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Sixth bi monthly RBI Monetary Policy FY17

The RBI monetary policy committee ( MPC ) reiterated what it has indicated in its last meeting in December – concerns around core inflation continue to remain with seasonal impacts on currently low inflation on items like vegetables likely to go away over a period of time, a strong global recovery that could create inflationary risks though higher prices of commodities including oil, volatility in global currencies on the back of rate hikes in some developed economies and some pass through of the HRA component of the 7th pay commission implementation.

Whilst none of this was really new, there continues to be a view that what the MPC says and what they will do are different from each other. With two consecutive policies that have reiterated the same thing, we believe that markets will finally believe that the MPC means what they say, and their actions will be consistent with the same.

It is therefore critical to continue to remember that managing inflation in the 4-5% pa range continues to be the number one priority of the RBI , and therefore decisions are likely to be taken keeping this in mind, more than other data points.

Your investments

The RBI also moved its policy stance to ‘ neutral ‘ from ‘accommodative ‘ which possibly means that the interest rate cuts from its side are probably coming to an end. This may mean that investment strategies that were driven around interest rate cuts need to be pared down. However, we need to remember that a neutral policy does not mean that interest rates are going to go up on bonds and fixed income instruments, so there is no need for a complete change in investment strategy on fixed income side. A strong global recovery as indicated in the policy statement ,is actually excellent news for the Indian economy, as a global growth environment has traditionally been positive for Indian companies, and therefore one should expect corporate earnings to get better going forward. The MPC has also indicated that they expect the economy to start showing a recovery going forward, so investments in equities could be enhanced for longer term investors. One also needs to remember that even thought RBI has probably stopped cutting interest rates, banks would possibly continue to cut loan rates as the transmission of the 1.75% rate cuts have only been about 0.85% to 0.9%, meaning that corporate India could continue to see lower loan rates going forward, helping their bottomline.

Your loans

With the banking sector flush with funds, and transmission only partially done, you can expect to see loan rates continue to drop for individual borrowers as well. It is a good time to refinance your loans, especially your home loan, in case you have not done so already. Be choosy about the loan provider that you use, as different variants of loans available could mean that you need to pick what works best for you.

April 6 is the next date to watch for the MPC meeting – expect some volatility in bond and currency markets till then, as they react to this shift to a neutral stance as well as other global events.

 

 

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Whilst there was a consensus view of RBI cutting repo rates today, with only the extent of the rate cut being questioned (would it be 0.25% or 0.5%?), Urjit Patel or rather the monetary policy committee (MPC) sprung a surprise by keeping rates unchanged. Both equity and bond markets reacted negatively to this as they were pricing in at least a 0.25% cut.

RBI was probably concerned by multiple factors – volatility in global financial markets that could be caused by a Fed rate hike, issues in the Eurozone, oil price rises, and the potential stickiness of consumer inflation around non food components.

One needs to remember that inflation targeting continues to be the core role of the RBI moving forward, and any risks to inflation are likely to result in a more conservative approach, tilted towards managing inflation in the inflation growth trade off.  In addition, the focus towards management by data is a significant positive, as markets can sometimes allow emotions to override incoming data, that may be to the contrary.

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Your investments

The demonetisation impact on the Indian economy continues to be rather speculative in our opinion, with a very wide range of possible outcomes,. and data around the same is likely to continue to throw up surprises. For example, we have seen over the last few weeks, the quantum of cash deposits that have come back to the banking system have been significantly larger than originally anticipated. In light of the need to take portfolio investment decisions basis data, it may be prudent to look for broader trends to capture through your investment strategy for example fixed income products continue to offer a real rate of return in the region of close to 2%, continuing to make fixed income investments an attractive option. With liquidity continuing to be significant, it would be prudent to look at locking into current interest rates, through a combination of accrual oriented short term and medium term funds, tax free bonds and to also cover reinvestment risk. A portion of the fixed income allocations can continue to be allocated to taking the benefits of falling interest rates, by investing into dynamic bond funds where the fund manager has the flexibility to move portfolio durations driven by incoming data. Equity investors may need to enhance exposures gradually through a combination of rupee averaging and value averaging strategies, as the potential slowdown on the back of a US rate hike and a consumption slowdown driven by demonetisation, is balanced by possible liquidity flows from Japan and the EU, as well as equity prices, especially of large cap indices, now at levels much closer to fair value after the recent correction.

