Is Valuation Only About Numbers

Yes, we are all aware of the famous phrase “valuation is an art and not science” but how sincerely do we follow it. When it comes to valuation the entire focus immediately shifts to our most loveable friend who comes to our rescue, yes you have guessed it right our very own “Excel Worksheet or Real Template ready with us”. The moment the activity commences our dear friend is dumped with figures from all over that target financials examining the past trends, how it plays with the comparables, then building the related valuation models, throwing in the valuation factors – multiples, adjusted multiples, weighted average cost of capital, beta and so on and then press “Enter” with the question OK buddy now tell me the value and voila there it is!. That’s about it period may be a change 5% above or below and the limit for negotiation is set. Wait a minute lets rewind – OK we have the numbers, we have the projections, we have the industry outlook and we have the factors for valuation and we have the value case closed, but what we’ve done is played the role of a scientist and never took the opportunity to justifiably recognize lead role of the “artist”. Did we pause to think about the Management style of the Target entity that adapts to the dynamic changes that eventually results in the flexibility of the business to deliver in rapid or dynamic changes in scenarios? For instance have they focused on building capacities only or have they made their capacities flexible in adapting to the foreseeable changes e.g. in case of automobiles lot many components are being shifted to plastic from steel or aluminum which primarily is due to the reason to establish as cost effective in a highly competitive industry and all those not foreseeing such changes are definitely to lose out of the race. Though we do conduct due diligence wherein we execute the “Technical Diligence” that frankly is focused on the health and efficiency of the existing infrastructure rather than the adaptability of such infrastructure. This could be a significant factor in evaluating the management style that throws open the qualitative factor to be factored in the valuation so as to conclude the lead role of the “artist”. Yes, we all though are aware of the fact that valuation at the end is that “magical number” but the approach adopted to arrive at that number will to an extent dawn the role of a “scientist” but beyond which becomes significant to reflect the role of an “artist”.


Let us explore the potential for examining the significance of qualitative factors in a particular industry. From amongst the various industries, we have considered “Auto” industry and precisely the “Auto Component” sub – industry.

As for the scenario for Indian Automobile industry, it is the seventh largest in the world, has demonstrated a phenomenal growth. The industry has grown significantly over the last ten years, during which volumes have increased by 3.2 times, from a level of 4.7 million to 14.9 million, according to Vishnu Mathur, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). The industry, by virtue of its deep, connects with several key segments of the economy, occupies a prominent place in the country’s growth canvas. It exhibits a strong multiplier effect and has the ability to be the key driver of economic growth. A robust transportation system plays a key role in the country’s rapid economic and industrial development, and the well-developed Indian automotive industry justifies this catalytic role by producing a wide variety of vehicles, which include passenger cars, light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles, multi-utility vehicles such as jeeps, scooters, motorcycles, mopeds, three wheelers, tractors etc. The automobile sector in India has been experiencing significant growth in the last few years on the back of factors that include:

1. Favorable demographic distribution with rising working population and middle-class Urbanization.

2. Rising affluence of the average consumer as per capita income rises – According to McKinsey, the middle class in India will grow from 50 million to 550 million by 2025. With a tremendous growth in wealth as the economy grows, there will be significant increases in spending on discretionary items and consumer durables.

3. Increasing disposable incomes in rural agro-sector.

4. Overall GDP growth, with a rise in industrial and agricultural output.

5. Introduction of ultra-low-cost cars.

6. Increasing maturity of Indian original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

7. Availability of a variety of vehicle models meeting diverse needs and preferences – robust production.

8. Greater affordability of vehicles.

9. Easy finance schemes.

10. Favorable government policies.

India’s automobile industry, currently estimated to have a turnover of US$ 73 billion, accounts for 6 percent of its GDP and is expected to hit a turnover of US$ 145 billion by 2016. The automobile industry currently contributes 22 per cent to the manufacturing GDP and 21 per cent of the total excise collection in the country, according to Mr. Praful Patel, Minister, Heavy Industries, and Public Enterprises. In 2010-11, the total turnover and export of the automotive Industry in India reached a new high of US$ 73 billion and US$ 11 billion respectively. The cumulative announced investments reached US$ 30 billion during this period. He also said that the forecasted size of the Indian Passenger Vehicle Segment is nearly 9 million units and that of 2 wheelers, close to 30 million units – by 2020. India achieved the position of the top growing passenger car market in the world during the January-June period in 2011, overtaking the US, which grew at 14.40 percent, (Source: SIAM). In passenger vehicles, India was the fastest growing market at 18.20 per cent during the six month period. India’s automobile industry is expected to grow by 11 to 13 percent in the fiscal year ending March 2012, according to Pawan Goenka, President, SIAM. The industry body said that Indian automakers sold 143,370 cars in June 2011. The four-wheel passenger vehicle market has grown impressively at the hands of the new middle class, and there is a huge opportunity, as market penetration remains low. India’s automobile industry is growing fast, but two wheelers remain a dominant category. More than 78 percent of motor vehicles on the road are two-wheelers, their popularity is driven by low price, high fuel mileage, and an ability to drive efficiently through dense traffic. The share of different types of vehicles during 2010-11 was passenger vehicles (16.25), commercial vehicles (4.36), three wheelers (3.39), and two wheelers (76.00).

