20/20 Hindsight: Access Financial IPO

Your decision to invest in a company should be based on a full assessment of  all the facts. Case in point, the Access Financial Services IPO offer. Below is the full text of my response to an article published in the Jamaica Observer in October, 2009 that I felt was flawed in its valuation of the IPO offer. Rather than the stock being overvalued, the facts indicated that the stock had an above average growth potential that could “far exceed any other stock on the market.” Needless to say, my BUY recommendation was not greeted favuorably by readers.

Many Jamaicans remain poor because they never take the time to find out the facts. The same seems true of an unfortunate assessment of the value of the shares of Access Financial Services in its current IPO carried in the Friday business section of your paper.

Share valuation is not about looking back at pass earnings but at likely future earnings. The article, deals well with many of the attributes of the company, but fails to indicate clearly, a full assessment of the true worth of the shares. In so doing, there seems to no focus on the impact of the removal of the tax on profits and the growth in earnings this year so far that will sharply boost earnings, as well as making the earnings for last year on a performa basis, better than reported.  To attempt to cast aspersions at Mayberry’s integrity in the offer price, is far too unfortunate as there is no evidence to suggest that the broker is trying to milk funds from the proceeds. In fact Mayberry is not selling any of their holdings in the offer and indicates that they have no plans to do so in the future. The gains from their initial investment, is purely on paper at this time.

Critical facts: What are some critical facts? First off the shares are not overvalued. An honest comparison with other listed companies will show that there are none that have the potential to grow as fast. The writer makes some unfortunate comparisons with JMMB and Scotia Group. The former has no chance of growing anywhere close to Access while Scotia Group’s possible growth is around 15-20% per annum. Those who fully understand share valuation know that the higher the growth rate, the higher the valuation.

The market targeted provides very high profit margin not even credit cards offer these margins. The history shows that the company has had very little bad debt even while lending to the riskier clientele. The market here is huge.

Big profit jump: Most importantly, Access earnings for last year, which came in at $69 million, was earned after writing off amounts incurred as loss of funds due to theft of $17m. When the earnings are adjusted for such losses and the tax free profits are factored in, then the earnings last year is around $3 per share. At $18 per share, the PE is 6, a little higher than the market average. But look what is happening in 2009. For the 6 month period from January to June 2009 the Company recorded total revenue of $151 million, an increase of 47% over 2008. Pre-tax net income for the period was $37 million, a 205% increase over the previous year. These 2009 figures clearly indicate that earnings for the full year should jump sharply, all things being equal. By my recognizing earnings for the full year could exceed $100 million or $4 to $5 per share. At just over $18 per share that a PE of 3 or 4, the shares are far from overvalued.

Stock to perform: Investors need also to be aware of the small number of shares that will be in the public’s hands that will exert upward pressure on the price once the company delivers. If management continues to keep bad loans at bay the way they have done so far, the sky is the limit. Investors in the stock will be extremely happy as the return on their investment will far exceed any other stock on the market. Investors who refrain from buying the stock are making a grave error if they really think it is vastly overvalued as the article suggests.

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READER RESPONSES to above:

warren
10/18/2009 8:47 AM

I profoundly disagree with John’s assessment of Access.
John has sought to suggest that the stock is fairly valued, but his assessment is based on future value of existing stock.
I cannot see how one could be willing to be $18.43 per share today, which is what the stock should probably be valued 4-5 years from now.
One never knows what the future hold especially in the financial market hence should never pay so much upfront especially for an IPO.
John has failed to look at the fact the growth rate of this company is most likely to fall once it has gone public, due to a different type of corporate structure and reporting requirement required for a public vs a private company.
The “new” company is likely to be more conservative in risk taking position thus likely to slow down its growth rate.
Based on the above I see the growth rate slowing down, making those who purchased this stock at this inflated rate, likely to lose at least 60% of its valuation weeks are listing.
If Access intends to sustain a pretty good growth rate, it means plowing back the profits into the company, which virtually assures that the investor has no dividend to receive at least in the first 2-3 yrs depending on management plans.
If access intends to pay dividends, this alone means less retained profits to be used in the expansionary mode, this slowing its growth.
Regardless of what John thinks, asking investors to pay so much upfront for a future value which may be justified in the next 4yrs, means investors are in for a raw deal.
I will look to buy when the stock reaches a value lower than its net current assets, which lowers my downside losses.
Persons who bought this stock at 4.35 its net current assets, have zero protection on the downside losses, and are likely to suffer very serious losses once trading begins.

Overvalued IPO
10/18/2009 9:10 AM

This stock is priced at 4.35 its book value per share, meaning it is 4.35 times its net current assets or put another way 4.35 its valuation.
Scotia Group on the other hand @ $17.96 is valued at 1.21 price to book. Scotia group earns close to a billion dollars in profit each month and pays close to a $1.00 per share in dividend each year.
Now access is being offered at a price of $18 per share, a price which is not only greater than a well run and profitable company as Scotia current price of $17.96, but at a value is almost 4 times higher than Scotia, amazing.
Price is what you pay, value is what you get and I fail to see one getting value out of paying $18.43 per share for such a small company as Access.
Personally I would not buy this stock for more than a price to book of 0.75 , which works out to just about $4.60 per share.

