Archive for category Industry Reports

Forbes Best under a Billion – Indian Companies

Forbes compiled, as it does every year, a list of ‘Best Companies under a Billion Revenue’ for this year too. Link to the full article here.

From the same link, the list of Indian companies below –


Most of the companies are familiar names (Ador, Mayur, Eros, Kaveri, Jubilant, Mindtree, TTK, Ajanta) and some are not (Commercial Engineers, RPP Infra etc.). Some companies are shareholder friendly and some are not. Kindly do your due diligence before investing in any of these.

Disclosure: Invested in a few companies in the above list. This post is not a recommendation to buy or sell. This is only for informational purposes.


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Indian Banks and NPA Provisions

So, Deepak Shenoy (@deepakshenoy) was in Bangalore and I took this opportunity to meet some fantastic investors like Sunil Arora (@moneybloke), Prashanth (@Prashanth_Krish) along with a host of others in a tweetup at Koramangala. During the tweetup, discussion did turn to the ailing Kingfisher and how Banks would be impacted by it. There was a bit of confusion around how loans are classified under NPA, and I kept saying ‘There is a matrix to decide that, there is a matrix that’ (we had drawn up a matrix in a room to decide NPAs in my Banking days of the yore), but couldn’t offer anything more concrete. This blogpost is to rectify that vague statement and offer a little more insight into the NPA classification as decided by RBI.

Loans are treated as Assets by Banks. These loans can be classified into two types depending on whether the customer has paid up or not.

1) If the customer pays his EMIs regulary, it is called Standard Asset.

2) If the customer does not pay 3 consecutive EMIs, the Banks have to classify it as NPA (Non-Perfoming asset).

Let’s say a Bank issues a car loan to Mr. A. As along as Mr. A pays his EMI (Principal + Instalment) regularly, without missing a payment, the Bank considers Mr. A’s loan as a Standard Asset and will not provision for the loan.

What is a provision and why provision at all? A bank sets aside certain amount (depending on certain criteria and percentages which are set by RBI) to account for future losses on loan defaults. Banks (as strict as their criteria for issuing loans could be) assume that a certain percentage of loans will not pay up at all/not pay regularly. Banks hence provision for these losses earlier rather than when the loss occurs so that the losses if and when they occur still guarantees a bank’s solvency and capitalization.

In the case above, since Mr. A is paying up his loans regularly, the Bank will not provision any amount against the loan granted to Mr. A. Now, assume the same Bank issues a car loan to Mr. B and Mr. B due to various circumstances (lost his job/can’t pay up/will not pay up) does not pay 3 consecutive EMIs. That is, the days past due (Bankers keep harping on ‘DPD’) becomes more than 90 days. In this case, the Bank is a little skeptical on Mr. B paying up the loan. The Bank recognizes this risk (rather, RBI forces the Bank) and provisions for the loan. NPA itelf is sub-classified into 3 categories – Sub-standard, Doubtful and Loss. You can be a NPA for different kinds of loans. For example,

a) If it is a term loan, if the interest and/or principal remains overdue for a period of more than 90 days.

b) In respect of bills purchased/discounted, the bill remains unpaid for a period of more than 90 days.

c) For agricultural loans –

       i) If it is a short duration crop, it will be treated as NPA if the EMIs are not being paid for 2 crop seasons

      ii) For long duration crops, the loan will be treated as NPA if the EMIs are not being paid for 1 crop season.

d) In case an infrastructure project term loan, if the project does not start commercial operations (and hence can’t pay up EMIs) in 2 years time, then the loan has to be considered as NPA.

I will draw up a matrix now 🙂


e) For power sector, the provisioning norms are slightly different (I think 10% for sub-standard, 20%,30%,50% thereafter)

and so on and so forth. Nowadays, different sectors seem to have different provisionings and its getting difficult to keep track of them.

The table is self-explanatory. Banks in India have to adhere to the matrix depending on the state of loans they have issued in the past.

Customers usually do various gimmicks to avoid the NPA bucket (well, if you get close to NPA bucket, you can be rest assured that you will be barraged with calls/collection agent will sit in front of your home). They pay every alternative month, thus never getting into the NPA bucket (late fees, penalty fees etc. is a secondary issue). Sometimes, they just pay the interest and not the principal, thereby avoiding the NPA bucket. Greening (give another loan to cover the previous loan) happens very often too, to avoid the NPA bucket.