Your loans

With the expectation of cost of funds for banks coming down post demonetisation, banks’ lending rates are likely to continue to slide further down. Since April 1, 2016, when the MCLR was introduced, most banks have been reducing it gradually as their cost of funds came down. The huge inflow of funds post demonetisation could make them cut MCLR  further. Thus one can expect loan rates to continue to head downwards, creating some additional consumption or investing surpluses for families with loans.

Way Ahead

The RBI is clearly aware of the danger to the GDP growth rate and possible liquidity outflows, driven by the twin impact of demonetization and higher interest rates in the US. Thus a wait and watch policy may actually be a great idea. Whilst everyone will await the next policy on Feb 8th, one needs to remember that action by the RBI can also be done prior to that if necessary, and therefore should not be ruled out. After all, surprises and the independent nature of the RBI are back in fashion.

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PNB  Housing Finance is the 5th largest Housing Finance Company by loan portfolio as of 30 Sep 2016. They offer loans for purchase, construction, extension or improvement of residential properties or plots, Non housing loans in the form of Loan Against Property (LAP), loan for construction of Non Residential premises and general purpose loans to developers for on-going projects.

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Data Source: JM Financial

Post issue the share of PNB will reduce to 39% from 51% at present. In case of Destimoney, which took 49% stake in 2009, the stake will reduce to 38%.

Strengths

  1. Strong distribution network:

Their business is spread across Southern, Western and Northern regions of India. As on31 st March, 2016, 40% of their loan portfolio originated from the Northern region and ~30% each from western and Southern regions.

  1. Stable operating model and centralised operational structure:

Their processing hub is designed to support additional branches which will enable them to deepen penetration. Their branches, processing hubs provide centralised and standardised back end and administrative activities, payments and processing of their business. This enables timely collection of funds, better fund management and proactive alerts to their collection department in the event of an overdue.

  1. Diversified and cost effective funding source:

As on 31 Mar, 2016 their lenders include 22 public and private sector banks, 17 mutual funds, 16 insurance companies, 553 Provident funds and 122 pension funds. This has resulted in an overall low cost of borrowing and allowed them to maintain sufficient interest margins.

  1. Prudent credit underwriting, monitoring and collection process

This has helped them maintain growth in the loan portfolio without compromising on credit quality. They have a credit appraisal team of experienced professionals who perform credit checks to minimise losses. They also have subject matter experts in several areas of underwriting, legal, technical valuation and collections.

Risk factors

  1. If they are unable to manage the growth of their loan portfolio effectively it will impact their business
  2. Interest rate volatility may impact their business performance
  3. They face risk of default and non-payment by customers, in particular self-employed customers, who constitute 23.76% of their total loan portfolio as on 31 Mar 2016 due to factors like change in interest rates, regulations or other factors impacting macroeconomic or global environment.
  4. Due to increased competition and deregulation of interest rates, housing loans are becoming standardised and lower processing fees and monthly reset options are becoming increasingly popular decreasing spreads.

Valuation

Peer Comparison

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The Price to Book ratios look reasonable compared to peers.

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Data Source: DRHP

There have been stable Net Interest Margins, reducing cost to income ratios and decreasing gross NPAs to total loan portfolio which is positive.

Our opinion: Subscribe for the long term

Its reasonable valuations, strong loan growth and strong distribution network are key factors. However, already existing competition could be a challenge. Investors with long investment horizon can subscribe to this issue as projects like ‘smart cities’ and ‘Housing for all by 2020’ may positively contribute to growth of PNB hosing Finance.

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In its first Policy the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by newly appointed RBI Governor Urjit Patel cut policy rates by 0.25% taking repo rates down to 6.25%. The way rates are decided is different from what it was before. It is now a 6 member committee which decides rates instead of the Governor alone. The MPC was unanimous in their decision to reduce interest rates by 0.25% today.

