Stanbic IBTC is Nigeria’s best-performing bank stock. Its share price has climbed 40.5% this year and 55.4% over the past twelve months. Is it nearing the end of its run? Or is the market offering investors a discount to the bank’s real worth?
Here, Godfrey Mwanza, CFA shows us how he values the company.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc (STANBIC) is a financial service holding company in Nigeria with subsidiaries in banking, stock brokerage, investment advisory, pension and trustee businesses. Its three main business areas are corporate and investment banking (CIB), wealth, and personal and business banking (PBB).
Stanbic is a member of the Standard Bank Group (SBK) of South Africa which has a 53.2% stake in the company. Stanbic operates 180 branches and serves over one million customers in Nigeria. Total assets were NGN 907bn (USD 5.6bn) as at 30 June 2014 making it the country’s 12th largest banking group.
Nigeria’s Banking Industry
Nigeria has a very low level of banking penetration compared to other frontier African countries, let alone global emerging markets. According to World Bank data, in 2013, Nigeria’s private credit to GDP was 11.8%. Much lower than South Africa (156%), Kenya (40%), Ivory Coast (18.5%), Uganda (15.5%), and Zambia (14.6%) to name but a few.
Over the next five years, the IMF expects the Nigerian economy to grow at 15% per year in nominal terms. Banking assets (primarily credit to the private sector) should in principle grow at a faster rate than that as penetration of banking services increases.
And what are you paying for that growth potential?
Well, the average forecast returns on equity for the nine Nigerian banks in our universe for 2014 is 18.7% and they trade on a price to book of roughly 1.20x 2014 forecast shareholders’ equity. Using the formula for justified price to book [PB= (roe-g)/(r – g)], assuming a conservative 5% terminal growth rate (g) and that the 18.7% ROE is sustainable over time, a 1.20x price to book implies a required rate of return of 16.4%, far higher than the 12.2% yield you will get from a 10 year Nigeria government bond.
The whole sector is cheap. You are paying little for potentially massive growth.
But when you look closer, what is most interesting about Nigerian banks is the extreme dispersion of valuations amongst individual stocks. For instance, Skye Bank trades at a 72% discount to that 1.20x average. And Stanbic IBTC trades at a 122% premium.
This has led to many analysts to recommend a sell on the stock on the basis that it is expensive. However, there is more to the Stanbic story than meets the eye and despite the stellar outperformance this year (price return of 45% year to date versus -6.5% for the Nigerian All Share Index -11.7% for the Nigerian banking index) I think a closer inspection will reveal that there is still hidden value in the name.
Picking Stanbic IBTC Apart
To find this hidden value, it is necessary to break the group into its three main operating units (wealth, CIB, and PBB), value them separately and sum up the parts.
The Wealth Business
Stanbic’s wealth business comprises their market leading pension administration, trusteeship and asset management. The business has 1.3 million retirement savings accounts and assets under management (AUM) of NGN 1.4trn (USD 8.8bn). AUM has grown by 36% per year for the last five years and makes up 35% of national pension fund assets of UDS 25bn which are a paltry 4.8% of GDP (compared to 90% in South Africa, 41% in Botswana, 17% in Kenya or 7% in Zambia). In 2013, wealth contributed 50% to PBT in 2013 versus 17% in 2008.
There are two main methods used to value an asset management company. A price earnings ratio is suitable for stable annuity-type asset managers whereas market cap/AUM is more appropriate for hedge fund types of asset managers which can have volatile earnings.
I took a sample of 10 asset managers from developed and developing countries and found that over the last decade they have traded at a median price to earnings ratio of 17.43x. I personally do not see why a market leading asset management business in fast growing Nigeria should be any different. But, to be conservative, I apply a 15x earnings multiple on NGN 9.8bn, my forecast for 2014 wealth earnings. The business unit achieved roughly NGN 5bn already in the first half of 2014.
I am comfortable with a 15x earnings multiple because I expect earnings growth to be faster than 15% for the following reasons.
- First, it is conservative compared to the 29% per year growth over the last four years and there is still much room for growth in the sector.
- Second, unless you assume Stanbic loses market share or Nigerian pension fund assets as a proportion of GDP decline, AUM should grow at least in line with nominal GDP or 15%. Indeed it should grow faster. As with banking assets, increased penetration implies growth potential faster than the economy. Recent policy changes also lend credibility to this faster-than-GDP growth argument. In July this year, the Nigerian president signed the Pension Reform Act 2014 into law, which repeals the Pension Reform Act, no. 2, 2004. The Act increases the minimum rate of pension contribution to 18% of monthly emoluments from 15%, with 8% contributed by the employee from 7.5%, while the employer contributed 10% vs. 7.5% previously. This clearly increases the monthly pension accretion to the pension fund administrators.
