Analysis: Nile Limited

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This article provides in-depth fundamental analysis of Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying primarily to battery manufacturer Amara Raja Batteries Ltd.

Reader’s Query

Dear Sir,

I was studying for an investment opportunity in Nile Ltd.

The company manufactures lead & lead alloys, which are supplied to the battery manufacturers like Amara Raja Batteries Ltd. Amara Raja Batteries Ltd is one of the key clients with long term agreements.

Nile Ltd

Financial Analysis

If we look at the financials of the company:

  • We see fluctuating growths over the last many years. However, OPM has increased over the last two years – from 4.4% to 9%
  • Nile Ltd is paying adequate interest – over the last many years
  • Tax payout has been reasonably good except one year in FY’13
  • Cumulative CFO is higher than PAT for the last 10 years
  • Debt to equity ratio is under control – that of 0.3. Nile Ltd has reduced this from 1.9 in FY11
  • Profitability was maintained by hedging on LSE against the finished product price fluctuations

Further Reading: How to do Financial Analysis of Companies

Operating Performance Analysis

  • NFAT is getting higher. Gone up from 6.0 to 12.
  • Inventory TO ratio has reduced over the years – from 39% to 7%
  • Receivable days had gone up to 70 in FY14, which has come down to 13 days in FY 16

Further Reading: 5 Simple Steps to Analyse Operating Performance of Companies

Valuation Analysis

The valuation of Nile Ltd looks reasonable too with:

  • P/E ratio of 6.5, which is quite competitive
  • Sales to Mcap is 0.29 which is quite low
  • PB*PE is just 11, well under the 22 levels

Margin of Safety Analysis

  • SSGR is quite high – 60% plus, which is well above the CAGR sales growth of the company in the last 5 or 10 years
  • SSGR = 65%, sales growth = 24%. Difference = 30%. Extra PE = 30%/10 = 3. PE target= 12.5+3 = 15.5
  • CFO> capex, which is good. Capex requirements have been kept under check.
  • FCF/CFO = 71% – 25% = 46%. 46-25= 21%. PE extra = 21/10 = 2.1. PE target = 12.5+2.1= 14.6.

Further Reading: 3 Simple Ways to Assess “Margin of Safety”: The Cornerstone of Stock Investing

Management Analysis

I do not see any negatives on the management. There have been no complaints or SEBI penalties against the management per se.

However, there are a couple of issues that I see:

  • The management salary is quite high. 1.13 crs on a NPAT of 7 crs, which comes to almost 16% of the profits. Further, both Mr. Ramesh and his son Mr. Sandeep Ramesh are drawing the same salary, which doesn’t seem right given the difference in their experience.
  • In the related party transactions, we see a loan being given to the management every year in FD’s, whereas there is no reason why they should be getting this. This is up to 12crs now which is as good as the company’s profits now. This has had a serious dent on the cash in hand too.

Further Reading: How to do Management Analysis of Companies

I wanted your views on my analysis, and if this is a good option to invest?

Regards,

Amit Mehndiratta

Author’s Response

Hi Amit,

Thanks for sharing the analysis of Nile Ltd with us! We appreciate the hard work put in by you in the analysis.

Let us first try to analyse the financial performance of Nile Ltd over last 10 years.

 

Financial Analysis of Nile Ltd:

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

Nile Ltd has been growing its sales since last 10 years (FY2008-17) at a rate of about 20% year on year from ₹115 cr. in FY2008 to ₹579 cr. in FY2017. The sales growth has been achieved by the company by continuously increasing its own production capacity, where it has increased the capacity from 6,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) in FY2008 from only at one location of Choutuppal in Telangana to a combined capacity of 82,000 TPA in FY2017 at two locations (Choutuppal: 32,000 TPA and Tirupati: 50,000 TPA). The latest capacity addition of 10,000 TPA at Choutuppal became operational in February 2017.

