Booking.com

Booking.com

Favorite Links

Monday, March 29, 2021

先天自然功──「樂功」

先天自然功簡稱樂功,是一種道德功、快樂功、生活功。它是1984年姜宗坤女士經過多年的修練,發現了宇宙存在著一種迄今不為人所知的極為特殊的物質(先天元氣),只要得到它的幫助,則可以強身健體,治療多種急性或慢性病。而與這種物質相通的方法,就是要培養健全的心理,提高社會適應能力和完善道德品質。

樂功最大特色是強調「練性治病」。它與其它氣功最大不同點是,練性即練功,它不須要經由意守、導引、調整呼吸、講究姿勢、強調氣感,練完功也不必刻意收功。行住坐臥,隨時可練,動靜相宜,24小時都可以練功。它是一種強調「練性治病,明理做人,面帶笑意,心平氣和,順應自然」的道德功。

它「練性治病」的理論基礎是,人體是一個高級自動控制系統,具有自我修復與適應能力。大腦是控制指揮中心,如果大腦處理信息的通道受阻(信息紊亂),機體功能就會偏離常軌而患病。因此,大多數的疾病也是由於生命信息紊亂。人的思想、行為以及所處的環境,都會通過干擾大腦中樞神經系統,來對人的健康產生強烈影響。這種特殊物質(先天元氣)的溝通媒介是大腦中樞神經系統,只有排除各種自然、心理和社會因素對這系統的過份干擾,才能順利地獲取先天元氣。也只有當人體與先天元氣和諧溝通到一定程度時,才能獲得真正的治療效果。

練功形式分「動功」及「靜功」兩方面來進行。動功是「睜眼做事,以善求樂」。不論做什麼事,隨時提醒自己「要樂」。保持「樂」的狀態,做任何事,即是練動功。靜功則是「面帶笑意,心平氣和,閉目靜養,明理思過」。在休息、睡覺或養病時,利用一小段時間,以「樂」的狀態閉目養神(自然地坐、臥、站均可),就是練靜功。無論動、靜,都是練一個「樂」字。心平氣和的生活、工作,經常保持樂觀的情緒積極向上的進取心,就是樂的表現。「樂」是訣竅及下手處,「善」是核心。為善最樂,樂必須與善相結合,才是真樂。也唯有藉著「樂」與「善」,才能達到「淨」──淨化心靈與自然和諧溝通。

樂功另一個特點是具可傳遞性。練此功首先必須得到老師或輔導員的口授心傳,再配合自己本身不斷地修心養性。老師在教授時,一邊講明練功的方法及道理,一邊即向學員,自然傳遞具有先天氣功特定信息的「氣」物質(體內先天氣),以幫助學員與先天元氣溝通。等學員經過一段時間的學習和實踐,治好了自己的病,並從根本上掌握了樂功的基本原理,在輔導員的幫助及鑑定之下,就可以向他人傳遞這種「信息」,替人帶功治病。通常須要二十一天的適應期,才能看出一些功效。疾病是自己養成不良習慣所致,健康也要靠培養良好的習慣才能獲得。

樂功簡便易行,要治身體的病主要是先由「心」下手。所謂治「心病」,就是修養自己的品德,提高生活工作的能力,加強對人際的適應能力。溝通、諒解、尊重、關心他人,遵守公約,樂觀處世,熱愛生活,樂於奉獻。「心」健全了,身體的病自然而然就能痊癒。


http://www.lapislazuli.org/tw/index.php?p=19940805.html

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Why Highways are a Gruesome Industry – WCE Holdings Berhad (3565)

Over the last year or so, i’ve gotten relatively familiar with the highway industry in general, and given what I know today, i can’t help but think back to one of my earlier research.

A brief analysis and valuation of WCE Holdings Berhad (WCEHB).

Quite frankly, I couldn’t be more wrong.

