Thursday, 31 July 2014

31-Jul-2014 CSE Trade Summary

Company Fact Sheet: Capital Alliance Finance PLC - CALF:N0000

About the company:

Established: 1981                                       Quoted Date: 2011-10-04          Sector: Banks Finance Insurance

Capital Alliance Finance PLC originally Silvereen Finance Company Limited a Sri Lanka-based company engaged in the provision of financial services. The Company is engaged in the business of accepting deposits and also offers Leasing, Hire Purchase, Business Loans, Factoring, Cheque Discounting and Margin Trading facilities to customers. The Company's services include fixed deposists, factoring, leasing, business loan and margin trading.

Chairman: Mr M.J. Travis  Waas  (Independent Non-Executive)

Chief Executive Officer: Mr W.L.S. Fonseka 

Board of Directors:
Mr W.A.T. Fernando  (Non-Executive Non-Independent Director)
Ms N.T.M. Shiroamal Cooray  (Non - Executive Director / Alternate Director to Mr. R.J. Arasaratnam)
Mr R.J. Arasaratnam  (Non - Executive Director)
Mr E.R.G.C. Gihan Hemachandra  (Non - Executive Director)
Mr C.S.R. Sanjeewa Anthony  (Independent Non - Executive Director)

52 Weeks Low: 12.20                                                                    52 Weeks High: 18.70

Average Trading Volume: 56,930

Company Financial at a glance:

1. Company's 33,920,282 ordinary voting shares were listed by way of an introduction and permitted for trading from 04th November 2011. 
2. The reference price of LKR. 15.00/= in respect of the ordinary voting shares has been decided upon by the Company.

History of Rights Issues:

Total shares in Issue as at 31-03-2014: 38,766,036

Top 20 Shareholders as at 31/03/2014

The percentage of Shares held by the Public as at 31st March 2014 was 31.57%.

The percentage of Foreign Holding as at 30th June 2014 was 1.20%

Quote for the day

"There is no such thing as a good or bad stock; there are only cheap stocks and expensive stocks. Even the best company becomes a "sell" when its stock price goes too high, while the worst company is worth buying if its stock goes low enough." - Jason Zweig

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

30-Jul-2014 CSE Trade Summary

Company Fact Sheet: Mahaweli Reach Hotels PLC - MRH:N0000

About the company:

Established: 1973                                 Quoted Date: 1982-01-01              Sector: Hotels & Travels

Mahaweli Reach Hotels PLC is a Sri Lanka-based hotelier. The Company's accommodation operations include deluxe rooms, executive suites and presidential suites. As of March 31, 2014, the Company's parent undertaking was Universal Enterprises Private Ltd., which held 69.44% of shares in it.

Chairman: Mr M.U. Maniku 

Managing Director: Mr J.A. Panabokke 

Board of Directors:
Mr A.N. Esufally 
Mr R.T. Molligoda 
Mr I.U. Maniku 
Mr A.M. Didi 
Mr W.P. Hettiaratchi 
Mr A. Nooradeen 
Mr M. Mahir
J.C. Ratwatte 
Mr R.T. Wijetilleke 
Mr R. Seevaratnam  (Non Executive Director)
Mr K.M. Panabokke  (Non Executive Director)
Mr A.U. Maniku 

52 Weeks Low: 14.10                                                                     52 Weeks High: 22.40

Average Trading Volume: 37,120

Company Financial at a glance:

Click Table to Enlarge

History of Rights Issues:

Total shares in Issue: 47,066,447

Top 20 Shareholders as at 31/03/2014

The percentage of Shares held by the Public as at 31st March 2014 was 24.56%.

The percentage of Foreign Holding as at 30th June 2014 was 82.06%

Quote for the day

"Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather, it is "timing"; it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way." - Fulton J. Sheen

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

7 Frugal Habits Everyone Should Develop

One of the most direct way to change your life, you need to change your attitude.
No one else is responsible for what happens to you but you, so you can either complain about the things you don’t like in your life or you can set about changing them. Not surprisingly, this directly relates to the state of your finances.
If you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, having your phone regularly cut off, or making excuses to skip dinners with your friends, then you can use these seven habits to take control of your money situation and live a happier and more frugal lifestyle.

