Below are the 6 basic but important parameters which we must follow to pick right companies having multibagger potential.
- Quality Management with High Integrity
- High ROE & ROCE - Efficient use of Capital
- Low Debt and Free Cash Flows
- Asset Light Business Model - No High Capex Requirements
- The Scale of Opportunity & Non-cyclical Business
- Valuations & Future Growth Prospects
1. Quality Management with High Integrity
Alignment of management interest with minority shareholders is one of the key parameter. High standard of corporate governance ensures that company is not involved in any wrong doings. Proper and timely disclosures of shareholder related information by the companies build trust over time. Past track record of promoters, disclosures and dividend pay-out history can help us to check on this crucial parameter.
If the management is not honest, will they want to share the goodies with you? No, they will look for the first opportunity to siphon off the profits and pull the wool over your eyes. We have seen how the investors of LEEL Electricals have lost 95% of their capital over last 1 year due to personal enrichment of LEEL promoters by siphoning off company's profit from the sale of its consumer durable division to Havells.
2. High ROE & ROCE - Efficient use of Capital
Return on Equity (ROE) measures a company's profitability by comparing its net income to shareholders equity (book value). ROE is a speed limit on self-funded growth (company's profit). That is, a company cant grow earnings faster than its ROE without raising cash by borrowing or selling more shares. For instance, a 15% ROE means that the company can’t grow earnings faster than 15% annually by relying only on profit to fuel growth. ROCE measures the overall returns for all stakeholders and is a relatively good measure of the overall efficiency of the company. A consistently low ROCE signifies that there is something inherently wrong with the business or the company.
Wealth creator stocks usually have very high ROE and the ROCE relative to the rest of the industry. Typically, companies with high ROCE and ROE would also be generating positive free cash flows consistently. Increasing ROE and ROCE every passing year with low / negligible debt on books is one of the key aspect in spotting multibagger stocks.
3. Low Debt and Free Cash Flows
Its important to learn the lesson from financial crisis of 2011 and now of 2019 that companies with high debt simply get slaughtered. While debt is not bad in case if the company is able to borrow at a lower rate and deploy it in its business at a higher rate as the operating leverage works in its favour, however excessive debt with high interest and repayment obligations can crunch the stock in times of downturn. So, as a long-term investment philosophy, it is best to steer clear of high-debt companies.
Recent episode of stock prices falling liking nine pins of ADAG companies (Reliance Power, Reliance Infra, Reliance Com, Reliance Capital), Essel group companies, Jain Irrigation etc indicates how unbearable high debt burden on books can destroy investors wealth in shortest span of time.
4. Asset Light Business Model - No High Capex Requirements
We know the demerits of investing in stocks like Suzlon and GMR Infra which have an insatiable appetite for more and more capital. To feed their perennial hunger, these companies dilute their equity by making FPOs, GDRs & FCCBs resulting in total destruction of shareholders wealth. This is the simple reason why we do not see multi-bagger opportunities from sectors like metals, infrastructure and utilities because of the capital intensive business model which leads to very high leverage and low return ratios.
Companies should be lean and mean requiring minimal capital but generating huge returns with free cash flows which can be used not only to reward shareholders but also to expand business in future. It is not necessary that company should be a zero-debt company as some amount of leverage can actually improve shareholders returns.
5. The Scale of Opportunity & Non-cyclical Business
Multi-bagger stocks are created because they are able to scale the opportunity rapidly. Titan Industries is a great example. In 2003-04, Titan was a small company with market capital of 500 crores. As on date, its a large cap with more than 1 lakh crores market cap. The fact that India is a booming marketplace of 132 crores consumers means that most products and services have a head start at trying to scale up their activities.
One key factor that creates value in the stock market is consistent growth across economic & market cycles. While markets values growth, it also pay higher premium on consistency in growth. Most of multi-baggers of past like Asian Paints, Titan, Page Industries, United Spirits, Marico, Aurobindo Pharma are typically high growth companies in non-cyclical businesses. It is extremely rare to find a multi-bagger in a typical commodity business like steel, aluminium or oil.
6. Valuations & Future Growth Prospects
Most investors are obsessed about valuations, refusing to buy any stock that is expensive. However, one must remember that expensive is a relative term. If a stock is compounding at 25% on an annual basis, paying a price to earning multiple (P/E ratio) of 30 may be very reasonable. A stock like Nestle or HUL, for instance, has always been expensive. However, a great company with an impeccable pedigree may not always be a good stock to buy. This could be due to the fact that most of the triggers are already in the price and future growth potential does not justify the valuations. The PEG Ratio (which is PE ratio divided by sustainable growth) is a simple way to measure valuation relative to growth.
But it is equally important to consider other parameters like financial ratios and brands that the company has created which can go a long way in determining potential valuation. A particular company may look expensive to an investor who have a 2 years horizon but may be a screaming buy for investor who wish to hold it for next 5 to 7 years.
There is no guarantee that the above mentioned parameters would always help investors identify multi-baggers, but these parameters will surely help investors to invest in right set of companies and avoiding those which may end up being value destructors. Moreover, we can learn by following key traits of successful investors who have created enormous wealth in past.