With the gradual liberalisation of the automobile sector since 1991, the number of manufacturing units in India has grown progressively. Currently, 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permissible under automatic route in this sector including passenger car segment. The import of technology/technological up gradation on the royalty payment of 5 percent without any duration limit and lump sum payment of US$ 2 million are also allowed under automatic route in this sector. The automobile industry is de-licensed, and import of components is freely allowed. With an objective of accelerating and sustaining growth in the automotive sector and to steer, coordinate and synergise the efforts of all stakeholders, the Automotive Mission Plan (AMP) 2006-2016 was prepared. The plan aims at making India global automotive hub. The AMP 2006-2016 aims at doubling the contribution of the automotive sector in GDP by taking the turnover to US$ 145 billion and providing additional employment to 25 million people by 2016. In the long term, the government has expressed plans to follow a two-pronged strategy for spurring automotive Research &Development (R&D). The first is aimed at addressing the existing infrastructure gap in the field domain of automotive testing and homologation through the Department’s flagship National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project(NATRiP), which is being implemented at a cost of Rs 2,288 crores (US$ 521.5 million), and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The second part of the strategy is aimed at leveraging the investments being made in NATRiP facilities for collaborative R&D with the industry, especially for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the auto component space. Further, with the recent announcement of the launch of the National Mission for Electric Mobility and the setting up of the National Council and Board for Electric Mobility, Mr. Patel emphasized on the commitment of the government for early adoption of electric vehicles, including hybrid vehicles, and the manufacturing of these vehicles and their components. The government is considering setting up two automotive manufacturing hubs spread over 10,000 acres each in central and eastern India. The new hubs, aimed at consolidating India’s position as an important destination for low-cost automotive production, will be in addition to the three existing zones – Haryana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

The automotive industry is at the core of India’s manufacturing economy – India is all set to become one of the world’s most attractive automotive markets for both manufacturers and consumers. The resulting benefits to society, such as economic growth, increased jobs, and stability for families employed by the automotive industry, are significant. The long-term potential for growth of the auto industry is very favorable, on account of low vehicle penetration in the country. As income levels rise and easy finance is available, the industry will continue to see a healthy growth rate. SIAM estimates that the growth of the auto industry in FY12 will be in the region of 12-15 per cent. References: Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Press Information Bureau, Press Releases, Report by Booz & Company – Revving the Growth Engine India’s Automotive Industry Is on a Fast Track, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA). (Source: ). Simply put it across- the Indian Auto Industry is set for an amazing growth ride in the foreseeable future with ample opportunities for the end consumer in regard to choices within each segment with the benefit of cost effectiveness due to highly competitive market with growing participation from foreign players that being the result of liberalization in regulation initiated by the Central Government.


Firstly let us understand what these qualitative factors mean when we are considering at the Auto Industry specific to auto components manufacturing.

A. Strategy: It plays the most significant directly linked to the Management style since it provides a clear direction for the entity. The auto component entities are left with options relating to more and variety of components per vehicle i.e. produce different components which provide a clear direction for sustainable growth. Secondly, they can provide the entire range of the same product to different OEM’s e.g. Mothers sons & Sumi provides the entire range of vehicle wiring to various OEM’s.

B. Time Interval: When strategies are made the focus is on long-term sustainable growth which is measured by the return on equity rather than short/medium term achievements focused on increasing the top line in regard to a single product.

C. Diversity: This would mean where a single product developed can without material changes be provided to various OEM’s e.g. spark plugs which can be remolded without any substantial process or without setting up facilities specifics to customers.

D. Innovation: R&D is the key to such manufacturers. For instance, let’s understand where the OEM has fixed the price for a component the research outcome providing the same durability resulting in cost effectiveness provides an opportunity for earning a greater profitability for such manufacturers.