Habit One: Be Proactive

The first habit to develop is to take responsibility; if you fail, you have no one to blame but yourself. Regardless of how you were raised or how you were treated at school, you can choose your behaviour now. Being proactive means understanding that YOU are in control of your day-to-day interactions, and thereby, the direction your life takes. This is in stark comparison to a reactive person, who is often affected by their environment and will find external sources to blame for their behaviour. For example, if the weather is good, they’re in a good mood, but if the weather is bad, it affects them and they blame the weather for their bad mood.
What most people forget is that though you can’t control the stimulus, you can control your response. One of your most important choices is your words; the language you use is an effective indication of how you see yourself. If you use proactive language, such as “I can” or “I will,” you’re starting with a more positive attitude than someone who uses language like “I can’t” or “I have to” or “If only.”
How to be proactive for effective frugality:
  • Take the first step. You cannot take control of your finances until you make the commitment to do so; the more you ignore the situation, the worse it will get. Instead, take a long hard look at your finances — your budget, debts, income, and expenses, and try to understand where your money is going and where you can budget better. 
  • Tell people. Using proactive language to vocalize your hope of being more financially responsible not only helps you crystallize your goal, but it can also help you avoid the peer pressure that makes budgeting and frugality hard. If you explain to your friends and family that you’re trying to live a more frugal lifestyle, they’ll be less likely to pressure you into one more round of drinks or another dinner out.
  • Listen. Listen to yourself and to the reasons you give each time you make a purchase outside of your budget or decide not to put spare money into your savings account. Taking the time to stop and listen to the reasons you give yourself for spending more than you earn will give you the opportunity to hear just how shallow many of those reasons are. This can stop you from making purchases that impede your goal of effective frugality.

Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind

Those who are effective in achieving their goals are able to envisage their desired end result in spite of the obstacles. Effective people adhere to this habit based on the principle that all things are created twice; there is first the mental creation, then the physical creation. The physical creation follows the mental creation the same way that a building follows its blueprints.
If you don’t visualize what you want, then you’re at risk of other people and external circumstances influencing your life – because you’re not influencing it yourself. Instead, begin every day and every task with a clear vision of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Make that vision a reality with your proactive skills from habit one.
How to visualize effective frugality:
  • Define your goal. There are many ways to live a frugal lifestyle, and you need to decide how frugal you want to be. Do you want to be debt free, build a savings account of a certain value, or live on one income in a two-income household?
  • Decide how you’re going to get there. This will again draw on your budget, but you need to be aware of the obstacles that are standing in your way. These may be literal obstacles, such as credit card debts, or they may be obstacles you've identified in your behaviour. An example of a behavioural obstacle would be spending $10 every day on junk food on your way home from work, because you’re starving. Instead, you could be packing an inexpensive granola bar to keep you going until dinner. Or, do you find that when you go shopping with your sister, she always helps you justify a frivolous purchase, when you could leave your credit card at home?
MoneyNing Tip: Make sure your goals are SMART! 

Habit Three: Put First Things First

Knowing WHY you’re doing something is an incredible motivator in helping you transform a mental creation into an actual physical creation of your goal. Ask yourself what the things are that you find most valuable and worthy to you. When you put these things first, you’ll be organizing and managing your time around your personal priorities to make them a reality.
For many people, it’s hard to say no, but this is exactly the skill you have to learn to keep your goals as your first priority. While we are constantly told we can have it all, in reality, having it all is really about prioritizing what is most important to YOU to have, and then focusing on that.
How to put effective frugality first:
  • Recognize the effects of your finances. You may not dedicate as much time as you should to managing your finances and practising frugal principles because you feel there’s always something more important to be doing — whether it’s work, taking the kids to soccer practice, or getting ready for dinner with the girls. If your finances aren't under control, however, and you’re regularly spending more than you earn, then they’re having a negative impact on every other aspect of your life, from your work to your family and friends. You need to recognize that being frugal is your first priority.
  • Just say no. It's easy to spend more than your budgeted amount each month when you’re worried about missing out on a dinner with friends, feel as though you have to cater a birthday party for your son and 50 of his closest friends, or don't want to wear the same suit to a work conference two years in a row. If you recognize that you don't have to take on everything and that it's okay to say no, then you’ll find you’re more in control of your spending and your budget.

Habit Four: Think Win-Win

Most of us are taught to base our self-worth on comparisons to others and competition against our peers. We think we can only succeed if someone else has failed. We’re also taught that there’s only so much pie to go around, so if you get a big piece, then someone else is missing out. When you think like this, you’re going to feel like nothing is ever fair. As a result, many of us retaliate and take the pie before someone else can take it from us.
Thinking in a win-win mindset allows you to see mutual benefits from all of your interactions. By doing this, you’ll see that the pie tastes even better when it’s shared. If you can approach conflicts and problems with a win-win attitude, you’ll be able to express your ideas and feelings with courage, while still maintaining consideration for the feelings and ideas of others. When you have an abundance mentality, you’re able to see that there is enough for everyone, and that by balancing your confidence with empathy, you can achieve your goals while helping others achieve theirs.
How to create frugal win-win situations:
  • Recognize that you don’t always know the full story. As you aim to implement frugal principles and stick to a budget, you may often find yourself thinking “it’s not fair.” It’s not fair that they get to go out to dinner. It’s not fair that they get a new car. It’s not fair that they get to go on vacation, and I don’t. Take the time to realize, however, that you’re only seeing a small part of the finances of your friends and family who seem to “have it all.” And though it’s hard to watch your best friend take a dream European holiday, or your brother buy the car you covet, you’ll get there, too — if you manage your finances frugally. And the best part? There will still be plenty of holiday destinations and fast cars when that time rolls around.
  • Understand the difference between possessions and net worth. While your friends and family may seem to have a fuller lifestyle because their house is bigger or their car is newer, you need to consider that it could just be a facade covering their mountains of debt. True wealth is not measured in possessions, but in assets. When the value of your assets is greater than the amount you owe on mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts, then you have a strong net worth and are truly wealthy. By trying to live a more effectively frugal lifestyle, you’ll be able to achieve true wealth, rather than just a life full of stuff.
MoneyNing Tip: When building wealth, remember to look at the big picture, too.

