Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gulf Finance House - Comments on 1Q10 Financials

GFH has posted its 1Q10 financial on its website.  That has to be a record.

Let's take a quick look.

Going Concern/Matter of Emphasis

Here's what KPMG had to say in its Review Report.
"Without qualifying our conclusion, we draw attention to note 1 in the interim financial information which discusses material uncertainties relating to the Group's liquidity position and regulatory capital adequacy, which, may cast doubt about the appropriateness of the going concern assumption used in the preparation of the interim financial information."
And here's the relevant portion of note 1.
"As at 31 March 2010, the Group's had accumulated losses of US$ 440.173 million and, as of that date, its current contractual obligations exceed its liquid assets.  As a result, the ability of the Group to meet its obligations when due depends on its ability to achieve a timely disposal of assets.  Further, the regulatory capital adequacy ratio of the Group as at 31 March 2010 stood at 13.97%, which restricts the Group's ability to absorb further losses or undertake additional exposures.  These factors indicates the existence of material uncertainties which may cast significant doubt about the Group's ability to continue as a going concern."
Comments on Financials

I've already made some comments.  So rather than repeat them here, I'd invite you to first take a look here and then follow below - where the comments elaborate on that earlier post.

Capital and Liquidity

KPMG had a similar "matter of emphasis" in the company's 31 December 2009 audited financials at which time it should be noted that GFH's CAR was 12.91%.  So, clearly, some improvement on that score.

Unfortunately, as is pretty common practice, there is no note in the interims on CAR.  And note 41 in GFH's audited FYE 2009 financials does not provide a lot of detail on the components of risk weighted assets ("RWA").  One particular issue is understanding why at 2009 they are almost twice total assets as per the balance sheet.  Also the determination of Tier 1 capital isn't clear.  It's shown as US$381.5 million as compared to nominal capital of US$433 million.  Deductions for subsidiaries?

What we know is that CAR was 13.97% as of 31 March 2010.  If we assume that we can use the changes in equity since then to compute a new regulatory capital, then we come up with roughly US$392 million. Which gives RWA of US$2.8 billion.  Or some 2.15X nominal assets.  More detail would be very useful in sorting this out.   I suspect that's not going to be forthcoming.

Also as I commented earlier, it's hard to understand why any rational investor would be converting the Deutsche Bank murabaha into equity given GFH's situation and the market price of its share.  It occurs to me that this could be a convenient device for capital infusions.  There is no need to call an OGM to issue additional shares and the holder can decide when and how much capital to "contribute".  Perhaps just enough to keep the CAR out of the CBB's "red zone" and to avoid tripping covenants.  At this point, only about US$28.3 million remains.  And as I hope you'll recall (who says optimism is dead) from one of my much earlier posts, the DB transaction was issued at a discount.

As to liquidity as I pointed out in my earlier post, GFH's 31 March 2010 cash of US$21.5 million gives scant margin to cover operating expenses and interest, much less the US$100 million in principal due in August and the US$20 million in principal due in September for the debts rescheduled earlier this year.   Note that roughly US$140 million of "Placements" are blocked to support potential contributions by GFH to fund projects.  So a first glance at the balance sheet might suggest a more robust liquidity position than actually exists.

Asset sales are likely therefore to be critical over the next 12 to 18 months.  GFH is unlikely to develop sufficient cash flow from operations to repay US$120 million this year and pay roughly an additional US$30 million to US$45 million in operating expenses.  And I am low balling those expenses.

But what is even more perplexing is note 7 where we learn that  during the first three months of 2010 GFH has bought back US$15 million of its sukuk maturing in 2011.   Given the near term demands on cash, it boggles the mind to think that they would be using precious limited liquidity for such a purchase.  Even if it is at a discount.  Also when one looks at the relative cost of GFH's debt, this debt is the cheapest by far.  The US$100 million is Libor plus 5%.  The LMC rescheduled facility an eye popping 8% flat.  While the 2011 sukuk is at Libor plus 1.75%.  Perhaps, GFH is helping a friend exit?  I have a similar  question on the rational reason why a company in GFH's position would purchase US$35 million in Treasury Shares during 2009.   And one cannot help but wonder did GFH's lenders not impose any conditions on prepayment or purchase of debt?  Could they have missed so obvious a covenant, especially since GFH has shown a penchant for buying this particular debt back?

Balance Sheet

Other than the comments above regarding the 2011 sukuk and the "Placements", some additional points.
  1. No movement on the US$85 million Investment Banking Services Receivable.  You'll recall that GFH wrote down roughly half of this in 2009.
  2. Other assets Financing Projects is up a US$1.5 million.  Seems small to be additional funding.  Is this interest?  And if so, it would be very interesting to know how much of this amount is accrued unpaid interest.  As I noted earlier, it's unlikely that FP are going to be a source of cash in the near term.
  3. Investors' Funds declined by US$50 million though I only see US$29 million in the Cashflow statement. 
Income Statement
  1. Roughly US$5 million of investment banking income was from related parties.  The comparative figure for 1Q09 was US$46.5 million.  With related party business a firm can enjoy dramatic savings on marketing costs.  Sometimes even on underwriting and due diligence.  Well, at least initially.
  2. As I noted in my earlier post, cash is going to pay GFH's running bills and its debt repayment.  So far cash generated as a percentage of income is relatively low.  Of course, this is early going.  But then the US$120 million in debt maturities is "early" as well.
All in all GFH is in a tough spot.  Let's hope that management's apparent optimism isn't misplaced.


    Laocowboy2 said...

    Some increased disclosure on Related Parties exposure would be welcome (however unlikely). Valuations may be "optimistic".

    Abu 'Arqala said...

    Once at a GCC presentation on Islamic banking there were six of us at a table . 5 obvious non Muslim foreigners and one local Muslim.

    The local chap looked up at a break and said, "Do you want me to tell you the secret of the success of Islamic banking?" Of course, we all immediately agreed.

    He said, "Islamic banking is very simple. You buy something from yourself and knowing its true value are able to determine the profit with great precision. And you always know the true character of the people you're dealing with".

    I suppose that's true in some cases but as we say الله اعلم

    FZ said...
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