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I’ve previously shared my investing thesis on Dutech Holdings:
In fact, I was actually a bit surprised that I’ve only written 1 post on Dutech, seeing that Dutech Holdings is a company that I’ve done a ton of work on, and it is currently and will likely be one of my core positions longer term, making up 26% of my portfolio.
Just to recap: I took up a position of 570,000 shares in Dutech Holdings back in April 2015, at an average price of $0.275.
Since then, the share price has rallied strongly, particularly in 2016, giving me a paper gain of approximately 74.55% or a profit of $117,000 in 18months.
The share price has since retracted somewhat from it’s highs.
2 months ago, when the share price was around $0.48, I found myself facing the inevitable question most people think of when one of their holdings has risen this much this fast.
Should I divest and pocket the $117,000? Hold and wait for further gains? Double down and add to my stake?
What would you do if you’re faced with such a scenario? A happy one, no doubt.
Anecdotally, I think most people would choose to divest and pocket the money. Some may hold out and wait further if they’re optimistic. Few will double down and add further. So on this note, I consider my decision to be very contrarian.
Having studied the data in detail, I’ve made the decision to double down, adding another 30,000 shares at $0.465, and yet another 30,000 shares at $0.445.
(See transactions record: transac)
This means that I currently hold 630,000 shares at an average of $0.2908.
I don’t rule out deploying more capital and adding yet more if the price vs my perceived intrinsic value gap widens further. In the short – mid term, this may very well be the case as the TA data for Dutech is bearish, the price has been trending down and is currently below both 50 and 150 DMAs. There’s also no reliable support level currently. I’m mindful of all that as I keep some powder dry.
I don’t take a decision to “double down” lightly though, so here I’ll share my thoughts and my DD on why I’ve opted to add.
As always, since this is an update on an investing thesis, I won’t bore you with the basic details, but will dive right into the fun parts. So, what makes me optimistic about Dutech’s long term prospects?
In the same vein as my previous post, (ThumbTack Investor’s Random Musings – Selling Property, Hand Foot Mouth Disease, Gold, New Blog Links, Advice For Beginners. Yes, It’s Random.), I’ll use the 4 points suggested by Tom Gayner to illustrate this. (https://www.nextinsight.net/story-archive-mainmenu-60/938-2016/11215-investor-guru-thinking-differently-from-when-i-first-started-out)
- Long term track record of profitability, stellar ROIC with minimal debt utilisation
FY14’s large jump in EPS is mainly due to a one off gain of RMB55.9mil from the acquisition of loss making DTMT.
Basically, Dutech’s modulus operandi is to deploy it’s consistent +ve FCF to make acquisitions of distressed but related companies, bring them under the Dutech family, integrate operations and work on the turnarounds.
By buying distressed companies, they get to buy them on the cheap, and subsequently, recognize the difference between the price paid and the book value of the company as one off extraordinary gains.
Of course, it’d be prudent to strip away these one off gains to assess the true operating profitability of the company. Even without the one off gain though, FY14 recorded a very respectable EPS of 24.34RMB cents.
As of FY16Q3 (latest quarter), Dutech’s results are still pretty impressive, showing y-o-y gains:
NP grew almost 10% at the 9M mark, and this growth in earnings is the best type of growth: by growing the topline while limiting the expenses incurred to achieve this growth.
This is in contrast to companies that show profit growth, but if one looks in greater detail, the growth is attained by cutting expenses.
Administrative and R&D expenses rose, in line with the acquisitions that Dutech undertook. I’m actually glad to see a moderate rise in R&D expenses. My current thoughts, and I’ll substantiate this probably in Part II, are that Dutech is no longer merely a typical manufacturer, but has evolved into an integrated business solutions provider. This means controlling the entire supply chain from the manufacturing process, installation of intelligent terminals and providing maintenance, troubleshooting, consultancy and other related services.
Recently, there have been huge changes aka challenges within the global ATM market, and I’m hoping Dutech’s R&D will provide it with the competitive edge to deal with these challenges. More on this in Part II.
Selling and distribution expenses actually dropped, and that’s a surprise to me. It does tell me that Dutech is integrating/has already integrated the manufacturing, the distribution channels and probably the sales force for the acquired companies: DTMT and Krauth.
