Category Archives: Peter Cundill

How to correctly calculate Enterprise Value

After all that heavy macro stuff, back to the nitty-gritty world of fundamental analysis.

Let’s have a look at Enterprise Value, which as concept is gaining more and more attention, among others famous “Screening guru” O’Shaughnessy has identified Enterprise value as the most dominant single factor in his new book. Also a lot of the best Bloggers like Geoff Gannon and Greenbackd prefer EV/EBITDA

Interestingly many people seem to just use and accept the “standard” Enterprise value calculation.

How to calculate standard Enterprise Value

Investopedia has the “normal” definition of Enterprise Value:

Definition of ‘Enterprise Value – EV’
A measure of a company’s value, often used as an alternative to straightforward market capitalization. Enterprise value is calculated as market cap plus debt, minority interest and preferred shares, minus total cash and cash equivalents.

Investopedia also offers an interpretation

Investopedia explains ‘Enterprise Value – EV’
Think of enterprise value as the theoretical takeover price. In the event of a buyout, an acquirer would have to take on the company’s debt, but would pocket its cash. EV differs significantly from simple market capitalization in several ways, and many consider it to be a more accurate representation of a firm’s value. The value of a firm’s debt, for example, would need to be paid by the buyer when taking over a company, thus EV provides a much more accurate takeover valuation because it includes debt in its value calculation.

So this is a good hint how to understand Enterprise Value: It originates from take-over valuation, most prominently from Private Equity investors or “old style” corporate raiders.

How to UNDERSTAND Enterprise Value

The private equity / Raider business in principle is relatively easy: You buy a company (or achieve full control) and then in a first step you extract all existing cash and/or assetswhich are not necessary to run the business from the company. In a second step, the corporate raider will then put as much debt onto the target company’s balance sheet and let it pay out as a dividend or capital reduction.

The more the Raider can get out quickly either as excess cash or as a “dividend recap” (short form for a debt financed dividend) the higher the return on investment.

The first important aspect: Excess cash OR excess assets

As I have written above, a raider of course likes best plain cash lying around. On the other hand, the raider will happily sell anything which is not really required to run a business and pocket this cash as well. However mechanical screeners will only capture cash on the balance sheet, not any “extra assets”.

A good example is my portfolio company SIAS. Their EV/EBITDA decreased strongly because the “exchanged” their extra asset in the form of a South American minority stake into cash. Another “extra Asset” company would be EVN with its Verbund stake.

Including the Verbund stake, EVN looks quite expensive at EV/EBITDA 8.3 (EV ~ 4 bn, EBITDA ~ 500 mn) against 5-6 EV/EBITDA at RWE and EON. However if we deduct the “extra asset” of 25% Verbund (~1.6 bn EUR) from the 4 bn EV, we suddenly end up with an EV/EBITDA of <5, a lot cheaper for this very conservatively run utility company.

In my experience, it is much more interesting to find companies with extra assets which don't show up as cash on the balance sheet. This was mentioned before as favorite technique of value legend Peter Cundill.

Next step: What to add to Enterprise Value

So its pretty clear that the less debt a company has the more a PE/raider will be willing to pay.

But it is also important to understand, how the capacity to put debt into a company is determined. Especially in the US, the debt will be put into the target in the form of corporate bonds. In order to sell them, you need to have a rating.

The lower the rating the more expensive the debt. In practice, raiders will try to achieve a BB rating as this is usually the “sweet spot” before bond spreads go up dramatically.

Rating agencies have relatively simple ratios to determine maximum debt loads within a certain rating category, however the most important point is this one:

Rating companies add additional items to determine debt capacity which are:

pension deficits or unfunded pension liabilities
– financial and operating leases (capitalised)
– any other known fixed payment obligations (cartel fines, guarantees etc.).

Economically, those items are very similar to financial debt which is usually included in the EV calculations, as they represent fixed payment obligations which sometimes (like pensions) even rank more senior than debt.

It is therefore no wonder that with a “standard” EV/EBITDA screener, often UK retail companies with huge (underwater) operating lease and pension commitments show up as “cheap” and then people are surprised that they go bankrupt soon (Game Group anyone ?).