Even if one forgave my superficial knowledge of the highway industry then, what was unforgivable in that bit of research, was two things.
Assumption of a certain IRR without a deep understanding of the factors that need to happen to give rise to that IRR.
To be a bit laxer in my own research and understanding of the company because people I admire hold some of the shares.

The thing that was really bugging me about that research, is that it was quite frankly one of my more popular pieces, in terms of views, comments, likes etc on the I3 Malaysian Investment Forum. And i therefore felt a certain sense of responsibility to try and remedy that.

Personally, for me, it was one of my bigger mistakes. I can only thank that small part of my brain that refused to take it beyond a minor position in my portfolio.

Now, in order to understand WCE Holdings Berhad, we need to first understand the Highway Industry.

Lets Begin.

Allow me to warn you, this will be a very long piece.

If you want a summary, highway industries is a gruesome business and i think each share is worth around RM0.25.

The main reason for this is that traffic growth for the last 5 years have been extremely low at 1-2%, while when this concession agreement was signed in 2015, it likely projected 3-4%. This severely impaired the economics of the business.

But i am being quite conservative, and there are a multitude of factors that can bring its fair value up very very significantly.

Overview of the Malaysian Highway Industry

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have in terms of the highway industry, is that it is a very lucrative one.

A lot of it stems from us constantly seeing the alleged cronies who are usually taking up highway concession contracts, and from the general observation of people paying tolls every day.

I mean, if you see traffic jams every morning and evening, and the long queues in front of the toll plaza.

It only makes sense they are all very profitable right?

Having gone through the 5 year annual reports of every highway concession company in Malaysia, and every major highway company globally (for some companies, I’ve read more than 20 years’ worth of annual reports), this cannot be further from the truth.

Here are some of certain factors and risks, intrinsic on the highway industry.

Huge Initial Capital Expenditure, 10-15 year Gestation Period (Ie, Bleeding Period)

Like most concession type companies, such as power generation etc. Highway concessions require a huge initial capital outlay.

During the construction period, retail investors who are not familiar with the accounting standards, would think that it is profitable, and would be profitable when it opens and start toll collections.

This is a very grave misconception.

During the construction period, any interest expense, is capitalized into the balance sheet under the Concession Assets (or any other similar terms). Once the highway is opened and toll collections begin, these interest expense can no longer be capitalized, and will now flow out through the income statements.

For most if not all highways, the initial toll collections will be far from enough to cover the interest expense, resulting in losses in the income statement.

Depending on the highway, for great highways, the losses may only be for 5 years before it makes enough money to pay the interest. For average ones, it may take around 10 years.

For the mediocre ones (which consist of most of them), the losses will never end, the only thing you have ahead of you, is the constantly deteriorating equity and an endless stream of restructurings. (I will expand on the economics of these highway companies in later section)

So how do highways get built?

Government Funding (Implicit & Explicit) and Creative Financing


Like many other public infrastructure works (especially those in the transportation industry), it is almost fundamentally impossible for them to survive without government funding or subsidies (think trains etc)

There are some edge cases such as the Hong Kong MTR Train Systems (Read This & This), but these are few and far in between.

So how does these highway projects get funded? They usually consist of a combination of,
Government Grants (rare);
Government Supported Loans (more common, with super creative loan repayment schedules);
Government Shareholding (more uncommon, but the Government usually either hold a Golden Share, or have various clauses in the Concession Agreements that effectively give certain Government Agencies the ability to dictate terms);
Government Guaranteed Sukuk/Bonds (most popular, you can be very creative with this. For example, make the Guranteed Sukuk junior to the Non-Guaranteed One, and now the implicitly guaranteed by the government, enabling lower interest rates to be obtained, while it stays off the books for the government since its implicit. Really very cute.)
Nominal investment by Private Party of 0% to 30% (most are in the range of 10-20%)

Now, some of you may think, if highways are not such gruesome business, why on earth would private individual decide to invest in them (short of idiocy, which undoubtedly exists) ?

The Meat is not in the Toll Collection

As stated in the point above, in terms of private money, the amount put up in terms of financing the project, is usually not that much, ranging from 0% (pass the completed highway to the private individual to operate and maintain) to 20 or even 30%.