Habit Five: Communication

At its base, communication is the desire to be heard and understood. Most people will listen with the intention to reply to what you’re saying, rather than to understand what you've said. To effectively communicate, you need to first understand. If you communicate with the sole intention of being understood, you may ignore what others are saying and miss their meaning entirely. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk; pay attention to what people are trying to tell you.
How listening can help you be effectively frugal:
  • You are not the only person in your life. Chances are you’re married or in a relationship, have friends or children, or all of the above. As a result, you’re not the only person being affected by your decision to live a more frugal lifestyle. To be effective in your goal of frugality, you need to be able to listen to and understand the goals and behaviours of the other people in your life, too. Consider how effective your frugality would be if you were taking packed lunches to work and avoiding the afternoon coffee run, while your partner was going on shopping sprees during their lunch break. Instead of living a more frugal lifestyle, you’d really be saving on one end and spending on the other.
  • Understand the goals and needs of others. While it’s important to explain your desire to live more frugally, it’s also important that you understand the goals and needs of those around you. This way, you can find a way to be more frugal without them having to give up all of the things that are most important to them. You can’t know what those things are unless you listen.

Habit Six: Synergize

Interactions and teamwork are some of the most important ways you can learn new skills and more effective behaviours. Synergizing is the habit of creative cooperation — working as a team to find new solutions to existing problems. Synergy is not something that just happens. It’s a process where you bring all of your personal experience and expertise to the table, enabling more effective results than those you would have been able to achieve individually. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
When you have genuine interactions with people, you’re able to gain new insights and see new approaches to your problems — ones you might not have thought of before.
How to synergize for effective frugality:
  • Look for new ways. In a society that excels at consumerism, you've probably already realized that you need to find new ways of doing just about everything to be frugal. It's easy to buy your lunch every day, but it's more frugal to pack it. It's easy to drive to work, but it's more frugal to take the train. It's easy to buy a new cocktail dress, but it's more frugal to make one.
  • Surround yourself with other frugal people. To be successful in your quest for frugality, surround yourself with like-minded people. Find people who are where you want to be by joining online frugal-living forums, striking up a friendship with a fellow coupon-cutter, or starting a sewing club. When you’re around people with the same goals as you, you’ll be able to share ideas and learn from each other.
MoneyNing Tip: Learn to embrace the positive influence of saving money.

Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw

You’re the greatest asset you have on your journey to achieving the lifestyle you want, so you need to look after yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Taking the time to renew yourself in these areas of your life will give you strength to maintain the previous six habits, which are essential for your success.
How to frugally renew yourself:
  • Physically. By eating better, you’ll feel better. Take it another step further and start your own vegetable patch, which will save you money at the supermarket and be healthier for you. Exercising keeps you fit and healthy, and it doesn't cost you anything to go for a walk, ride a bike, or skip rope in the backyard. To rest your body, you don’t need to go to a day spa; you can simply relax in the tub at home.
  • Emotionally. Interacting socially with others allows you to make meaningful connections, and it makes you feel good. This can be achieved by chatting with the woman at the coffee shop or by calling your mum once a week.
  • Mentally. Exercising and expanding your mind through learning, reading, writing, and teaching can be done frugally. Visit your local library, or volunteer at a school or retirement home to teach others a skill you may be taking for granted.
  • Spiritually. Spend time close to nature and expand your spiritual self through meditation, music, art, or prayer. Take a quiet moment to centre yourself and empty your mind before going to bed. Or, go for a hike and be grateful for the beauty of nature surrounding you.
Frugality doesn't mean having to give up all the luxuries and things which make you happy. Don’t get burned out by developing habits one through six without taking the time to renew yourself. Frugality is something you want to develop and maintain for the long-term. Follow these seven habits, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a highly frugal person.
Do you consider yourself a highly frugal person? How did you get there? 
This post was originally written by Alban, and a parody of the amazing book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He’s a personal finance writer for

A dozen things said by Jesse Livermore that apply to investing even though he was a speculator

1. “An investor looks for safety… The speculator looks for a quick profit.” Livermore is saying that what differentiated him and other speculators from investors was: (1) a willingness to make bets with short duration and (2) not seeking safety. Anyone reading about Livermore must remember that he was not a person who often/always followed his own advice. He eventually shot himself leaving a suicide note which included the sentence: “I am a failure.”

