Friday, March 14, 2014

Noida Toll Bridge - The Alternate View

There is a lot that an investor can learn from this fine looking gentleman. Harvey 'Two Face' Dent is one of Batman's most interesting villains. Its not that he has a split personality, but his personality gets changed completely due to some events. The point is, he represents both sides of the coin. And that's what an investor should always try to look at, in my opinion.
I too try to do the same with every company i invest in (or reject). The bull case as well as the bear case should be thoroughly investigated, without any bias or preconceived notion. I agree its something difficult to do, but once you leave your ego aside, its is surely not at all impossible.


I had written about Noida Toll Bridge quite some time ago. By and large, investors have been quite negative on it due to a variety of reasons, one of which I had also written about. Also, since the price has not moved since years, it is perceived to be a value-trap. Well, so far, it has been just that, but interesting things are now happening. Looking at the other side of the story would be an excellent idea.
I would recommend that one should go through this extremely detailed report to get a proper background on the company, its agreement with NOIDA authorities and the unique aspects of the agreement, difficulties it faced in earlier times etc. The report will give excellent background to anyone who wants to understand the company better (and also reduce my writing efforts. Yesss, i am lazy!)

A fascinating set of numbers..

Over the past few years, everything other than the stock price has improved!!
Of course, this has happened due to inherent risks attached to the business as well as lack of clarity on several key aspects of the agreement and its proposed changes. The stock price just kept drifting down.


So has anything changed which will cause the stock price to not drift down? Or better still, to go up?!

Let us invert the entire thought process.

The standard investment arguments made in favour of the company include;
  • Large shortfall in recovery of more than Rs.2400 cr, which will result in the bridge staying with the company for a substantial long period of time.
  • Possibility of a one-time settlement to settle this shortfall.
  • Huge margin of safety due to development rights to 99 acres of land, whose value is much more than the current enterprise value of NTBC.
  • Good growth in traffic, plus increase in toll rate, leading to substantially high cashflow for the company.
While all these seem quite yummy, there is absolutely no guarantee that anything of these may really happen. So let us completely drop them all!!

Let us make some really depressed (and depressing) assumptions..
  • The company will get no extension for operating the bridge. The bridge will only last with the company till 2028, post which it will be handed over to the Government.
  • The company will get zero compensation for the shortfall (to which it is entitled to, as per the agreement).
  • The company will not any development rights to the land (to which it is entitled to, as per the agreement).
  • There will be zero growth in traffic and zero growth in toll henceforth, till 2028!!
  • The company will have to spend Rs.5 cr on maintenance of the bridge every 5 years
I totally agree that these are unreasonably 'conservative' assumptions, but thats the point!
  • Currently, the company generates roughly Rs.70 cr free cash. We are assuming that it will remain the same till 2028, minus Rs.5 cr maintenance capex every fifth year.
  • If we simply discount this cashflow from 2014 till 2028 at 12% discounting rate, the value per share comes to Rs.28. Discounting the same at 15% gives Rs.25/share and at 18% gives Rs.22.4/share.
  • In effect, it appears that the market doubts whether the company will be able to operate the bridge until 2018 itself, which appears too depressed.


Value, without a value-trigger is a value trap!

Well, what i have stated above is a well known fact. But what has changed now?
The trigger has come in the form of the company exiting CDR. As per the annual report, the company will pay the last installment of its CDR-subjected debt and will exit CDR before the end of FY14. After CDR exit, the company management have full flexibility and autonomy to utilise the cash generated as per what they think fit. So they can give substantial dividends, do a buyback, etc.(This is already visible if we look at the recent interim dividend, which has been doubled, compared to last year).

The risks...

In case of Noida Toll, many risks such as competing bridge, metro, etc are well known. But other risks which i think are material are;
  • With elections round the corner, the public will force the bridge to be immediately made toll-free: Although this event is a possibility, totally stripping the company of all its rights would set a very bad precedent, besides being illegal. I view this as lower probability event.
  • NTBC will alter its Memorandum of Association and take up another project, thus diverting cash: Alteration of MOA requires a special resolution, which, in our opinion will not be successful, given the current shareholding pattern. I view this as a low probability event.
  • NTBC will divert cash to other group companies through inter-corporate loans or advances: ILFS group has not been known to engage in such activities. I view this as a low probability event.
  • There will be radical changes in the original concession agreement: In its quarterly results, NTBC itself has disclosed that NOIDA authorities are in talks with the company to change the terms of the agreement. I view this as a very high probability event. However, we have factored in the same in our assumptions.
  • The toll itself is significantly cut: This is a huge risk and if it materializes, the stock should be exited immediately. I view this as a low probability event.
  • The company will not distribute any cash to its shareholders: In case there is absolutely no distribution of cash, either through dividend/buyback/bonus debentures etc over the next one and half years, one should surely think of exiting the stock.

Positioning yourself for luck...

In the meantime, there is a possibility of various corporate actions such as bonus debentures, buyback, sell-off to a PE investor, one-time settlement with NOIDA etc. Since there is currently no basis to any of these possibilities, we should totally disregard them. But if anything along these lines does happen, we would get damn lucky!!

All in all, this seems like an interesting event-based workout. For some, it would also qualify to be a decent long term investment. Fair enough! However, looking at the risks involved as well as the sensitive nature of the business in recent times (toll = evil), I would not look at it as a longer term compounding story. I am a mere opportunist here and not a "value investor" :-)

Cheers and happy investing!!!