Special case: prepayments

Prepayments are an interesting feature of some business models, among other for instance at Dart Group.

Normally, a company produces its goods first and then sells them again receivables until cash is then finally collected. In the case of prepayments, cash comes first in against a payable and the good gets produced at a later stage and then delivered with no further cash inflow to the customer. If the prepayments do not carry any formal restrictions, the company in theory can use the cash for whatever it wants. So for instance if a company can finance inventory out of payables, the prepayment cash could be used to finance even machinery or to reduce financial debt. So to make a long story short: cash from prepayments without formal restrictions should be considered “free cash” and deducted from enterprise value.

How to calculate Enterprise Value correctly:

So now we have all ingredients to correctly calculate Enterprise Value:

a. Equity Market cap
b. Financial debt (long + short term)
c. minorities, preferred
d. financial leases and operating leases
e. pension deficit or unfunded pension liabilities
f. any other fixed liability which has to be repaid independently of the business success

g. cash or cash equivalents
h. “extra assets”, assets not required to run the business

Of course, EBITDA has to be adjusted as well in order to make usefull comparisons.

Basically we have to add back leasing expenses and pension expenses to EBITDA in order to compare the ratio against other companies.


Standard screening EV/EBITDA does omit various relevant elements of an “economical” Enterprise value. Adjusting it for relevant items will prevent an investor to end up with relativ obvious value traps.

I am willing to bet that a back test on the adjusted EV/EBITDA ratios would generate even better results than the “standard” EV/EBITDA calculations.

Magic Sixes quick check: Creston plc

Regular reader know that I run a “Magix Sixes” screening for investment idea generation.

This idea is from Peter Cundill’s book and is a very simple screen: Stocks which trade below 0.6 book, below 6 PE and have a dividend yield of > 6%.

As one could imagine, the result of this search are not really “wide moat” beauties…

However, one new entry, Creston PLC doesn’t look too bad.
Read more

Magic Sixes – “New entries”

    At the moment. there are some interesting “new entries” in my Europe based “Magic Sixes” Screen.
    New entries (non financials) at which I will have a look in the next days are:

    ESSO S.A.F (French Exxon subsidiary)
    Stora Enso (another paper company)
    Deutsche Lufthansa– CSP International (Italian underwear, firewall blocks website ;-))
    Screen Service (Italian manufactorer of television broadcasting equipment)
    Isagro SpA (Italian producer of herbicides)
    Mondadori (Italian publisher, majority owned by Berlusconi)

    It looks like an interesting time for contrarian investors…..

    Additionally i run a “magic sixes light screen” with slightly relaxed rulse (P/b 0.7, P/E 7, Div. yield 5%)

    Some interesting companies there:

    ICT Automatisering (Durch softwar company)
    Huntsworth PLC (UK PR company)
    BWG Homes (norwegian residentail house builder)

Autostrada / SIAS Teil 4: Extra Assets und Aufnahme ins Depot

Im besprochenen Buch “There is always something to do” wird erwähnt, dass Peter Cundill immer auf der Suche nach “Extra Assets” war, also Vermögenswerte in einer Bilanz die nicht offensichtlich sind und evtl. nicht vom Markt bewertet werden.

Bei der Bewertung in Teil 3 bin ich ja einfach vom konsolidierten Gewinn nach Minderheiten ausgegangen und mit Autobahn Assets in Höhe von 3,1 Mrd. gerechnet sowie einer Nettoverschuldung von 1,7 Mrd.

Dabei habe ich aber einiges in der Bilanz unterschlagen, vollständig sieht die SIAS Bilanz wie folgt aus:


3,1 Mrd. “Konzessions Assets”
0,6 Mrd. andere Finanzanlagen
0,5 Mrd. Umlaufvermögen
0,5 Mrd. Cash
macht 4,7 Mrd. gesamt


1,4 Mrd. EK
0,2 Mrd. Minderheiten
2,2 Mrd. Finanzverbindlichkeiten
1,0 Mrd. andere Verbindlichkeiten

Bei der Bewertung in Teil 3 war die implizite Annahme, dass sowohl die restlichen Aktiva und Passiva jeweils Ihren “Buchwert” wert sind und sich dann aufheben.