As per the credit rating rationale of Nile Ltd released by India Ratings and Research in April 2017 (page 4), the company had a capacity utilization of about 70% of the functional capacity in H1-FY2017 (i.e. 72,000 TPA).

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

It indicates that Nile Ltd has the scope of improving the utilization of the 72,000 TPA capacity available at H1-FY2017. It can additionally make use of the newly added capacity of 10,000 TPA at Choutuppal in February 2017.

Moreover, as per the annual report for FY2012 (page 6, section: Management Discussion & Analysis), Nile Ltd has taken approvals from the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board for expansion of the Choutuppal plant to 50,000 TPA out of which it has created 32,000 TPA until FY2017.

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

Further Reading: Understanding the Annual Report of a Company

It indicates that the company might not need to spend a lot of time in getting regulatory approvals for any further capacity addition up to 18,000 TPA at Choutuppal in case it goes for further expansion.

The above observations indicate that Nile Ltd has some operating leverage left in its favour by way of the scope of improving utilization at existing manufacturing capacity and to quickly add capacity at Choutuppal.

An investor would notice that the sales growth achieved by Nile Ltd until now has been associated with fluctuating profitability margins. The operating profit margin has been varying in the range of 4% to 9% and has even declined to operating losses in FY2009.

Nile Ltd has Lead and its alloys as primary sales product, where the key raw material is Lead (primary Lead from the lead ores and secondary Lead from scrap lead). Scrap Lead is the key raw material being used by Nile Ltd. Moreover, Lead as a raw material forms about 80% of the cost of the final product.

The price of the raw material Lead as well as the price of final sale product is dependent upon the prevalent price of Lead on the London Mercantile Exchange (LME). Therefore, it seems that if any company is able to benchmark both the raw material prices to the LME exchange prices, then it would be able to earn stable operating margins without worrying about the raw material price changes.

As per the April 2017 credit rating report of Nile Ltd by India Ratings and Research (page 3), the company has the benchmarking of prices with its customers already in place.

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

Further Reading: 7 Important Reasons Why Every Stock Investor Should Read Credit Rating Reports

The above report indicates that Nile Ltd will add a pre-determined premium on the raw material prices and then sell the product to final customer i.e. Amara Raja Batteries Ltd. Usually, in such business arrangements, investors witness stable operating profit margins year on year.

However, in the case of Nile Ltd, the operating profitability margins are not stable. The margins are witnessing fluctuations like any company, which does not has any pricing power over the customers and in turn does not has the ability to pass on the raw material price increases to end customers.

We believe that comparing the operating profitability margin of Nile Ltd with the Lead prices in the past is an essential exercise that an investor should do to understand its profitability parameters.

The below chart contains the historical lead prices from the London Mercantile Exchange (LME) from 2007 to 2017.

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

The comparative analysis of lead prices and the operating profitability margins of Nile Ltd leads to the following pattern:

Period

Lead Prices

OPM of Nile Ltd

FY2009

Sharp decline

Operating losses

FY2010

Sharp increase

Sharp improvement in OPM

FY2011

Mild increase

Decline in OPM

FY2012

Decline

Decline

FY2013

Increase

Increase

FY2014

Stable

Stable

FY2015

Decline

Decline

FY2016

Mile decline

Stable

FY2017

Sharp increase

Sharp improvement in OPM

The above analysis indicates that the OPM of Nile Ltd is highly dependent on the Lead prices. The higher the lead prices, the better the operating margin and the lower the lead prices, the poor the operating margin.

Further Reading: How to do Business Analysis of Companies

This behavior of profitability margins goes against the spirit of benchmarking of sales prices with the raw material prices.

One assumption which can be built is that the “fix pre-decided premium” over the LME prices, which is added by Nile Ltd on the raw material prices is an only a percentage premium and might not have any fixed component built into it.

