wait longer for the revenue to be converted into cash, but since a company has to meet its daily expenses in cash form, longer credit means company may run out of cash and may have to either borrow to meet its operational expenses or shut down its operations completely.

The best way to cross-check if the company’s revenue is simply because of loose credit terms is to check if there is a change in days receivables in the past few financial years.

If a company has increased the receivable days, it shows that all the revenue is just on paper and the cash is yet to be realized. Such practice is pretty common in infrastructure companies.

### — If the CFO and auditors resign or get fired:

This is by far one of the most vital signs that a company is cooking books. There is an old saying in Latin “Who Watches the Watchmen?” when it comes to financial reporting, the watchmen are the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and the corporate auditor.

If you find a company that is involved in some of the suspicious accounting activities as mentioned above, and you see the CFO of the company quitting abruptly for no valid or logical reasons, its time to stand guard and find out if there is something going on within the company that has not met your eyes yet.

The same rule applies to corporate auditors. IF a company frequently changes its auditors or fires them after some accounting issues come to light, be watchful and look for warning signs.

There have been many recent examples of auditors resigning after altercation from the company owners, which later revealed that company was involved in dressing up numbers to make things look good on the surface while it was really bad inside.

In the month of May 2018, Deloitte, corporate auditor of Manpasand beverages quit a few days before the declaration of annual result as the company was unable to share crucial data regarding capital expenditure and revenue. As a result, the stock price of Manpasand beverages tanked 20% within a day. You can read the news by clicking here

Another such incident happened recently where PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP) statutory auditor of Reliance Capital and Reliance Home Finance, quit just before the declaration of FY19 results.

In its resignation letter, PWC stated that as part of the ongoing audit for FY19, it noted certain observations and transactions, which, in its assessment, if not resolved satisfactorily, might be significant or material to the financial statements. You can read the new by clicking here

## Conclusion:

If you are looking for a great investment, look for great businesses. The best way to understand if a business id great or not is by analyzing the financial statements of the company.

Since every investor relies on financial statements for his analysis, it’s important that companies remain honest and transparent and give only authentic information.

However, with the ever-mounting competition, and a race to perform better than peers puts a lot of pressure on the management to perform, because of which they often resort to unethical ways to manipulate the number so that the business “appears” healthy.

There is an Old Russian Proverb which means “Trust, but Verify”, taking things at face value can be dangerous and thus it is important that investors, even if they trust the management with the numbers, should always be vigilant and keep checking the authenticity before making an investment decision, after all, it’s your hard-earned money at risk, don’t take anyone else’s word for it.

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This article is a guest post by Ankit Shrivastava, a SEBI Registered Research Analyst. Ankit has been investing in stocks since 2004 and writes about fundamental analysis of companies, principles of investing, investment strategies and a lot more on his blog: Infimoney

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## Equity Valuation 102: What is Value?

What is the ‘Intrinsic Value’ of a Stock? What are its components? How do they affect the way the company’s Stock is likely to behave? We will attempt to answer these seemingly daunting questions in simple terms and with relevant, real-world examples.

## Intrinsic Value – What is it Anyway?

I personally rely exclusively on Discounted Cash Flow / Dividend Discounting sort of models to estimate the intrinsic value of stocks. The world’s foremost authority on Discounted Cash Flows, is in my opinion, none other than Mr. Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor and the Chairman of the half-a-trillion-dollar entity that is Berkshire Hathaway. He’s as good a teacher as he is an investor.

Sure enough, Mr. Buffett has talked about ‘Intrinsic Value’ in a number of places. In one of those interviews, he put in candidly:

To value something, you simply have to take its free cash flows from now until kingdom come and then discount them back to the present using an appropriate discount rate. If we could see in looking at any business what its future cash flows would be for the next 100 years, and discount that back at an appropriate interest rate, that would give us a number for intrinsic value. It would be like looking at a bond that had a bunch of coupons on it that was due in a hundred years. Businesses have coupons too, the only problem is that they’re not printed on the instrument and it’s up to the investor to try to estimate what those coupons are going to be over time.

— Warren Buffett.

Think about what he’s trying to say. In a Government Bond, you have pre-determined cash flows (Coupon Payments and Principal Repayment), a time period in which the cash flows will be credited to your bank account (Maturity) and a Risk-free Rate, which allows you to account for the Time Value of Money.

Now consider a Stock. How is it different from a Government Bond? You still have Cash Flows (Dividends and/or Free Cash Flow to Equity), but they’re not pre-determined. Businesses do not produce results in a straight line. You do have a time period, but it’s generally very long. In other words, this will be the entire Business Life Cycle of a company.

You also have a Discounting Rate, which is usually the Risk-free Rate + a Risk Premium you charge to account for the fluctuation in the results (Fluctuation which does not exist in a Government Bond). That’s it. These are the differences. So, if you are in agreement that a Bond should be valued at the Present Value of all its Coupons and Face Value, you should have no qualms in accepting that a Stock should be valued in a similar fashion too — except, it takes more time to value a Stock than it does a Government Bond.

## Components of Intrinsic Value

I personally believe that the intrinsic value of a company (And consequently, its Stock) is composed of the following six components:

Without further ado, let’s take a look into each of them and why I think they matter when it comes to Value.