Now often, the reason why private parties are willing to take this on, is because the real meat of the highway business is not in the toll collection, but in the construction of the highway, and its maintenance.

If done right (very rare), you can technically make back your investment even before the highway construction is finished! And after the construction is done, you can now get recurring income from maintaining it.

The trick here is, to have the government and the banks/bond holders, hold most of the debt, while the private individual holds most of the equity (close to 100%), despite only financing 0%-30% of the project.

And because the highway is kept in a separate company, while the construction and maintenance company are held in another company.

This way, you can keep extracting money from that highway concession despite it being loss making entity, via maintenance etc. In fact, companies like UEM Edgenta Berhad and Touch & Go are such companies for the North South Expressway (Though this highway ended up being profitable and turning into the crown jewel then).

And for those who are really smart, they can even structure their investment such that 10% of it is in Ordinary Shares, while the other 90% is in Convertible Preference Shares with a fixed dividend, enabling them to take out any excess cash (even if the Retained earnings is negative, for those who don’t know, when a company has negative retained earnings, dividends cannot be paid on the Ordinary Shares.)

For most highway concession companies, the future toll collections are more of a pseudo-lottery ticket. They expect/hope for it to make enough to cover maintenance, and dream that it may actually be successful and take them to the moon. (I will go in depth on traffic projections in my next point).

As the private investor would have close to 100% equity on the project, this means if that if the actual traffic far exceeds the projected traffic, they would have hit the jackpot.

Imagine this, government funds at least 80% of the project (via explicit or implicit guarantees), and their return is capped, while the downside risks belong to the Government and whoever (foolish enough, at least for bonds that are not explicitly guaranteed by the government) buy highway bonds.

As for the upside, they all belong to the private investor.

Ie, privatize the profits, democratize the loss.

This situation is common worldwide. (To be fair, these days governments are a bit smarter and require a profit-sharing clause in their concession agreements. WCE’s concession agreement contains one)

Now, why would any government decide to do this?

The Disincentives of the Highway Concessions Industries

As Charlie Munger always says,

“Track the Incentives! Show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome”

Incentives are the iron law of nature; at the end of the day you get what you incentivize for. If you put out honey, you get ants.

Most Governments around the are incentivized to show a lighter balance sheet.

However, everyone also wants to do more public infrastructure (Unprofitable but necessary, why else we pay tax for?).

The solution therefore for most governments is to use mostly use implicit guarantees and if necessary government guaranteed loans or explicit guarantees for bonds.

Now, the really cute thing about implicit guarantees is, other than in very select scenarios, where it’s a national asset, or the counter-party is someone who, you simply cannot piss off, the government can often choose to not act on that implicit guarantee.

This is because they are so many things can be done to effectively still hold control of the highway, even if it’s now bankrupt and belongs to the creditors (who usually consist of some random institution or rich individuals elsewhere).

This has happened before elsewhere in the world (I have no idea if it happened in Malaysia before).

However, in most highway concession agreements worldwide, there is a clause allowing the respective country’s Highway Authority to set the toll rate to be charged (this can be different than what is in the concession agreement), effectively still granting control to the government, with the difference to be paid as compensation.

And the compensation usually needs to be jointly certified with the government agency.

Now, if that government agency wants to have you jump through numerous fire hoops, and take their sweet time with the decisions, make last minute changes or requirements that basically require you to redo everything.

What are you going to do?

Are you willing to sue the government and sour this relationship forever (especially applicable in countries where there isn’t a strong democratic process)?

In addition, compensation is often capped to a certain traffic amount each year.

If you happened to own a highway that makes super-normal profits and the government did not allow you to increase toll rates (due to political pressure), and instead opt to pay compensation, your compensation will usually be less than what you can collect.

Now, for some of my sharper readers, you will now be thinking,

“You know, government’s wanting a lighter balance sheet does not seem like a strong enough argument.”

You’re right.

