Saturday, May 30, 2009

Infosys - Stable friend

I have laid my hands on the current years Infosys balance sheet. As always it a joy to read for both the quantity and quality of disclosures.

Consolidated income has gone upto Rs 21693 crores a jump of 29.96% over the previous year. Net profit has grown to Rs 6828 crores from Rs 4941 crores a jump of 38%. The company continues to improve performance on all cost varaibales as a % of sales with operating profit at 34.08% . Sundry Debtor cycle has been bought down and stands at 16.7 % of revenues as opposed to 19.8% of sales last year.

EPS increased by 31.1% to Rs 99.76 per share from Rs 76.2 per share. Return on capital employed has improved from 41.38% to 42.9%.

Infosys continues to be a high margin high ROCE business with impeccable management track record. I see a few challenging years ahead but Infosys has the management and the organisational competency to ride thru this challenging phase.

A few other observations.

Cost of Capital
I had written last year about Infosys’s computation of cost of capital and the management decision to look at a minimum return of twice the cost of capital on average capital employed and thrice the cost of capital on average invested capital. The current cost of capital for Infosys is 12.18%. it has come down from 13.32% last year as Infosys has factored in 7% as return on risk free capital as opposed to 8% last year for computing cost of capital.

Dividend policy
The company has stated and is maintaining a dividend payout ratio of 30% of net profits which they has listed down as a strategy last year.

Cash on the balance sheet :-(
Cash and cash equivalents on the balance sheet have increased to nearly Rs 10000 crores which is invested in fixed deposits. This has been my only sore point with Infosys. I don’t get the logic on maintaining such high cash levels which is depressing ROCE.

Infosys management has always maintained that they would not be keen in looking at aggressive acquisitions to grow. It would invariably be niche acquisitions to fill skillset or geographical gaps. The business remains immensely profitable and throws out substantial amounts of cash every year. Infosys had also restructured its biggest cost variable - employee cost in the last downturn to incorporate a significant chunk of variable component in it to factor in significant downturns.
With so much buffer available in place I really don’t see the logic of maintaining such high cash levels. Ideally I would want the management to constantly buyback shares so as to reduce the equity base and improve EPS and ROCE.

I don’t even mind a lower dividend payout ratio and a higher share buyback program bcos share buyback is more tax friendly.

I continue to hold some Infosys shares and plan to retain them but not planning to add more as of now.


Nandy said...

Hi Ninad, Good to see you back on your blog. While there are some high performance companies in the stock market, just a handful of them have a great management and good disclosure practices that infosys does. Which is why it is one of my favourites too. Yes, there are some negatives that they are usually conservative, whether it is about giving guidance or about holding cash. Nevertheless, a great company to invest in with a reasonable margin of safety. Nandhitha

Ninad Kunder said...

Hi Nandhitha

I tend to agree that it is a great company to invest which is why I still hold the stock.

But am get frustated about the cash on the balance sheet and wish they do something about it.



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