Saturday, 30 September 2017

Weekly Reading: Some interesting stuff


The situation of Graphite producers in China

Cities are wooing Amazon for their 2nd HQ

China is looking to upset the current petrodollar system by introducing a gold-backed “petroyuan” oil futures contract. And since China is the largest importer of oil globally, this shift away from the petrodollar could be bad news for the US but it could be great news for gold owners

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind.

Is this the beginning of the end for booze companies?



Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Tata Global Beverages



NOTES FROM AR 2017
Tata Global Beverages (TGB) is a natural beverages company with brand presence in over 40countries. As the second largest tea company in the world, with a growing interest in coffee and water, TGB is home to a stable of innovative global and regional brands, including: Tata Tea, Tetley, Himalayan natural mineral water, Tata Gluco+, Good Earth tea, and Eight O’clock coffee.

• 2nd Largest player in branded tea in the world
• 20,000+ SKUs produced across tea, coffee and water
• 40+ Countries with significant brand presence

BRANDS
• Tata Tea - Premium, Elaichi Chai, Chakra Gold, Gold, Teaveda, Kanan devan, Gemini, Agni
• Tetley - Presence in UK, France, US, Canada, India, Australia, Middle East, Poland
• Good Earth, Jemca, Vitax, Teapigs, Joekels
• Coffee - Eight O'Clock, MAP, Grand Coffee, Tata Coffee Grand
• Water - Tata Water Plus, Tata Gluco Plus, Himalayan
• Company has entered the new Asian markets of Singapore, Malaysia and China, which are large tea consuming markets. The company has entered a tie-up in the e-commerce channel in China to focus on the business-to-consumer (B2C) category.
• Co has undertaken a multi-year extension of its partnership with Kuerig in US, for the manufacturing, sales, licensing and distribution of the EOC coffee and Tetley tea brands in K-Cup pods for use in Keurig brewers
• Tata Coffee Limited, a subsidiary which operates in the non-branded business, announced the setting up of a state-of-the-art Freeze Dried Instant Coffee plant in Vietnam with an installed capacity of 5000 MT per annum.
• Tata Starbucks our 50% JV had opened 91 stores; performed very well in the current year with double digit growth

Continued focus on health and wellness
• Expanded portfolio of green teas and fruit & herbal teas, in line with this trend. Tetley Super Green Tea (fortified with vitamins). Tata Tea Teaveda and Tetley Balance two product ranges inspired by Ayurveda and containing herbal ingredients - were launched in India and Canada
• Eight O’Clock coffee in the USA launched a new line called Infusions

Premiumisation
• Tetley Indulgence launched in the UK is a range of black teas in indulgent flavour twists such as cookies & cream, chocolate mint, gingerbread, and spiced apple.
• TGB collaborated with Starbucks to create a signature innovation, India Spice Majesty Blend especially for the Starbucks Teavana™ portfolio in India
• Himalayan natural mineral water - launched a sparkling variant in select channels and also piloted ‘Orchard Pure’ flavoured water
• Tetley now outperforms the herbal tea category's growth- Tetley +19% vs Category +6% (as per Nielsen study)
• Promoter shareholding is 34.4%
• Institutional shareholding is 33.64%
• In the process of divesting the Instant tea business in China. The decision to divest was taken mainly due to the marginal nature of the business and under-performances as compared to plans.



Q1FY18 Analyst Presentation
5th consecutive quarter of operating profit growth despite higher spends behind brands and competitive intensity in developed markets
• Improvement in tea volumes whilst softer volumes in coffee
○ Improvement in India despite impact of GST transition in India
• Good improvement in Profit before exceptional and tax despite higher advertisement
○ Effective management of commodity costs
○ Good cost management
• Commodity costs
○ Softness in India tea prices
○ International tea prices hardening further impacted due to Brexit
○ Coffee Costs – showing a hardening trend
• Volatile currency markets
○ Brexit leading to GBP depreciation
• Increased focus on under performing businesses
○ Exit from China Business
○ Exit from the Russian business

India Business: - India business grew by ~4%-5% which was impacted by GST transition
• Gluco-D have witnessed steady acceptance from the consumers
• 50% tea consumed and sold in India is branded tea.
• Tata Tea Elaichi growing at robust pace
• Tata Coffee Grand gain shares with new variants
• Launched Fruski on a pilot basis - a tea based RTD.
• Starbucks currently operates in 95 stores which will be start generating EBITDA profit in next ~1-2 years

UK business:- Strong performance in UK driven by growth in market share across major categories despite sustained decline in overall tea market and continued competitive intensity. Green tea continue to grow well. Teapig the super premium brand posted good growth

Bangladesh has witnessed robust growth in Q1 FY18 with record profits in Q1 FY18.