Here is a bell curve of the Corruption Index performed by Transparency International on 180 countries.

It’s not all 500 countries in the world (as stated by one Malaysian Minister), however, it consists of most of them. As for those who are not in the list, chances are, they probably scored extremely low.



The Index scored out of 100 Marks. Assuming the passing mark is 60, about 146 countries would not make the grade, this consist of about 81% of the 180 countries. No prize for guessing which part of the curve Malaysia falls on.

Needless to say, concession agreements like these (especially when structured right) and very lucrative and convenient things to dole out as reward to cronies.


The Lottery Ticket – Traffic Projections


Now, lets talk about traffic projections.

Among all type of government concessions (power, telecommunications, highways, petroleum etc), there is particularly lottery like nature when it comes to highway concessions.

Why?

Because everything hinges on the projected demand, which you will not know, other than based off your own gut instinct, or some traffic consultants gut instinct.

(To be frank, traffic consultants are a zero-value add job whose purpose is to put on some veneer of acceptability on traffic projections which will likely be inaccurate to a large degree.

It’s not their fault though, try projecting something for 30 years and see.

Just a matter of supply and demand.)

For example, when it comes to power generation concessions, it is a very clear and flexible commodity, whose supply and demand you can see clearly.

All you need to do is sign a concession agreement with the government who will agree to buy most of your power at market price, build the power plant, and then connect it to the transmission lines.

The only real risk is pricing risk, which can backfire spectacularly, as you can see in Hyflux who did not predict that Natural Gas prices would fall by more than 50%, causing power prices to fall, resulting in their Power Plant which does not use Natural Gas to basically die.

When it comes to traffic projection, the number of factors that impact traffic projections is numerous, and thus its complexity is higher by several orders of magnitude.

The questions consist of,
What is the impact of GDP to Traffic? How elastic/inelastic is it? What is the local GDP?
What are the plans for new expressways or roads around your highway, what are the alternative routes?
What will demographics trends look like?
What about trains and other modes of transports?
Cars vs Motorcycles demographics?
Travelling trends? Saturation points?
Given the above as well as cost of constructing the highway, what price to charge?

The list of questions goes on and on and on.

To paraphrase Howard Marks,

“Who can respond to this many questions, come up with valid answers, consider their interaction, appropriately weight the various considerations on the basis of their important, process them for a useful conclusion regarding the expected traffic and the right price to charge?”

You are either to going to get it very right or very wrong. And given the economics and history, you will likely get it very very wrong.

However, predict they must.

(At the end of the day, the highway project must go on, as the meat of the highway industry is in the construction and maintenance, not the toll collection.)

Now, for most, including myself it would seem perfectly reasonable for traffic growth to be around 4-5% per year, in line with Malaysia’s GDP.

However, this thought process have stopped holding true since 2015, unless you have a new highway in urban areas or do capacity expansion (extremely expensive).

These days, looking at the Bond Rating Reports from MARC, the North South Expressways (largest highway of Malaysia) is only seeing growth of 1-2% per year. This is not the news any current or future highway concessionaire would like to hear.

Still, a free lottery ticket (depending on which part of the deal you’re at), why not?

And for those who actually get a winning lottery ticket, you now have the opportunity to use these traffic projections to do some financialization, ie borrow more money and take it out as dividends etc.

For the more recent deals, you can look at the RM1.35bil bonds raised by Bright Focus (A Maju Holdings Subsidiary) using Maju Expressways as collateral.

Around of half of the bonds were then paid to the Maju Holdings. The bonds listed at a AA Rating and have since then turned to BB1 Rating (ie Junk Status)

Still, i don’t blame them for wanting to do so.

Top off deteriorating demand and highways being such a politically charged matter in Malaysia, it makes sense to take out as much money from your highway concession as humanly possible.

The Malaysia Political Factor

Why do politics matter so much for the highways industry in Malaysia?

Well, unlike in other countries, both our governments have decided to shoot themselves in the foot by making toll roads such a highly charged political issue (this is really quite unique to Malaysia).