Now let’s look at a few companies for purpose of analysis. The source of information is Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The entities selected are engaged in the business of manufacturing of auto components. The analysis is based on the first determination of Market Multiple for each of the selected entity and then examining vast difference if any within the multiples across the entities. Lastly to explore the possible reasons for such variation and in turn, relate to our basic question is valuation only about numbers?

All the above entities are engaged in the same business of manufacturing auto components but as evident have various market multiples the first three entities is averaging beyond 20, whereas the rest of the entities the multiples are averaging below 10 which in other words are averaging at approximately 70% lower than the average multiples of the first three entities. With the projected growth in the Auto Industry, it is imperative that auto components manufacturers are at the right place at the right time then whys such vast variations in the multiple? In order to explore the reasons for such variation, one needs to take an example and considering with our previous month’s analysis of RICO let us continue with the same. In the last month’s article, we enumerated the Business Model of RICO giving the details in regard to the areas of Key Partners, Key Activities, Key Resources, Value Proposition and Customer Segments which are considered from the perspective of either streamlining or rethinking by the Management.

All the above reflect the management style which in brief seems to be specific customer oriented, product specific, non diversification of product base, value enhancement through foreign ventures, and continuing focus on the export market. All these factors seem to have caught the eye of the market thereby impacting their multiple. A different perspective by the Management focusing on the qualitative factors may result as a turnover strategy with the end result of enhancing its multiple in line with the available growth opportunities in this industry.

Auto Lawn Mower

If you’re like many other homeowners, you hate the chore of spending a Sunday afternoon overheating in the burning summer sun and pouring down sweat while you cut your grass. Mowing the lawn is not only boring and hard work, but it also puts you at the mercy of Mother Nature, who doesn’t seem to be bothered that you have a full-time position, family, and other household chores when she decides to open up with a torrential downpour. Hiring someone else to do it gets costly. You can now get back your weekends and save the recurring expense of paying a neighbor boy to mow for you with the Auto mower Solar Hybrid.

Not any longer just a far off dream, or a science class’s group project, auto mowers have into scientific vegetarian robots that are reliable, largely self sufficient, and don’t leave any junk to clean up later. Picture a small shell-backed machine that awakes itself on demand, comes out of its hutch, looks for rain or wet grass and, when neither are there, quietly goes about the ongoing seasonal task of lawn maintenance. This sounds too good to be true, but that’s not all. That same small mower needs no oil or gasoline; it depends on a diet of electricity cautiously drawn from a high-tech, rechargeable battery pack. Not like many pets though, the robotic mower goes home and feeds itself when it gets hungry.

This new product is for someone who wants an environmentally friendly result, where emission and noise levels minimized. With the auto mower, there is now no call for compost heaps, the grass cuttings generated are so fine that they decompose rapidly, delivering a natural fertilizer for the lawn. Also not like you, the auto mower is also well supplied to work in the rain. Fine for your lawn, great for your conscience and even better for the earth, the mower supplies the best solution for keeping up the perfect lawn.

The great thing about it? It doesn’t produce noise or pollute the air. And you not need to pick up the mowed grass clumps, either! The mower cuts the grass so finely that there is no need to pick it up. It stays on the ground and naturally fertilizes your lawn.

It’s the newness not the noise that will draw attention to the auto mower — the machine is really fairly quiet for a mower. The auto mower’s noise level is around 63 decibels (dB), quieter than a regular power lawn mower’s noise level of 90 to 100 dB. By comparison, breathing is about 10 dB and a jet airplane taking off produces upward of 150 dB. The mower is nearer to the sound of a hair dryer (70 dB) [source: Dangerous Decibels].

Which lawn mower is best for you?

Great Investment

This ingenious lawn mowing robot uses an irregular figure of movement, has a long battery life, and a high ground speed to dynamically mow all parts of the lawn, and it has an interesting method to handle obstacles: if it is rigid and at least six inches tall, like trees or fences, the mower carefully bumps into it, reverses, and goes in another direction; other places, like a flowerbed, are barred from the cutting area by using the perimeter wire.

Robotic lawn mowers are the second largest category of household autonomous robots used presently. A typical robotic lawn mower need the user to set up a border wire around the lawn that patterns the area to be mowed. The lawn cutting robot utilizes this wire to locate the boundary of the area to be trimmed and sometimes to locate a recharging dock. Robotic mowers can maintain up to 5 acres (20,000 m2) of grass.

The convenience, hard work, and time saved makes it worthwhile for homeowners to acquire an auto mower. However, the price tag is considerable and runs in the range of $2000. If the cost of having someone mow your lawn is about $50, it only takes 40 weeks to break even. So go to it and buy your auto mower and, over time, it can work out as a great investment.