Ben Homan

Long/short equity, value, special situations, contrarian
Ben Homan
Long/short equity, value, special situations, contrarian
Contributor since: 2013
Thanks for pointing that out Steve - missed that.
Thanks for your reply. I looked at his other articles after posting and saw that he never responds so I think you're right on that. Its a shame he won't clarify, as imminent likelihood is rather ambiguous. It could mean 50% to him while others take it to mean 90+%.
What is your probability and time frame for this recession? 50% chance within the next 12 months, etc?
Currently reading this book - so far, I would highly recommend it.
InsProf - agreed. P/TBV is something I'd include when I mentioned RV analysis. I don't disagree with anything you said. All the metrics look really high, even factoring in the growth. As I mentioned, I'm just watching for now. If it hits $10, I may be interested in digging deeper just to see what I can find.
You really shouldn't be using a DCF on financial companies. Its too hard to accurately identify working capital investment vs. capex and thus the company's reinvestment rate, etc. Accurately determining future cash flows becomes very difficult.
DDM or RV are probably a better, somewhat more accurate approach to determining a fair price. I'm intrigued by the big selloff but think just due to sentiment alone and some of the names coming out short against this, it could head significantly lower in the short to medium term. If it goes sub-15, I'll start digging more into it but for now Im just adding it to my watch list.
No real view on the thesis here as I'm not involved in the stock and don't plan on being, but I felt compelled to point out that the first picture in which you added the arrows and designated the space around the vehicle as 5m completely wrecks the proportions of the image.
Since the Tesla and the car on its back right are even bumper to bumper, that 5m distance you've placed reaching to about half the car behind it would mean the cars are over 30ft in length.
I couldn't find that image on the Tesla site, but I'd bet the blue line shown is significantly less that the full 5m detection area. Not that that changes your argument, I just found that particular image to be misleading.
I got the audiobook version of this and have listened to it a couple times. Its good for defense as you say, for the non-marketing/sales people.
Won't buy into this again, made that mistake once. Management, as mentioned, is awful - using the company as their own piggy bank. The odds of them instituting meaningful, sustained buybacks/dividends or expansion are slim to none.
Thanks for sharing Chris.
This certainly seems like a serious case of confirmation bias...
"The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions"
Not hating here, but can you explain your rationale for leaning on a DCF given the extreme sensitivity to the various inputs and the general inability of humans to correctly predict the future (especially in something like an E&P that can vary greatly year to year)?
You beat me to it!
Hoping this is true. He seems to always follow trends at the worst time. Building Capital business before the crisis, moving heavily into oil and gas before crude's recent drop. Could work out long term but doesn't look like the correct direction up to this point.
Thanks for the article.
Im involved with a smallish company (16M revs) that does a lot of shipping through UPS and I've had to deal with this whole dimensional weight issue and figuring out the effects on costs, etc.
You seem to be pretty much spot on in what you've laid out. Originally, it was going to cost the company an extra 10% in shipping costs, but a new deal was renegotiated with UPS of which I am not privy. Im guessing UPS will still come out receiving at least 5% above last year.
Also, in one of your comments above, you mentioned large shippers get discounts that individuals don't see. Again correct - the discount is based on rolling monthly average shipments. For the company I've alluded to, it amounts to a 62.5% discount.
These are just my observations based on what I've seen directly - amounts could vary greatly depending on the company. I had actually been considering a position in UPS based on the change to DIM weighting and the impact on revenues, but have yet to act.
Stable, profitable business with room to expand now that its operating independently. I think we'll slowly see the customer concentration improve over the next few years. It'll never be a fully diversified customer base - thats just the nature of the beast with A&D co.'s but I dont think it's something to worry about too much.
Went long at $19.70 - regret not buying more.
Im still going to remain on the sidelines for now. ATK/Orbital ATK just has too much reliance on low margin govt contracts for me at this price. Also waiting to see how Orbital resolves the engine failure issue from their latest launch. I think it is a good business for sure, but for me there's not a big enough margin of safety. Interested in seeing how it plays out over the next year or two.
However, I am very interested in the sporting group spinoff. I like some of the brands they own and am hoping there is a post-spin selloff so I can grab some cheap shares.
Thanks for the article.
From the MagicDiligence article, 'Mark M from Illinois' made a good point in the comments...
"...What incentive does CTCM have to make a $10.00 tender offer or for any purchaser to pay anything greater than the market cap when the bill becomes law? If the stock is at $1.00 after the law passes then a tender offer at $1.01 is best the possible option the since the alternative is zero."
The bill has since been passed and there is still a bit of time until this issue has to be resolved, but I dont see much incentive to provide a fair deal to current shareholders. We'll see what happens. Best of luck.
Weak ruble, Putin/sanctions, and the foreign ownership law - its impossible to predict what will happen in the long term here. At this point, I wouldn't touch CTCM. The risks don't justify the potential rewards. It could very well double back to its earlier levels in a few years, but its a speculative gamble.
