Nestle and ITC

Nestle

Maharastra government joined forces with a few other states banning Nestle’s Maggi creating a classic case of the government attacking a well entrenched moat Here

While it will take a while to sort this out, there is an air of uncertainty around Nestle’s flagship product in India. The biggest asset that Nestle carries on its balance sheet is its brand and this controversy puts Nestle’s most precious asset into the cross hairs. While the company has definitely the in-depth resources and financial wherewithal to survive the crisis, it still remains to be unknown as to the extent to which the moat will be breached. As warren says, ‘You only know who is swimming naked when the tide goes out’, this episode will really test the endurance and reputation of Nestle in India.  Even with the recent dip of 18%, the stock continues to enjoy a PE of 47, which takes the earnings yield just north of 2% making it a very expensive proposition even today.

While one might look at companies like Coca Cola which have faced such issues globally before and have emerged our relatively robust earnings power for the future here  Nestle still does not have the margin of safety required to evaluate Nestle fully. It must also be noted, there is a new breed of investors (the Buffett clones) who are watching quality companies with one-time resolvable issues to take advantage of the discrepancies that occur with these companies including Sanjay Bakshi in India (latest update on Nestle here)

Disclosure: No Position

ITC

We had written previously about ITC here.

In the recent market volatility that we have been seeing and with Maharastra (after Chandigarh) banning loose cigarettes, another stalwart in the FMCG space is fighting for the relevance of its business model and its flagship products (here). The company is trading at 25 times earnings or 4% earnings yield. With the excise duty hikes and the resilience that we have seen in the past with respect to the business model, it might be worth another look to see whether this stalwart is worthy at the current prices.

Disclosure: Long ITC

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