Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Discounted Cash Flow by Matthew Roddan

When a company’s financials are scrutinized, metrics used to evaluate the same are important. According to Wall Street, a company’s cash flow is the best indicator for a company’s performance. As such, DCF or discounted cash flow analysis is used to determine a company’s worth by estimating future cash flows.

Projected cash flows (operating profit + depreciation + amortization of goodwill - capital expenses - cash taxes - alteration in working capital) are discounted to current value using company’s weighted average costs. In short, DCF is an effective and unparalleled tool for determining share value, which is important for investors.

Also, a few financial scandals only hiked the importance of DCF. With more concerns about reliability of earnings and calculation of P/E or cash flow determination, coming up with a DCF model calls for more efforts than merely dividing share price by income or sales. However, taking this effort ensures investors get a good idea of the key factors like share value, projection of future income or profits, growth ratio, etc. Besides, DCF can’t be manipulated through aggressive accounting practices easily.

While DCF is a very useful tool, it isn’t without shortcomings. It is a mechanical valuation tool that works akin to garbage in, garbage out saying. So, any minor change or change in assumptions could lead to major differences. But, investors should always crosscheck evaluations and allow considerable margin for such changes or errors, when taking decisions. Major investment decisions should not be taken purely relying on DCF calculations alone. What if a client backs off from a contract, or what if interest rates hike unexpectedly or even a competitor cropping up with crushing prices and the firm losing most business? Remember, when expectations change, calculations or derivations based on the assumptions will change along with it! Do you know even reputed investor Warren Buffet and other financial experts and portfolio managers rely on DCF?

Discounting cash flow is tricky and it is important to remember that assuming or predicting future estimates could be meaningful or meaningless depending on the estimates taken and how reasonable they are. Besides, numbers aren’t static and keep changing with changing trends. As for investors, evaluating stock pricing is very important and DCF is a handy aid for calculating the same, says Matthew Roddan of Project Ninety Nine. Do you know stock market speculations are based on DCF? Whether it is acquiring a business, or a property, or investing on stock, DCF helps with speculating approximately.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Is Money Important? By Matthew Roddan

We’ve all heard the saying “Money can’t buy happiness” several times. Funny how most of our problems are related to money or created by money! Can we really ignore money? Money is a means of exchange and a very essential commodity. Without money there’s nothing one can do today – home, education, food, medical assistance and what not, everything boils down to money.

Right from the time a life is brought into the earth, everything revolves around money. While money is not everything, is does play a key role in our lives and one can never do without it. That aside, what about businesses? Can businesses be commenced or run without money? There’s always a pursuit for money and there’s no denying the fact that enough money can bring one a secured feeling. That’s one reason why many prefer starting their own business, says Matthew Roddan of Project Ninety Nine.

With tumbling economy, many lost their jobs and were left in lurch and succumbed to not being able to manage the change or uncertainty. Even established individuals who had a career for years couldn’t take the hit and look for new opportunities, if at all there were any! By having a business, one can control their destiny and not leave it at the mercy of others – this is one reason that pushes many to start their own business.

It is one reason why many who don’t have the resources for starting a business, look for potential investors or crowd funding to start their dream and take reigns of their future. When potential entrepreneurs have profitable proposals, investors or sponsors are interested in taking the plunge, provided they’re briefed on the possibilities adequately. Matthew Roddanof Project Ninety Nine says that’s one reason why project proposals should be prepared along with financials and statistics to show potential investors. Being prepared is the key to getting funding and Project Ninety Nine brings potential entrepreneurs and investors to discuss on options and take up profitable and potential ventures.

Unlike other sites, this is a real platform where investors discuss and share knowledge and projects that catch their attention are given a thought, analyzed and the site intervenes to come up with a mutually beneficial proposal. In other words, the site stays though the ride and ensures both parties’ interests are taken care of. Handling finances the right way ensures one gets to live comfortably, secure one’s future and what not. Money is a means to an end – one’s security, which influences one’s happiness, freedom and quality of life.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Discounted Cash Flow ~ An Overview

DCF short for discounted cash flow analysis is a way to evaluate a company, project or assets. Cash flows for the future are assumed and discounted considering cost of capital to get the current values. Sum of future cash flows outgoing or incoming is net present value (NPV) that’s taken as price or value of cash flows. Discounted cash flow analysis is used to determine the worth of an investment in simplified terms. It is used in real estate development, investment finance, patent evaluation and corporate financial management.