I sold my position as well. Bought in around $8.80 I think it was, and sold around $11.50 after the Malaysian plane shoot-down. Happy I took my 30% when I did. This is a good one to reflect back on, as I think I was probably correct about CTC escaping direct sanctioning, but had zero foresight on the issue of government and its effect. Its a good reminder for me to more closely examine the political situation when investing in companies operating internationally. Where does CTC go from here? Who knows - but for now, I'll continue to stay away and just observe.
Very good and convincing article. I don't short but if I did, this would be one I'd go for.
I also find it funny how on seemingly every short article, not just this one, all these new users with no written articles make their very first comments defending the company and crying "hatchet job".
More power to you for publishing stuff like this - if I ever decide to short, I won't publish anything on it just to avoid the garbage comments. Keep up the good work.
A 5% terminal value is pretty ambitious don't you think - GDP only grows at 2-3%..
Thanks for the clarification.
Viewership in all of Russia has been declining slightly due to increased competition from small free to air channels over the last several years. Their CTC channel actually increased viewership in 2013, and Domashny decreased just .1%. Peretz has definitely been a problem and they state that they're still trying to find the correct audience for it so there definitely is concern there.
The decline in Q1 I still believe to be temporary due to Olympic coverage going to state run channels however. We'll see how the rest of the year plays out.
Impairment charges have been substantial from 2011-2013 - mostly attributable to writing down Peretz goodwill in 2011. Most of the other charges appear to be related to the regulatory change in how broadcasting licenses are amortized due to the upcoming transistion to digital.
I am well aware of supply and demand, but while recessions may be prolonged, they usually don't last forever.
I originally was putting together the info and writing the article when the price was between $8.50 and $8.90. Unfortunately, it didnt get released to non-Pro subscribers until after the large spike. If it dropped near 9 again, I'd probably add more but I agree - above $9.50 I'm hesitant to add more as I believe margin of safety is now less than 30%.
I am be no means stating this is a 'sure' thing or anything close to it, just an interesting play that has some potential upside as a play going against the grain.
Again, thanks for your comment P. Best of luck.
Excellent reply. I haven't looked into the name at all before but I think I will after reading your comment. Just curious, do you have any position?
Perhaps I should have clarified a bit, I see this as an investment and not a trade. For me, I am not interested in the price trend - it has headed lower since the beginning of the year, presenting an opportunity for a patient/long-term investor.
Regarding the Olympics, it is correct to expect revenues to increase, but again - referring to the section on risk - state-run competition front runs the best programming. It makes sense to me that advertisers would spend more to advertise on the channels that actually air the events.
Because the Olympics are a one time issue, I see CTC's business being just fine - they have continued to be profitable and just recently beat estimates. I would say CTC is far from being called a speculative bet.
Time will tell however, thanks for the comment.
I had bought a small position around $8.90. Wish I had bought some more yesterday but I hadn't completed my full analysis. Looks like they were up in revenues and EPS, but down in terms of US$'s because of the devaluation of the ruble vs. the $. Guidance for the rest of the year towards their low end growth around 5%.
Doesn't sound too bad, but I think the Ukraine situation and the possibility of continued/heightened sanctions still pose a serious risk at least in the short term.
You're looking at the quarterly payout. Annualized it comes out to roughly 7%
Also, correct me if I'm wrong - they had originally expected $3.7B in litigation charges, but reported $6B because they wanted to set aside additional money in case. Their CFO said in a conference call that although they set extra aside, there isn't any imminent settlement - in the end it could very well be less (or more).
While the litigation expenses aren't good, I'm not sure that its quite as bad as it looks. But again, this is just upon a cursory examination.
Disclosure: No position
Informative article. Just started doing a little preliminary research on this today and wanted to bring one thing I saw to light. CJSC ABR Management owns roughly 25% of the shares, and CJSC is run by people from Bank Rossiya which is the bank currently facing sanctions for ties to Putin. Not that that is any huge negative, but to say that is free from state influence seems to be off the mark. I could be wrong though as again, this is just based off my initial look.
Thanks for the article Ben
Thanks for the comment indytom. I did read both things you mentioned before writing the article - The latest conference call where Mr. Reider addresses the Afghan situation as well as the linked article. I don't disagree at all, Erickson could very well profit handsomely from continued/increasing Middle East growth. My main concern still revolves around the Evergreen acquisition itself. I am content to wait and see how things progress, I may miss the boat on a good run-up but I don't think I'd feel too bad. Again, thanks for the comment!
Thanks Richard
You bring up a good point. It seems to be a strong fire season already from what I've seen in Arizona and Colorado, and who know how long Evergreen will pull in rev from the Afghanistan operations. I wish I was confident enough to take a position on way or the other, but there are just too many unanswered questions on both sides of the coin for me now.