## 1. Explicit Drivers

Explicit Divers of Value are those factors which are readily considered by amateur investors while investing in a stock. In fact, most Analysts trying to sell their reports highlight the ‘Explicit Drivers’ the most, because they are easily understandable by the common man.

Management Teams also mostly flaunt their Explicit Drivers in order to boost their rapport with the shareholders. It’s made up of two sub-components: Growth and Margins.

### Growth

The easiest of all the drivers. We know for a fact that as a company sells more of its products and services, the more it is known and the more revenue it produces. While thinking about how a company can grow, it has to be tied to reality.

For example, a while back I valued D-Mart, the famous Indian retail chain. In it, I had assumed that the company will grow its Revenues at the rate of 35% in the initial years, and dropping to 25% for the farther years. Here is how I attempted to ‘justify’ my assumptions.

I took the Invested Capital of D-Mart from 2009-2018 and used it to calculate Capital Required per Store, based on the CEO’s comment that D-Mart had been growing at a pace of 10 stores per year. I also calculated the Growth in the Cost of Acquisition per store for the period.

This allowed me to project the Capital Invested per store from 2019-2028. Then, working backwards with this information and my own assumptions of Invested Capital, I calculated that from 2019-2028, D-Mart will grow at an average of 19 stores per year. This coincides with the CEO’s vision of boosting D-Mart growth from 10-ish to 15-20-ish in the next decade or so. Hence, my set of assumptions for Sales Growth stood justified.

Dmart Income Statement (Source: Screener)

However, not all growth is good. Sustainable Growth Rate is the rate at which a company can grow its Revenue without resorting to raising additional capital, which is detrimental to Shareholders. Therefore while valuing a company, it is advisable to restrict oneself to the SGR, unless there’s a very good reason that the company’s products will suddenly become more desirable.

### Margins

This refers to the Net Margins of a company. Prof. Sanjay Bakshi often quips that the best kind of value creation happens with a ‘Margin Expansion’ i.e. when a company is able to charge more from the customer for the same kind of products or services they have been selling for so long.

Warren Buffet also claims that the best measure of a Durable Competitive Advantage is to ask whether the company will be able to raise prices tomorrow without affecting sales. Of course, it is also not hard to imagine how a company can save more on its Margins by simply being cost-efficient.

Clearly, a steady or increasing Net Margins is a favorable feature in a company. As Prof. Bakshi was so apt to note, indeed Margins contribute a whole lot to Value creation. One only needs to look at some of the biggest Multi-baggers to realize this truth (Say, Symphony, Eicher Motors etc).

But this means that the opposite is also true. Take the case of Lupin, for instance. In the last five years, Lupin’s Sales has grown by 10.38%, but its Profits have decreased by 26% and change. This is because their Net Margins have fallen from 18% to 1% in the same period. In fact, Lupin has created very little value for someone who bought its stock 5 years back. It’s currently trading at almost the same level as it was half a decade back.

Lupin Income Statement (Source: Screener)

So while attempting to value a company, one has to ask the question “Will this company be able to charge more prices for the same kind of product/service in the future?” or “Will this company be able to spend less for producing the same kind of product/service in the future?” and depending on the answer (Based on research and groundwork), the Margin assumptions can be made.

## 2. Implicit Drivers

Implicit Drivers are those factors which are considered in line with the Explicit Drivers by good investors. They know for a fact that the Explicit Drivers are superficial if the Implicit Drivers are not up to the mark. Reinvestment and Risk are the two Implicit Drivers of a Stock’s Value.

### Reinvestment

Remember earlier when I said ‘All growth is not good’? While a part of it has to do with the concept of the SGR, a bigger part of it lies with the concept of ‘Reinvestment’ or the amount of Assets a company has to reinvest to a certain level of growth.

Let me provide you with two investment opportunities. Company A, which may produce Rs. 100 in Profit, but has to reinvest Rs. 50 in order to end up with that profit. Company B, which may produce Rs. 10 in Profit, but has to reinvest Rs. 3 in order to end up with that profit. If you are a smart investor, you will choose Company B, because they are more productive, that is to say, they only require 30% of their profits to be ‘reinvested’, while Company A requires 50% of their profits.

The efficiency is Reinvestment is usually measured via the Return Ratios (Return on Capital Employed, Return on Invested Capital, Return on Equity).

Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s investing partner, loves companies with massive Returns on Invested Capital. It is almost guaranteed that for a stock to grow multi-fold, the company has to temporarily or permanently boost their productivity.

On the other hand, look at any company in a flailing industry (Say, Telecom) and you will realize that they haven’t created any value in the last decade because they found it more and more difficult to retain customers without investing in advertising or some sort of new technology.

Bharti Airtel has grown its Sales by 10% over the last decade, yet it has destroyed value for its shareholders over the same time (Imagine having to hold a stock for 10 years, only to end up with a loss). In fact, it took a massive disruption in Jio to make the entire industry re-think how they can invest better to create value.

### Risk

Risk is very personal and it’s not quite easy to explain. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post attempting to explain the fact, but I am pretty sure I didn’t even scratch the surface with understanding Risk. Without getting into complex monsters such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model or the Fama-French Five-Factor Model, the most logical definition of ‘Risk’ is an opportunity foregone.