From a CF perspective, Dutech’s business is also extremely free CF generative, a parameter that I place a lot of emphasis on regardless of which company I am analysing.
My calculation of FCF is particularly conservative, as I subtract purchases of land use rights and even development costs out of CF from operations (on top of the usual PPE), classifying them as part of the costs needed to maintain operations to generate the required CF.
Still, we can see that over a multi year record, the cash horde that Dutech holds has been steadily building up, despite having deployed cash to acquire 3 companies in the past 3 years!
As of mrq (9M16), the cash hoarde has continued to build up to RMB 313.5mil, from RMB240.3mil as of FY15.
This set of impressive results over the past 6 years, was also achieved with minimal debt:
As we can see, the total borrowings is kept very low: Cash and cash equivalents could’ve easily covered the total amount of borrowings in any 1 year.
The available for sale financial assets are mainly liquid bonds and equivalents, and are thus considered as cash equivalents.
As of 9M16, the total debt rose to RMB108.7mil, a >100% rise from FY15. The rise though, is attributed to the acquisition of Krauth. I’m expecting total debt to rise further in the near term, as the acquisition of Metric is completed in 4Q16.
Still, all this is very palatable for Dutech:
Dutech did not borrow and take on new debt to make acquisitions; the rise in debt is due to the debt on the books of the acquired companies.
This is an important point to note, because it’s obviously very different from a company having to borrow money to make acquisitions.
Over time, Dutech’s efficient machine will grind away at the debt in the acquired companies.
Alright, just to recap: so we know that the company has been doing well on the earnings front, and the EPS trend is generally upwards. We also know that the business is extremely FCF generative. And finally we know that all this is achieved with minimal debt over the past years. How about the ROE figures? Cos that’d tell us how efficiently the management utilizes the equity of the company to generate a return for shareholders.
Long Term ROEs:
The extraordinarily high ROE figure in FY14 is due to 1 off gains from acquisition. Still, we can infer that the core ROE figure would be in the high teens to early 20s+ % range. Pretty impressive.
2. Capability and Integrity of Management
Even now, Dutech gets wrongly classified (in my opinion) as an “S-chip”. My issue with that is that S-chips (justifiably so), have a negative connotation to them.
What exactly constitutes an S-chip anyway?
Dutech’s listed on SGX. Sure, they have manufacturing plants in China and are headquartered in Shanghai, but only 23% of the sales are in China. Of this 23%, the bulk of it is exported eventually.
Dutech also has operations in US, Europe (particularly Germany) and now, with the acquisition of Metric, UK as well.
Dutech’s clients are all major, international players like Diebold, Wincor (they just merged btw), Hitachi, Liberty Safe etc. This stands in stark contrast to other chinese players which do not have any international presence; they can’t even if they tried to, because they don’t have the certification (UL and UEN) that Dutech has.
CEO Johnny Liu is Chinese, but educated in the States. I highly doubt he’d usurp money and run away.
Dr Johnny Liu’s total pay remuneration in 2013, 2014 and 2015 is $370k, $200k and $410k respectively. All very reasonable considering the performance of Dutech. I don’t think these figures are reflective of someone who’s overriding concern is his own personal interests and not the company’s.
The company’s top 5 shareholders are all dominated by management, with the exception of Mr Robert Stone. In fact, I kinda wished they wouldn’t own so much of the company. Collectively, the top 5 own 75.66% (as of AR 15) of the company. That doesn’t leave much shares floating around for the public. (TTI alone owns 0.18% of the company……)
CEO’s brother is part of the management team as well.
Dr Johnny Liu also comes with an illustrious career. Check out this chinese piece on him talking about his entrepreneurship:
The point I’m driving at is that Dutech’s CEO has as much skin in the game as anyone else. Not just because the bulk of his fortune is aligned with that of Dutech, but what’s probably more important is his reputation.
Still think Dutech is a “S-chip”?
Dutech doesn’t even look like a SG company to me. They’re global. Period.
3. Price vs the intrinsic value
No matter how great the company is, there’s always a price range, past which the investment no longer makes sense.