2. “A professional gambler is not looking for long shots, but for sure money…Since suckers always lose money when they gamble in stocks – they never really speculate…” Livermore believed he was not a gambler since he only speculated when the odds were substantially in his favour (“sure money”). Livermore’s statement reminds me of a quotation from Peter Lynch: “An investment is simply a [bet] in which you've managed to tilt the odds in your favour.” Livermore’s statement also reminds me of the poker player Puggy Pearson who famously talked about need to know “the 60/40 end of a proposition.” When the odds are substantially in your favour you are not a gambler; when the odds are not substantially in your favour, you are a sucker.

3. “I trade in accordance to my means and always leave myself an ample margin of safety. …After I paid off my debts in full I put a pretty fair amount into annuities. I made up my mind I wasn't going to be strapped and uncomfortable and minus a stake ever again.” Livermore is not referring here to seeking a Benjamin Graham style “margin of safety” on each bet but rather to this: once you establish a big financial stake as a speculator, setting aside enough money so you don’t need to “return to go” financially is wise. Livermore wanted a margin of safety in terms of safe assets so that he would always have a grubstake to start over in his chosen profession of speculation. On this point and others, he failed to follow his own advice.

4. “Keep the number of stocks you own to a controllable number. It’s hard to herd cats, and it’s hard to track a lot of securities.” There is only so much information a single person can track in terms of stocks whether you are in investor or a speculator. By focusing on a smaller number of stocks you are more likely to (1) know what you are doing (which lowers risk) and (2) find an informational advantage you can arbitrage.

5. “Only make a big move, a real big plunge, when a majority of factors are in your favor.” Only bet when the odds are substantially in your favour. And when that happens, bet in a big way. The rest of the time, don’t do anything.

6. ” It never was my thinking that made big money for me. It was always my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight! There is the plain fool who does the wrong thing at all times anywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool who thinks he must trade all the time.” Neither investors nor speculators get any benefits from activity and instead generate fees and mistakes.

7. “The professional concerns himself with doing the right thing rather than with making money, knowing that the profit takes care of itself if the other things are attended to.” Michael Mauboussin: “the best long-term performers in any probabilistic field — such as investing, sports-team management, and pari-mutuel betting — all emphasize process over outcome.”

8. “When you know what not to do in order not to lose money, you begin to learn what to do in order to win.” The finest art is not to lose money. Making money in the stock market can be done by anybody.” This is another way of saying what Warren Buffett has said many times: “The first rule of investing is: don’t lose money; the second rule is don’t forget Rule No. 1.” It is amazing how much benefit once can get from consistently not being stupid.

9. “If I buy stocks on Smith’s tip I must sell those same stocks on Smith’s tip. I am depending on him. Suppose Smith is away on a holiday when the selling time comes around? No sir, nobody can make big money on what someone else tells him.” Livermore claimed that he was never someone to rely on others. He did his own work and made his own decisions as a speculator (with a few well known exceptions that hurt him badly).

10. “The speculator’s deadly enemies are: ignorance, greed, fear and hope. All the statute books in the world and all the rule books on all the Exchanges of the earth cannot eliminate these from the human animal….” Jesse Livermore was a student of behavioural economics when the idea had not yet been given a name. Being greedy when other are fearful and vice versa is a simple rule that is hard to execute in practice. For example, buying assets at the lows of 2009 required courage few people had at the time. Livermore was clearly a brave fellow. But being brave when the odds are not substantially in your favour is unwise.

11. “Whenever I have lost money in the stock market I have always considered that I have learned something; that if I have lost money I have gained experience, so that the money really went for a tuition fee.” The source of good judgement is often bad judgement. Unfortunately for him, Livermore did not always make new mistakes and repeated some old ones too.

12. “Whatever happens in the stock market today has happened before and will happen again.” When people are saying: “this time it is different” grab your wallet and walk carefully toward the door. History never precisely repeats, but it does rhyme. Markets move is cycles because Mr. Market is bi=polar (fluctuating between free and greed). That markets will fluctuate in cycles is inevitable; predicting the timing and extent of the cycles is impossible. Value investing is about putting yourself in position to benefit when the inevitable happens. Price, don’t predict!

Quote for the day

"Success is not about how hard you can hit but how hard you can GET hit and still keep moving forward" - Rocky Balboa

Monday, 28 July 2014

28-Jul-2014 CSE Trade Summary

Company Fact Sheet: C.W.Mackie PLC - CWM:N0000

About the company:

Established: 1922                                     Quoted Date: 1995-01-09           Sector: Trading

C. W. Mackie PLC is engaged in a range of activities, such as export of natural rubber and desiccated coconut; rubber-based products for export and sale locally; import, manufacture and distribution of branded consumer products; import and distribution of sugar; import and resale of branded marine paints and protective coatings, welding equipment and consumables, refrigeration and air conditioning components and light engineering products, and motor car rentals to Group Companies. The Company operates in five segments: commodity trading, rubber-based products manufacturing, industrial products, consumer goods and others. The Company is a subsidiary of Lankem Ceylon PLC, whilst its ultimate holding company is The Colombo Fort Land & Building PLC. In March 2014, C W Mackie PLC purchased 88.23% interest in Kelani Valley Canneries Limited from CIC Agri Businesses (Private) Limited.