Despite having one of the lowest toll rates in the world (back of envelope calculation), the sheer political pressure and attention on this issue have resulted in there being no toll rate increase in all highways in Malaysia since 2011. The government would rather just pay compensation than incur the public wrath.

As a highway toll concessionaire, this is not a good thing.

If you have a highway concession, due to the previously explained traffic caps, the toll compensation you receive is likely to be less than what you can collect.

In addition, you now must go through the process of jointly certifying toll compensation and claiming such compensation, which require additional cost to be borne by you, and if there are any delays through no fault of your own, good luck having the government pay you interest on the toll compensation.

And if you have a bad toll road (which will likely be the case), with huge cash-flow issues, well, good luck to you.

In Malaysia, we are also home to one of the most incredible restructuring deals. Yes, im talking about the planned planned restructuring for PLUS Berhad, whose highways have some of the lowest toll rates on earth (by a wide margin i might add) and in Malaysia.

The toll concession will be increased by 20 years, with no additional increase in toll rates (after the 18% discount).

Well, name me one other product whose prices have not increased in the last 30 years in terms of nominal value (ie, don’t account for inflation). I cannot think of even one thing to be honest.

I’m not privy to the additional details, but if that is all there is to that restructuring, i imagine they would literally rather take the shorter toll concession period and maintain the current toll rate schedule in their concession agreement.

Overview of Malaysian Highway Companies Profits/Losses

During the year, I had an opportunity to go through the accounts of all the highway companies in Malaysia (I made a friend in SSM who has sadly left the place).

Profitable Years are highlighted in “Green”. Loss-making Years are highlighted in “Red”. And as for the cells highlighted in “Orange”, the accounts couldn’t be found or was not released at that time.

For the highways in “Red”, those concession have ended or have been terminated.



Making sense of the numbers

In order to understand the context of these numbers, we need to be aware of the accounting treatments of certain items that are specific to Highway Concessions.

Provision For Heavy Repairs

For highway concession companies, they are required to handover the highways and all associated equipment back to the government at the end of the concession period in good condition.

Therefore, in their accounts, the highway concession companies will make an estimate of all future heavy repairs from now till the end of concession, using current cost estimates, traffic projections and expected inflation.

This amount is then discounted back to present value using the nearest available matching risk free rate.

For example, if you had a concession that is expected end in 10 years, you would use the 10-year MGS interest rate.

Changes in any of the items above, can result in very significant variance when it comes to the profit for the year.

Concession Assets (or other similar terms)

This basically consist of the cost of building the highway. If it was purchased from a third party, you may then have goodwill baked into it as well.

This item sits on the balance sheet and is amortized using a rate which is calculated as follows.

[(Actual traffic for the year) / (Actual Traffic for the year + Projected Future Traffic till end of Concession)] X Concession Asset

Now this is different from the usual straight line or reducing balance method of calculating depreciation.

In a way, this is a utilization kind of amortization. This means that assuming projected future traffic is unchanged, if the traffic this year is less, the amortization is less.

However, every year, the toll companies are required to procure a traffic projection report, which means that the “Projected Future Traffic till End of Concession” also changes from year to year. Which can give rise to a very significant swings in profit.

In addition, a discounted cash-flow needs to be performed each year in order to see if the future earnings can still support the value of this asset on the books. If it is insufficient, an impairment will be needed, which again gives rise to very significant swings in profit.

Restructuring, Restructuring, Restructuring

Being a gruesome business that is subject to a lot of political pressure , there is no surprise that that these companies usually go through plenty of restructuring in their lifetime.

This restructuring also often result in wild swings in the profit numbers.

Cashflow Not Earnings


Now, the 3 items (Restructuring, when it happens) above usually constitute the among the top 3 costs to the company, now as some of you you might have noticed, those are just accounting entries, and not real cash items.

These provisions or changes just move the numbers in the Income Statement but have no real impact on the real cashflow.