In Finance, ‘Risk’ is usually measured as an interest rate (Termed the ‘Discounting Rate’), because the Time Value of Money demands that we do. So when it comes to investing in stocks, one needs to ask “If I do not invest in this stock, what is my next best investing option and how much am I likely to earn from investing in that option over the long term?”

I personally use a Discounting Rate of 15% for most of my valuations, because that is the median long term returns on Mutual Funds investments in India (The actual figure is 14.88% if you are curious). So my ‘next best option’ to investing in any stock is investing in a Mutual Fund scheme.

This is where it gets ‘personal’. Some people may not consider investing in a Mutual Fund as their next best option. For a Hedge Fund specializing in Start-ups, 15% may be chump change, so they may demand anywhere between 50–60% on their investments.

At the same time, for a retired pensioner, even an 8% return from a Post Office scheme would look amazing. However, even a retired pensioner can invest in an index fund and earn close to 12–13% over the long term (In India). So it’s not wise for anyone to demand anything lesser than the long term index returns in their country (For instance, in the US, it is about 8–9%). But some academics consider the Risk-free Rate (Usually the 10-year local Government Bond yield) as the true Discounting Rate for any valuation.

## 3. Hidden Drivers

These are Value Drivers which can be ascertained only by master investors. They aren’t found in Management Commentary, Financial Statements or Analyst Reports. They require additional research to be uncovered.

### Redundant Assets

These are mostly Real Estate or some sort of Patent/Right held by the company, which has been long since written off from the books. However, if they were actually sold in the market, they might fetch a fortune for the shareholders of the company.

In the Indian context, Wonderla would be a good example. The company is currently trading at about Rs. 1550 Crores, but the company has unused land parcels of around Rs. 1000 Crores. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the company automatically demands supreme valuation. It simply means that if an investor finds the company’s intrinsic value to be Rs. 600 Crores only, he can go ahead and purchase the stock, because the intrinsic value is actually Rs. 1600 Crores, thanks to the ‘Redundant Asset’ in unused land.

But finding this bare fact isn’t really useful all the time. Take the case of Binny Mills.

Binny Limited, the listed entity which holds Binny Mills, also holds several land parcels and real estate (Mills) in Chennai. But they hold these properties in North Chennai, which is crowded and used to be a trading hub decades back (When ‘street shopping’ was famous). Nobody wants these properties, because of them being located in an archaic trading community. If it was possible to sell these off, some rich investor would have bought out Binny Mills and sold it for parts. thereby netting himself a cool profit via a Special Dividend. The fact that this hasn’t happened tells us the follies of betting on companies simply because the company has a hidden “land bank”.

I saved the best for the last. This relates to the most sought-after four-letter magic word in investing: Moat. Before giving my views on this, you should check out Michael Mauboussin’s paper on this topic. It’s bloody brilliant.

It is economic truth that if a specific kind of business is profitable, competitors will emerge to get their own piece of the pie. ‘CAP’ measures how long a company can fend off the competitors, while keeping most of the pie for themselves. This is often too difficult to measure or even see, because the beauty of a good moat is realized over very long time periods. Left unattended, some competitors will breach the moat and run off with a piece of the pie. Let unattended for a long time, the moat will dry up and the survival of the company itself will become a concern.

Once again in the Indian context, I think Eveready Industries would be a great example. Post its initial success as a battery-maker, Eveready’s profits started to dwindle from 2007–2012. But the company still had an amazing ‘Moat’—the brand name, which is known to almost every Indian who’s ever used battery-run appliances. Post 2012, the new management levered the brand name into several new divisions, especially the consumer electronics space, where their products have picked up with little to no investment, thanks to the company’s brand name. The profits in the last 5 years have ballooned at an amazing pace of 56% and more. One could argue that Eveready Industries’ CAP has been lengthened dramatically, which led to the sudden spike in their stock price.

I usually use a 10–20 year projection period, based on a company having no moat, having a thin moat or having a massive moat. The truth stands that very good moats can make companies have CAPs in excess of 20 years (Think Coca-Cola).

However, the Time Value of Money will make sure that profits earned 100 years from now aren’t as important as the ones earned, say, 15 years from now. I still adjust for this by demanding a lesser Margin of Safety for companies that have a proven operating model and a Moat.

In the end, this is just the theory behind why I do what I do when I Value a company. To put it lightly, Value is a marriage of numbers and stories. One cannot do without the other. Only when these ‘stories’ are grounded in reality using ‘numbers’, does the Valuation get complete?

## Equity Valuation 101: Why Value?

A prominent question many people have about investing in stocks is, “Does the purchase price matter?” or “Should I value a stock before purchasing it”?

A lot of financial theory argues that you shouldn’t. They say, markets are always efficient in pricing securities and you should rather worry about decreasing frictional costs like brokerage charges, transaction charges, churn costs and so on.

But Mr. Charlie Munger, the business partner of the world’s richest investor Mr. Warren Buffett, has a different answer:

It was always clear to me that the stock market couldn’t be perfectly efficient, because, as a teenager, I’d been to the racetrack in Omaha where they had the pari-mutuel system. And it was quite obvious to me that if the ‘house take’, the croupier’s take, was seventeen percent, some people consistently lost a lot less than seventeen percent of all their bets, and other people consistently lost more than seventeen percent of all their bets.