USA - Promotional phasing and higher commodity costs impacted performance of EOC business in US during the quarter. Tetley green tea reflects modest growth despite decline in category.

Russia was a loss making unit which have been restructured, going ahead performance from international business will improve.

Non branded - Topline declined due to reduction in sales volumes of instant coffee and plantation products (impacted due to lower crop and lower export realization due to stronger INR).
Tata Coffee infused in aggregate an amount of US$6 million (mn) on greenfield freeze dried instant coffee facility in Vietnam

Canada witnessed an improvement in the topline. The company continued its value and volume leadership in the country. It also launched Tetley RTD in three flavours - Lemon Ginger, Peach mango and Pomegranate Berry
In order to drive its performance, the company has come up with strategic priorities, which include base business rejuvenation, investment for growth and driving operational efficiency.
The company intends to invest in incubatory businesses - Starbucks and Nourischo to drive future growth. Under Nourishco, the company has launched variants of Tata Gluco Plus, Himalayan flavoured & sparkling water. Nourischo has witnessed traction in the operating profit.

What is Changing?
1. Continuous debt reduction
2. Focus on higher margin products to increase margins
3. Getting out of loss making or non-performing geographies like Russia signals management intent on turnaround
4. As per media reports, Tata Global Beverages may sell its stake in various Tata group’s listed companies to its parent, Tata Sons, in the coming months. TGBL currently owns 725 crore worth of stake in other Tata group firms, viz. Tata Chemical and Tata Investment Corporation. TGBL has a 4.39% stake in Tata Chemicals and 0.29% stake in Tata Investment Corporation. The company may utilise the funds towards a) brand building activities or b) payoff of the debt or c) dividend payout, or a combination of these

RISKS
* Business is dependent on bulk tea & coffee prices
* Exchange rate fluctuations
* Gradual move of taste from tea to coffee and other drinks

FINANCIAL


Friday, 15 September 2017

Weekly Reading - Some interesting stuff

Ray Dalio's principles, before his book launch

Characteristics of successful investors (a bit generalized)

A glimpse of how man & machine work 'hand-in-hand' at Amazon

A lot more Lithium mining is needed in the near future

Having a kaleidoscope of mental models helps in navigating the investment world when most are edges are disappearing

The tough stance of RBI and the changing regulatory environment is forcing Essar to look at paring its debt

Friday, 8 September 2017

Weekly Reading: Some interesting stuff

What provides the edge - deep research or insights derived from thinking over multiple subjective arguments?

Deliberate practice does not add much value in a probabilistic field of work such as investing

Chinese flying trains - An alternate future of transportation?

Ashish Chugh's take on investing in Indian markets

Fear of missing out has taken over from value discipline, a development that is a sure sign of a bull market. Also, includes a discussion on bitcoin and ETFs.

An interesting business model - MoviePass users receive a debit card that they can use to see up to one conventional 2D movie a day.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Weekly Reading: Some interesting stuff

Media needs a champion who can take on the government without fear

Setting priorities of life - from a person who survived a near-death experience

Harvey’s floods shut down almost all of Texas state’s plants, 61 percent of U.S. ethylene capacity has been closed, resulting in a sharp spike in prices

On Sept. 1, Google shared a list of the most-searched “how-to” questions around the world. It’s a moving portrait of all the beauty, bewilderment, and struggle of human existence. 
https://qz.com/1068114/googles-most-searched-how-to-questions-capture-all-the-magic-and-struggle-of-being-human

The economics of free
https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21727073-economists-struggle-work-out-how-much-free-economy-comes-cost

Friday, 18 August 2017

Himadri Chemicals - A play on Li-Ion Battery

Himadri is a Kolkata based company mainly focusing on coal tar pitch and carbon black.
Product chain
Main Products