This is correct, however, as I am looking at it in terms of the industries economics, all these numbers matter.

If you were to build a new highway, amortization constitutes the worst of expenses, as instead of paying your expenses as you use, you will now need to pay the expenses of the next 30 years today.

Notes on Malaysian Concession Companies

Well, I think the numbers in the table speaks for itself.

However, there are a few common trends I think I need to elaborate on.
Around the word (this also applies to Malaysian ones) the only highways that make money are the ones that are in Urban areas. and except for 1 or 2 exceptions, they are also in high density, high traffic jam areas in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor. Having said that, just because you are in these areas, does not mean you will make money, due to the reason below.

Elevated Highways, Bridges and Tunnels cost the most money to build, and are therefore extremely unlikely for those companies to ever recoup their investments the usual style (dividends). There isn’t a single bridge in Malaysia that is making money. Not in Penang, not even the Singapore ones that are jammed like crazy every morning and evening. (There is also other problems like soil etc, but not as major)

For Intercity Highways in Malaysia, only North South Expressways is making money, as it was the first with no viable alternatives as the federal roads usually takes 3 times longer. For a Northern Interstate Highway, Anih Berhad is doing an amazing job though keeping theirs alive for so long.

For some of the highways, there are some differences in the numbers that I feel I should give some color (the favorite “Atas” word of every western investment analyst) on.

(A) Ampang–Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway – Projek Lintasan Kota Sdn Bhd (AKLEH- Prolintas)

This company is typically profit making, however it made losses in 2017 due to impairments in the Concession Asset.

These things are quite common in highways for the reason described above.

(B) Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel – Syarikat Mengurus Air Banjir dan Terowong Sdn Bhd

It turned to a major loss in 2017 due to impairments in the Concession Asset, again, very common.

Fun fact. It is also the highway with the highest toll rate per km in the Malaysia, as it costs the most money per km to build, with it being located its deep underground and including its famous storm water features etc.

Personally, I’m in awe at Gamuda’s ability to build it within budget (mostly) and keep it alive till today.

C) DUKE 1 and 2 – Konsortium Lebuhraya Utara-Timur (Kuala Lumpur) Sdn Bhd (EKOVEST)

Well, this is still a very young highway, so numbers are a touch lumpy.

Having said that, actual traffic vs traffic projections are quite good, which is why it is able to make a profit much earlier than expected, despite only opening in 2010 or so and have a lot of elevated structures.

(D) Kuala Lumpur–Karak Expressway & East Coast Expressway Phase 1 (ECE1) – Anih Berhad

The year 2015 would be loss-making if not for a bond restructuring.

The income statement remained positive in 2016, before nosediving in 2017 and 2018 as they caught up on their Heavy Repair Provisions (should be this item as its cash-flow did not change much).

(E) Kemuning – Shah Alam Highway – Projek Lintasan Shah Alam Sdn Bhd (LKSA – Prolintas)

Highway was too expensive with a lot of elevated structures, and the multitude of free options available around it, which is why it is loss making despite being in a high-density urban area.

(F) Senai–Desaru Expressway – Senai-Desaru Expressway Berhad

It would still be in loss making in 2015 if not for the restructuring of the ICULS (Basically a loan with equity kicker).

This highway concession is a gigantic elevated structure / Bridge from Senai to Desaru. It was incredibly expensive to build and its basically impossible for it to ever turn over a profit, unless you forgive 80-90% of the debt.

(G) Sprint Expressway – Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat Sdn Bhd

It turned into a profit in 2015 and 2016, however, there was a strong increase in heavy repair provision (likely due to under-provision in prior years), which resulted it making losses again in 2017 and 2018.

Having said that, it is very close to making a profit, should turn green soon once the loan is low enough.

(H) Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge – Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd

It would still be loss-making in 2017 if not for Forex gains.

Huh? Why forex gains you ask?

Well this is a very cute company.

I’m not sure which fool or investment banker suggested it, however, it has about RM1.5 billion to RM1.7 billion in USD denominated loans.