As a result, when the Lead prices go higher, then the pre-determined fixed percentage premium leads to higher absolute profits in INR, which is sufficient to cover the costs like employee compensation, logistics, power & fuel etc. Whereas when the Lead prices decline, then the pre-determined fixed percentage premium does not provide sufficient absolute profits in INR, which might be sufficient to protect the OPM after meeting costs like employee costs, power & fuel etc.

As a result, Nile Ltd benefits when the raw material (Lead) prices go higher and it suffers when the raw material prices go lower.

Such business characteristics make Nile Ltd undergo the same difficulties, which “other companies” who do not have such price escalation clauses in their customer contracts and thereby no pricing power over their customers. Nile Ltd and such “other companies” face the same challenges, however, the only difference is that the timing of such difficulties of Nile Ltd is exactly opposite.

Such “other companies” suffer when raw material prices go higher as they are not able to pass on the higher input costs and therefore take a hit on their profitability margins and when the raw material costs go down, then such “other companies” are not able to enjoy higher profitability margins for long because the customers immediately renegotiate lower prices. On the contrary, Nile Ltd enjoys higher profits when raw material prices go higher and suffes lower profits (even losses) when raw material prices go lower.

So effectively, despite having price benchmarking, Nile Ltd ends up facing the same challenges that other companies without any pricing power face.

Therefore, it becomes essential that when companies negotiate benchmarked prices from their customers, then along with a “fixed pre-determined premium” in terms of percentage of raw material prices, they also incorporate a fixed INR premium. This is because when the raw material prices go down in future, then the fixed INR premium will maintain an absolute level of profits to meet costs like employee expenses, power & fuel, logistics etc.

It is advised that an investor should get the clarification from the company regarding the exact nature of the sales contracts that it has with Amara Raja Batteries Ltd and other customers and whether these contracts have any “pre-determined fixed INR premium”, which might help Nile Ltd maintain its profitability in future periods of lower raw material prices.

The net profit margins (NPM) of Nile Ltd have been following the trend of operating margins and the NPM has been fluctuating from 2% to 8% over the years and declining to losses in FY2009.

During FY2011-13, the tax payout ratio of Nile Ltd had been below the standard corporate tax rate prevalent in India. However, since FY2014 onwards, the company has been declaring tax payout ratio, which is in line with the standard corporate tax rate.

Further Reading: How to do Financial Analysis of a Company

Operating Efficiency Analysis of Nile Ltd:

While assessing the net fixed asset turnover (NFAT) for Nile Ltd, an investor would notice that the NFAT of the company has been consistently on an increasing trend over last 10 years (FY2008-17) except during the period of FY2012-13, when the company first completed the expansion of Tirupati plant from 20,000 TPA to 50,000 TPA in 2012 and then immediately next year expanded the Choutuppal plant from 12,000 TPA to 22,000 TPA in 2013.

The successive additions of capacity in FY2012-13, led to a brief period of decline in the NFAT when it declined from 9.43 in FY2011 to 6.30 in FY2013.

However, it seems that Nile Ltd could increase the utilization of newly added capacities quickly as the NFAT soon increased to 7.91 in FY2014 and has been increasing ever since to reach 16.80 in FY2017.

The improvement in the NFAT after capacity addition indicates that the company has been able to time its capacity additions well with the customer demand so that the new capacity does not have to remain idle waiting for customer orders.

Moreover, an investor would notice that the NFAT levels Nile Ltd being more than 10-15 are very high when compared to the usual levels of NFAT prevalent in the manufacturing industry.

Our experience/analysis of multiple companies listed on Indian stock exchanges have shown that the industries having high NFAT levels of more than 5 are characterized by low capital intensive nature of the operations. In such industries, if this advantage of low capital intensively is not a result of some unique advantage like patents, brand etc., then such companies face a lot of competition from unorganized sector and cheaper imports. This is because a lot of entrepreneurs are able to put in manufacturing plants by raising finance from friends and families and are in turn able to compete with large organized players as the manufacturing process does not involve high technological barriers.