As Matthew Roddan from Project Ninety Nine says, understanding the probability of risk and profits is very important in an investment decision. Investment decisions are made for profits and understanding what one can expect is very important to determine the suitability of an investment. Exponential discounting is the most common method deployed for discounting, to evaluate future cash flows answering the question – what would be the returns for an investment at a specific rate of return, as against cash flow expected in the future? Hyperbolic discounting is another method, though not deployed widely. Discount rate is the right weighted average cost of capital (WACC) and it reflects cash flow risks.

Discounted cash flow analysis is important for any investor to determine if or not an investment decision is suitable. Let’s look at it this way – consider the investment as a business or a company. DCF is a way to determine a company worth currently, based on calculations for the future. Though this is a useful method, it does have hiccups. Being a mechanical evaluation tool, it is bond by a principle and even simple changes in one value could result in major changes in value. So, instead of determining values for infinity a cap is used – say 10 years. This way, estimation becomes measurable.

Besides, Discounted Cash Flow is a method that uses intrinsic valuation for companies that have predictable flow of cash. It is used for companies that have been around for a while, though it is also used for IT companies that are expected to grow swiftly. This means, when a start-up or developing firm is evaluated, the results could go right or horribly wrong! As an investor, you must be able to weigh your options and prepare for both, says Matthew Roddan of Project Ninety Nine. This way or that, evaluating an investment is important for any investor and determining the right investments is done based on calculations that are probabilities and possibilities, not a definitive. The calculated risk should be something you would be able to manage, irrespective of whether it turns our favorable or not! 

Friday, 2 October 2015

What’s a Medium Term Note?

Medium-term note or MTN is when a debt note maturity period is 5 – 10 years, though technically the repayment duration or maturity period could be less than a year to a 100 years! These debt notes can be issued on floating or fixed coupon basis. Floating rate MTNs are either simple where the coupon is aligned
Euribor +/- basis points or it could be notes with complex structure and linked to indices, swap treasuries, etc.  If they’re issued to investors who aren’t residents of the US, they’re termed "Euro Medium Term Notes". Issuing MTNs to US-based investors calls for a US MTN program.

MTNs can come with fixed maturity date or come with put options, embedded call wherein MTNs could be redeemed per pre-accepted terms or speculations. MTN is usually issued for unsecured investment debts, with fixed rates, though it offers flexibility to both the issuer and investor when it comes to documentation and structure. While many use bank instruments for PPP and have an idea of how MTNs work, many don’t know how it really works! It is funny how they’re rising in popularity and many deploy it for different purposes, without knowing how these instruments work or what it really is! Matthew Roddan of Project Ninety Nine explains MTNs are a great way to get into PPP, especially since not many have the funds required to invest in PPP from their resources. Since PPP is gaining exposure and many would like to know if or not PPPs are what stuffs that make a mythical legend, let’s understand MTNs better.

According to Matthew Roddan, many aspire to invest in PPP but end up being unable to do so by trusting wrong people (brokers) or because they don’t have enough resources. The former is truer and why many think PPPs don’t exist. So, let’s understand MTNs better and how they can be used for PPP. MTNs are instruments of debt issued by banks and are sold to investors with a good face value, annual interest rate and maturity date. So, if you hold a note from Bank of America that’s worth 100 million, with interest rate of 7% each year, you will get 7 million till the instrument matures, after which you can cash it for its worth!

While MTNs are very similar to debt notes, it is more popular because of its price, flexibility, resale potential and option to be bought at a discount instead of its face value. According to Matthew Roddan from Project Ninety Nine, MTNs are available for more than fifty years and can effectively compete with any bank instrument. Since they were available for discounted rate, it became popular after “trading bank instruments” gained notoriety in the secondary market. PPP reign began soon after and Internet has made it even more popular and widely available. If you have an interest in PPP, MTNs Project Ninety Nine are your go-to option.