Wednesday, July 16, 2008

V (VISA): A Entry about punishment

This entry is about punishment. Over punishment in an overly emotional market, under punishment of certain stocks because of their honeymoon period and self punishment in the form of admitting that I didn't do enough research before making a purchase.

Today's lesson is a crucial one. I made the mistake on buying on weak research and all I got was the fluff that the pumpers have been vomiting out. Thank the good Lord that I caught myself early enough. Though Visa's stock has declined around 20% from the highs it hit after its March IPO, it has held up overall very well in the most bloody of markets.

After investing in at 73 and 68, I have finally gotten around did the real research I should have before even considering buying. Based of Visa's 10k they reported Net Income for the following years as:

2005 = $360,445,000
2006 = $454,561,000
2007 = $(1,076,095,000) LOSS

Before we freak out, the 2007 loss was due to litigation charges brought on by the American Express 2.5 Billion dollar lawsuit. Note that Visa is not done with their litigation charges as Discover just laid the 3 billion dollar lawsuit on today. FYI, part of the IPO money was set aside for future payouts. For now lets just take the litigation charges out of the equation so we can value the stock based on an ideal scenario.

To do this I took the litigation costs out of the 2007 Consolidated Statement of Operations and this gives Visa an operating income of $1,203,335,000. Assuming a 35% Income Tax (2005 had 40.18%, 2006 had 34.82%), we get a net income = $817,847,800. So that brings the 3 year view to:

2005 = $360,445,000
2006 = $454,561,000
2007 = $817,847,800 (sans litigation loss)

Divide Net Income in 2007 by 446,000,000 IPO Shares Outstanding and you get 1.834 EPS.

If we go by MasterCard P/E of 25 and your Visa per share value should be $45.85 (This is determined by multiplying the MA P/E of 25 by the adjusted EPS of 1.834). At the current price of 68ish the Visa P/E should be approximately 38ish. That is 40% higher than Master Card.


So although the boards (mostly idiots) say that without the charges, Visa had a Net Income increase from 06-07 of 80% (Actually, it's more like "More people will use Credit Cards. Buy now before it hits 200")... wait, I have something to say. Let's go to Google finance and pull the basic numbers and take a look at them to address the futures earnings growth of Visa.

MA (Mastercard) 248.86
Mkt Cap: 32.35B
Shares: 130.01M
52Wk High: 320.30
52Wk Low: 120.0
P/E: 25.40
F P/E: 26.46
Inst. Own: 69%

AXP (American Express) 37.02
Mkt Cap: 43B
Shares: 1.16B
52Wk High: 65.89
52Wk Low: 35.55
P/E: 11.15
F P/E: 17.67
Inst. Own: 81%

V (Visa) 68.42
Mkt Cap: 74.16B
Shares: 1.08B
52Wk High: 89.84
52Wk Low: 55.00
P/E -
F P/E -
Inst. Own: 7%

Look at the P/E and Forward P/Es of the companies... Visa doesn't have anything due to the loss but if you look at MA and AXP, the Forward P/E is higher than the Current P/E. That means that people are expecting the companies to make less than they did last year. So to say that Visa will likely keep on growing at that rate is very unlikely. AXP CEO Ken Chenault confirmed two weeks ago when he said that the business wasn't as healthy as he thought it was. Let's also not forget that the world economy is experiencing some purse tightening ergo, less transactions overall in the short term.

If you didn't already notice, I added one more statistic, Institutions that own the stock and MA is at a respectable 69% and AXP is at a whopping 81%. If Visa is really that hot, why do only 7% of the institutions own it? A better question is, what percent of the 7% of the institutions got it at the $44 dollar initial offering price.

I don't mind this stock. I bought it initially because I'm a big believer in investing in what you use. And frankly, it's comforting to know that pretty much everyone around you uses plastic, likely Visa, to do their shopping. But the bottomline is, you have to be good about your investments and according to The Intelligent Investor, an investment is a purchase made:

1) after thorough analysis
2) safety of principal investment
3) with the strong potential of adequate return

1 and 3 (3 is actually dependent on 2) are ok but frankly, I'm not so sure about the principal investment part. Every other stock out there has been punished beyond fairness but this one has not and frankly, that bothers me. The honeymoon period is wearing thin and people, myself included, have and will start sobering up about this one. I think this is a buy but not at these prices.

I'll wait for it to be properly punished first before I take a look back into it, but for now, I'm the one who has to eat it.

Good hunting.

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