Sunday, 9 October 2016

Investing in Economic Moats

High profits attract attention which makes more people invest.

As a result,the profit of companies decreases over time for most of the companies as competition comes in.

There are companies who defy economic gravity by creating structural advantages, economic moats.

The moats insulate and buffer them against competition.

Thus, they keep super-normal returns on capital for a longer duration.

Insight of intangible assets having effect on Moats

1. Brands

Being well known is not sufficient.

There needs to be a change in the consumer behaviour by increasing the willingness to pay or reducing the search costs thus resulting in the increase of the value of the company.

2. Patents

Despite being legal, they are subject to expiry, challenge and piracy.

To rely on patents as a moat there is need of portfolio of them as it is hard to invalidate one or the other.

3. Licenses/approvals

It is not easy to get a license or approval and it serves as a solid moat.

Restraints to try new businesses

1.  Switching cost effect

Switching to competitive products is expensive and time-consuming.

Service relationships can be sold in the form of maintainance by attaching a service to the product.

By providing high benefit to cost ratio, it is more beneficial when switching business is being looked for.

2.  Network effect

There are two types of networks - radial and interactive.

Radial networks are less effective and robust.

By providing the service that increases the value of the company as the number of users expand and aggregate demand is increased between parties scattered at different places.

As soon as the number of nodes and connections is increased the network becomes hard to replicate thus becoming a strong moat.

3.  Cost Advantages

Process:  By inventing a cheaper way to deliver a product that cannot be replicated quickly.

Scale:  Spread fixed costs over a large base.  Relative size matters more than absolute size.

Niche:  Establish minimum efficient scale.

Role of Management

Management plays an important role in moats.

Managerial skills are inversely proportional to the quality of business.

Good managers look for ways to widen the companies moat.

Bad managers invest capital outside company's moat.

No comments: