Research

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. Companies on which we’ve written but have failed to make our shortlist owing to a lack of catalyst or downside include XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX and XXXX.


CIMIC GROUP (CIM AU)

SELL/SHORT: Engineering profits

Nigel Stevenson · 10 April 2019

We estimate 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. Its shares trade on a premium multiple of 19x FY19 consensus earnings; however, we derive a target of A$23/share based on a double…
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KINGDEE INT SOFTWARE

Questionable accounting, mediocre performance

Mark Webb · 26 March 2019

It’s difficult to find fault with David Webb’s conclusions that Kingdee struggles to make a profit once adjusting for government subsidies, one-off gains and questionable transactions with related parties. The company’s rebuttal attempts to allay investor fears by highlighting ample operating cash flows, but our analysis suggests that even these look inflated. We have additional concerns about the deconsolidation of Qingdao Xinrun Real Estate prior to the apparent completion of the deal, possibly to flatter financials. If government subsidies are considered core profit, Kingdee trades on a demanding 78x FY19e. It is a possible shorting candidate given expensive valuations, weak…
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GUEST SERIES

Variable Interest Entities in China

Gillem Tulloch · 14 March 2019

It’s been close to three years since we last had a guest writer but when Professor Paul Gillis floated the idea of updating his views on Chinese Variable Interest Entities (VIEs), we jumped at the opportunity to publish. As the report explains, VIEs and the accompanying service agreements are the structure by which foreigners mimic the benefits of owning a restricted asset in China. Close to 70% of all China-domiciled companies listed on foreign exchanges use them but they are not without their controversies, after all, they are trying to enable something which strictly speaking is prohibited under Chinese law….
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LOADED DICE

Companies that rig returns from investments

Mark Webb · 6 March 2019

Accounting scandals at Enron and Olympus, as well as fallout from the global financial crisis, were meant to have tightened rules governing the treatment of investments. Unfortunately, our research shows companies have continued to hide problems off balance sheet and selectively recognise gains from only the most successful investments. 58.Com has been one of the most active users of these accounting tricks and doubts about its profit growth question its premium P/E rating. CCCC and JD.com’s businesses are burning cash and appear to be camouflaging the magnitude of outflows. We recommend AVOIDING all three stocks. GET PDF Stricter accounting rules…
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TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

AVOID/SELL: A scandal too far

Gillem Tulloch · 21 February 2019

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has lost eight directors and a CFO in less than a year. Predictably, the company is playing down these departures. TCM has a troubled history. The original business had a disappointing US listing and was subsequently privatised; it gained its current Hong Kong listing through a reverse takeover, circumventing regulatory scrutiny. Financials are problematic owing to poor working capital, possible cost capitalisation and fraud-like traits. Furthermore, acquisitions from related parties, including the current MD, raise additional governance issues. Given these concerns, we recommend investors AVOID/SELL. The possibility of a major corporate governance event, such as the…
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PINDUODUO (PDD US)

AVOID/SHORT: Risks rise from surprise fund raising

Mark Webb · 12 February 2019

PDD’s surprise announcement of a secondary share offering in the middle of Chinese New Year is not just surprising but has a whiff of desperation about it. Fund raising during a public holiday and so soon after its IPO is a concern. At best, it’s an opportunistic measure to raise cash it doesn’t need. Other explanations are more problematic; disclosure in the accompanying prospectus suggests underlying profitability and cash generation may be even weaker than headline figures suggest. The revelation that new revenue recognition rules will be applied a year earlier than previously thought may also have encouraged PDD to…
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