When we put all this together by multiplying forecast earnings by 15 and dividing by the total number of Stanbic IBTC shares, we arrive at an estimated value for the wealth business of NGN 14,65 per share.
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Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB)
Corporate and investment banking includes corporate lending, treasury (global markets), investment banking, stock broking and custody services.
Stanbic’s reporting is excellent and in the annual report you can see balance sheet and income statement segmentation per business unit. Based on this, one can calculate that CIB earned a 31.2% return on equity in 2013 and is in line to earn roughly the same in 2014 based on 12 month trailing CIB earnings.
To value CIB, I use a relative valuation methodology again but based on price to book rather than earnings. I ran a regression with the price to book as the dependent variable and return on equity as independent variable for a sample of twenty-three banking assets listed on the African continent in markets such as Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius and Botswana. The result shows that a bank earning 30% return on equity should trade at 3.4x book.
But 30% ROE is an incredible feat and one can rightly argue that it is not likely to be sustainable. Further, on closer inspection, we find that Stanbic’s returns are accentuated by non-interest revenue particularly in foreign exchange trading, which most bankers will tell you is a choppy line item.
A DuPont profiling shows that if Stanbic’s CIB was a standalone bank, it would be a below average net interest income earner per unit of assets. However, on a transactions income basis, CIB is a market beater by some margin (5.8% versus 2.7% industry average).
3.4% of the 5.8% non-interest revenue profitability per unit of assets is derived from fixed income, money market and foreign exchange trading and while FY13 was particularly rewarding for Stanbic’s treasury desk, the average per asset profitability for that unit is 2.76% over three years and 3% over five years. This is remarkable when you compare it with an average of 0.38% and 0.41% average for Access (ACCESS), Guaranty Trust Bank (GUARANTY), Zenith (ZENITHBA) and First Bank (FBNH). Although the larger size of their balance sheets means there is a drag on that.
If CIB’s profitability in trading alone fell to the industry average of 0.41% then the CIB’s return on equity falls to 10%. I assume trading profitability falls to 1.6% (a mid-point between 3.4% 0.4%), bringing non-interest revenue / total assets to 3.9% which is still higher than the average. I assume the bank will maintain its competitive advantage in foreign exchange trading on the back of its track record and its associations with the international powerhouses of Standard Bank of South Africa (the ‘go-to’ bank for SA corporates expanding into the continent) and ICBC Bank of China.
Reducing non-interest revenue profitability to 3.9% lowers FY13 return on equity to 18.2% from 31.2% and, based on the regression, a bank earning 18% ROE in Africa should trade at a price to book of 2.30x. Applying this multiple to CIB’s net asset value as at 2013 results in a value per share of NGN 14.04.
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Personal and Business Banking (PBB)
PBB is the retail arm of the group’s business. It provides services to customers in personal markets, high net worth individuals and commercial, small and medium scale enterprises. Products include mortgage lending, asset finance, card products, lending and bancassurance.
This is the newest business segment and it is only just breaking even (only 70% of branches are profitable up from 58% last year) due to substantial investment in branches, banking systems and staff. This makes it difficult to value. In cases like this I prefer to back out the valuation implied by the market price. The chart below illustrates my process.
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The market is thus valuing Stanbic’s PBB business at NGN 2.1bn (roughly USD 13m).
Now I don’t know exactly what the PBB is worth, but I think it’s a lot more than USD 13m. Especially when you recognise that the business has NGN 285bn (USD 1.7bn) in assets, NGN 198bn (1,207bn) in deposits and already earns NGN 25bn (USD 154.6m) in revenue which is growing at 32% a year (1H14 vs 1H13).
The Bottom Line
It’s difficult to say exactly what PBB is worth and any judgement about its value requires a view about management’s ability to scale up by growing their customer base and sweating their investments. But if market prices are any indicator, PBB should be worth 4 to 10 times this implied value, suggesting a 12% to 33% upside to Stanbic’s current price (NGN 31.00 at this writing). I would expect that earnings results showing continued improvement in PBB profitability will provide the catalyst for the stock to make its final run towards fair value.
The risks to this scenario are model risk, unsustainable CIB profitability and failure by management to execute on their PBB strategy.
What Do You Think?
Does Stanbic IBTC look like a bargain to you? Or would investors be better off with another one of Nigeria’s bank stocks? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!
Godfrey Mwanza, CFA is a Fund Manager with Barclays Africa Group. The views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer. As of this writing, he did not own shares of Stanbic IBTC.