As you realise, the lower down the rung we go, the greater is the provision that is required and more provisioning hurts profits. That’s the reason why the lower down the rung our loans go, more are the number of calls we get from collection agents.

So, what happens after the loan gets classifed as NPA. Well, there are two options –

i) After the Bank follows up, the customer pays all the EMIs (for which he was due) and starts paying his EMIs more regularly. If the customer pays up for 3 months consecutively, he moves back to Standard Asset.

ii) Banks proceed to recovery money from the customer. The SARFAESI act allows Banks to recover their NPAs without the intervention of the court. They can recover this money either through selling it to Asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) for a discount (and hence book a little loss in their P&L) or enforce the Security/collateral provided by the customer at the time of issue of the loan (the treatment of money recovered this way would depend on whether it was higher or lower than the book value).

Also, in case any money is recovered in the case of loans classified as ‘Loss’ in previous years, this money will be booked as revenue in the P&L of banks.

Now, how is the debt of Kingfisher Airlines treated by Banks? Well, RBI already had a rule for restructured loans (we are being told that KFA’s loans are being restructured, aren’t we?). Restructured loans also get to be classified in Standard and NPA depending on how the loan was restructured. So, the rule is –

For restructured/rescheduled assets, provisions are made in accordance with the guidelines issued by RBI, which require that the  difference between the fair value of the loan before and after restructuring is provided for,  in addition to provision for NPAs.  The provision for diminution in fair value and interest sacrifice, arising out of the above, is reduced  from advances.

Now, what would be the fair value, interest sacrifice etc. in case of KFA? Your guess is as good as mine (essentially because the term ‘fair value’ has different connotations for different people). However, in cases of restructured accounts classified as standard advances, the loan provisioning would be 2% compared to 1% in the first two years from the date of restructuring. There is a working paper at RBI underway to have a re-look at the restructuring rules. The tentative date for release of this discussion paper is March 2012.

Just in case you are wondering if similar rules apply to NBFCs, they do. Till recently, NBFC has to recognise a loan as NPA only if it crossed a DPD of 180 days. However, a RBI ruling in Sep 2011 changed all that, and now even NBFCs have to adhere to NPA classification of 90+ DPD. Just because of the change in ruling, Gross NPAs will increase by quite a bit, and the effect is increase in provisioning (and hence lower profits) and hence you see some of the NBFCs getting battered since Sep 2011.

P.S: Some general provisions are also made for Standard Assets in case of loan exposure in countries other than the home country.

P.P.S: There is an additional concept of Provisional Coverage Ratio (PCR). RBI has dictated that PCR should be 70% and most banks adhere to it. It’s basically an additional buffer to protect Bank’s solvency

P.P.P.S: There are about 7 deductions that can be made to arrive at the Net NPA figure that Banks bandy about from the Gross NPA figure. Instead of listing the 7 deductions, I will direct you to a RBI document (slightly dated).

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Reading matter: Banks valuation, EBITDA multiple and F&O

1) I am currently on a quest to know more about valuing banks (also NBFCs and Housing Finance companies which are almost in a similar line). I have worked for a Bank earlier, and am currently into Banking consulting. But working for a Bank (or in the Banking industry) and valuing a Bank are two different things (although, it does help you in the ‘circle of competence’ part). I will share my learnings as and when I make significant progress. Here are some links that I found quite enlightening –

a) The wonderful Rohit Chauhan has already written quite a lot on valuing Banks. Here are the links from past to present.

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4

Link 5

Link 6

Link 7

b) I have found a report on how CARE rates Banks/HFCs/NBFCs, which gives us very good pointers on how to look at valuing these firms. Here are the reports – Report 1 and Report 2.

2) I have been reading a few analyst reports on some companies and it got my gut that some of these analysts quote EBITDA multiples for valuing a company. I would refrain anybody from quoting EBITDA multiples for almost anything. In the words of Warren Buffett, ‘EBITDA multiple? Who do you think will pay for capex? The toothfairy?’ and in words of Charlie Munger (the more straightforward guy of the two), ‘EBITDA earnings are bullshit earnings’. What I usually do, depending on the industry, is take the D&A part and assume it to be maintenance capex. Although not too accurate, it gives a rough picture on how much the company needs to spend to be where it is currently in the marketplace, without spending anything for growth (and I subsequently have a MOS% after valuation, so I hope I am covering my back for the most part after this assumption). Anyway, long story short, if you want to know why EBITDA earnings are bullshit earnings :), it would help immensely if you can go through this writeup.

