This question has been with me for almost a month now - when we are at aninflectionpoint in ValuePickr journey as well as for India Economy.
Adverse Market conditions )- We have ridden this phase of adverse market conditions from 2010-2013 remarkably well - infact astonishingly well. None of us would have imagined we would end up with such performance numbers.
All credit is due to the Guru’s who gave us the directions when we started out - to seek businesses that seemed to have a sustainable niche - and go hammer & tongs at establishing that this will indeed be sustainable for next 2-3 years, why or why not. Credit is also due to the tremendous (some would say unforeseen) zeal shown by so many in the free-wheeling collaborative spirit and the in-depth investing research style ValuepIckr is known for today.
In a nut shell this was it - we got excited if we could identify an x-factor in the business, with sustainabilty/entry barriers so strong that no one with bigger financial and other resources would be able to dislodge them in forseeable 2-3 years ahead. Once invested, continue to hold till the business is capable of growing at 25% CAGR AND the stock performance is also capable of providing 25% CAGR returns from here (Valuations are reasonable and not overstretched to rule the latter out).
Last 3-4 years of adverse market conditions - showed us Quality was pursued - and rewarded handsomely in small and micro-cap businesses - capable of going/going to the next Level.
Benign to Positive market conditions: Beginning 2014 we have been seeing benign to positive market conditions emerging. We have started seeing action in hitherto neglected/battered down sections of the economy - Financials and Infrastructure started showing signs of interest back again, after a big gap.
We at ValuePickr will continue to do what has served us well over last 4 years, for sure. But I wasn’t sure we had all the directions we needed at this stage and some strategies/broad themes if you like for this next phase of market whenever it is upon us.
It was TIME for me to seek more inputs from market veterans and fellow-learners again. Had some good discussions. Trying to capture this back again at this thread - to spur our thinking, and carry forward some of the concrete inputs received, as possible.
This is what emerged - My takeaways captured, as below
Purists are skeptical (as expected) - and don’t want us to deviate - why do something different - when you are seeing success with what you are doing - quest for business quality among emerging businesses. I reassured them the Focus will remain on what we do best - quest for quality emerging business; that current quest is on expanding our horizons and bringing in more refinements in our investment thinking as Investors and Capital Allocators too.
Market cycles are a given. The Fund Managers are pretty much practical about it and had fruitful discussions with 2 of them. Also had involved discussions with a cycles-only player - one who follows very long term cycles - in global markets and in India.
One thing is clear - that the last 2005-2007 cycle/ride in Infra/CG/Power is very very unlikely to repeat. It never does that that same cycle repeats in the immediately following boom cycle as the last.
The real economy is sending those signals. The inflation differential (between US and India), the growth accruing in US, the higher interest rate cycle there - may make it very difficult to contain inflation on a sustained basis in India. Cutting down on Interest Rates is not happening anytime soon …and if that does not happen - Infra or capex-led cycle taking over as the predominant theme is far away - probably.
What looks likely at the moment to get stronger in such an environment is - the Export led themes - IT, Soft commodities, agro-chemicals, sugar, cotton etc. Last time IT theme played out was post 1998-2000. The inflation differential US/India was at exactly similar levels at today’s- the experts opine - and Rupee had to nosedive. It might again - notwithstanding whatever happens on the elections front - the real economy data isn’t changing. Last time in 1998-2000 along with IT, Media stocks had also flared up. So these folks are paying attention to selective IT and Media stocks (Pharma cycle has been on for long).
Interestingly what was also cited - look what is happening in the real world. Look at the Whatsapp acquisiotion! Look at Our own FLipkart or Myntra valuations. Look at a Yatra.com citing valuations of 2500 Cr. Remember the IndiaWorld valuation of 500 Cr (khoj.com and a few other sites) back in 1999-2000. Deja Vu?
If you go back and check the macro situation then and now, there are many many uncanny similarities!!
Some of these made eminent (anecdotal, if you will) sense to me. Want us to get started and do some serious thinking and work on those fronts.**Small and midcap IT is interesting, especially as there is undervaluation at play. **What else?
Meanwhile I will try and get Abhishek Basumallick to step in and guide us on pre-selecting small & midcap IT candidates. He has enormous exposure and understanding of the Industry. He is familiar with most of the names we can throw up at ValuePickr like Accelya, RS software, Mindtree or others. He is also one of the few people I know who has made serious money from his IT picks over last few years - eClerx as an example and a few more.
Think he should be the best person to give us some direction/energy for some work in IT space. Anyone experienced in Media businesses? Why is a SUN TV not exciting at this digital-inflection point (ignoring the political objections for the moment?
What else? Over to you all.