Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sah Petroleums - Bonus Issue

Hello to everybody after quite some time. I have not been able to update the blog in the recent past due to certain reasons, but I am back, with a whimper at least!

I had written on Sah Petro a couple of months ago. Please do go through the same to get some background on the company. Some of my fears like those regarding inter transfer of shares among promoters did not materialise, which is good! But the generous dividend they recently declared is not so good!

Sah Petro's promoter holding stands at about 87%, with Navis Capital (a PE fund) holding 62% and the erstwhile promoters holding 25%. In order to comply with SEBI's minimum public shareholding norms, the company recently announced the issue of bonus shares to non-promoters. In effect, the promoters will be diluting their own holding without getting any money for it. Now why exactly would a PE fund do this is an obvious question, but thats besides the point because, well, they are doing it!

An anonymous reader requested me to write an article on this situation, hence this post!

Whats going to happen?

Click to enlarge

In effect, if you buy 19 shares of the company at Rs.22 (total Rs.418), you get 23 shares extra. Free! So your holding cost for the total of 19+23=42 shares becomes Rs.418, translating into a per share cost of Rs.9.95. If we consider the taxation advantage we get due to bonus-stripping, our cost would be even lower. Current price is Rs.22, resulting in a fairly large difference. (All calculations are based on the current market price of Rs.22, which is a moving number. Since the stock has been shifted to T2T category, there will be some fall in the price probably).

What should one do?

Our holding cost of Rs.9.95 translates into an effective market cap of Rs.50 cr, on the expanded capital. So, in effect, the question to be asked is; would we be comfortable buying Sah Petro for Rs.50 cr? Well, as of March 2013, the company had Rs.60 cr cash on books, which makes it an interesting proposition indeed. (I do have some concerns here, which are detailed in the earlier post on Sah).

Is there an arbitrage opportunity?

The ex-date is about 1.5 to 2 months away. The arbitrage here is simple. Buy the shares before ex-date for Rs.22 (CMP) and sell them off on or after ex-date (for a higher price than Rs.9.95), resulting in a neat profit within a couple of months. Sounds simple, but we need to answer a zillion dollar question; how much will be price fall on and after the ex-date?!
If we do it mathematically, it would be something like this;

Thats a theoretical and mathematical calculation, but what will the market do? To get a clue, lets learn from history. Another company called Warren Tea also had recently issued bonus shares to comply with the minimum public holding norms. The price action in that stock was follows:

  • Price before the bonus announcement (21/01/2013): Rs.316
  • Price immediately after the bonus announcement (22/02/2013): Rs.373 (price exploded. In Sah Petro too, there was a 20% upper circuit on the day of the announcement)
  • Price before ex-date (20/03/2013): Rs.372. (21/03/2013 was the ex-date)
  • Ratio: 7 shares for every 10 held, to non-promoters.

If we do a similar mathematical calculation as above, the price on ex-date should have been Rs.334. But what actually happened was quite different.

  • On ex-date (21/03/2013) itself, the stock closed on the lower circuit, at Rs.298. 
  • After that the slide continued till Rs.215-220, where the stock became stable. (Incidentally, the cost, after considering bonus shares would have been Rs.218!!)
  • In effect, if you were unlucky enough not to be able to sell immediately on or after ex-date due to the lower circuits, you would not have made much money on this as an arb trade.
  • The sorry price chart of this whole drama is as follows:
Click to enlarge

The market did not price this mathematically, and therefore, we should not assume that the stock will settle at the mathematically calculated price. Traders and arb guys will sell wholesale post ex-date and it will drift a lot lower. Will it come all the way down to Rs.9.95 is something I cannot predict! However, if it settles at even Rs.12-13, an arbitrage opportunity does exist.

So, what can be done?
  • This does look like a neat arb opportunity, but I would disregard the same from my mental calculations.
  • The only question I would ask is; disregarding the special situation, fundamentally, am I comfortable buying Sah Petro at Rs.9.95 (which is a market cap of Rs.50 cr) and holding it? Are the valuations attractive enough at Rs.9.95? Finally that is the base level question, which gives us comfort in case things do not go as per plan. 
  • If the answer to the above is yes, I would surely buy. Arbitrage, if it happens, would be most welcome and an added bonus. (No pun intended)

I feel this is an ok, if not a fabulous opportunity. What do you feel?

Cheers and happy bonus investing!!

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