Such pattern of production is visible when an investor analyses the pattern of Lead production across the globe. The below section from the investor presentation of Gravita India Ltd, which is a direct competitor of Nile Ltd in Lead & its alloys segment helps an investor understand the Lead production across the world.

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

China with its low-cost manufacturing abilities is able to produce 50% of the world’s Lead output and India being a Lead deficient country is a net importer of Lead. It does not come as a surprise to the investor that such industries with NFAT levels of 5 and above, which lack brands and patents, leading to the commoditization of products and as a result, the suppliers/manufacturers in such industries lose their pricing power from customers and become price takers.

In the case of Nile Ltd, even though it has its sales prices benchmarked to London Mercantile Exchange (LME) Lead prices, it still suffers the same difficulties of fluctuating profitability margins as other companies without price benchmarking do. The reduced profitability of Nile Ltd when raw material prices go down indicates that Nile Ltd is not able to protect its margins by having suitable price contracts in its favour.

This lack of pricing power of Nile Ltd seems to get explained from the high NFAT (i.e. low capital intensiveness) of its business, which makes the industry highly competitive.

Further Reading: 5 Simple Steps to Analyse Operating Performance of Companies

Looking at the inventory turnover ratio (ITR) of Nile Ltd, an investor would notice that Nile Ltd has been consistently improving its ITR over the years from the levels of 2.6 in FY2009 to 14.4 in FY2017. This is a remarkable achievement for any company, which is able to show such improved efficiency of inventory management along with increasing sales.

To analyse the reasons for such improvement in inventory management, an investor would need to refer to the credit rating rationale of April 2014 for Nile Ltd prepared by India Ratings and Research, which highlights some of the features of the contract that it has signed with Amara Raja Batteries Ltd:

  • Page 1): Amara Raja Batteries Ltd contributes 80% to the overall sales of Nile Ltd:

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

  • Page 3): The contract with Amara Raja Batteries Ltd has a minimum offtake clause i.e. Amara Raja will buy at least a minimum agreed quantity and therefore, Nile Ltd can plan its inventory purchases accordingly:

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

Further Reading: 7 Important Reasons Why Every Stock Investor Should Read Credit Rating Reports

The above two observations when seen together would lead to the conclusion that there is high visibility of the amount of product demand for Nile Ltd and therefore, it can easily assess its inventory requirements and plan its inventory purchases well.

This business characteristic of the ability to do advance inventory planning is visible in the pattern of improving inventory turnover levels of Nile Ltd over the years.

When an investor analyses the receivables days of Nile Ltd, then the investor would notice that the receivables days of the company have been declining consistently from 53 days in FY2014 to 14 days in FY2017. It is a good performance on working capital management by a company.

While going through the credit rating report of Nile Ltd, published by India Ratings & Research in April 2014 (page 6), an investor would find the reasons for this improvement in the receivables management by the company:

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

India Ratings & Research highlights that Nile Ltd is using bill discounting facilities to get its receivables at an earlier date than scheduled.

Under bill discounting, a company which has sold its product to a good reputed customer, goes to a bank and shows the bank the bill showing the acceptance of the goods by the “reputed customer” and the amount, which the “reputed customer” has agreed to pay to the company after agreed amount of days.

The bank takes the comfort of the reputation of the customer and in turn agrees to give the company money against the security of this bill after adjusting for its interest/fee charges. The company gets the money early and the bank receives the repayment of the money given to the company when the “reputed customer” makes the after agreed number of days.

While analysing the FY2017 annual report of Nile Ltd, page 57, in the contingent liabilities section, an investor notices that Nile Ltd has been making good use of bill discounting facilities and at March 31, 2017, it has discounted bill of about ₹50 cr. (₹5.2 cr. with a letter of credit (LC) and ₹45 cr. without LC):

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

It is to be noted that the trade receivables outstanding at March 31, 2017, as per FY2017 annual report are about ₹29 cr.

