Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Growth creates value only when the company has a competitive advantage. If there were no barriers to entry, then gains would be get competed away by additional competitors.

Why don’t returns get bid away by entrants whose store economics have improved? 
  • That is where the existence of a franchise is crucial.
  • If there were no barriers to entry, then gains would be get competed away by additional competitors. 
  • So it is only growth behind those barriers that creates value.  

When you look at growth, this is what you look at: 
1.  First is verify the franchise.  If you don’t have a franchise, then growth is worth $0.
  • Look at historical returns, share stability. 
  • Look for sustainable competitive advantages. 
2.  Then calculate a return. 
  • You don’t look at a P/E ratio, you look at an earnings ratio.
  • If you are paying 14x earnings, it is a 7% if that P/E ratio stays the same and the earnings stay the same. You pay 11 times, it is 9%. 8 times, then 12.5%.  
3.   Out of that return there are two things that can happen to you—the first is that give it to you in your hot little hand in cash. What are you getting in cash?
  • If it is a 8 times multiple, it is a 12.5% return.   
  • The dividend is 2.5% and you are buying back 5% in stock per year, you are getting 7.5% in your hot little hand.
  • If dividends and buyback policies are stable, then what are you getting.
  • There are not stable then you have to estimate what they will be over time.  
  • But you want to know what fraction of the earnings get distributed.
  • So if 11 times multiple and they historically distribute a third of the earnings, 1/11 is a 9% and 1/3 of that is a 3% distribution. 

4.  What happens to the other 6%?  
  • That gets reinvested—there the critical thing about the value is how effective do they reinvest that money?
  • So in growth stocks, capital allocation is critical.
  • Because (mgt.) is typically keeping most of your money and you care about how effectively they are investing it.      

5.  You want to look next—you have your cash return (3), your investment return (4) and then the return from organic growth.
6.  Compare that to the return of the market to get a feel for your margin of safety is in terms of returns–then you want to see what will change that picture in a sustainable way.  
Recap:  When you are considering buying growth stocks:
1.  Verify the existence of a franchise
2.  Earnings return is 1/P/E.
3.  Identify cash distribution in terms of dividends and buybacks
4.  Identify investment return of retained earnings
5.  Identify organic (low investment growth)
6.  Compare to the market (representing D/P & growth rate) - is this positive or negative?
Explanatory notes:
Dividends, buybacks & reinvestment of retained earnings:  So you look at the earnings return, what you get in cash, the fraction that is distributed either through buy backs and dividends and the fraction that is reinvestment and the value creation characteristics of the reinvestment.     

Organic growth:  Then certain companies get returns essentially without much investment--which is that if you own a franchise, even without conscious expansion, that franchise will sometimes grow.   The incremental investment involved is negligible.

No comments: