Analysis of Elsoft Research Bhd’s Q1 FY2017 Report

Dear Readers

Elsoft Research Bhd’s (“Elsoft“) was published on 22 May 2017. I have had a read of the report since.

This post is a summary of the pertinent contents of the report and my thoughts of Elsoft’s performance throughout Q1 FY2017.

Gaming on the job. Credit: The Star Online
  1. Revenue was up by 50.1% from the corresponding period of Q1 FY2016. On the flip side, revenue was down by  7% from last quarter being Q4 FY2016.
  2. Because revenue increased (that means more equipment was sold), cost went up. Cost of sales for Q1 FY2017 was RM7.392 million; up from RM4.309 from the corresponding period of Q1 FY2016.
  3. Elsoft recorded a net profit of  RM6.046 million which was up 285% from the corresponding period of Q1 FY2016 (RM1.562 million). However, net profit was down by 34% when compared to Q4 FY2016 (RM9.222 million).
  4. Cash and other equivalents went up by RM6.056 million from the last quarter (RM11.642 million) to RM17.698. It is good to have cash about the same amount as ones’ profit.
  5. However, from the increase in cash of RM6.056 million, only RM2.161 million (before adjustment made to take into account exchange rates) was from operating activities. Initially I thought that this was alarming compared to the RM5.7 million cash it obtained from operating activities in Q1 FY2016. However, from further perusal, the report indicates that Elsoft had pared down a lot of its cash (RM6.240 million out of the RM8.481 million cash generated from operating activities) to pay other suppliers in Q1 FY2017. When one uses cash to pay its suppliers, it will have lower cash (common sense). Elsoft still generates a majority of cash from its business.
  6. There was a loss of RM1.322 million on foreign exchange as opposed to a realised loss on foreign exchange of RM576,446.00 for the whole of FY2016. The only compelling reason for the sudden hike, in my opinion, is the the implementation of Bank Negara’s policy of requiring exporters to realise and convert 75% of proceeds in US dollar to Ringgit from December 2016.
  7. There was more demand from the automotive industry as compared to the the corresponding period of Q1 FY2016 but less demand from the smart devices industry compared to the last quarter (Q4 FY2016) .
  8. Management summed up the lower profit from last quarter due to lower of revenue, lower gross product margin, share of losses in associate and foreign exchange losses in current quarter.
  9. About 94% of revenue is derived from Malaysia, about 2% from China and the remainder from an assortment of countries, not identified.
My thoughts

In the corresponding period in FY2016, Elsoft only achieved an EPS of 0.57 cent compared to 2.20 cents in Q1 FY2017. That’s an increase of 285%. I was ecstatic! What a good way to start a year. Notwithstanding that, the market had an unexpected contrary view which caused Elsoft’s shares to drop 4.12% on 23 May 2017. This could well be that the market had so much expectation that Elsoft would perform much better than the last quarter (which it didn’t).

At the end of the day, it is a matter of perception. Should this quarter be compared to another quarter on an YoY (year over year) basis or QoQ (quarter on quarter) basis?

YoY or QoQ comparison?

QoQ comparison may not be able to consider seasonal factors which may affect the demand and thus the earnings of a company throughout a year. Therefore YoY offers a better picture for comparison.

I am of the opinion that the semiconductor industry is seasonal in nature albeit to a lesser extend than say the airlines or retail industry. For example, most smartphone flagships are released in August or September (just enough time for people to lust over them before the holiday season). Even if Elsoft states that it not affected by seasonal or cyclical factors, I am of the opinion that Elsoft’s fortune does somewhat hinges on semi conductor production. This is because an increase in smartphone production, for example, will increase the need for more automated testing equipment. Therefore to compare performance on a YoY basis would be more appropriate in Elsoft’s case.

However, how I look at things may not be how you look at things given that both of us are looking and analysing the same set of data.

The legendary Peter Lynch has often recited in his book “One Up on Wall Street” that humans are often irrational beings. This creates inefficiencies in the market which can be exploited as opportunities. When opportunities come by (very so often), make full use of them.

This was why I construed the drop in the share price, after the announcement of the Q1 FY2017 report, as an opportunity to purchase more shares in Elsoft on the backdrop of its sound financial performance and potentials.

Thank you for reading.

  1. Q1 FY2017 Report
  2. FY2016 Annual Report


How the economy works?

Dear Readers

Everyone knows that the economy drives very facet of society; from you and me, to your average household, your employers and their clients and ultimately the government and the country.

Understanding the economy will assist you to understand the market better. I most certainly can’t explain the economy to you but Ray Dalio could in his animated video: How The Economic Machine Works.

Ray Dalio is the billionaire founder of Bridgwaters Associate, one of the world’s largest hedge funds. If the name Ray Dalio is familiar to you, you may recall that he predicted the 2008 recession in the USA.

Two things to take away from the video: debt and spending.