In a simple way, an investor may understand it assuming that Nile Ltd had total trade receivables of about ₹79 cr. at March 31, 2017, out of which it got an early payment of ₹50 cr. by discounting the bills of “reputed customers”, which mostly are expected to be Amara Raja Batteries Ltd, from the bank and therefore it showed remaining ₹29 cr. as to be collected.

The investor would also notice that in case the “reputed customer” does not pay the money on the agreed date due to any reason, then the bank will ask its money back from Nile Ltd. This is the reason that the money received by Nile Ltd from bill discounting is shown under contingent liabilities.

Going ahead, an investor should keep a close watch on the receivables days as well as the inventory turnover levels of Nile Ltd.

Further Reading:  How to Monitor Stocks in your Portfolio

Margin of Safety in the Business of Nile Ltd:

Self-Sustainable Growth Rate (SSGR):

The investor would notice that Nile Ltd has an SSGR of about 18-25% over the years and it has been growing its sales revenue at a similar growth rate over the 11 years.

Further Reading: Self Sustainable Growth Rate: a measure of Inherent Growth Potential of a Company

Upon reading the SSGR article, an investor would appreciate that if a company grows at a sales growth rate, which is equal to the SSGR and it can manage its working capital well, then it can afford to achieve this growth rate without depending upon external sources of funds like equity/debt infusion. In such cases, a company can meet its growth requirements from its profits.

An investor would notice that during FY2008-17, Nile Ltd had a total net profit of ₹87 cr. and during the same period, it had reported a total cash flow from operations (CFO) of ₹116 cr. As the growth rate of Nile Ltd is within the SSGR limits and the company has been able to convert its profits into cash flow from operations, therefore, it becomes evident that the company has been able to fund its growth from internal resources without needing debt or equity dilution.

Further reading: Understanding calculation of Cash Flow from Operations (CFO)

 

Free Cash Flow Analysis:

This assessment gets substantiated when the investor analyses the free cash flow position of Nile Ltd.

Over FY2008-17, Nile Ltd has witnessed its sales increase from ₹115 cr. in FY2008 to ₹579 cr. in FY2017. For achieving this sales growth the company has done an additional capital expenditure (capex) of ₹43 cr. However, Nile Ltd has generated a cash flow from operations (CFO) of ₹116 cr. over FY2006-16 leading to a surplus of ₹73 cr. as free cash flow (FCF) for its stakeholders.

SSGR and FCF are two of the main pillars of assessing the margin of safety in the business model of any company.

Further Reading: 3 Simple Ways to Assess “Margin of Safety”: The Cornerstone of Stock Investing

Nile Ltd has used the FCF to meet its interest expense requirements of about ₹44 cr over last 10 years and to pay dividends to equity shareholders.

 

Additional aspects and annual report analysis of Nile Ltd:

While studying about Nile Ltd, an investor comes across certain other aspects, which are important for analysis and subsequent final investment decision by investors:

 

1) Good project execution skills:

An investor would notice that Nile Ltd has been able to expand its manufacturing capacity on a regular basis and has been able to achieve optimal utilization of the installed capacities in a timely manner.

The evidence of increasing the manufacturing capacity from 3,000 TPA until the early 2000s to 82,000 TPA in 2017 indicates good project execution skills by the company management.

 

2) Management succession planning:

An investor would notice that the founder promoter Mr. V. Ramesh, has brought in Mr. Sandeep Ramesh as an Executive Director in the company. Mr. Sandeep Ramesh is the son of Mr. V Ramesh. The relationship between the two gets established from FY2017 annual report of the company at page 26:

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

The presence of the next generation of promoter’s family in the company management offers a visibility of smooth management succession in the company.

Further reading: Steps to Assess Management Quality before Buying Stocks (C)

 

3) Increased focus on the Lead business:

In FY2013, Nile Ltd decided to sell off its glass lining division at a price of ₹54 cr and earned a profit of ₹14.7 cr. on it. The company decided to focus on the Lead business. Increased attention of the management on any line of business indicates that they tend to specialize in it. Therefore, many times, such specialization lead to increased competitive advantages to such companies.