So the pari-mutuel system in Omaha had no perfect efficiency. And so I didn’t accept the argument that the stock market was always perfectly efficient in creating rational prices. The stock market is the same way – except that the house handle is so much lower.

If you take transaction costs – the spread between the bid and the ask plus the commissions – and if you don’t trade too actively, you’re talking about fairly low transaction costs. So that, with enough fanaticism and enough discipline, some of the shrewd people are going to get way better results than average in the nature of things.

It is not a bit easy…But some people will have an advantage. And in a fairly low transaction cost operation, they will get better than average results in stock picking. To us, investing is the equivalent of going out and betting against the pari-mutuel system. We look for a horse with one chance in two of winning and which pays you three to one. You’re looking for a mispriced gamble. That’s what investing is. And you have to know enough to know whether the gamble is mispriced. That’s value investing.

Charlie Munger (USCB, 2003).

Interesting. So, what’s ‘Parimutuel Betting‘?

Let’s say that you are about to bet \$100 on a Horse Race. A total of ten horses are participating in the race and you are given the following statistics:

You are told that 100 people have laid down their bets (Let’s call them the ‘Horse Market’) and the total pool of bets is \$4,050. Indirectly, you can assess how these 100 people have determined the probability of winning, or ‘Odds’ of winning, for each of these horses. In fact, Horse #6 seems to be an overwhelming favorite, with \$1,700 bet for the horse.

But before blindly betting on Horse #6, you need to understand the most important thing about Parimutuel Betting. If Horse #6 indeed wins, everyone who bet on Horse #6 will get \$4,050 i.e. Everyone will make roughly 2 times of their bet amount (For convenience, let’s just say the remaining 0.38 times is participation fee). Is that good?

If you bet on Horse #5 or Horse #9 instead, you can make 81 times the money, instead of the paltry 2 times. Well, well, now is this a better bet? Logically speaking, these horses have had a very little bet on them because they may be poor to begin with. The 100 gamblers already know this. That’s why only 1-2 of them have placed bets for these horses.

Wait, this is confusing. Which horse should I bet on now? Let’s recount the statement made by Mr. Charlie Munger:

“We look for a horse with one chance in two of winning and which pays you three to one. You’re looking for a mispriced gamble.”

A mispriced gamble. That’s where the trick lies. To summarize Mr. Munger’s thought process:

1. You shouldn’t bet blindly on Horse #6, because you will only make only 2 times the money, the lowest reward of the lot. Even when Horse #6 can be deemed the healthiest horse with the most skilled jockey, the payout is simply too low.
2. You shouldn’t bet blindly on Horses #5 or #9, even though they have an astronomical payout of 81 times. It is more likely that Horses #5 or #9 could be sick/weak or their jockeys inexperienced.
3. The sweet spot, therefore, is in a bet where you think there’s mispricing i.e. A bet where the ‘Odds’ have been miscalculated by the Horse Market people. Take Horse #1 for instance. The Odds here are 8:1 i.e. The Horse Market people think there’s only a 12.50% (1/8) Probability of this horse winning. If you believe that these Odds are somehow way wrong i.e. If you believe that this horse actually has a 25% (1/4) Probability of winning, then you should consider betting on this one. Of course, you should repeat this exercise for all the horses and figure out which one has the most mispriced Odds and bet on that one.

Sounds simple enough? Horse Betting is decidedly more complex than this. However, it proves to be an interesting lesson in investing. This system of Parimutuel Betting, Mr. Munger argues, also applies to the Stock Market. I would personally visualize it like this:

To put it in a words, then:

1. You shouldn’t invest blindly in the well-known, excellent company. Although these type of companies have the lowest probability of making a Capital Loss (i.e. Chance of not achieving the Average Returns) over the long term, they also have a low, 15% returns over the long term. Put together, they have an Expected Returns of 12%, which is neither too high, nor too low.
2. You shouldn’t invest blindly in the unknown, terrible company. Although these type of companies can become potential ‘multi-baggers’ over the long term, clocking a CAGR of 23%, they also come with a high 50% risk of a potential Capital Loss. Put together, they have an Expected Returns of 11.50%, the lowest of the lot.
3. The sweet spot, therefore, could be in the lesser-known, mediocre companies. These type of companies offer a decent 18% CAGR over the long term and also come with a moderate, 30% Capital Loss probability. Put together, they have an Expected Returns of 12.60%, the highest of the lot.

Of course, this is just an example. There are thousands of Stocks listed around the world and there might very well be numerous permutations and combinations of this in action at any given time. Instead of the 100 people from our horse betting example, the Stock Market consists of millions of people. They are pricing the odds for a stock every moment a trade is executed. It is an investor’s job to figure out the most mispriced bet and pick it up.

Just remember. You don’t make the most money-per-risk-taken by betting on the most favorite gamble. And you don’t make the most money-per-risk-taken by betting on the least favorite gamble, either. You make the most money-per-risk-taken by betting on the gamble where the odds are highly mispriced.

That’s it for today! I’ve used the word ‘Intrinsic Value’ several times in this post, without really letting on much what it is supposed to be. Think about what it means. Let’s explore this more in ‘Equity Valuation 102’, the next post.