So let me try to relate the price to my perceived value here. For my calculations, I’ll assume the share price is $0.445 cos that’s the current price as of writing this. (And that’s the price my most recent accumulation is at)
Based on FY15’s core earnings (excluding one off, extraordinary gains) of 31.3 RMB cents, the PER is currently 6.8 times.
That is misleading though, as FY16’s earnings is likely to exceed FY15 very substantially. Earnings at the 9M mark is already 10% higher than the corresponding period in FY15 and as I’ll show in Part II of this discussion, Dutech’s 4Q16 results are likely going to be a blowout quarter, such that FY16 performance would be >>> that of FY15.
As of mrq, Dutech’s book value is RMB 223.19 cents, which works out to a P/B ratio of 0.96.
All these valuation metrics by themselves, are not very useful. We need to compare to industry peers to have an idea of what’s the norm.
In this space, Dutech doesn’t really have any peers to compare against. I don’t consider the myriad number of local safe manufacturers in China as Dutech’s peer.
The closest is Stockholm listed Gunnebo Group, which manufactures safes as well as cash management systems, although they have other dissimilar segments as well, such as entrance security.
For FY15, Gunnebo’s EPS = 2.18 SEK, with a BV of 22.65 SEK. ROE figures work out to be 9.9%.
As of 9M2016, Gunnebo’s EPS = 1.35 SEK, with a BV of 22.42 SEK. ROE = 11.1%
Based on the share price of 39.60 SEK, this works out a PER of 18.2, and a P/B of 1.77 times.
In comparison, Dutech’s PER of 6.8 tiimes and P/B of 0.96 looks comparatively cheap.
Here are the related FS for Gunnebo:
Despite the massive run up in Dutech’s share price in 2016, it is still some way away from matching the valuation of peers.
On top of that, Dutech is in the growth phase. CFs are growing y-o-y, whereas Gunnebo is a mature company, and growth has been stymied in 2016. Dutech is also generating much higher rates of return on it’s equity compared to Gunnebo.
My personal favorite valuation technique though, is the discounted cash flow modelling. The concept behind DCF makes perfect sense to me. As with all modelling techniques though, the input parameters are the key.
And since we’ll have to rely on a bunch of assumptions, we can’t expect the CFs to be iron clad. Still, I find it to be a great tool to get some idea of valuation. Sides, one can monitor the CFs and update the DCF model quarterly to see how it’s progressing and tweak it accordingly.
CIMB has worked out a DCF model in one of their reports. I really wished they’d give more details though, it took me a long time to figure out the numbers. Even now, I still don’t get why they have such high CF figures past FY18:
I get that they’re probably expecting a significant dip in FY17 CFs due to consolidation expenses from the recent acquisition of Metric. I thought it’s a bit too aggressive a drop.
But following FY17, they’re expecting a massive jump in CFs from FY18 onwards, particularly from FY18 to FY19, with a massive 17% jump. Don’t quite get how they came up with this.
Interestingly, I used my own DCF modelling, with somewhat different figures and assumptions, and it didn’t come out to be too far from CIMB’s TP either.
I started out being more aggressive than CIMB, by expecting that CFs are not that greatly impacted in FY17.
I also assumed that the WACC is 12%, and that the CF growth rate in the 1st 5 years is 8%. Long term growth rate is 2%. (Much more conservative than CIMB’s massive jump)
Using the Gordon Growth Model, the Terminal Value I got is RMB 1,179,544,000
Adding all that up gives us an Enterprise Value of RMB 1,022,616,000
Net cash and cash equivalents as of FY16Q3 = RMB 222,426,000
Fair Value = RMB 1,245,042,000
Equity value / share = 0.72 SGD
Illiquidity discount = 15% (CIMB used 20%. 20%-30% is typically used for private, illiquid companies, but since Dutech is listed and not that illiquid, I opted for 15%)
TTI’s DCF Target Price = 0.612 SGD
Which is not too far from CIMB’s 0.65 SGD TP.
I’ll leave point 4, which analyzes Dutech’s scalability and prospects going forward, to Part II as it is really long.
Please share your thoughts and comments with me in the comments section, or via email, especially if you’re familiar with Dutech’s operations.