Piramal Watch: Another strong quarter from the numbers!

We had written about Piramal Enterprises before here recently. Last night, they announced their results. Strong revenue and profit growth at 21% YoY. As expected, the focus on was their financial services portion of the business. The book was flat quarter or quarter with about 5K crores of repayment and 4.8K crores of disbursements.

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The real estate book is starting to show signs of diversification with a lower wholesale residential RE portion but it is still 47% of the book.

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The ROA and ROE seems to be holding up well for the business. GNPA actually fell in the quarter based on 90 dpd. It does look like payments are coming in through for Piramal as of now.  I suspect there is a lot of advance payments that is going on here that is causing this to look very strong and probably some better risk management as well.

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A detailed book sensitivity shows that there are probably around 10% of the deals that need attention which is not concerning given that Piramal has shown an ability to actually implement corrective action and fix them in the last few quarters.

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The key news was on the liability and equity side. The company informed that they were planning to bring in 8K-10k crores of equity on what they called significant growth and consolidation opportunities that are opening up on the NBFC.

I will also link here the CNBC transcript that shows a more aggressive yet cautious contrarian waiting for the right opportunities to open up in the NBFC space. It was good to see that they are treading with caution and watching instead of jumping into the first deal they get. With a solid quarter behind them, will this be a case of yet another counter cyclical aggression from Piramal? Only time will tell.

Disclosure: Long Piramal.

NBFC Watch Continues! Shriram City Quarterly Results!

Last night Shriram City Union Finance announced its quarterly results. Assets under management is up from 29,582 crores in March 2019 to 30,352 crores at the end of June 2019. RoA is marginally down to 3.41% in June from 3.44% in the prior quarter. RoE is down to 15.44% from 16.48% at the end of March. Disbursements are marginally down 5% QoQ. EPS was INR 38.4, Book value at INR 1005, CRAR at 22.5%. Asset quality only very marginally declined with net stage 3 assets holding almost flat at 5.03% with provisions just marginally up. Looking at the ALM statement, looks like their short term liquidity is fine.

And this was supposed to be a bad quarter. Results have help up well and the business model seems more steady than what the news will lead you to believe. It does look like this blood bath will eventually open up interesting opportunities for the patient investor.

Disclosure: Long Shriram City. Also read disclosure here




Piramal Watch: Distressed Seller or a Predator on Hunt?

With all the bearishness around the NBFC and the liquidity situation surrounding the industry, we are closely monitoring the status of several NBFC’s. Amongst them is Piramal. Depending on which source you read at or talk to, you have Piramal, either an overexposed real estate NBFC lender in a liquidity crunch, selling investments to fund liquidity issues OR a savvy predator hungry for more deals in the market when there is blood on the streets. Either way, when the results come out tomorrow, it will be a good indicator of what the reality looks like.

With so many stories swirling around, it is really tough to separate out the truth from the rumor. All we can say is, given the sheer number of permutations and combinations of the stories out there, it is evident that Piramal is talking to investors. But for what and as what? A distressed seller or as a bloodhound on a trail. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.

Some of the links to articles around Piramal:

  1. Piramal capital eyes $600M of buyouts in NBFC space (here)
  2. Can Piramal enterprises weather the NBFC storm (here)
  3. Softbank set to infuse capital into Piramal capital (here)
  4. LIC, IFC come to the aid of Piramal’s financial services business (here)
  5. Piramal’s INR 2500 Crore debt up for redemption in next 18 months (here)
  6. Piramal sharply cuts short term debt as NBFC crisis lingers (here)
  7. Piramal raises 1500 Crores from Stanchart through NCD’s (here)
  8. Reliance Jio and Piramal might setup a joint venture for financial services lending (here)
  9. Consumer finance focus can bring softbank to Piramal (here)
  10. The pathetic performance of the IndiaReit V fund (here)
  11. Piramal sells entire stake in Shriram Transport (here)
  12. Piramal is in talks to sell stake in Shriram group of companies (here)

Update: Added a few more links to the Lodha issue

  1. Piramal capital offloads 2,000 crore linked to Lodha (here)
  2. Piramal to pare 1,000 crore of Lodha developers debt (here)

Disclosure: Long Piramal.

