Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Why did Buffett buy Apple Inc. ( AAPL)? - A Cash Cow that turned 24.8% of its Revenues into Free Cash Flow for its Owners.

At the price of US 139.84 per share and with 5,500 million shares outstanding, Apple is priced by the market at a whopping US 769.12 Billion.

It is the company with the highest market capitalisation in a stock market in the world today.

Apple continues to innovate in its products and it is expected to deliver some new surprises in the future.

Despite some negative news in recent years, it has proven its critics wrong in growing its revenues, profit before tax and EPS share over the last 5 years.

The revenue growth showed consistency, however, the profit before tax and EPS were more volatile and less consistent, being affected by efficiency and costs leading to profit margins that were variable over the period.

Though its revenues had grown from US 156 billion in its FY 2012 to US 214 billion in its FY 2016, its net income grew from US 41.7 billion to US 45.7 billion over the same period.

Its profit before tax margins continued to be maintained at high levels of 28.6% and its latest ROE was 38.3%.

Apple started its share buybacks over the years and had reduced the number of shares outstanding from 6,617 million shares in 2012 to 5,500 million shares in 2016.

Due to its huge free cash flow generated yearly and its huge cash reserves, this share buyback should benefit the shareholders who are still holding to its shares.

Apple distributed little dividend in the past.  In 2012, its dividends were US 2.5 billion.  Since 2013, Apple had distributed dividends of US 10.6 billion, US 11.1 billion, US 11.6 billion and US 12.2 billion yearly to 2016.

Over these 5 years from 2013 to 2016, its dividend payout was a total of 22.1% of its earnings.

Apple still retains a lot of its earnings, some being used to buyback its own shares.

This company is a true cash cow.  Its FCF for the year ending Sept 2016 was US 53.1 billion on a revenue of US 214 billion.  This gave a FCF/Revenue of 24.8%.  A remarkably high and cash generating company.

At today's market capitalisation of US 769.12 billion (US 139.84 per share), its FCF to market cap yield is 6.89%.

At today's price of US 139.84 per share, and using the EPS of FY 2016 of US 8.31 per share, Apple is trading at a PE of 16.8x.

When Warren Buffett bought into Apple at the end of 2016, its share price was around US 110 per share.

At US 100 per share then, Warren Buffett bought into Apple which is a great company at a fair price.  At that price, the upside and downside were about even.  The dividend yield was 2.4% and the potential total upside return around 11.1% per year (2.4% from dividends and 8.7% from capital appreciation) for the next 5 years.

At US 139.84 today,  the upside is much less compared to the downside.  The dividend yield is 1.9% and the total projected potential return around 4,5 %per year (2.6% from dividends and 1.9% from capital appreciation) over the next 5 years.

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