## How to Evaluate Inventory on Balance Sheet?

In the past two decades, we have seen countless companies which turned from zero to over billion rupees in market value with very limited inventories. It’s true that companies in the information sector (which only require a laptop and internet connection) doesn’t need a lot of inventories. After all, if the sole purpose of a company is running their mobile app (Android/iOS) and offering services through them, then what physical inventories they actually need apart from hosting, customer support and a few other development tools.

On the other hand, if you look into manufacturing companies which offer goods to the people/organization, inventory analysis plays a crucial role. The inventories of those companies are their most valuable current assets as they contribute directly to the source of revenue.

In this post, we’ll discuss what is an inventory and how to evaluate inventory on balance sheet.

## What is an inventory?

Integratory can be defined as the goods available for sale and raw materials used to produce those goods. In other words, these can be the raw materials, goods in process and the finished goods.

There are a number of advantages of keeping sufficient inventories for a company. For example, if the company has the necessary inventories, it can quickly meet the customer orders. Stock in hand improves customer experiences. Moreover, in a few sectors, high inventories may make an attractive display and increase conversions.

On the other hand, delays in fulfilling orders, empty shelves and products out of stocks might drive away customers to the competitors. And therefore, inventory control is a key area for the company’s management to focus.

## Excess Inventory

In case the company has excess inventories, it may be a little troublesome for them.

Too much inventories involve a higher cost of storage, damage issues, and insurance costs. It may also lead to increased wastage of goods if the inventories are perishable or the threat of obsolescence in case the products changes fast.

Moreover, if the company is spending a lot of money on excessive inventories, it is fixing that money which they could have used in other potentially rewarding opportunities. And that’s why excessive inventories should be controlled by the company.

## How to Evaluate Inventory on Balance Sheet?

The Inventory level of a company can be evaluated by using the inventory to current asset ratio. This ratio reflects how much percentage of the current asset is kept as inventory.

Inventory to current asset=Inventory/(Current assets)  ∗100

Although the ideal inventory to current asset ratio varies industry-to-industry as a few industries may require more inventories in their shelves for timely operations compared to other. However, as a thumb rule, this ratio should be less than 40%.

Moreover, try avoiding to invest in companies with inventory to current asset ratio greater than 60% as this might reflect too much inventories and the management’s inefficiency in inventory control.

For example, here is the balance sheet of Hindustan Unilever (HUL). Let’s calculate its inventory to current assets ratio.

For Hindustan Unilever, if you calculate the inventory to current assets ratio, you can find it equal to 21.23% for the year ending March 2018.

In the last 5 years, this ratio has been continuously decreasing- 30.75 (2014), 28.54%(2015), 26.87%(2016), 24.86%(2017), which means that HUL is spending less on their inventories. As the inventory to current assets ratio is still under a satisfactory level, this can be considered healthy for the company.

However, to get a better idea, you need to compare the inventory to current assets ratio of HUL with its competitors in the consumer goods segment.

Note: If you are new to the financial world and want to learn how to effectively read the financial statements of companiesfeel free to check out this awesome online course on Introduction to Financial Statements & Ratio Analysis.

## Summary

Although inventories are often ignored while evaluating companies in many industries, however, they are still one of the most crucial assets of a company. And that’s why inventory control is an important area to focus.

A low inventory level may lead to delays in completing orders, empty shelves and out of stocks which are not a good experience for the customers. On the flip side, excess inventory might lead to higher cost of storage, damage issues, insurance costs, spoilage costs or the threat of obsolescence. In order for a company to work effectively, its necessary to have sufficient (but not excess) inventories.

## Three Words That Matters: Margin of Safety

When I worked as a Trainee at Tata Motors, I got to know about the term payload. In easy words, it is simply the load carried by a vehicle. The payload helps the owner to determ­ine how much they can fit in their vehicle and moreover how many trips they have to take to carry a specific load.

During that time, once I was walking with my manager and we were discussing a light truck – Tata 407, which could carry 2.25 tonnes of payload. And we started talking about its payload. My manager told me that most of the commercial vehicles in India are almost always overloaded and easily crosses the prescribed payload. I asked him why do the Tata trucks perform so well then and why it doesn’t break? Obviously, if you overload the truck with twice its capacity, it should snap. And his answer was Margin of safety!!

Before developing any new vehicle, there’s a comprehensive study done on consumer behavior. And the R&D team of Tata knew this Indian behavior of overloading the truck in order to reduce the total number of trips to carry out the goods. And that’s why the load capacity of the Tata trucks are always more than what specified in the manual.

Moreover, here having a safety is a must for Tata trucks as they are known for their strength and the brand image matters a lot while selling vehicles in the automobile segment. They couldn’t afford to get their brand image ruined by not having a margin on their vehicle’s load capacity.

A similar concept of safety is used in the investing world to reduce the risk and maximize the profit. In fact, it is the central concept of value investing.

## What is the Margin of Safety?

The margin of safety means purchasing the stock when the market price of the company is significantly below its intrinsic value. Here, the difference in the intrinsic value and your purchase price is called the Margin of Safety (MOS).

The fundamental analysts believe that there is a true (intrinsic) value for all the company which can be found by reading financials of the company. Moreover, they also believe that the stocks do not trade at their true intrinsic value at most of the time because of speculations and other short term market behavior. A stock can be overvalued or undervalued at any moment of time. And that’s why Investors can make good profits by purchasing stocks when they are trading at a discount i.e. below their true value.

The margin of safety helps to safeguard the investments against calculation error, human error, judgment errors or any other unexpected occurrences concerning the market or stocks.

The margin of safety plays a significant role while purchasing stocks.

For example, if you think a stock is valued at Rs 100 per share (fairly). Then, there is no harm in giving yourself some benefit of the doubt that you may be wrong with your judgment and calculation. And hence, you should buy that stocks at Rs 70 or Rs 80 instead of Rs 100. Here, the difference in the calculated intrinsic amount and your final purchase price is your margin of safety.

The ideal margin of safety depends on the risk tolerance of an investor. The strict value investors may have a MOS of over 50% to minimize the downside risk. On the other hand, aggressive investors may choose a comfortable MOS of 10–15%. As a rule of thumb, always have a margin of safety of between 10–30% on the intrinsic value of the stock while making your investment decisions.

Moreover, apart from the risk tolerance of the investor, this margin of safety percentage also depends on how risky the investment is. If you are investing in a safe blue chip stock, this margin of safety can be comparatively lower than the MOS on high-growth riskier small-cap stocks.

## Methods to find Intrinsic value:

The concept of Margin of safety was poularized by the legendary investor, Benjamin Graham (also known as the father of value investing). He used his ‘Graham formula’ to find the true value of companies, and if the stock was trading way below the intrinsic value, only then he would purchase them. This concept of MOS was later inherited by Warren Buffett, a student of Ben Graham.

There are different tools to find the intrinsic value of a company. While many prefer using PE or Book value to find if the stock is undervalued, one of the most popular method to find the true value of a company is the discounted cash flow. DCF analysis is a method of valuing a company using the concepts of the time value of money. Here, all future cash flows of a company are estimated and discounted by using the cost of capital to find their present values. (Read more here: How to value stocks using DCF Analysis?)

A few other methods to find the intrinsic value of a company is the dividend discount model (DDM), EPS valuation, relative valuation etc.

Also check: Intrinsic value calculators

## Closing Thoughts

Having a margin of safety in the investments helps the investors to minimize the downside risk. However, an important point to highlight here is that having a MOS does not guarantee that the investment will always be profitable. Finding the intrinsic value of the company correctly also plays a crucial role here. And therefore, you should spend a significant amount of time valuing the stocks suitably.

Nevertheless, a meaningful discount on the purchase price compared to the intrinsic value can limit your losses and maximize the profits on your investments.

## How to value stocks using DCF Analysis?

Share market is a place where one can sell you a one-liter packet of milk for Rs 1,000 and if you might be even happy to purchase that. It’s completely impossible to decide whether a stock is overvalued or undervalued just by looking at the market price of the company.

And that’s why valuation is a crucial factor while deciding whether to invest in a stock or not. You do not want to purchase a stock at ten times its valuation. After all, a good company may not be a good investment if you are overpaying for it. It’s always preferable to invest in stocks when they are trading below their true (intrinsic) value.

In the words of the legendary investor Warren Buffett, the intrinsic value of a company can be defined as —

“The intrinsic value of a company is the discounted value of the cash that can be taken out of a business during its remaining life.” — Warren Buffett

Nevertheless, evaluating the value of a company using this definition is easier said than done. After all, finding the intrinsic value of a stock requires forecasting the future cash flows of a company which needs a lot of calculated assumptions like growth rate, discount rate, terminal value etc.

Anyways, one of the most popular approaches to find the intrinsic value of a company is the discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis. In this post, we are going to discuss the step-by-step explanation of how to find the true value of a stock using the DCF method. Further, we’ll also perform the DCF analysis on a real-life company listed in the Indian stock market to find its true value.

Quick note: I’ll try to keep the explanation as simple as possible so that you can easily understand the fundamentals. Let’s get started.

## Discounted cash flow valuation:

Before we start the actual calculations, let’s quickly discuss what exactly is discounted cash flow analysis.

Discounted cash flow (DCF) is a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of an investment opportunity.

DCF analyses use future free cash flow projections and discounts them, using a required annual rate, to arrive at present value estimates. A present value estimate is then used to evaluate the potential for investment. (Source: Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)– Investopedia)

In other words, discounted cash flow analysis forecasts the future cash flow of a company and later discounts them back to their present value to find the true intrinsic value of the stock (at the time of calculation).

Further, I would also like to mention that valuing stocks using the DCF method requires a little knowledge of a few common financial terms like free cash flow, discount rate, growth rate, outstanding shares etc. Here is a quick walk through the key inputs required in the discounted cash flow analysis.

## Key inputs of Discounted Cashflow Valuation:

1. Free cash flow (FCF): Free cash flow can be defined as the excess cash that a company is able to generate after spending the money required for its operation or to expand its asset base. It’s important for an investor to look into the free cash flow of a company carefully because it is a relatively more accurate method to find the profitability of a company than the company’s earnings. Free cash flow of a company can be calculated by using the below formula:

FCF = Cash flow from operating activities — capital expenditures

2. Growth Rate: It is the expected rate at which the company may grow in the upcoming 5–10 years. It’s really important to use a realistic growth rate for efficient calculations. Else, the calculated intrinsic value might be misleading.