3) I have this basic idea on Futures and Options, and how they help people get rich/get destroyed. I have never used any of it, but was curious if it could help in my investing strategy. I have a long way to go before I develop certain confidence to add F&O to my investing arsenal. However, I did start reading up on this and no better guide than Deepak Shenoy’s lucid introduction on F&O here.

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Indian Banks exposure to Real Estate and Infrastructure

Citigroup Global Markets has come up with a report which documents among various parameters, the loan book exposure of Indian Banks to sectors like Infrastructure and Real Estate (as a % of total loan book). Here’s the information they have gleaned from RBI website and various Company reports.

Bank Power Telecom Other Infra Total Infra Real Estate Total Exposure
Andhra Bank 21.5 0.9 NA 22.4 5 27.4
Yes bank 6.9 8.3 5.1 20.3 5.6 25.9
OBC 10.9 2.2 5.8 18.8 6.4 25.2
Canara Bank 13.3 4.4 5 22.7 NA 22.7
ICICI Bank 5 0 5.1 11.2 10.1 21.3
Central Bank NA NA 21 21 NA 21
Corporation Bank 8.3 4.1 4.7 17.1 3.4 20.5
AXIS Bank 4.4 3.9 5.8 14.1 3.5 17.6
Kotak Mahindra Bank NA NA NA 6.5 10.4 16.9
SBI 3.8 3 5.8 12.7 1.8 14.5
Union Bank 8 NA 3.1 11.1 1.8 12.9
Federal Bank 7.2 1.2 2.5 10.9 NA 10.9
BOB 2.6 2.2 3.4 8.2 2.7 10.8
HDFC Bank 2.3 1.3 NA 3.6 4 7.7

Now, we all know that with increasing interest rates, many real estate and infra companies might not be able to make regular payments and hence the NPAs on Banks’ balance sheets will increase. This in turn will lead to increase in provisioning for bad assets which in turn mean lower profits. Lower profits obviously mean lower stock prices. (Also, this will mean Banks would be very wary of lending to these companies for any new projects/working capital. So that’s another bummer for both Banks (since it would be earning less than if it lends) and the Infra/RE companies).

Anyway, the list does point out that

a) Among Govt. banks, the highest exposure to these sectors are with Andhra Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and Canara Bank (Corporation bank is almost there!). The least exposures are with Bank of Baroda (BoB), Union Bank and SBI. Since the market has punished all Govt. banks equally, there is a chance of mis-pricing among these three less exposed banks.

b) Among Private banks, the highest exposure to these sectors are with ICICI Bank and Yes Bank (incidentally, Goldman Sachs has upgraded both these banks to ‘Conviction Buy’ list: hat-tip Sunil Arora). The lowest exposures are with HDFC Bank (expected) and Federal Bank.

Apart from this broad based data presentation, I do intend to hypothesize that the Infra sector is not much of a problem in terms of regular payments. Usually this sector is Govt. sponsored and regular payments to the Bank might not be so much of an issue. However, real estate is a problem and with increasing interest rates, and interest in buying homes dying down (obviously due to astronomical prices – who charges Rs.3 lac for a parking place? (they charge here in Bangalore)), these companies might not be able to make regular payments. Hence, looking through the list, it is obvious that ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank have the highest exposure to Real Estate and hence are at a higher risk than the other banks (among Govt. Banks, it is OBC).

I also intend to crib at one aspect of the report. The Citi report downgraded Govt. banks like Andhra Bank, OBC and Canara bank due to higher Infra and RE exposure. In the same breath (and report), Citi has upgraded ICICI Bank to a ‘Buy’. You read that right. ICICI Bank – a Bank which has a higher exposure compared to most other banks (Infra and RE combined, RE alone) in the list has been upgraded to a ‘Buy’. I am not sure of the reasons behind it but the double standards don’t sound too right (they obviously are way more knowledgeable than me. Also, they might be getting some investment banking business from ICICI. God knows).

*The Citi report has ICICI combined exposure mentioned as 29.2. Not too sure how the numbers were added up. I added up Infra and RE to arrive at the number.

Disc: Own HDFC Bank.

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