MPC pic

Focus on the real rate of return

With interest rates falling, there is a tendency to want to take more risk on the portfolio to achieve a higher absolute rate of return. We think that it is critical that investors focus on real rates of return ie the return after inflation on their portfolios. RBI continues to want to keep real rates of return between 1.25% and 1.5%, which makes fixed income attractive, even if you generate a lower return that what you generated a few years ago. Avoid higher risk strategies in chasing a higher rate of return in the current environment.

Your Investments

The rate cut came largely on the back of improved inflation numbers close to 5% in August compared to close to 6% in the month of July. Whilst food inflation, which was a big driver of inflationary pressures, seems to have come off very sharply, there continue to be risks of higher inflation due to the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) post the announcement of the GST rates by the GST Council, the Seventh pay commission and the merger of the railway budget and the Union Budget which could impact the fiscal deficit by 0.15 to 0.25%. With an inflation target of of 4% +/-2%, the inflation numbers seem to be well under control at this point. The bond and equity markets had already priced in this 0.25% rate cut and thus they did not react aggressively to this announcement. Thus, whilst there continues to be a 0.25% rate cut possibility from here onwards, the timing of the same will be driven by other data, including what happens globally with interest rates. With growth rates continuing to become healthier in India, equity markets may continue to hold up in spite of their premium valuations at this point, as earnings could continue to be supported by lower interest costs. Therefore, the strategy would be to use a combination of domestic and US equity along with bond funds, with the bond fund exposure being weighted more towards accrual and short term strategies, and less towards duration and dynamic strategies. On the liquidity front RBI policy remains accommodative and nothing has changed on that front.

Your Loans

The loan rates get decided by Marginal Cost of funds based Lending Rate (MCLR). The transmission that has happened is lower than what everyone had expected. Therefore on the loan side you could continue to expect some relief, though it may be lower than what is expected.

Way Forward

The December policy will, to some extent, depend on the data flow and market expectations of the US Federal Reserve decision on hiking interest rates or not. Let us watch for the next RBI policy on 6 December 2016.

Image Credits: www.canstockphoto.com

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ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited is the largest private sector life insurer in India by total premium in fiscal 2016 and assets under management at March 31, 2016. It’s a joint venture between ICICI Bank Limited, India’s largest private sector bank in terms of total assets and Prudential Corporation Holdings Limited, a part of the Prudential Group, an international financial services group. It offers a range of Life insurance, health insurance and pension products and services.

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Source: Kotak Securities

Quick facts

  1. They were the largest private sector life insurer in India by total premium in fiscal 2016 and assets under management at March 31, 2016.
  2. In fiscal 2016, their market share on a retail weighted received premium basis was 11.3% compared to a market share of 9.7% of its nearest competitor among all private and public insurance companies.
  3. As of March 31, 2016 they had 1, 21,016 individual agents and as of July 12, 2016 their bank partners had over 4,500 branches.
  4. Their expense ratio of 14.6% for fiscal 2016 was one of the lowest among private sector life insurance companies
  5. As of March 31, 2016 their solvency ratio was 320% compared to IRDA prescribed level of 150%

Strengths

  1. Consistent and robust fund performance

Funds representing 92.9% of their market linked assets performed better than their respective benchmarks since inception.

  1. Quality service experience

In fiscal 2016 their grievance ratio was 153 per 10,000 new policies issued compared to private sector average of 345 per 10,000 new policies issued.

In fiscal 2016 their claim settlement ratio for retail death claims was 96.2% compared to private sector average of 89.4%.

  1. Their expense ratio of 14.6% for fiscal 2016 was one of the lowest among private sector life insurance companies

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  1. Diversified multi-channel distribution network

They have a growing bancassurance network. ICICI Bank and Standard chartered             Bank currently exclusively distribute their life insurance products. As of March 31, 2016 they had 1, 21,016 individual agents and as of July 12, 2016 their bank partners had over 4,500 branches. According to CRISIL Research, Life Insurance Industry Report, July 2016, they have one of the largest channels among private sector life insurance companies in India in terms of premium as on 31 March, 2016.

  1. Digitisation and transformation of sales, customer onboarding and internal processes:

They have created a device agnostic technology platform that provides their customers, employees and distributors with seamless experience from sales to claim settlement. In fiscal 2016, 92.3% of their new business applications were initiated on their digital platform either by distributors or customers. This has also helped them improve employee productivity. Their retail weighted premium received per employee grew at a CAGR of 29.1% from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2016. They have an architecture which can integrate their systems with partners quickly which facilitates faster issuance of policies.