Coal tar pitch:
- used in the manufacture of aluminum, which is used in automobiles, airplanes, televisions, radio components, rockets, beverage cans, wires, cables, smartphones, furniture, foil wraps.
- finds downstream use in the manufacture of graphite electrodes in electric arc furnaces.
- specialized coal tar pitch, which is used in long war head missiles.
- manufactures coal tar-based thermoplastic polymeric coating, which is used as an anti-corrosive material in underground and offshore pipelines.
- Coal tar distillation capacity is 4 lakh MTPA.
- 70% market share
- Debottlenecking of capacity at 20cr planned to increase capacity

Carbon black:
- used for reinforcement of elastomeric materials. Carbon black is a critical raw material in tyre and other rubber industries, inks, plastics and paints.
- manufactures a range of specialty carbon black with specific applications in plastics, fibre, inks and food grade materials.
- Carbon black capacity - 1.2 lakh MTPA
- 17% market share

SNF:
- manufactures SNF (Sulphonated Naphthalene Formaldehyde), which enhances the performance of concrete for commercial and core infrastructure constructions.
- manufactures PCE (poly carboxylate ether) which is a performance chemical used in next-generation super-plasticisers to manufacture high-strength, high performance concrete.
- Dumping from China poses a threat
- SNF capacity - 68,000 MTPA - Largest capacity in India

Advanced Carbon (Anode for Li-Ion batteries):
- manufactures advanced carbon used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, electric vehicles and digital cameras as well as airplane brakes that make flying safer.
- The consumption pattern of anode materials are slowly shifting from natural to synthetic graphite. Himadri offers anode materials in both synthetic and natural varieties.
- Co is the only company in the world to have in-house access to raw material making its products superior in quality.
- Moved from batch processing to continuous processing.
- Current capacity is 5 MT/month. New capacity of 50 MT/month coming onstream from 15 Sep 2017.
- Expected CAGR of 40%; no need to have firm contracts as demand is huge
- Realizations are 6 lakhs - 7 lakhs / MT for the finished product.

Plants:
Himadri has seven manufacturing units across India – four in West Bengal and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh – and is now setting up its eighth unit in Odisha. The Company exports products to more than 10 countries.

The Company had been incurring losses during the last three years, even though at the operational level, they reported profitability. Primarily, the losses that the Company incurred were due to a depreciation of the INR and inventory losses on account of fall in the price of crude oil. The inventory pileup continued during the first two quarters of 2016.
The co took measures to reinforce operational efficiencies; appointed a consultant with global expertise to help us incorporate best-in-class practices.

The business model is unique and fully integrated to manufacture speciality chemicals. Use coal tar as the raw material and distil it to produce naphthalene, oils of various grades and coal tar pitch. The naphthalene produced is used in-house to manufacture SNF and refined naphthalene of the highest purity. Heavy creosote oil is sold to customers for specialised applications while other oils are used for making carbon black. We also produce
clean and green power. The power generated is used to power the entire complex while the balance is sold to the State Grid.

Inelastic Demand:
Aluminum smelters cannot moderate consumption during a downturn without having to shut down one (or some) of their manufacturing units. The cost of shutting down and starting afresh is too high. This means that coal tar pitch manufacturers are assured of regular offtake in even the most challenging
of markets. The strong offtake across the last two years, when aluminum and graphite industries were going through their worst phase, stands testimony.
Reason for decline in the Company’s earnings in the last 3 years:
- INR depreciation
- inventory losses due to fall in crude

What has changed:
- reduced its exposure to foreign currency loans
- debt reduction
- net debt of the company reduced by 225 Crores during 2015- 16, including the repayment of long-term debt of 122 Crores, even as the financials appeared stressed.
- LT debt reduced from 414 cr in 31-Mar-17 to 310 cr on 30-Jun-17, reduction of 104 cr.
Non-promoter holding:
- Bain Capital
- Vallabh Bhansali

RISKS
- The profitability of the company is susceptible to volatility in raw-material prices (forming 85% of total cost of sales) as the prices of raw-material are volatile in nature due to linkage with crude oil prices and global demand and supply.
- The company is also exposed to foreign exchange fluctuation risks due to high dependency on imported raw-material, foreign currency term loan and no fixed hedging policy.
- HSCL’s operations are working capital intensive due to requirement of high level of inventory on the back of lead time involved in import of few raw-materials (imported pitch and carbon black feedstock) and high credit period offered to its customers.

Financial Ratios from Screener

Disclosure: Not currently invested.

Weekly Reading: Some interesting stuff

The situation of Graphite producers in China http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-steel-graphiteelectrode/the-graphite-fix-inside-c...