Chairman / CEO: Mr W.T. Ellawala 

Board of Directors:
Ms C.R. Ranasinghe 
Mr A.M.De S. Jayarathne 
Mr R.C. Peries
Mr Anushman Rajaratnam 
Mr S.D.R. Arudpragasam 
Mr T. Senthilverl 
Mr H.D.S. Amarasuriya  (Non-Executive / Independent Director)
Mr K.T.A.M. Perera  (Executive Director)
Alagarajah Rajaratnam 

Voting Ordinary Shares:                                           
52 Weeks Low: 51.10                                                                  
52 Weeks High: 72.50                                             
Average Trading Volume: 25,160 

Company Financial at a glance:

1. On 01st February 1999 1,384,175 ordinary voting shares @ Rs. 15.00 per were indexed by way of  Private placement.

History of Rights Issues:

Total Voting shares in Issue as at 31-06-2014: 35,988,556

Top 20 Shareholders as at 31/03/2014

The percentage of Voting Shares held by the Public as at 31st March 2014 was 11.17%.

The percentage of Foreign Holding as at 30th June 2014 was 0.114%

Quote for the day

“Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.” -  Henri-Fréderic Amiel

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The World’s Top 10 One-Person Startups

One person with a vision and the tech skills to make it happen is the winning formula used to create some of the world's best Internet Startups. The following tech-savvy minds began by working alone to solve a problem, fill a need, or simply ran with what they believed was a bright idea. All are achieving what their founders wanted: making an impact!

The World’s Top 10 One-Person Startups #infographic

Top Down vs Bottom Up Approach Which Make More Money For You

Top Down vs Bottom Up
How It Works And How Experts Manage Them

When it comes to selecting good companies to invest in, there has been much debate on the top down and bottom up approaches.

Most fund management companies use the top down approach and recommend that investors examine the economic and industry outlooks first beforedeciding on which stock to purchase.

However, investing gurus like Benjamin Graham, Phillip Fisher, Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch favour the bottom up approach.

They say that macroeconomics forecast is actually major distractions for investors as the projections might turn out to be wrong. Instead, investor’s efforts should be placed more on detecting the quality of earnings and asset value of the company.

Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, but they share a common goal; of identifying good fundamental companies to invest in. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.

Top Down Approach
With the top down approach, investors study the economic trends, and the determine the industries and companies that are likely to benefit most of them.

Take, for example, if the US dollar appreciate against UK Pound Sterling. The resulting reduction in prices of imported paper will contribute to lower operating costs for media companies and enhance their earnings. Investors will then search the more efficient and cheaply-priced media company.

Top-down investors will first look at the entire forest instead of specific trees and try to identify the main market theme ahead of the market in general. They believe that picking individual companies comes second because if the economic conditions are not right for the industry that that a company operates in, it will be difficult for the company to generates profits, regardless of how efficient it is. Nevertheless, such investors may sometimes miss good companies that are still performing well, even in depressed sector.

Bottom Up Approach
Bottom up investors conduct extensive research on individual companies. As long as the company’s prospect look strong, the economic, market orindustry cycles are of no concern. In fact, the downturn in the stock market may provide investors with a good margin of safety to buy stocks at depressed levels and ride them up to big gains.

Thus, bottom up managers will buy stocks even though the macroeconomic and industry outlooks look uncertain. When the industry may be out of favour and most investors are ignoring the true earning of companies, bottom-up managers ca detect good and well-managed ones selling at prices that are far lower than their intrinsic worth.

However, to top down managers, bottom up managers may be attempting to catch a “falling knife” (a stock whose price has fallen significantly in a short period of time) in a down market. Unless bottom up managers have plenty of bullets to average down on their purchase prices, they may run out of cash if the stock prices continue to go lower. In addition, they may sometimes fail to see the wood for the trees – they may identify certain companies but miss the overall industry trend.

Combination Approach
The top down and bottom up approaches are two distinct and fundamentally very different approaches to investing. Investors can combine the two approaches by applying top-down analysis on asset allocation decisions while using a bottom-up approach to select the individual securities in the portfolio.

As there is prediction and practice of major market crashes occurring every 10 to 15 years, the top-down approach may be more appropriate. You could avoid incurring huge losses that might result from averaging down on a lot of good fundamental stock.

You should wait for a clearer economic picture before investing. You may miss fishing stocks at the market bottom but at least you know where the bottom is.

Quote for the day

"Your strategy has to be flexible enough to change when the environment changes. The mistake most people make is they keep the same strategy all the time. They say, “Damn, the market didn't behave the way I thought it would.” Why should it? Life and the markets just don’t work that way." -  Mark Weinstein

Saturday, 26 July 2014

What Is Cash Flow?

How to measure a company's life blood.

The cash flowing in and out of a company is a great indicator of its health. Companies need liquidity to be able to pay their bills and keep their bankers at bay.

But there's a confusing panoply of metrics: cash from operations, free cash flow, cash profits. If cash flow is the life blood of a business, how do you measure a company's blood pressure?