Bei Italienischen Unternehmen sind ja insbesondere die Finanzanlagen immer einen Blick wert. Praktischerweise werden die ebenfalls Italien typisch bis in die letzte Einzelheit “aufgedröselt”.

Bevor wir uns im Detail anschauen müssen ob da irgendwo eine Perle versteckt ist, gibt uns SIAS in der Juni Investorenpräsentation einen freundlichen Hinweis und zwar auf Seite 29.

Man ist mit 45% an einem Chilenischen Unternehmen beteiligt (zusammen mit dem Konkurrenten Atlantia und Mediobanka), dass dort über 100 KM Autobahn betreibt bzw. baut.

In der Bilanz wird die Beteiligung at Equity bewertet mit ca. 180 Mio EUR (größte Position der Finanzanlagen), Gewinn wurde lt. GB im Jahr 2010 nicht gezeigt. D.h. auch bei der in Teil 3 ermittelten Bewertung ist diese Beteiligung mit 180 Mio EUR implizit angesetzt.

Das Interessante ist, dass anscheinend ein IPO dieser Beteiligung in Vorbereitung ist. Laut Juni Präsentation schätzt SIAS den Marktwert Ihres Anteils auf > 640 Mio EUR.

Ob das zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt noch realistisch ist kann ich nicht beurteilen, es zeigt aber die Größenordnung der “stillen Reserven” an. Nimmt man mal die Schätzung aus der Präsentation wären das 460 Mio stille Resereven oder bei 227 Mio Aktien 2 EUR pro Aktie (bzw. ein Drittel des aktuellen Kurses), dass ich auf den Wert der SIAS und der Autostrada noch oben drauf packen muss.

Kommt der IPO noch wie angekündigt per Ende des Jahres, dann könnte das vielleicht sogar für einen kleinen Kurshüpfer sorgen. Wenn nicht, dann macht das auch wenig.

Fazit: Mit der Beteiligung an dem Chilenischen Unternehmen hat man hier die von Peter Cundill so geschätzten “Extra Assets”. Der bevorstehende IPO dieser Beteiligung könnte sogar so eine Art kleiner kurzfristiger Katalysator sein.

Alles in allem rechtfertigt das eine volle Position (5%) im Portfolio für Autostrada Torino Milano.

“Magic Sixes” Screening

Im Peter Cundill Buch Review hatte ich ja angemerkt, dass Cundill anscheinend lange (oder immer noch ?) unter anderem mit der relativ einfachen “Magic Sixes” Formel arbeitet also Aktie bei denen:
– KBV <= 0,6 ist
– KGV <=6
– Dividendenrendite >= 6%

Auch im Internet werden die “Magic Sixes” ab und zu mal erwähnt, meistens im Zusammennhang mit Peter Cundill. Anscheinend hat er die “Formel” hauptsächlich dazu verwendet um zu schauen ob der Markt an sich billig ist, siehe hier.

Ich bin ja kein Fan von “Formula Investing”, finde es aber als Startpunkt bzw. Screening Hilfe recht nützlich. Da man das Gelesene auch immer gleich anwenden soll, habe ich einfach mal einen entsprechenden Bloomberg Screen erstellt, erstmal fokussiert auf Europa und mit dem Zusatzkriterium Market Cap > 10 Mio. um die Schrottwerte auszufiltern. Das Ergebnis anbei:

Short Name P/E P/B Dvd Yld Market Cap Mio
BNP PARIBAS 4.90 0.58 6.37 39,879.6
AXA 4.32 0.59 6.74 24,038.1
SOC GENERALE 4.44 0.38 8.33 16,425.7
NATIXIS 5.03 0.49 8.37 8,507.3
SPAREBANK 1 SR B 5.40 0.58 6.37 5,563.6
AUSTEVOLL SEAFOO 5.14 0.58 6.00 5,128.8
CIC 4.14 0.46 7.20 4,696.4
UPM-KYMMENE OYJ 5.45 0.60 6.68 4,430.8
RESOLUTION 1.52 0.47 7.45 3,630.7
FINMECCANICA SPA 3.59 0.40 8.74 2,789.0
DELTA LLOYD NV 3.41 0.43 8.57 2,031.2
CA ILE FRANCE 4.50 0.35 6.75 1,356.2
PUBLIC POWER COR 3.46 0.20 13.48 1,317.8
BANQ NATL BELGIQ 1.31 0.23 6.09 1,114.0
BANK OF CYPRUS 3.68 0.37 8.18 1,007.0
HOME RETAIL GROU 5.43 0.37 13.05 1,031.4
CA NORD DE FRANC 4.68 0.35 7.76 973.9
GRIEG SEAFOOD AS 4.72 0.50 17.09 873.2
TETRAGON FINANCI 1.30 0.54 6.25 849.7
CRCAM DU LANGUED 3.98 0.32 6.91 748.2
SPAREBANKEN OST 4.71 0.39 14.71 704.9
AUTOSTRADA TO-MI 5.39 0.53 6.97 605.0
CA ATLANTIQUE VE 4.58 0.27 6.92 482.0
CA SUD RHONE ALP 3.88 0.35 6.57 478.8
ROTTNEROS AB 4.55 0.39 6.45 464.8
BANK GREECE 2.17 0.51 9.55 397.3
CA NORMANDIE SEI 3.65 0.29 7.65 393.9
CA LOIRE-HAUTE-L 3.83 0.29 6.07 340.6
SEQUANA 5.54 0.40 6.03 332.7
CA TOURAINE POIT 4.34 0.26 6.36 320.1
ULJANIK PLOVIDBA 3.26 0.50 7.16 283.9
CA ILLE ET VILAI 3.49 0.25 7.14 278.8
CREDIT AGRICOLE 3.81 0.27 6.47 255.6
CREDIT AGR MORBI 3.50 0.28 6.85 239.4
PEKAES 3.29 0.54 17.54 182.3
STAR BULK CARRIE 3.47 0.19 13.89 116.5
NES PRESTEGJELD 5.41 0.32 6.61 108.8
LES NX CONSTRUCT 5.17 0.40 8.96 80.4
GAME GROUP PLC 4.99 0.24 28.54 80.8
NUTEX 0.79 0.00 11.11 73.5
GRUPO SOARES DA 2.78 0.33 7.23 49.7
BASHNEFTEGEO-BRD 2.82 0.49 6.21 45.7
ESTORIL SOL SGPS 4.63 0.43 8.33 40.1
TATNEFTEPROM-BRD 4.14 0.49 53.85 33.9
HF COMPANY 5.20 0.46 9.17 33.0
WOOLWORTH CYPRUS 3.85 0.18 6.21 30.9
ERMES DEPARTMENT 4.72 0.34 15.29 29.8
HELLENIC CARRIER 1.48 0.32 14.07 24.6
TSKB YATIRIM ORT 4.49 0.51 9.59 21.2
LOGICOM LTD 4.03 0.40 6.90 21.0
FAIRPOINT GROUP 5.02 0.54 9.26 20.9
MOLINS PLC 5.65 0.37 6.42 17.5
SOFT COMPUTING 4.15 0.59 8.31 10.7

Immerhin sind 53 Werte in der Liste, darunter u.a. das “Who is who” der Französischen Finanzindustrie inkl. der ganzen Credit Agricole Töchter.

Dennoch sind einige der “einschlägigen” Aktien darunter, wie Public Power, Autostrade Torino-Milano aber auch UPM und einige Norwegische Fischfarmen.

Ein paar der Werte werde ich mir wohl die nächste Zeit noch anschauen.

Auf US Aktien (also Sitz der Gesellschaft in USA) angewendet, findet er übrigens nur eine einzige Aktie (International Shipholding). Frei nach Peter Cundill würde ich sagen, dass Europa damit relativ gesehen billiger ist als USA.

To be continued.