Orane
10/18/2009 9:12 AM

I looked over their prospectus the very day it was released and came to the very same conclusion that this price is pie in the sky!! I have a degree in Finance and I invest in companies on the JSE including Mayberry and I think this is a sad day in IPO valuation. They had the opportunity to set the standard for the Jr. JSE and they are muggin it up.
The conclusion I draw from their pricing is that they take the Jamaican investor for idiots, like so many companies in Jamaica. And they are playing on peoples greed. I would love to invest in this company and if it hits the market I will wait for the price to realign to it’s proper valuation before buying.
Mayberry’s behaviour is nothing new as mentioned in the article beyond CCFG look what they did to Salada over the from 2007-08 even though they had no hope whatsover of taking over the company because the majority share holder refused to sell they kept on putting news out into the market about them taking it over. This drove up the price on Salada shares to on speakable heights for a company barely eeking out a profit and not paying any dividend. Salada had to enact a split to create liquidity and something of a normal valuation. Mayberry is a hype machine and this is coming from an investor.

Mark
10/18/2009 12:01 PM

John, I hope you are not doing a favor to yout friends at Access and Mayberry. What you have written about Access share price is pure nonsense. The price is grossly overpriced.
IF THERE WAS AN AWARD FOR FINANCIAL NONSENSE, BASED ON WHAT YOU WROTE, I WOULD NOMINATE JOHN JACKSON!!!

.Mitchell
10/18/2009 5:46 PM

John shame on you, this is the worse crap I have heard since CASH MINUS and OFLINT. How can you look at yourself in the mirror? Bro you and your organization are worst than the THREE CARD man.
Now where the hell is the FSC dont they see the fraud that is been perpetuated on the nation. This is corporate malpractice. SHAME ON YOU ALL

nigel
10/18/2009 7:26 PM

Access financial may have great growth potential, but not great valuation just yet. This is a IPO for the balance sheet valuation somewhere else as an Associated Company. The Lead Broker could have done a better job with this IPO in more ways than one. There is no long term benefit from this IPO and all the initial investors in this IPO will lose money. The stocks will be bought back from the market when the price of the shares hit rock bottom. That is a strategy.

spectator
10/18/2009 7:49 PM

No value. I will repeat, NO VALUE

warren
10/18/2009 9:17 PM

Mayberry is reporting that this IPO has been oversubscribed!!

denise
10/18/2009 10:50 PM

Mr. Jackson everyone has a right to his or her opinion, you Sir should have done your homework. I am not a stock broker, but I was interested in the offer and did my research, after reading the Prospectus I decided not to take up the offer.
Look at likely future earnings, the future of Access Financial looks BAD. WHAT IS THEIR BUSINESS?????? SUB-PRIME LOANS. In the USA a company such as this would be called a predatory Lender.
The business model looked okay 3 to 4 years ago, but now it just looks dismal. Most of the clients the foward looking statement alludes to are people who live paycheck to paycheck. With all the talk of layoffs and cutback in the Jamaican economy, how does the principal of Access expect their business to grow?
One point made in the prospectus is that Government does not regulate this particular company, and therefore they can keep their interest rate on their products higher. Look at the percentage of bad loans recorded for 2008, and then compare that to the 9.09% projected non-performing loans in the prospectus. Come now Mr Jackson, does this sound right to you?
How is the market huge when this company’s business model caters to small and micro business sector? Take an informal survey on how many micro business have pulled down their shutter since the year started.
If i did not have access to information I might have called you for guidance as a stockbroker.,what a disappointment that would have been.

Navek
10/19/2009 8:17 AM

Does anyone still have the Mayberry IPO. Well it is the same way before they go public two years before they have a MASSIVE growth. I read the ACCESS IPO and and decided that i would wait or investigate the financial details. I am in a WAITING mood

Chris Berry
10/19/2009 9:46 AM

Orane,
Your recollection of what happened with Salada is not correct. The current owners made an offer to purchase the outstanding shares of the company, we made an offer which was substantially higher than the current owners offer. At the time many said our offer was too high yet the price passed our offer and remains substantially higher to this day. We sought to purchase an undervalued asset and we were unsuccessful in acquiring it.

Cairy
10/19/2009 11:15 AM

John – A couple of quick questions for you and possibly the Observer. Who is responsible for regulating financial analyst commentary on securities in Jamaica? Are there any rules around disclosure either for the publisher or the analyst? Don’t you think regulation in this area would be welcome? Comments from the BOJ, FSC, FDIC or the JSE would be welcome.

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  1. […] the most for some time, and ended with 1,683,746 units changing hands valued at $22,509,881 with Access Financial accounting for the bulk of the trade with Mayberry Investments selling 1,257,938 at a new high of […]

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  3. […] 20/20 Hindsight: Click here to read my BUY recommendation of the Access Financial Services IPO published in the Jamaica Observer in October, 2009 and reader responses finding fault with my stock analysis. […]