Tag Archives: accounting

Question on ROE vs. ROCE; Comprehensive Look at EBITDA


http://greenbackd.com/2014/04/28/median-stock-at-all-time-high-valuation/ and an interesting look at margins here:

Respecting the Reality of Change

The following chart shows CPATAX divided by GDP from 1947 to present.  The black line represents the average from 1947 to 2002, and the green line represents the average from 2003 to 2013.


As you can see in the chart, CPATAX/GDP is wildly elevated at present.  It currently sits 63.3% above its average from 1947 to 2013, and a whopping 75.0% above its average from 1947 to 2002.

As readers of this blog have probably inferred by now, I’m not very patient when it comes to waiting for “mean-reversion” to occur.  In my view, when a variable deviates for long periods of time from a reversion pattern that it has exhibited in the past, the right response is to expect something important to have changed–possibly for the long haul, such that a predictable reversion to prior averages will no longer be readily in the cards.  The task would then be to find out what that something is, and try to understand it. Go here:

http://www.millennialinvest.com/   (Interesting blog)

Reader Question:

Can you help me understand one aspect of ROE? In Indian companies, some of the companies have ROE < ROCE.

Isn’t that a violation of the observation that ROE ~ ROCE times Leverage.

I define ROCE as Return on Capital Employed.

ROCE = EBITDA (1-Tax Rate)/Total Capital Employed (=Debt+Equity)

I use ROCE as a measure of the attractiveness of the industry and the company. High ROCE is good, implying a moat, low ROCE is not.

Some of the reasons I could think of are:

  1.  Exceptional losses, which lead to Net Income << EBIT(1-Tax) *Leverage
  2.  Extremely high interest charges. ( higher than return on the        debt portion) which leads Net Income << EBIT(1-Tax)* Leverage
  3.  There is a slump sale of a division, and thus suddenly huge            amount of profit has come in increasing inordinately the            average shareholder equity. So suddenly the effective leverage        has dropped.

Update May 1: 

I made a mistake in describing ROCE.  In my defense, I dont exactly calculate ROCE and merely use the numbers from screens.
ROCE = EBIT(1-Tax Rate)/ Total Assets and not EBITDA as mentioned before.

Does someone want to have a crack at this? I see issues whenever you use EBITDA without understanding maintenance capex. Please read this: Placing EBITDA into Perspective

More on WMT: A reader posted this in the comment section: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/04/28/why-is-wal-mart-failing-in-emerging-markets.aspx.    Does that article even touch upon the ture nature of WMT’s competitive advantage?  No wonder the obvious is overlooked.

What Is Behind The Numbers?


With sentiment high and stocks in general having rallied for five years, be very careful about the financial numbers in your companies. A strong review of financial shenanigans is worth your time.

John Del Vecchio and Tom Jacobs, the authors of What’s Behind the Numbers?, are giving a presentation at the New York Society of Analysts. See sample chapter:WBTN_DelJacobs_samplechapter

Attendees will learn:

  1. How companies hide poor earnings quality
  2. Repeatable methods for uncovering what companies don’t tell you about their numbers
  3. Reliable formulas for determining when a stock will get hit

Whether you’re a number cruncher or just curious, you’ll greatly benefit from this seminar, given by two people who combine investment chops with crowd-pleasing stories. So what are you waiting for?

Date: January 13, 2014
Time: 6:30 – 8 pm
Place: NYSSA Conference Center
1540 Broadway, Suite 1010
(entrance on 45th Street)
New York, NY 10036
Price: Nonmember $55 ($10 surcharge for walk-ins)

Advance registration is encouraged in order to avoid the additional charge for walk-ins. Also, space is limited by the size of the room.


The above video is worth viewing. Just remember that the authors do not understand the causes of inflation, but you will learn more about individual investor psychology. Jacobs provides plenty of excellent advice for individuals in terms of search and strategy. Go small and look for wholesale emotional selling.

If you don’t want to invest in stocks, then go here:

Cisco (CSCO) Case Study; The Lord of Dark Matter


Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked (Syria), and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutation of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.” –Mark Twain

“When the rich make war, it is the poor that die.”–Jean-Paul Sartre

Case Study of Cisco:

CSCO Chart

Case Study on Cisco Third Quarterly Earnings  (includes 2012 for comparison purposes).  Instructions and questions in the document.

CSCO_VL   (for reference) CSCO March 2013 Qtr Report

Please explain what you see.

The Lord of Dark Matter

Fleckenstein:  “Probably anyone who listens to your wonderful interviews already understands that money printing can’t solve anything … Most recently the housing bubble led to the collapse in 2008/2009, and now we’ve got QE of biblical proportions being foisted upon us by the Fed, BOJ (Bank of Japan), Swiss National Bank, and probably the BOE (Bank of England) soon, etc.

The irony of it all is that 5 years into zero rates, and America alone (with) $5 or $6 trillion of deficit spending, the economy is still crummy.  No one ever says, ‘Why is that?’  Well, the reason is because money printing doesn’t work.”

….Everybody and his brother is bearish.  I get sent two articles a day about some knucklehead who’s bearish on gold.  Well, you know what?  They are all bearish for the same two reasons:  The chart looks bad, and the price is wrong.  Like they know what the price (should be).  How do any of us know what the price is supposed to be?  It’s just a price.

Click the link below to hear the twelve-minute interview:



Serial Bubbles: 



P.S. I have been a bit swamped with work, so I will post next week. Be well and BE CAREFUL!



For Beginners: Linkages between Financial Statements or How to Read a Financial Statement

A reader posts a question

I haven’t started investing yet but can’t wait to do so once I get a job. I am still developing my investment strategy and plan.

I think I am able to do basic valuations and financial modelling. BUT the one thing I can’t get my head around is: Linkages between financial statements.

This is the most important issue that is not being discussed here. I agree with V4Value that learning financial statement analysis would be an excellent idea. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any good, free online courses such as there are for valuations. I have been able to find this  course which comes close to what I am looking for: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/sloan-school-of-management/15-535-business-analysis-using-financial-statements-spring-2003/lecture-notes/

But no video lectures! :(

CSInvesting Accounting Sources

Thanks for your dilemma and your excellent link above to the MIT accounting course (free).  Here are two books (of course, in the VALUE VAULT.  Email me at aldridge56@aol.com with VALUE VAULT in the subject line and I will send a key within 48 hours).

Ben Graham’s Classic Book: Interpretation_of_Financial_Statments-1

Tracy’s book on how financial statements link together: How_to_Read_a_Financial_Report

Videos on Accounting

Here is one link for an accounting lecture on common-size financial statements:

http://www.learnerstv.com/video/Free-video-Lecture-1170-Management.htm (Click on videos at the top of the web-page for videos on accounting and many other courses) A great series of videos for a Saturday night date.  Seriously, another supplement to what you learn from books. The next step is to go through a company annual report of a company that interests you.

Short lectures on financial topics or many other subjects: http://www.khanacademy.org/

Good luck!