Disclosure: Most of what i have written above is from a presentation i had made last month on the company. I am a one month old (approx) shareholder of the company. Stock price has moved a bit in the recent past and hence I would not be recommending the same (or otherwise). As usual, this is just a presentation of my thoughts and not an recommendation. (Neither am I promoting the stock, simply because I have bought it before and I now hope that your buying will take it even higher!!!). :-)




Disclaimer(s)!!
1) All the posts on this blog, including this one, are for educational and discussion purposes only.
2) I post articles on individual stocks as well as varied topics like behavioural finance, industry analysis etc. None of the material posted should be regarded as advice to buy/sell any stock. My articles are not recommendations to buy/sell individual stocks, and should not be construed as any form of investment advice.
3) As a professional investor, I may have positions in stocks discussed.
4) PLEASE DO NOT TAKE BUY/SELL OR ANY INVESTMENT DECISION BASED ON ARTICLES YOU READ ON THE BLOG. I am not offering any investment advice through these articles. These are only meant to provide information and initiate discussion. Final decision is and always should be, yours and only yours! 

23 comments:

Karthikraja K said...

Professor, You are very good in mind mapping tool. all your analysis is written in mind map tool way. Please fihgt with your laziness for us and try to educate us atleast once in a month via blogs. thanks professor for showing the path to do SWOT.

Neeraj Marathe said...

Thank you for the kind words Karthikji. Will try my best.
Cheers!
Neeraj

Anonymous said...

Neeraj,

I had seen the exact report by someone else. If this is not originally yours, you should mention it atleast.

Neeraj Marathe said...

Lol... ok Anon :-)
Cheers
Neeraj

jitendra said...

Hi,

First of all, thanks for a great analysis.
The link which u have given for understanding company in detail (analysis by Prof. Sanjay Bakshi) is no more free on scribd. If possible, please mail me that copy on my mail id (khandal.jitendra@gmail.com).

Thanks & Regards,
Jitendra

Neeraj Marathe said...

Hi Jitendra,
File sent..
Cheers!
Neeraj

Ashish Tiwari said...

Sir,

Thanks for the fascinating post. its been a curious case for all these years to say the least.
could you please mail the professor's analysis to me too.(ashish.valinv@gmail.com)

Thanks again
Ashish Tiwari

Neeraj Marathe said...

Sent..
Cheers
Neeraj

nidhesh said...

Sir,

Thanks for the useful analysis. Can you please send the report to nidheshjain@gmail.com

Thanks,

Nidhesh

nidhesh said...

Sir,

Thanks for a great analysis on the company.
Can you please send the report at nidheshjain@gmail.com

Thanks,
Nidhesh

nidhesh said...

Sir,

Please send the report to nidheshjain@gmail.com

Thanks,

Nidhesh

CHIRAG ALI said...

Hello Neeraj Sir

Thank you very much for detailed analysis.The link which u have given for understanding company is not free on scribd. If possible, can you please Email me the report. My Email ID is chirag_ali@yahoo.com

Regards

Chirag Ali

Anonymous said...

Hi Neeraj,

Thanks for the detailed post!
Do you see the probability of IL&FS group exiting the company? There have been rumors, as the group is trying to deleverage it's balance sheet. With that uncertanity, would it be better to look at the stock differently?

Also, if you could share the presentation: my email is mikeworld1976@gmail.com.

Cheers!
Michael

Yogesh Fabtex said...

Sir,
Request to mail the report to my mail id: yogeshco@rediffmail.com.
Thanks and regards
Yogesh

rohit shroff said...

Hi,

Thanks for the amazing analysis
Can you please send me professor's analysis to me.
My email id : rohitshrofflife@gmail.com

rohit shroff said...

Hello Sir

Thanks for your amazing analysis.
Can you please send mail the professor's analysis to me too.

email id : rohitshrofflife@gmail.com

Regards,
Rohit Shroff

Grow Well Finance said...

Hi sir,
Your ability to make complex things simple is strongly supported by your writing skills (better be called a smooth operator) which helps to develop better understanding about the subject (at least for me).
if possible can you please share some reports having detail analysis (specially credit appraisal reports).
ritesh.kuthe@gmail.com

Thanks and Regards
Ritesh
MIT- SOB
26th Batch

Grow Well Finance said...

Hi Sir,
Thank you very much ... waiting for new updates ... It’s a treat to read :)
Your make complex things simple (i have experience the same in SAPM classes also) which provides insight and better understanding about the subject. (Better be called a smooth operator supported by strong writing skills)
if possible, please share the report which you have mentioned in the blog (by Prof. Sanjay Bakshi).
ritesh.kuthe@gmail.com
Thanks and Regards
Ritesh
26the Bach MIT - SOB

MAK said...

Is is good buy at current level of 31-32?

Neeraj Marathe said...

I have already bought all i want and therefore have no reason to buy currently.
Cheers!
Neeraj

Pranav Pratap Singh said...

Long time, no new post!
waiting...

Let us know if you want us to bounce off ideas.

~Exam over :-)

nidhesh said...

What would be implied IRRs at Rs30 per share assuming not increased or decrease in cash generation over the life of the asset?

Thanks,

Nidhesh

Karthikraja K said...

Cash cow started coughing cash...atleast 3.5 will be dividend every year expected. Yield of more than 9.5% at CMP.tax free.