Different investors use different approaches to find the expected growth rate of a company. Few of the common ways are by looking at the historical growth rate for the earnings/profits, reading the analysts reports to find out what they are forecasting, peeking in the company’s annual report/latest news to find out what the management/CEO is saying regarding the company’s growth rate in upcoming years etc.

Quick Note: In the book- ‘The little book of valuation‘, the author Aswath Damodaran has used an interesting method to find the growth rate of a firm. He argues that for a firm to grow, it has to either manage its assets better (efficiency growth) or make new investments (new investment growth). He used the multiple of proportion invested and return on investment to arrive at the growth rate in earnings. If you haven’t read his book, it is a good place for the beginners to start learning valuation of stocks.

3. Discount rate: The discount rate is usually calculated by CAPM (Capital asset pricing model). However, you can also use the discount rate as the rate of return that they want to earn from the stock. For example, let’s say that you want an annual return rate of 12%, then you can use it as the discount rate.

As a thumb rule for the discount rate, use a higher value if the stock is riskier and a lower discount rate if the stock is safer (like blue chips). This rule is in accordance with the principle of the risk-reward which claims a higher reward for a higher risk.

4. Terminal Multiple Factor: This is the fourth input of the DCF calculation that is used to find the terminal value of the company. Terminal value is the estimated value of a business beyond the explicit forecast period. It is a critical part of the DCF model as it typically makes up a large percentage of the total value of a business.

There are two approaches to the terminal value formula: (1) perpetual growth, and (2) exit multiple.

In this post, we are going to use the exit multiple approach. This approach is more common among industry professionals as they prefer to compare the value of a business to something they can observe in the market. The most commonly used terminal factor is EV / EBITDA. (Read more here).

## Steps to value stocks using DCF Analysis:

Here are the steps required to value stocks using the discounted cash flow valuation method:

1. First, take the average of the last three years free cash flow (FCF) of the company.
2. Next, multiply this calculated FCF with the expected growth rate to estimate the free cash flows of future years.
3. Then, calculate the net present value of this cash flow by dividing it by the discount factor.
4. Repeat the same process for the next 10 years to find the net present value (NPV) of the future free cash flows. Add the NPV’s of the FCF for all the ten years.
5. Next, find the terminal value the stock by multiplying the final year FCF with a terminal multiple factor.
6. Add the values from step 4 and 5 and adjust the total cash and debt (mentioned in the balance sheet of the company) to arrive at the market value for the entire company.
7. Finally, divide the calculated number in step 6 by the total number of outstanding shares to arrive at the intrinsic value per share of the company.

If the final intrinsic value of the company is lower than the current market price of the share, then it can be considered undervalued (and a good time to invest in that stock assuming the quality of the stock is also amazing).

On the other hand, if the final intrinsic value of the company is greater than the current market value, then the stock might be over-valued. In such a scenario, it’s better to keep that stock in the watchlist and wait for the price to come down within the purchase range.

That’s all. This is the exact approach used to find the discounted cash flow value of any company.

In any case, if you are not comfortable in performing DCF valuation using excel sheets, you can also use the Trade Brains’ online DCF calculator to find the intrinsic value of a stock.

## Real life example of valuing stocks from Indian stock market using DCF analysis.

Now, let’s calculate the Intrinsic value of Ashok Leyland (NSE: ASHOKLEY) using the Discounted Cashflow Valuation method. (Please note that all the data used here has been gathered from Annual reports.)

1. First, we will start by finding the free cash flow of Ashok Leyland. Here, we’ll take the FCF for the last 3 years and consider their average as a reasonable FCF. Now, free cash flow is equal to cash from operating activates minus the capital expenditures. The average FCF for the last three years turns out to be Rs 1715 Cr.
2. Next, we’ll project this FCF only for the upcoming ten years. Although, the company may continue for many more years after the tenth year, however predicting free cash flow for over 10 years is really difficult. Therefore, we assume that the company will sell off all its assets at the end of year ten at a ‘Sell off valuation’ (Terminal value). We’ll use a multiplier of 9 for the tenth year cash flow to simulate the value of these cash flows in the case company would sell all its assets (This is a necessary assumption that we need to make in order to find the value of the company).
3. Apart from the cash flows, the next important input is cash and cash equivalents which the company reflects on its balance sheet. For Ashok Leyland, this value is equal to Rs 993 Cr.
4. Besides cash, the next essential input is the debt (as debts have to be first paid off and shareholders are last in the line). Ashok Leyland has a total debt of Rs 515 Cr.
5. Next, we need to find the annual growth rate for Ashok Leyland. From the historical reports, we’ll consider a conservative growth rate of 12.75% per annum for our calculations of forecasted cash-flow.
6. Further, here we are considering a discount rate of 13.5% for discounting the future cash flows to their present value.
7. In addition, we need the total numbers of outstanding shares of Ashok Leyland. It is equal to 294 Crores.
8. Finally, let’s take a margin of safety of 10% on the overall calculated intrinsic value to give our calculations a benefit of doubt. (Higher the margin of safety, lower is the risk).

After placing the above values in the online DCF Calculator, the intrinsic value per share of Ashok Leyland turns out to be Rs 93.19 (after a margin of safety of 10% on the final intrinsic price). This is the true value estimate per share for Ashok Leyland at the time of writing using the DCF model.

The current stock price of Ashok Leyland is at Rs 105.55. This means that this stock is currently slightly overvalued compared to the calculated intrinsic price.