  1. Robust risk management and control processes

Risk is an integral part of an insurance business. They have risk management and control processes with a detailed cost benefit analysis for risk mitigation and a strong focus on credit quality of their portfolios.

  1. Experienced Senior Management Team

Their CEO, Mr. Sandeep Bakhshi has been with their company for over 5 years. He joined ICICI group in 1986 in project financing group of ICICI ltd. He has over 32 years of experience in the banking, financial services and insurance sector. 28 of top 36 members of their management team have been with ICICI group for over 10 years. Senior managerial persons in the actuary, investment, underwriting and claims department have average functional experience of 16 years.

  1. It has fairly good persistency ratio compared to peers

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Data Source: kotak Institutional Equities

Risk factors

  1. Adverse effect on equity market in India could have an impact on their business as it will have an impact on their market linked products.
  2. Change in market interest rates could have impact on their investments and business profitability.
  3. Their inability to attract or retain distributors, key sales employees could have a material impact on their finances.
  4. Any shift in consumer attitude towards financial savings could have an impact on their business.
  5. Catastrophic events, including natural disasters could increase their liabilities for claims and have an impact on their finances.
  6. Most of their new business premiums come from few products. Any constraints in selling these products due to regulatory changes could impact their business.

Valuations

The embedded value (EV) represents present value of future profits from assets after adjusting for risk. The price to embedded value multiple is approx. 3.4 times FY16 EV. Compared to multiple of HDFC and max life which is 4.2 times FY16 EV, valuations are attractive.

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Data Source: Mint, 14 September 2016

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Our opinion: Subscribe, but only if you are doing so for the long term

Whilst it is the first of its kind IPO in its space and has a large distribution network, strong brand franchise, strong solvency ratio, good settlement ratios, an attractive price to embedded value ratio relative to Max/HDFC and an experienced management, the fair value of the stock in our opinion is lower than the current offer price for the IPO. Thus, you should look to subscribe to this issue only with a long term investment horizon, as the offer price currently does not provide significant upside in the short term in our opinion.

 

 

 

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Mahanagar Gas Ltd. is one of the largest city gas distribution companies in India. Established in 1995 they have more than 20 year of experience in supplying natural gas in Mumbai and are presently sole authorised distributor of compressed natural gas (CNG) and Pipeline Natural Gas (PNG) in Mumbai, its adjoining areas and the Raigad district in the state of Maharashtra. They are coming up with an IPO on 21 June 2016. The details are as under:

Company Mahanagar Gas Limited IPO
Profile Mahanagar Gas Limited is one of the largest city gas distribution (“CGD”) companies in India. Company has more than 20 years of experience in supplying natural gas in Mumbai and are presently the sole authorised distributor of compressed natural gas (“CNG”) and piped natural gas (“PNG”) in Mumbai, its Adjoining Areas and the Raigad district in the state of Maharashtra, India. Company is  promoted by GAIL and BGAPH, each of who holds 49.75% of the Equity Shares. GAIL is a Maharatna public sector undertaking and the largest natural gas transmission company in India. BGAPH is headquartered in Singapore and is a part of the BG Group, an international exploration and production and LNG company.
Offer Period Offer Opens :  Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Offer Closes :  Thursday, June 23, 2016

Lead Manager Kotak / Citi 
Price Band Rs.380/- to Rs.421/- per equity share
Bid Lot 35 Equity share and multiple of 35 equity shares thereafter
Issue Size overall Offer for sale 2,46,94,500 equity shares (equal sale by GAIL & British Gas {now Shell}) (Rs. 938.39 cr. @ lower price band & Rs.1039.64 cr. @ Upper price band)
Employee Reservation : Upto 2,00,000 equity shares
Employee Discount: Rs. 38/- per equity share only for Employee category.  
Face Value: Rs.10 each
Net Offer: 2,44,94,500 equity shares (Rs.930.79 crs @ lower price band & Rs.1031.22 crs @ upper price band)
QIB (including Anchor) 50% of the Offer(12247250 Equity shares) (Rs.465.40 crs @ lower price band & Rs.515.61 crs @ upper price band)
NIB 15% of the Offer(3674175 Equity shares) (Rs.139.62 crs @ lower price band & Rs.154.68 crs @ upper price band)
Retail 35% of the Offer(8573075 Equity shares) (Rs.325.78 crs @ lower price band & Rs.360.93 crs @ upper price band)
Mode of Payment ASBA Mandatory (No Cheque will be accepted)
Registrar Link Intime India Pvt. Ltd.