A Myth - Low Price Penny Stocks are Potential Multibaggers
Some people think all low priced stocks are potential multibaggers. But this is a myth. Price of a stock on a standalone basis does not give any information about the future potential of a company. In fact, low price penny stocks are highly risky and you should be very careful before making a decision to invest in them.
Lanco Infratech was a well-known company from Infrastructure sector. At the beginning of 2010 the stock was around Rs 55. Now it is hovering at just Rs 0.42 and trading is suspended in the stock. Those who purchased the stock during 2010 are in 99% loss! Rs. 1 lakh invested in Lanco Infratech in Jan 2010 is valued at merely Rs. 1,000 today, a complete wealth-destroyer! Those who bought this stock at levels of Rs. 30 and later again at Rs. 10 or Rs. 5 to average out thinking that stock has came down from all time highs of Rs. 85 are still waiting to get their buying price back. There are many such stocks like Suzlon Energy, GMR Infra, GVK Power and Infrastructure etc which have continuously destroyed wealth of investors over a period of last 6 to 9 years.
Another general misconception among the investors that high priced stocks can't generate multibagger returns. They often think that high-priced stocks are overvalued. In terms of valuation, a 50 rupees stock may not be cheaper than that of a 1000 rupees stock. There is no co-relation between the valuation and market price of a stock. To understand whether a company is small or large, you must look at market capital of the company and not at stock price. To judge valuation you must have to look at Price to earning ratio, Price to book ratio, Price to sales ratio etc.
Let us understand this with an example, Tide Water Oil share price was Rs. 1450 on 1st Jan'12 (stock split and bonus issue adjusted price, actual price was 5800). Today the stock price is at Rs. 4850 giving absolute returns of 235% i.e. nearly 3.5 times in 7 years against double digit return of Sensex in the same period. We suggested Buy on Tide Water Oil and many of our subscribers might not have invested in it thinking that they can buy hardly 2 shares by investing Rs. 12,000 but now those 2 shares are actually 8 shares post stock split and issue of bonus share and share price is near the recommended price.
There are many examples like above by which we can illustrate that there’s nothing called high price. Multibagger returns is not dependent on the current market price of a stock, so don't be afraid of investing in high priced stock. You need to look at fundamentals like future growth prospects of the company, PE ratio, PB ratio, ROE, ROCE, debt on books, cash reserves along with other parameters to judge a stock whether it is undervalued or overvalued. We agree with you that judging valuation is not an easy task. So, take expert’s advise when ever required.
So, do ensure that you check out the fundamentals and valuations while investing in stocks instead of looking at stock price. Please get out of the misconception that low priced stocks will fly high faster giving you extra-ordinary returns. Always remember that stock price is just a barometer, actual valuations of a company can be determined by its fundamentals.
Is 2019 / 2020 a Year of Multibagger Opportunities?
Small Cap stocks are known to deliver impressive performance when bulls rule the markets with many stocks delivering multibagger returns, but they get battered during a bearish regime. For instance in 2009, Sensex was one of the best performing markets vis-a-vis its peers. This was on account of the positive impact of the stimulus released by the Government and the election results, which led to confidence among investors and corporate India that a stable government at the centre will be able to bring in a lot of reforms. This saw the index posting a superb return of 81% while the BSE Small Cap Index actually delivered an impressive 123% during the same time horizon.
Similarly, if we look at performance of various indices in 2014, Sensex delivered returns of 29.9%, however BSE Small Cap Index has given whopping returns of 68.8% during the same period. In fact, 2014 was one of the best year for small cap companies after 2009 as many little known companies with good fundamentals turned multibagger during this year itself.
However, in the present context when there is gloom, both at the domestic and global front, the aversion towards this category is more evident. The prevailing negative sentiments have made stock market investing a nightmare for all those who have parted with their hard earned savings into this sector over last 2 years, fondly called the barometer of the economy.
At this juncture, we would like to differ from the general view and recommend risk taking investors not to follow the herd but rather they can consider taking exposure into the small cap stocks. The carnage in small and mid cap stocks prices experienced over last 18 months has not happened for the first time, we have experienced similar situation during market crash in 2008 - 2009 and later during 2011 - 2012.
Investors who want to invest in small cap stocks should go by advise of professionals who have the expertise to spot these hidden gems. We believe that with BSE Small Cap Index trading nearly 33% below its all time high, this is the right time to get into small cap stocks. However, this category is recommended only to investors who are ready to take a little extra risk to get the additional upside in their portfolio and also have the patience to wait to reap the benefits.
In our recently released report - Multibagger Small / Mid Caps & Long Term Investing, we have shared valuable insights to make equity investors understand why we believe buying the right set of small and mid caps now can be a massive wealth creating opportunity in the long run. Under this report, we have covered long term monthly charts of many of our own small and mid cap stocks recommendations (released under Hidden Gems and Value Picks) over last 9 years which at one point of time were down by 50% to 70% from their peak but turned out to be multibagger stocks in longer run delivering 5 times to 64 times returns.
Click here to receive our Multibagger Small / Mid Caps & Long Term Investing report directly in your inbox, a must read for investors who started investing in equities during last couple of years.
Do not stop investing in small caps looking at these turbulent times, its time to do the opposite, this phase has happened before and small and mid caps have always bounced back. Good sentiments as well as bad sentiments do not last forever. Be a discipline investor and keep investing in multi-bagger stocks in systematic way for long term.