Valeant Pharma Non-Gaap Definitions

It is one of those posts where I am just reproducing Valeant’s Non-Gaap definitions. I just cannot imagine all these expenses being excluded. Source is Q4 2015 results presentation. Link here

The reason I have reproduced this here is to remind myself when I see something like this in a management metric to run the other direction. All I can say is wow… just wow… and run… It is beyond me how to evaluate the operating performance for an acquisitive company with this disclosure…

Going by this disclosure; Bill Ackman can exclude his Valeant loss while reporting because it is a non-cash charge.

Adjusted EPS Management uses Adjusted EPS for strategic decision making, forecasting future results and evaluating current performance. In addition, cash bonuses for the Company’s executive officers are based, in part, on the achievement of certain Adjusted EPS targets. This non-GAAP measure excludes the impact of certain items (as further described below) that may obscure trends in the Company’s underlying performance. By disclosing this non-GAAP measure, management intends to provide investors with a meaningful, consistent comparison of the Company’s operating results and trends for the periods presented. Management believes this measure is also useful to investors as it allow investors to evaluate the Company’s performance using the same tools that management uses to evaluate past performance and prospects for future performance.

Adjusted EPS reflect adjustments based on the following items:

Inventory step-up and property, plant and equipment (PP&E) step-up/down: The Company has excluded the impact of fair value step-up/down adjustments to inventory and PP&E in connection with business combinations as such adjustments represent non-cash items, and the amount and frequency is not consistent and is significantly impacted by the timing and size of our acquisitions.

Stock-based compensation: The Company has excluded the impact of previously accelerated vesting of certain stock-based equity instruments as such impact is not reflective of the ongoing and planned pattern of recognition for such expense.

Acquisition-related contingent consideration: The Company has excluded the impact of acquisition-related contingent consideration non-cash adjustments due to the inherent uncertainty and volatility associated with such amounts based on changes in assumptions with respect to fair value estimates, and the amount and frequency of such adjustments is not consistent and is significantly impacted by the timing and size of our acquis itions, as well as the nature of the agreed-upon consideration.

In-Process research and development impairments and other charges: The Company has excluded expenses associated with acquired in-process research and development (including any impairment charges), as these amounts are inconsistent in amount and frequency and are significantly impacted by the timing, size and nature of acquisitions. Although expenses associated with acquired in-process research and development are generally not recurring with respect to past acquisitions, the Company may incur these expenses in connection with any future acquisitions.

Philidor Rx Services wind down costs – The Company has excluded certain costs associated with the wind down of the arrangement with Philidor Rx Services, primarily including write-downs of fixed assets and bad debt expenses. The Company believes it is useful to understand the effect of excluding this item when evaluating ongoing performance.

Other (income) expense: The Company has excluded certain other expenses that are the result of other, unplanned events to measure operating performance, primarily including costs associated with the termination of certain supply and distribution agreements, legal settlements and related fees, Philidor-related and pricing-related investigation and litigation costs, post-combination expenses associated with business combinations for the acceleration of employee stock awards and/or cash bonuses, and gains/losses from the sale of assets and businesses. These events are unplanned and arise outside of the ordinary course of continuing operations. The Company believes the exclusion of such amounts allows management and the users of the financial statements to better understand the financial results of the Company. 

Restructuring, integration, and acquisition-related expenses: In recent years, the Company has completed a number of acquisitions, which result in operating expenses which would not otherwise have been incurred, and the Company may incur such expenses in connection with any future acquisitions. The Company has excluded certain restructuring, integration and other acquisition-related expense items resulting from acquisitions (including legal and due diligence costs) to allow more accurate comparisons of the financial results to historical operations and forward-looking guidance. Such costs are generally not relevant to assessing or estimating the long-term performance of the acquired assets as part of the Company, and are not factored into management’s evaluation of potential acquisitions or its performance after completion of acquisitions. In addition, the frequency and amount of such charges vary significantly based on the size and timing of the acquisitions and the maturities of the businesses being acquired. Also, the size, complexity and/or volume of past acquisitions, which often drives the magnitude of such expenses, may not be indicative of the size, complexity and/or volume of future acquisitions. By excluding the above referenced expenses from our non-GAAP measures, management is better able to evaluate the Company’s ability to utilize its existing assets and estimate the long-term value that acquired assets will generate for the Company. Furthermore, the Company believes that the adjustments of these items more closely correlate with the sustainability of the Company’s operating performance.