Quick Note: This intrinsic value is based on my calculations and assumptions. Although I’ve tried to be reasonably conservative in using the inputs, still no valuation should be considered precise as there is no guarantee that the company will grow at the assumed growth rate for the upcoming years. The key while performing DCF is to always consider rational inputs to arrive at a roughly correct intrinsic value.

## Warning: Garbage in, Garbage out

Now that you have understood how to value stocks using the DCF analysis approach, let me give you a FAIR WARNING. DCF is a very powerful tool for valuing stocks. However, this methodology is only as good as the inputs.

For example, even a small change in inputs (like growth rate or discount rate) can bring large changes in the estimated value of the company. (Try changing these values by 1% or 2% and you can notice a significant change in the result). In short, if the inputs are not reasonable, the out will also not be correct -’Garbage in, garbage out’.

Therefore, fill all the inputs carefully as they all have the potential to erode the accuracy in the estimated intrinsic value.

## Closing Thoughts:

DCF method is a very powerful method of valuing stocks. However, this method requires rational inputs.

Many investors who have already made up their mind to purchase a stock, can easily infiltrate the final result by assuming a higher growth rate/ terminal value or a lower discount rate. However, if you are choosing wrong or unrealistic inputs for growth rate, discount rate etc, the final intrinsic value per share may also be incorrect. Therefore, it is always recommended to use conservative inputs while performing DCF valuation.

That’s all for this post. I hope it is useful to you. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Happy Investing.

## **Investing for Beginners**

If you are new to investing, you can learn how to perform stock valuation and pick profitable shares for consistent returns in the Indian stock market with Trade Brains flagship course ‘How to pick winning stocks’. It is a self-paced online course with lifetime access so that you can learn on your own schedule. This course is currently available at a discount. Check out more here. Happy investing!!!

## What is Internal Rate of Return (IRR)? And How Does it Works?

What is the Internal Rate of Return (IRR)? And How Does it Works?

Hi readers. A lot has been covered in our blog since inception, we have written articles ranging from the basics of financial statements to concepts of valuation. A reader who has followed our blog from the beginning should now be able to perform a detailed analysis of a company and arrive at a valuation for investment.

To our ever growing list of posts, today we shall add one that seeks to provide a method for calculating the rate of return of a portfolio. This method is called as Internal Rate of Return (IRR).

The IRR method to measure the portfolio performance has become a lot popular in recent days because of its effectiveness over CAGR measurements. That’s why you need to get acquainted with what actually is IRR and how to quickly calculate it.

The topics we shall read about in today’s post are as follows.

1. What is the Internal Rate of Return (IRR)?
2. How is IRR different from CAGR and how is it more useful?
3. Application of IRR method of return calculation with an example.

It’s going to be a very informative post. So, let’s get started.

## 1. What is the Internal Rate of Return (IRR)?

Theoretically speaking, IRR is the rate at which the net cash flows (both inflow as well as outflow) from an investment would be equal to zero. Better said, it is the rate of return to be achieved by all the money invested to give back all the cash received.

## 2. How is IRR different from CAGR and how is it more useful for investors?

Although CAGR is a classic investment metric for calculating investment returns and makes a better representation of performance than average returns since it assumes the investment capital to be compounded over time.

But it makes a couple of assumptions which may hinder its practical use. Firstly, it assumes that the compounding process is a smooth one over time with steady returns being made every year. Secondly, it assumes that a portfolio incurs cashflow only two times during its lifetime. One at the very beginning when an investment is made and the second when the investment is sold and cash is returned to the investor.

In practice rarely do we come across such scenarios where an investment is made only once, most of us happen to make regular investments over time and hence the overall return may actually be different than what the CAGR method of calculation may usually project it to be.

In such cases of multiple or uneven investment periods and cash flows, the CAGR method of calculation becomes futile and using the Internal Rate of Return method would better serve the purpose. Mathematically, the IRR calculation is represented by the following expression.

Where P0, P1, . . . Pn equals the cash flows in periods 1, 2, . . . n, respectively; And, IRR equals the investment’s internal rate of return.

## 3. Application of IRR method of return calculation with an example.

Assume we bought a stock ₹3,00,000. Also, assume that we bought an additional ₹1,00,000 worth of stock one year later and another ₹50,000 in the two years later.

Let us make one more assumption that we hold the stock for 2 more years before selling the stock for a total cash return of ₹7,50,000

Here is how the IRR equation looks in this scenario:

Mathematically speaking IRR cannot be computed analytically, but thanks to calculators and spreadsheets today this task can be done fairly easily.

Using the XIRR function in an excel we get the IRR for this scenario as 11.80%, which is the rate that makes the present value of the investment’s cash flows equal to zero.

If we were to calculate the CAGR for the example for an initial investment of ₹4,50,000 and final cash return of ₹7,50,000 over a period of 5 years we would get a but the incorrect return of 10.8%.

Quick Note: If you want to learn how to perform fundamental analysis of stocks from scratch, feel free to check out this online course- HOW TO PICK WINNING STOCKS. Enroll now and start your journey is the Indian stock market today!!

## Closing thoughts

Although initially, the IRR method found applications in the capital budgeting projects of companies, recently it has become a favored method among investors to calculate the capital allocation efficiency of their portfolio.