Cash flow statement
The starting point is the cash flow statement. International Accounting Standards require a business to split its cash flows into three categories: those associated with its operations, investing activities and financing activities.

Most commonly, you'll see this in a company's accounts looking something like this (which I've simplified by stripping out and combining lines):

The three categories of operations, investing and financing are clearly separated, and at the bottom there is a reconciliation of the cash flows to opening and closing cash balances.

Alice in Wonderland
The first thing to note is the Alice in Wonderland-like distinction between 'cash generated from operations' and 'net cash generated from operating activities'. "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean," as Humpty Dumpty said in the book.

Cash generated from operations is operating profit with depreciation added back, adjusted for changes in working capital. It is usually reconciled to profit in a note, making it one of the most important notes to look at in a company's accounts. It looks something like this:

Cash generated from operations indicates how much cash a company is making from its basic activities. Depreciation is added back because it's just an accounting entry. Profits with depreciation added back are sometimes called cash profits. Start-up companies that have invested heavily may make cash profits while they are still loss-making, because of high levels of depreciation.

Increases in inventory or receivables are also deducted in calculating cash generated from operations, because these absorb cash. A growing company might be increasing sales, but spending all its cash building up stock.

Most companies regard interest and tax as integral to their operations, so put them in the first segment of the cash flow. That produces net cash generated from operating activities. It's a mouthful, but a useful subtotal. Not all do: Rolls Royce (LSE: RR), for example, puts interest into the financing category. It also puts the reconciliation of cash to profit on the face of the cashflow statement, so at first sight it looks a very different statement.

Cash conversion refers to how efficiently a company is turning profits into cash. I prefer to measure it by comparing net cash generated from operating activities with operating profit. Remember operating profit has depreciation taken off, so the cash flow figure may be greater. If the ratio is much different from one, it's reason to look more closely.

The next section of the cash flow statement is more straightforward. Typically, companies invest cash in capital expenditure and acquiring new businesses. If the figures are large, you need to look at how they have been financed: from operations, or from new financing?

Some capital expenditure is necessary just to maintain a company's current activities, rather than to expand. That's usually called maintenance capex. It's an important concept as, long term, a company should generate enough cash from its operations to cover maintenance capex, otherwise it's running its plant into the ground.

The accounting standard encourages, but doesn't require, a company to disclose how much of its capex is maintenance capex. Usually, you can get a decent idea from the narrative in the accounts.

It's a useful number to estimate, and allows you to calculate a figure for an important concept: free cash flow. For our purposes, that's generally defined as net cash flow from operating activities less maintenance capex.

Free cash flow measures the cash that a firm is producing for its shareholders. For that reason it's often used a valuation metric, by calculating price to free cash flow (i.e. market cap divided by free cash flow). But beware, there is a multitude of variants for calculating free cash flow(including those used in discounted cash flow analysis which deduct tax-shielded interest charges).

The final, financing, segment of the cash flow statement would be clear cut, but for the inclusion of dividends. For most listed companies, dividends are not a discretionary expenditure, at least not without the share price collapsing. So it often makes sense to treat dividends as a fixed charge, like interest and tax.

Probably the easiest way to capture this is to compare net cash generated from operating activities to the dividend, a form of cash dividend cover. If the dividend is not covered, then it is being financed by property sales, lenders, or the shareholders themselves.

In summary
To recap, three useful measures are:
Cash conversion: net cash generated from operating activities ÷operating profit.

Price: free cash flow, where free cash flow = net cash generated from operating activities – maintenance capex.

Cash dividend cover = net cash generated from operating activities ÷ dividends paid.

BY Tony Reading
Published in Investing on 24 April 2012

The 13 Traits Every Successful Business Person Must Learn

The men and women we recognize today as the titans of business earned their titles not because they had great ideas, but because they practised certain behaviours. Their successes were the products of chemical reactions, with their natural and trained business acumens as the reactants and their great ideas as the catalysts.

Whether they were old world titans of industry and invention – such as John D. Rockefeller, Dale Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Cornelius Vanderbilt – or are the new world titans of technology – such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg – they all positioned themselves to see or predict issues in the (coming) world, and then went about solving those problems.

Regardless of the eras into which these individuals were born, they were bound to make waves of change in the modern world, so let’s dig deeper into what traits made them great so that you may one day join their ranks.

1. Take Responsibility
At the end of the day, everything your company does – good or bad – reflects on you as its leader. So whenever something goes awry, lead by example and be accountable for the mistakes and proactive about fixing them.

In addition, whenever your company does something right, take pride in it collectively and give honest accolades individually to the members of your team whom contributed to this success. Showing your humility lets your employees know that they are valued and that you recognize you can’t go it alone. This one took me a bit of time! As a trader I am a certified egomaniac and that makes me great..I truly believe I own the market and it bends to my whims when I am on my game. As a leader this type of behaviour will cause a fragmented team you will not be able to guide people to their full potential unless you can make them a partner in your vision.

