DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH !!!!!!
Almost exactly 1 year ago I started my exploration into the Australian stock market with DWS Ltd. and Silver Chef.
As some readers know, I didn’t buy DWS (I only put it on my watch list) and bought Silver Chef instead. Now, 1 year later it seems to be that I backed the “wrong horse”:
DWS is up +42,5%, SIV is down -19% (in AUD). So let’s look at DWS first.
In my previous post on capital allocation, I had mentioned SAP as a company which might have overpaid for an acquisition. A reader commented that SAP is a good capital allocator because they increased EPS over the last 10 years.
Increasing EPS itself in my opinion is not a “proof” for good capital allocation. Actually, this itself says nothing at all. If you have a stable business, just retaining earnings and doing nothing will increase EPS as long as interest rates are positive. Good capital allocation is when you create value from retained profits.
The best way to find out if value is created is to look at how returns on equity and return on capital develop over time.
Let’s take a look at SAP over the past 17 years with some per share numbers:
Everyone who has read Thorndikes book “The Outsiders” clearly knows that capital allocation& capital management is one of the most important factors in creating long term shareholder value. After I watched Thorndike give a briliant talk at Google on this topic, I decided to write down my own thoughts on the topic.
What is CAPITAL ALLOCATION & CAPITAL MANAGEMENT anyway ?
CAPITAL ALLOCATION is simply what you do with your profits/cash inflows once they are in your account. You can do a lot of things with it. Thorndike in the talk above uses 5 uses, I would add another 2 (in bold)
1. Reinvest: Maintain your existing assets/infrastructure/operations
2. Grow organically: Expand your business by buying more machines/outlets/opening stores etc.
3. Expand your business by M&A
4. Pay back liabilities (debt, payables, pension liabilities etc.)
5. pay dividends
6. buy back shares
7. just leave the cash on your account and wait for better opportunities
So let’s move on from focusing on the bad things and look at the the things that I like at Kinder Morgan. While I was writing this post, I found a very good blog post from Glenn Chan from 2 years ago which I can only recommend and includes a lot of interesting points about Kinder Morgan.
Rich Kinder, age 71 owns 11% of the company and was famous for paying himself only 1 USD salary during his time as CEO.