 

Quick facts

  • Mahanagar gas is a joint venture between Gas Authority of India ( GAIL) and BG Asia Pacific Holdings Private Ltd (BGAPH) each owning 49.75% of its equity shares. GAIL is a Maharatna Public sector undertaking and the largest natural gas transmission company in India while Singapore based BGAPH is a part of Royal Dutch Shell
  • Mahanagar gas distributes CNG for use in motor vehicles and PNG for use in household, commercial and industrial use
  • The number of CNG operated motor vehicles has grown steadily at a CAGR of 12.42% from 31 March 2009 to 30 June 2015
  • They have won several awards for contribution towards society and commitment towards health and wealth
  • On the upper price band the offer is to raise ~Rs. 1000 Cr which means it will be a mid cap issue

Strengths

  • Well positioned in Mumbai which is second largest metropolitan cities in India

They are the sole authorised distributor of CNG and PNG in Mumbai, its adjoining areas and Raigad district. Mumbai is regarded as the commercial and financial capital of India and contributes more than 22% to Maharashtra’s Gross State Domestic product. The growing population in Mumbai and increasing number of vehicles converting to CNG will prove beneficial for them.

  • Cost effective availability of domestic natural gas

The natural gas is first allocated to GAIL and then to city gas distribution network. The price of domestic natural gas allocated is significantly lower than the market price of imported natural gas. Also the geographical location enables them to benefit from lower transportation cost as they are close to the source of production of natural gas.

  • Infrastructure exclusivity

They have the exclusivity to lay, build, expand and operate a city gas distribution network in Mumbai until 2020, in Adjoining areas till 2030 and in Raigad district till 2040. The period of exclusivity is extendable in blocks of 10 years as per regulations on fulfilment of certain criteria. This mandates a new operator in their area to use only their distribution network upon the payment of transportation tariff to them. They have built an exclusive supply network in Mumbai and its adjoining areas in the past 20 years.  There are significant entry barriers for competitors to enter into their area of operation due to infrastructure exclusivity, need for a large investment to establish distribution network and lead time in the allocation of domestic natural gas and obtaining required regulatory approvals

  • Experience in successful development and operation of city gas distribution business

They have built in house project management capabilities, robust operation and maintenance processes. They have implemented safety management systems to ensure uninterrupted distribution of natural gas.

Risk factors

  • A majority of natural gas supply requirements are met by allocation of domestic natural gas in accordance with the new domestic natural gas pricing guidelines 2014. Any increase in price of natural gas or any reduction in allocation amount of domestic natural gas may have adverse effect on their business.
  • The price of domestic natural gas purchased is in US Dollars while the selling Price is in Rupee terms. Therefore it is subject to currency risk.
  • If alternative fuels example petrol, diesel, etc become more cost effective their business results will be impacted.
  • Their major business is attributable to their CNG business. Any decrease in CNG sales will impact the business.
  • Any breakdown in the network infrastructure through which they supply natural gas could adversely impact the business.
  • They are required to maintain number of license, permits and authorisations. Breach could adversely impact the business.

Valuations

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Data Source: DRHP

Increasing Net Profit after tax from 2011 to 2015 with slight dip in 2013

Valuation compared to peers

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Data Source: DRHP

The issue is available at a PE of ~12.50 at the upper price band and a PE of ~11.30 at the lower price band, based on basic EPS, which is lower compared to its peers. The return on net worth is also above 20% which is higher compared to its peers.

Our opinion

You can subscribe to this issue. Its infrastructure exclusivity and entry barriers are big positives. Its valuations are reasonable compared to peers. Also rising prices of oil, petrol and diesel may increase demand for CNG motor vehicles.

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