2. Communicate Effectively
One of the most valuable traits of a business leader is his or her ability to communicate well with anyone, be it his or her superiors, equals, employees, partners, or competitors. 

All of these folks need information from you, and if you can give it to them quickly and effectively, you’ll save everyone a lot of headaches and wasted time. You’ll also have a lot of things to communicate non-verbally – such as your strength as a leader, your personal character, and your mission – so keep in mind that communication is not solely limited to the transaction of words. This one was really hard for me. I am a great salesman and so I thought that made me a great communicator in our company but it didn't. I always expected people to work at my pace and my speed and do things the way I wanted but I was never able to relay how and why that is important. Then when things would fall behind or apart I would get angry. This was because I had no properly relayed my vision for how I saw our future and how we were gonna get there together. Once I showed my team what my vision was and had them pitch in to really turn it into a strategic objective our company took off.

3. Demand Quality
Demand good work from your employees work as well as from yourself. The fact that you hold yourself to high standards will encourage your employees to do the same, especially if they know that you don’t tolerate sub-par work from anyone. Additionally, always be serving something of value to your customers and they’ll keep coming back for that quality product. This is huge I am very hard on myself to turn out great work and make great trades and teach great classes. In our company we even keep track of metrics so that the team can see how well I am doing my functions. We manage results not personalities & people. This takes the politics out of things and makes us into a cohesive and productive team.

4. Value Consistency
Whether it means being punctual for every meeting, showing up early for work every day, or always hitting product deadlines, the fact that you and your company can get work done on a regular basis makes you an asset.

While the flashy worker on your team who always appears to do good work, it’s the dependable and consistent workers who keep the world turning. When you’re reliable, you’re useful, and then you’re useful, you’re valued.

5. Require Efficiency
Bloated and starving workplaces eventually start cutting into profits. So, adopt lean methodologies; trim the fat from the organization to morph it into a machine running on full-steam.

Don’t be afraid to replace the employee who’s dragging the team down with their procrastinating, Implement new systems that increase productivity, and/or reorganize your whole outfit so it can still do what it already does, just better and faster. This has been huge for us. My lack of ability as a CEO in the beginning really showed up in this. Here I am a trader, coach, leader, ceo I was holding a lot of hats. But I had no clue how to prioritize or delegate anything in a proper manner. We would have million dollar business ideas get lost in threads of emails that were 100 emails long! Then it would move to the bottom of the pile as we put our next fire or try a new idea. Putting in systems for everything we do and utilizing proper technology let us chop hours off what we did every single day.

6. Encourage Competitiveness
A healthy amount of competition can lead to great innovations and accomplishments. So rally your team by encouraging them to outpace your main competitor in the market, or setup monthly prizes for the workers who gather the most sales or complete the most work; just give them something more to work toward other than plain completion.

In fact, Carnegie was known for rewarding his workers with more pay and better positions in his steel company if they ever figured out better ways to save his company money. Odds are that your employees would appreciate a similar opportunity as well.

7. Remain Flexible
Smart leaders try to predict where their companies or markets will be so that they can, more often than not, motivate changes rather than react to them. By remaining flexible, they position themselves to maximize on these changes, while also retaining the ability to reflect and pivot if their predictions should prove false. Guys this is an ever changing market and when your good at something everyone copies you. When we started to really grow our model of how we marketed to the type of classes we did it all got copied. That's totally fine and a complement but you have to know in this age you only get a few months head start before the copycats are out. You need to constantly innovate and improve. You need to be flexible and admit when your on the wrong path and pivot quickly to the right one.

8. Ask the Right Questions, and Give the Right Answers
Great business leaders get to the root of a problem quickly, and then work hard alongside those whom are helping them to solve it. They never beat around the bush with their questions or answers, as they know that money is being lost every minute something is awry.

9. Retain Focus
As a leader, you’ll have to keep your eye simultaneously on the many moving parts of the company. But a great leader has selective tunnel vision – they can hone in on one thing at a time – while also keeping the larger picture in mind. As Thomas Edison once said, “Vision without execution is hallucination,” and you can’t run a business on vision alone. This is huge. All day I am talking with my guys about our Vision our strategic objective. They get so sick of hearing it but its so important. Everything we do, everything we build, every action we take should be with the expectation that this gets us to our strategic objective.

We have a slogan that we say all day everyday “ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM” we chant this all day to refocus us so that when times get tough we remember who we are and why we are doing this.

10. Embrace Failure
Have courage, tenacity, and patience when trying out new ideas. Inevitably, some of them will fail, but know that greatness and great learning often come from making mistakes. While it’s easier to always walk the known, safe path, it rarely ever leads to great fortune and opportunity.

11. Make Your Own Luck
All great businesspeople know that luck is a rare thing, if it exists at all. Rather, they work hard and set themselves up for success. These folks prime themselves to leap on great opportunities whenever they come near instead of sitting idle and hoping that the perfect opportunity will magically present itself out of nowhere and ask no work of them.