 

4) Challenges of sourcing the raw material in Lead business:

India is a net Lead importing country. Therefore, companies need to import to fully meet their Lead raw material requirement. By analysing the previous annual reports of Nile Ltd, it seems that companies in Lead business need to make considerable efforts to ensure the supplies of Lead for their business.

In the current year, the company has been continuously trying to find new avenues to source raw material (Lead). As per the management discussion & analysis section of FY2017 annual report (page 13), the company has taken approval from govt. to import lead batteries:

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

The company has been making its efforts to secure raw material in the past as well. The earliest available annual report of FY2010 for Nile Ltd, on page 6, intimates the shareholders that it has done a joint venture (JV) in the Republic of Georgia with a local partner to ensure the raw material supplies of Lead for its plants. The company intimated that the JV has started commercial production and the first shipment is expected to reach India soon.

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

However, the JV soon entered into problems and the very next year in FY2011, the JV entered into problems apparently due to the financial position of the local JV partner. The company tried to resolve the situation but without success.

In FY2013, the company acknowledged that it was not a good capital allocation decision and it started to recognize the losses by making provisions for the investment of ₹91 lac done in the JV. It recognized 50% loss in FY2013 and the remaining 50% in FY2014.

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

Further Reading: Understanding the Annual Report of a Company

As per the FY2017 annual report, page 13, the application of Nile Ltd to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for permission to write off the investment in GLW Ltd of Georgia is still pending.

This also represents a case where the management seems to have erred in assessing the financial position of the counterparty while selecting the local partner for the JV in Georgia.

 

5) The concentration of business around a single customer:

Nile Ltd derives its 80% revenue from a single client: Amara Raja Batteries Ltd. The company has put up a plant of 50,000 TPA manufacturing capacity in Tirupati where Amara Raja Batteries Ltd has its manufacturing plant.

An investor would appreciate that a higher reliance on one single customer is expected to make the company dependent on the counterparty for its growth as well as survival. Such companies usually do not enjoy high negotiating power over their key customer.

As discussed earlier in the article, the pricing contract with Amara Raja Batteries Ltd is making Nile Ltd suffer same challenges, which other companies without any price benchmarking/pricing power face. However, still, the relationship has been working fine as Nile Ltd seems to be utilizing its capacity to the levels of about 70%.

The key point to note here is that in FY2017, one of the key competitors of the company, Gravita India Ltd has put up a manufacturing unit in Chittoor, AP, which is about 70 km from Tirupati.

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

(Source: Investors Presentation, Gravita India Ltd FY2017)

The presence of a competitor in the same region of one’s key customer is expected to create issues like taking away growth opportunities in future. An investor would appreciate that when a company is largely dependent upon a single customer for its business, then any decline in business from the key customer can be a critical issue for the company.

Further Reading: How to do Business Analysis of Companies

6) High promoters’ remuneration:

The annual report for FY2017 of Nile Ltd, page 24, indicates that the remuneration drawn by Mr. V. Ramesh and Mr. Sandeep Ramesh is ₹130.75 lac and ₹133.41 lac respectively. The total remuneration drawn by both the promoter managers is exactly equal to the maximum remuneration allowed by the Companies Act 2013, as disclosed by the company in the same section:

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

As per our experience of analysis of multiple companies, we believe that the usual remuneration levels of promoters are about 2-3% of the net profit after tax (PAT) where promoters take about 2% as commission on the profits and remaining as fixed salary.