This is also the reason behind the huge losses in 2014 to 2016, and the large turnaround in 2017. Given the increase in USD in 2018 and 2019, i expect massive losses for these years.

It also has a very interesting/creative structure.

The government basically told the company that in exchange for building it, they will pay the company RM7.51 billion in 2031, which is why they have unwinding of non-current receivable on their balance sheets.

And this is also why, despite it currently being in negative equity situation, the bond holders have not gone crazy yet, as the loan amount RM6.4bil is technically still below the amount payable by the government by 2031.

I would actually consider taking bets on there being a restructuring on this company within the next 2 years.

WCE Holdings Berhad (WCEHB: 3565)

And so, after the long grandmother stories (Mark Spitznagel of Universa Investments will be proud), we come to the meat of this article.

What is the equity of WCE Holdings Berhad worth?

To find out, we have to ask two questions, the first one being,

Do equity holders of WCE Holdings Berhad get to participate in the meat of this highway concession, ie the construction and maintenance of this highway?

Well, the construction is done by IJM, and I would imagine that as the majority shareholder of the highway (Direct 20% stake in the highway, and 28% stake in WCE Holdings Berhad), they would ensure that any major maintenance or upgrading work, is also done by IJM or its subcontractors.

As IJM and WCE Holdings Berhad minority equity holders are very different entities who benefit from this highway very differently, I think the answer is a “No”.

As minority shareholders, you are unlikely to be benefiting from the meat of this investment.

In this case, the second question is this.

What is the value of your WCE Berhad lottery ticket?

The lucky thing minority investors have going for you, is that the Mamee Family and Surin Upatkoon (the father in law of one of the members of the Mamee Family, also owner of Magnum) is in this together with you, in your exact position.

Also, as equity holders, you are actually contributing the higher end of the scale in terms of funding for the project (almost 30%).

Both of which seem to indicate that these people have really really done their homework, which helps you chances abit.

Now, lets do our homework.

To do this, we will use a simple and high level discounted cashflow.

They are a multitude of various different factors and scenarios such as,
The highway opening in stages;
Duration of concession likely mismatching by one or two years due to opening in stages;
Increase in opening loan amounts from interest accumulated during the construction stage;
Changes in maintenance cost % as the highway gets older;
Expected upgrading works;
Loan repayment schedules;
Potential toll compensation issues messing up the cash flow and incurring opportunity cost.

Etc, etc, the list goes on.

However, the goal here is to roughly correct, not to be precisely wrong. As Warren Buffet once said,

“You don’t need to know the weight of a man to know if he’s fat, nor the age of a women to know if she’s old”

The goal here is to be roughly correct, and err on the conservative side.

If the numbers don’t look obviously good when done from this perspective, well, forme i’ll throwing it to the too hard pile,and let whoever is left to figure this out.

To calculate this high level discounted cash-flows, we need to come with reasonable estimates and assumptions.
Expected Operating Costs or EBITDA%
Expected Financing Cost
Traffic Projections
Expected Concession Asset Value and Expected Income Tax
Dividend and Discount Rate
Value of Investment

Expected Operating Costs

Depending on the type of highway, geographic profile, the kind of maintenance agreed in the concession agreement, the age of the highway as well as the efficiency of management involved, the cost of operating a highway when translated to EBITDA is usually around 60-90%.

For WCE, it is an Intrastate highway, which means that they usually have higher maintenance cost due to lower economies of scale (a long highway means a lot of mobilization costs).

In addition, Intrastate highways tend to have a higher (Class 2 and 3 – Lorries and Trucks) demographic from long distance shipping. According to conversations to various people, despite these two classes being around 20% of the traffic, they contribute to around 80% of damage done to the pavement due to overloading for these lorries and trucks.

Having said that, a young highway is also cheaper to maintain than an old one.

Now, the operators of Interstate Highways in Malaysia are Anih Berhad and PLUS Berhad, the highways are relatively old (20 – 40 years old), and they record EBITDA of around 60-70%.

