[Note on 26 April 2010 11.30 am, this piece was updated as the 2009 annual report was made available on website]
If OCBC mgt wants to unlock value and return cash to shareholders, this is how to do it.
First by reading the FT. “Prudential, trading at roughly 1 times embedded value, appears to be overpaying by offering 1.7 times EV for a business [AIG]with lower-quality profits. The valuation appears less outlandish, however, when compared with prevailing multiples in Asian markets of about 1.7-1.8 times”. EV means embedded value.
At its present share price (S$15.90), OCBC’s GE Life is trading 21% above its 2009 embedded value because GE LIfe’s free float is tiny: OCBC has 87% of GE Life.
At 1.7 X EV share price shld be 22.35 or 41% up.
And in 2009, AIA had 5% growth at operating level. Based on GE’s annced results, GE’ s is several times that. So given GE life’s smallish size and profitability, 2 X EV would be fair (even taking into account its very weakish presence in China: but then it is building up mkt share in Indonesia) . At 2 X embedded value, share price is almost $26.30 — 65% up.
OCBC mgt: Time to call, Allianz or Aviva? Or Temasek? That bull on Asian financial stocks.
After all, OCBC can keep the bankassurance model (OCBC retains exclusivity in branch selling insurance where it has a decent branch network) ), and can buy shares in an insurance co that is buying GE Life (to participate in growth of insc biz). And remember OCBC has no access to GE Life’s cash flow. It can only equity account GE Life.
The sale would bring in around S$10.5 billion in cash to OCBC or $3.15 a share.
But I doubt whether mgt or the controlling shareholder would want to do this deal. The downside is that OCBC would shrink and be smaller than DBS once shorn of GE Life. Its engine of growth would be gone and it would be a takeover target. So long term, one could argue that deal would be bad for OCBC.
Still if I were the OCBC Lees, $2.8 billion(assuming all the proceeds are paid out) is not to be sneered at.
Wondering why writing abt this fantasy deal? Showing off that my CF skills as gd as my writing skills. Hoping that sumeone will contact me offering me some freelance analytical work instead of word spinning work. Here’s hoping!