An investor may also wish to compare the average salary increases for FY2017 of the management with the average salary increases of the employees excluding the management at Page 15 of FY2017 annual report:

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

Further reading: Steps to Assess Management Quality before Buying Stocks (A)

7) Interest bearing deposits from related parties:

As per the annual report of FY2017 of Nile Ltd, the company has taken deposits of ₹9 cr. from related parties (page 56):

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

The company has also disclosed on page 46 of FY2017 annual report that these deposits bear an interest rate of 10-12% (weighted average cost of about 11%):

Equity research report analysis, Nile Ltd, an Indian manufacturer of Lead and its alloys, supplying to Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

The cost of bank debt for the company is currently:

  • HDFC Bank: 1 year MCLR + 0.7% = 8.15% (at Aug 9, 2017) + 0.7% = 8.85%
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank: 6 months MCLR + 0.55% = 8.35% (at Aug 9, 2017) + 0.55% = 8.90%

Therefore, it seems that in case the company is in urgent need of funds, then it can raise funds from the banking system at a lower rate than the prevalent interest on the deposits from related parties.

Further reading: Why Management Assessment is the Most Critical Factor in Stock Investing?

We do not provide any buy/sell/hold recommendations on the stocks. It is advised that an investor should take such decisions herself after doing her own analysis.

 

Margin of Safety in the market price of Nile Ltd:

Currently, Nile Ltd is available at a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of about 7.2 (based on FY2017 earnings), which offers some margin of safety in the purchase price as described by Benjamin Graham in his book The Intelligent Investor.

Read 3 Simple Ways to Assess “Margin of Safety”: The Cornerstone of Stock Investing

Read: How to Earn High Returns at Low Risk -Invest in Low P/E Stocks

Further Reading: Hidden Risk of Investing in High P/E Stocks

Conclusion:

Overall, Nile Ltd seems to be a company operating in a commodities product market where despite having price benchmarking contracts it faces the same difficulties, which are faced by manufacturers that do not have any pricing power over the customers and in turn get impacted by changing raw material costs.

The company supplies primarily to only one customer, Amara Raja Batteries Ltd (80% of Nile Ltd’s revenue) and the key customer seems to have the price contracts in such a fashion that Nile Ltd has to bear uncertainty in its profitability with changing raw material prices. As a result, even though Nile Ltd has increased its sales at an annual rate of 16% over last decade, however, the performance of the company on profitability parameters leaves a lot to be desired.

Nile Ltd has witnessed its operating efficiency parameters improve significantly over the years, which is primarily helped by the assured offtake of its plant production by Amara Raja and the ability of the company to get the bills discounted from banks. As a result, the company has been able to keep a control over its working capital needs and the company has been able to grow within its internal resources and has been able to control its debt over the years while achieving sales growth.

The management of the company seems to have displayed good project execution skills by successfully completing the capacity expansion plans year on year. The founders seem to have been working on a management succession plan and have brought in the second generation of the family into the company in executive roles.

The promoters/related parties seem to be drawing remuneration in the higher range of the industry and the interest being paid by the company to related parties is higher than the cost of its bank borrowings.

The reliance of the company primarily on a single customer puts the company in a weaker negotiating position. Also the presence of one of the competitors, Gravita India Ltd, in the same region might pose risks to the business going ahead.

It is advised that an investor should monitor the operating efficiency levels of the company, loans & advances movement of related parties among other things like profitability levels going ahead. Investors should keep a close watch on the development related to the competitors of the company, esp. Gravita India Ltd to assess whether there are any early signs of impact on the business of Nile Ltd from Amara Raja Batteries Ltd.

Further Reading:  How to Monitor Stocks in your Portfolio

These are our views about Nile Ltd. However, you should do your own analysis before taking any investment related decision about Nile Ltd.

You may use the following steps to analyse the company: “Selecting Top Stocks to Buy – A Step by Step Process of Finding Multibagger Stocks

Hope it helps!

Regards,

Dr Vijay Malik

P.S.

 

DISCLAIMER

  • The above discussion is only for educational purpose to help the readers improve their stock analysis skills. It is not a buy/sell/hold recommendation for the discussed stocks.
  • I am registered with SEBI as an Investment Adviser under SEBI (Investment Advisers) Regulations, 2013.
  • Currently, I do not own stocks of the companies mentioned above in my portfolio.

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