Research

ON THIN ICE

Cash flow shortfall risks are rising

Mark Webb · 17 July 2019

An inability to generate operating cash flow will, at best, cap dividends and long-term investment; however, it can indicate more serious problems, such as profit manipulation or solvency. We have scanned across almost 1,300 large Asian companies and highlight nine that have either suffered from prolonged operating cash flow weakness, or recently reported a sharp deterioration. We have concerns that China Everbright Intl, Beijing Enterprises Water and China State Construction Int. are front-loading profits; CR Pharma, CIMC, Shanghai Pharma and Vipshop look to be window-dressing balance sheets and cash flows; meanwhile, there is alarming inventory accumulation at Celltrion Healthcare and…
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THE US EQUITABLE ACT

Nuclear option

Nigel Stevenson · 11 July 2019

Recently announced draft legislation could result in Chinese companies being delisted from US exchanges if they fail to allow US regulators access to their audits. While companies are not in any immediate danger, it is another sign of rising tensions between the US and China which investors should not ignore. In the near term, the proposed law could increase the popularity of Hong Kong and mainland exchanges for new listings, and may ultimately result in existing stocks transferring to these markets. GET PDF A long-running dispute between securities regulators in the US and China over the auditing of US-listed Chinese…
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FAKING CASH 3

Kangde Xin Composite and Xinyi Glass

Gillem Tulloch · 8 July 2019

Xinyi Glass’ rebuttal to our report confirms what we already knew: (i) that dividends have been primarily financed with offshore debt and (ii) the company has never transferred onshore profits offshore, making it difficult to validate domestic profits. Other than that, the rebuttal was uninformative. Again, we ask management to respond to the questions provided to them. On a related note, last week’s disclosure that Kangde Xin Composite faked four years’ worth of profits adds to concerns over companies running highly liquid balance sheets, like Xinyi. We would like to see Xinyi transfer surplus cash from China to Hong Kong…
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FAKING CASH 2

Xinyi Glass (868 HK): Avoid/Sell

Gillem Tulloch · 26 June 2019

There is no evidence that Xinyi Glass has ever remitted cash from China to Hong Kong in order to pay for dividends, making it impossible to verify profits. This is unlike most other high dividend yielding H-shares. Dividends appear to have been entirely financed with HK dollar debt and offshore asset sales, most recently the surprise disposal of part of its stake in associate, Xinyi Solar. The result is a large build-up of onshore cash, matched by growing offshore debt. Worryingly, Xinyi Glass triggers a number of other traits similar to past frauds, such as our fake cash flow and…
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LEASE ACCOUNTING RULE CHANGES

Operating profit, debt and cash flow implications

Mark Webb · 13 June 2019

New rules on accounting for leases coming into effect this year are inconsistent, subjective and complicated, leading to potentially huge adjustments to balance sheets, income statements and cash flow, as well non-GAAP metrics such as EBITDA, net debt-to-equity and free cash flow. However, few companies in Asia appear to have adequately briefed investors on the impact. Our research and other studies show retailers and airlines will be most affected. We are particularly concerned with the IFRS cash flow treatment as comparative periods will not necessarily be restated and may materially inflate free cash flow metrics. Investors need to be aware…
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FAKING CASH

Coming to an A-share near you?

Gillem Tulloch · 5 June 2019

The fake cash flow fraud epidemic has arrived in the Chinese A-share market following the disappearance of US$4.4bn of cash at Kangmei Pharma, the default of Kangde Xin and investigations into Tunghsu Optoelectronic and Yihua Lifestyle. The financials of all four are not only startlingly similar to each other, but to past frauds.


CKH HOLDINGS (1 HK)

Wind Tre accounting adds to earnings concerns

Mark Webb · 14 May 2019

CKH Holding’s (CKHH) recently released annual report reveals that accounting adjustments relating to the acquisition of Wind Tre, combined with the residual impact of the 2015 reorganisation, boosted FY18 profit by approximately HK$13.2bn, or 38%. These non-cash adjustments explain why operating cash flows lag cash profit, and why capex consistently exceeds depreciation and amortisation. Furthermore, by deeming a portion of its assets as held-for-sale, CKHH may be concealing HK$57.7bn of debt in liabilities associated with assets held-for-sale. Presumably, this aggressive accounting is being used to give CKHH a higher market rating and access to cheaper credit than it would have…
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NEWSLETTER 19: CIMIC (CIM AU)

Engineering profits

Nigel Stevenson · 30 April 2019

We estimate that Australia’s largest construction company CIMIC has inflated profits by around 100% in the last two years through aggressive revenue recognition, acquisition accounting and avoidance of JV losses. A lack of supporting cash flow has been obscured by the increased sale of receivables and reverse factoring of payables. While reported net cash was 69% of equity at YE18, we estimate adjusted net debt-to-equity of 74%. CIMIC’s refusal to provide substantive answers to our questions suggests it has something to hide. Get PDF version Dominant shareholder CIMIC came to our attention owing to a large restatement of its shareholders’…
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58.COM (WUBA US)

Hidden losses show performance has stalled

Mark Webb · 30 April 2019

58.com’s recently released annual report provides further evidence that it has hidden losses by deconsolidating subsidiaries. It has treated 58 Home as an associate since 2015 despite retaining 88% of its ordinary shares. Furthermore, in FY18, it stopped recognising most of 58 Home’s losses as its carrying value had fallen to zero. Without this, 58.com’s profits would have fallen 36% in FY18 rather than the reported increase of 55%. In another engineered transaction, 58.com transferred its loss-making Finance Business to its CEO in 2017, but appears not to have received any net consideration since, and continues to support the business…
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HIGH CONVICTION SHORTS

The top five

Gillem Tulloch · 23 April 2019

Companies that made our list of high conviction shorts include Australian construction company XXXX, biosimilar producer XXXX, software company XXXX, online marketplace XXXX and drugs distributor XXXX. On average, we estimate there is 50% share price downside and clearly identifiable catalysts.


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