Sometimes number two (or even five) is better than number one
Source : http://www.indiavalueinvest.in
This is a long post with some examples. This post is to highlight the fact that it is not always number one in any particular industry, either in terms of sales or profits, who is the best. There might be special situations when some company down the rank in terms of sales and profits doing better than the leaders in its industry.
I will explain this with two examples. The first one is in organized sanitary-ware industry. There are many players in this industry with leaders like HSIL (Hindustan Sanitaryware and Industries), Kajaria Ceramics, Somany Ceramics and some unlisted players like Parryware, Jaquar etc... But out of these, there is one company that stands apart is Cera Sanitaryware. The company is small in terms of size but if you compare the balance sheet of the company with that of the leaders in the industry, it really is a much better company. Here is a comparison of some of the parameters that really matters to an investor:
|Total Income (FY10 Consolidated)||818.85||545.29||736.35||193.83|
|Net Profit(FY10 Consolidated)||43.65||20.39||35.85||19.61|
|Net Profit Margin||7.14||3.8||4.89||10.11|
|Fixed Asset Turnover||0.78||1.84||1.34||1.94|
|Debt Equity Ratio||1||1.87||1.39||0.31|
One parameter that has a lot of impact is ROCE. If the ROCE is high, the company does not need to invest a lot of capital. This increases fixed asset turnover, reduces debt/equity ratio, increases interest cover and improves net profit margin. So the company does not need to focus on each and every ratio. Just improving ROCE itself has a lot of impact on the company's balance sheet. Interest cover of 4 or less is considered risky so all the leaders are riskier to invest in at this time than Cera.
Now let us talk about the second company in a completely different sector, paper. The industry has many leaders like Tamilnadu Newsprint, JK Paper, Ballarpur, Andhra Pradesh , Seshasayee Paper etc... But of all the companies, one that stands apart is South India Paper Mills(SI Paper). Here is a comparison of the company with that of leaders:
|Parameter||Tamilnadu Newsprint||JK Paper||Ballarpur||AP Paper Mills||SI Paper|
|Total Income(FY10 Consolidated)||1079.76||1260.86||3818.49||657.36||128.29|
|Net Profit(FY10 Consolidated)||126.06||91.03||197.03||54.19||13.77|
|Net Profit Margin||11.74||7.17||5.16||8.3||10.75|
|Fixed Asset Turnover||0.47||0.89||0.5||0.61||1.35|
|Debt Equity Ratio||1.69||1.17||1.6||0.98||0.267|
Some of the figures may not be very accurate since consolidated figures are hard to find. But the ones given above do give an approximate picture. Except for the last parameter, for all other parameters, the company is better if the parameter is higher. You can see that in both the examples, the smaller companies are having a much better control over their balance sheet compared to their leaders.
This analysis is not true for all the industries. Asian Paints is the leader in paint industry and still has better balance sheet than its competitors like Berger and Kansai Nerolac. Till very recently, Infosys was doing much better than the leader TCS but now TCS has overtaken Infosys in terms of profitability etc...
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