Amortization and impairments of finite-lived intangible assets: The Company has excluded the impact of amortization and impairments of finite-lived intangible assets (including impairments of intangible assets related to Philidor Rx Services), as such non-cash amounts are inconsistent in amount and frequency and are significantly impacted by the timing and/or size of acquisitions. The Company believes that the adjustments of these items more closely correlate with the sustainability of the Company’s operating performance. Although the Company excludes amortization of intangible assets from its non-GAAP expenses, the Company believes that it is important for investors to understand that such intangible assets contribute to revenue generation. Amortization of intangible assets that relate to past acquisitions will recur in future periods until such intangible assets have been fully amortized. Future acquisitions may result in the amortization of additional intangible assets and potential impairment charges.

Amortization of deferred financing costs and debt discounts: The Company has excluded amortization of deferred financing costs and debt discounts as this represents a non-cash component of interest expense.

Foreign exchange and other: The Company has excluded foreign exchange and other to eliminate the impact of foreign currency fluctuations primarily related to intercompany financing arrangements in evaluating company performance.

Tax: The Company has (i) excluded the tax impact of the non-GAAP adjustments and (ii) recorded adjustments for the use of tax attributes and other deferred tax items plus any payments made for settlement of tax audits, in order to reflect an expected tax rate for the current period.


About a week ago, Molycorp, the rare earth minerals manufacturer declared a chapter 11 bankruptcy.

From google finance,

Molycorp, Inc. is a rare earths producer. The Company operates in four business segments: Resources, Chemicals and Oxides, Magnetic Materials and Alloys and Rare Metals. The Resources segment includes its operations at the Mountain Pass facility. The Chemicals and Oxides segment includes the production of rare earths at Molycorp Silmet; production of separated heavy rare earth oxides and other engineered materials from its Molycorp Jiangyin facility, and production of rare earths, salts of rare earth elements (REEs), zirconium-based engineered materials and mixed rare earth/zirconium oxides from its Molycorp Zibo facility. The Magnetic Materials and Alloys segment includes the production of Neo Powders through its wholly owned manufacturing facilities. The Rare Metals segment produces, reclaims, refines and markets niche metals and their compounds.

Often companies get into bankruptcy as they are unable to absorb the burden of the debt that they have undertaken and go through the bankruptcy process and come out stronger with better negotiated debt on the other side. The market that Molycorp operates in is dominated by Chinese firms . When the economic behemoth tried to strong arm the world by controlling supplies, Molycorp and Lynas came up with supplies with some non-Chinese mines. These two companies at one point contributed to 10% of the global consumption. Since then the Chinese have backed down and the world has been more than willing to buy from them at rock bottom prices.

When one looks at the financials of Molycorp, attention needs to be paid to the income statement rather than the balance sheet as we usually do in distressed conditions.

$M 2012 2013 2014
Sales 527.7 554.4 475.6
GP 18.8 -67.2 -99.6
GP % 3.6% -12.1% -20.9%

The company has been reporting net negative gross margins. The company has been losing money just getting metal out of the ground. This is even before the sales force is paid, the corporate expenses are paid and even before the interest payments are serviced on the debt. The only time when the GP’s were positive was during the Chinese induced shortages which resulted in a huge price increased in the market. Just restructuring the debt with lower interests or better terms or financial engineering is not the solution to this problem.

The company has not outlined any measures that can make the investor comfortable that a margin of safety exists in the bond even under distress. Unless there is another attempt to strong arm the rare earth market from the Chinese or the US is determined to use only US made rare earth metals, or the Chinese crack down on the black market,  financial engineering will only go far to stem this tide. A cautious investor will do well to sit this out and watch from the sideline!