Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Intrinsic value of Great Businesses: What's the business actually worth? Think long-term.

Company OPX

52 week high:  $52.99  (April 2010)  Market cap $960 million
52 week low:  $33.33 (July 2010)  Market cap $ 625 million
Variance:  35.2%

1.  Is the market really suggesting that this business was worth $960 million in April 2010, but only $625 million the following July?

2.  Yes, this is exactly what the market is suggesting.

3.  What's the business actually worth?

4.  Because it ought to be obvious that a fast-growing company cannot be worth $625 million and $960 million at roughly the same time.  

5.  Our goal as investor is to buy $960 million businesses when the market's charging $625 million.
6.  If you think these things don't happen, be assured:  They happen all the time.

7.  It is even better when we can buy a $500 million business for $300 million and watch the company grow into a $3 billion business.  

8.  It is this effect - the fact that great businesses make themselves more valuable over time - that keeps us from selling a $500 million business when its market cap increases to $600 million.

9.  After all, the $500 million valuation is based on our own analysis, and mathematically speaking, it's our single point of highest confidence in a range of values we believe the company could be worth.

10.  It might be substantially more.  

11.  If you're disciplined enough to only buy companies when they are priced at the low end of your range of potential values, your returns over time are almost guaranteed to satisfy.

12.  Holding a company when it's in the higher end of your range of values leaves you somewhat susceptible to a stock drop, given the lower margin of safety.  

13.  But if you have properly identified the company as a superior generator of wealth, the biggest mistake you might ever make is selling it because its shares are a few dollars too high.

14.  If you bough company OPX back in December 1987, for example, your shares rose 75%, from $23 to $40 in about two months.

15.  That's great return - but over the next 20 years, the stock has risen another seven times in value - tax free.

16.  Ultimately, it is nearly impossible to manage superior long-term results by focusing on short-term aims.

17.  Company OPX has evolved from a regional small cap into one of the most important retailers in the world, generating spectacular returns for shareholders in the process.

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