12. Remain Passionate
Passion doesn't simply arise from money or maximized profits. It’s important to keep the fire in your gut burning as, without passion or purpose, you can become complacent, and complacency kills both individuals and businesses. As Simon Sinek constantly repeats throughout his TED Talk, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it,” so always be communicating that passion to your customers in everything you do.

“skills are cheap, passion is priceless” I read that in the book CRUSH IT . It is so true and guides all my hiring and partnership decisions. I believe I can teach anyone almost anything about this business. But what I cant teach is the passion. I have so much that it will rub off on you but you still need it in your bones! It drives you to stay awake and push at all times.

13. Save Some Time for Personal Development
Every great man and woman in history, even those outside of the business world, always made sure to save time to do one personal thing every day.

Whether it was to read a book not in their field, write poetry, run a marathon, or learn how to bake, these leaders would also strive to improve themselves beyond their expected fields of expertise.

Inspiration comes from within, and from the things you love doing, not just the things you get paid to do professionally, so remember to be a well-rounded person who has a life beyond the workplace.

Being great is a process and a commitment. Consider the points listed above and set a course for greatness in your work and personal life.
Extracted article from

Quote for the day

“Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn't work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.”  - Roger Von Oech

Friday, 25 July 2014

25-Jul-2014 CSE Trade Summary

Company Fact Sheet: Namunukula Plantations PLC - NAMU:N0000

About the company:

Established: 1992                                 Quoted Date: 1999-03-10                  Sector: Plantations

Namunukula Plantations PLC is engaged in the cultivation and processing of tea, rubber, oil palm, coconut and other crops. The Company has produced 16.505 Million kilogram of oil palm, harvested 846,972 nuts of coconut and cropped 12,499 kilogram of cinnamon, produced 1.474 Million kilogram of rubber, processed over 9.458 Million kilogram/green leaf, and produced 2.28 Million kilogram of tea. The Company's parent undertaking was RPC Plantation Management Services (Pvt) Ltd., and its ultimate parent undertaking and controlling party was Richard Pieris and Company PLC.

Chairman: Mr Sena Yaddehige 

Board of Directors:
Mr J.H.P Ratnayeke 
Mr N.C. Peiris 
Mr S. Poholiyadde
Mr A.K. Perera 
Mr H.J. De Costa  (Independent Non Executive Director)

52 Weeks Low: 64.00                                                                     52 Weeks High: 99.00

Average Trading Volume: 2,100

Company Financial at a glance:

Click Table to Enlarge

Total shares in Issue: 23,750,001

Top 20 Shareholders as at 31/03/2014

The percentage of Shares held by the Public as at 31st March 2014 was 19.26%.

The percentage of Foreign Holding as at 30th June 2014 was 2.43%

Quote for the day

"Never get into the market because you are anxious from waiting, and never get out of the market just because you have lost your patience." -  WD Gann

Thursday, 24 July 2014

24-Jul-2014 CSE Trade Summary


Quote for the day

"Markets often rise higher than you think is possible, and fall lower than you can possibly imagine." - Jim Rogers

Company Fact Sheet: Multi Finance PLC - MFL:N0000

About the company:

Established: 1974                                        Quoted Date: 2011-05-30          Sector: Banks Finance Insurance

Multi Finance PLC is a Sri Lanka-based finance company. The Company is engaged in acceptance of deposits, maintenance of savings accounts, granting lease and hire purchase facilities, micro finance facilities, gold loans, vehicle loans, mortgage loans, factoring, margin trading, and value added services. The Company's product portfolio includes granting business loans and mortgage facilities on a selective basis together with pawn broking activities. In addition the Company mobilizes funds by way of fixed deposits and savings accounts. Entrust Limited is the parent company of Multi Finance PLC as at 31st March 2014.

Chairman: Mr E.K.I. De Zoysa 

Deputy Chairman: Mr R.M.M.J. Ratnayake 

Chief Executive Officer: Mr P. Jayasundera 

Board of Directors:
Mrs C.J. Atapattu  (General Manager)
Mr K.P.N.S. Dayaratne  (Non - Executive Director)
Mr B.N.R. Mendis  (Non - Executive Director)
Mr R.M.S. Tillakawardana  (Independent / Non - Executive Director)
Mr R.D. Senerath  (Executive Director)
Mr I.D.B. Dassanayake (Executive Director)
Mr C.U. Ratwatte  (Executive Director)

52 Weeks Low: 12.90                                                                    52 Weeks High: 21.50

Average Trading Volume: 17,140

Company Financial at a glance:

1. Company's 17,976,325 ordinary voting shares were listed by way of an introduction and permitted for trading from 30th May 2011. 
2. The reference price of LKR. 14.80/= in respect of the ordinary voting shares has been decided upon by the Company.
3. In July 2011 Company's 4,485,714 ordinary voting shares were listed by way of private placement.

Total shares in Issue as at 31-03-2014: 22,462,039

Top 20 Shareholders as at 31/03/2014

The percentage of Shares held by the Public as at 31st March 2014 was 13.69%.

The percentage of Foreign Holding as at 30th June 2014 was 0.05%