Case Studies & AssumptionsLet's use some of case studies for Company X (if you are curious about the company's real identity, like me on Facebook or follow my posts via email by subscribing on the right panel - Let me know by commenting below or emailing me at email@example.com when this is done). As usual, to make things simple, some assumptions have to be made for the model:
- In the actual case, Company X managed to grow its book value by compounding it at >10% annually for the past 12 years. Here, we assume that this growth rate will continue for the next 5 years. Book value now is $0.25 per share.
- Assume book value is a reasonable estimate to intrinsic value of the company and the market price of its stock will converge to its intrinsic/book value at the end of 5 years.
- No other forces (inflation etc) are at play that will skew the final results.
4 scenarios will be used here (please note again that book value for all scenarios is $0.25 per share):
- Scenario A: Market Price: $0.20 (20% discount to book), Growth rate: 0%
- Scenario B: Market Price: $0.30 (20% premium to book), Growth rate: 10%
- Scenario C: Market Price: $0.25 (at book value), Growth rate: 10%
- Scenario D: Market Price: $0.20 (20% discount to book), Growth rate: 10%
Summary of Scenario Results
|Scenario Capital Appreciation Results (Dividends not factored in)
Comparing Scenarios A & B, we see that despite paying at 20% premium to book value (for B), the stock investor is still able to turn in better results compared to one who bought at 20% discount to book value (for A) - provided the growth rate is high enough. In this case, a quick calculation shows that a 4.5% growth rate in Scenario B is sufficient to get the same 25% results achieved in Scenario A.
Comparing Scenarios C & D, it is clear that although the purchase price of D is only 20% lower than C and both have the same growth rate, D turns it significantly higher results (much more than 20%). All in all, Scenario D gives the best results. For your info: Company X is currently priced below that of Scenario D now, indicating a better upside if we were to base it on this very simplistic model.
This is a very simplistic view of the compounding effect but it does show the powerful snowballing effect of the compound equation. The key limitations are obviously in the assumptions. In the first place, we can't know for sure whether the book value or 'intrinsic' value can grow at 10% for the next year, save to say for 5 straight years. Also, there are definitely many other factors or uncertainties at play that will affect the final result. Lastly, for most companies, the book value does not equate to the intrinsic value. Even if they do, the market price may or may not converge to this implied intrinsic value at the end of 5 years (it could be earlier or later). Despite these limitations, I believe its good enough to show the compounding effect and its implications to the stock investor.
The Ultimate Approach - Dual Margin of Safety
Margin of safety is an important part of our overall investment framework as discussed in the post on Our Stocks Investment Philosophy. The above exhibit suggests 2 key ways to profit from the stock market. First and foremost, the investor can purchase securities at a price that is currently at a discount to a readily ascertainable intrinsic value as in Scenario A. This discount is in itself a margin of safety. Alternatively, the investor can purchase the security at a reasonably fair price as compared to the current intrinsic value but he or she must be confident that the future prospects or growth is so good that it is sufficient margin of safety for a profit to be made, as in Scenario C above.
The best approach to stock selection is of course to find securities that meets both criteria or approaches discussed in the previous paragraph - by having a discount to current value and potential growth that can further increase this value in the foreseeable future such that the cushion in price-value gap widens further over time. This is similar to Scenario D in the above table which as shown, give the best results out of the 4.
I will discuss further about the obstacles in execution in the application of the Dual Margin of Safety approach and end off with my proposed solution. Let me know if there's alternative methods or approaches that you've been doing that has been consistently successful ya?
Long Company X - Do you know which company is this?
As mentioned, if you are curious about Company X's real identity, like me on Facebook or follow my posts via email by subscribing on the right panel - When this is done, let me know by commenting below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org :-)