For reference, top Urban Highways such as DUKE, KESAS etc can record EBITDA of 80-90% relatively easily.

For WCE, we will assume 80% of the first 10 years, 75% for the next 10 years, and 70% till the end of concession.

This is somewhere in higher end as the other two highways usually use subcontractors to maintain their high. IJM should be able to get the cost slightly lower in view of their deep expertise in construction and road maintenance.

Expected Financing Costs

From what I can see in the latest annual reports and right issue documents, by the time the highway is completed, WCE would have used up a borrowing facility amounting to RM4.74 billion.

This consist of 3 kinds of loans,
RM2.24 bil Government Soft Loan (“GSL”) at 4% per annum. Repayment starts 6 years from first drawdown, in 108 equal quarterly installments. First Drawdown was in 2016. Therefore first repayment will be in 2022.
RM1.00 bil Sukuk issued in 2015. Interest rate is around 6.8%. Repayment starts 12 years from first drawdown, in 10 equal yearly installments.
RM1.50 bil Syndicated Term Loan. Interest is around 6.7%. Repayment is in 2028 bullet style.

This translates to the table below and a blended rate of 5.45%


Looking at the table above, considering that interest expense is likely to be around RM 290 million per year, i don’t think they will generate enough cash flow to meet interest cost for at least the first 10 years.

However, given the long concession period, refinancing is probably possible as long as the traffic is not too bad (we will go into this later).

To make things simple, we will ignore the schedule above, and just assume that all excess cash would go to interest and principal payments (after accounting for a reasonable dividend policy) and that any lumps in the cash-flow will be handled while refinancing.

The goal is to completely repay the borrowings by the last year of the concession period.

Do note, they are also a multitude for covenants (FSCR Ratios, Debt to Equity Ratios etc), as well as making sure the equity is positive in order to pay dividends etc.

But these would really massively complicate things, as i will then need to create a sample balance sheet. Therefore i decided to go with the above method.

Having said that, if the final numbers looked fantastic and it looks viable investment, i would probably proceed to do a full fledged discounted cash-flow, with a balance sheet component in order to better understand the numbers. In this case however, it did not.

Traffic Projections

In WCE’s latest Bond Rating Report by RAM Rating, they provided some information on the traffic projections used by WCE Holdings Berhad. (If you want one you need to pay RM500 for one copy, i happened to have a friend, so that helps).



Looking at the numbers, they appear to be projecting a long-term traffic growth of around 2.4 – 3.2%.

If you notice, revenue growth is actually about double that of projected traffic growth, this is likely due to toll rate increase. Using some back of envelope calculation, it appears that the toll rates are increased by 10% every 5 years. Initial revenue is expected to be between RM275 million to RM461 million.

Do these numbers look accurate?

Well, lets compare them with North South Expressways, whose highway is parallel to WCE’s.



Looking at PLUS Berhad’s projected traffic growth, as per their latest MARC Bond Rating Report (Again RM 500 to buy, I love my friends), for the North South Expressways, traffic growth for 2019 is only 1%.

As I understand, the 2019-2023 traffic projections is lower as it includes impact from the West Coast Expressways (WCE). Looking at the rest of the years, it looks like 1.5% is probably a reasonable long-term estimate for North South Expressways.

Now, just by comparing the traffic projections for both WCE and PLUS, there is clearly a huge difference.

There both used different traffic consultants, this means one of these consultants is much more wrong than the other.

Why is this the case you may ask?

Because in truth, projections says more about the people projecting it than that of the underlying reality.

Again, listen to Charlie Munger, track the incentives.

Traffic consultants are not governed by any strict supervisory body (unlike Auditors) and they are hired by the management.

Whose bread I eat, his song I sing (to a point, in general).

Having said that, North South Expressway’s traffic projection is backed by 20 years of traffic data, while WCE’s is basically castle on the clouds.

Therefore, we will be using North South Expressway’s traffic projections as a base.

Now, it is important to note that this 1.5% traffic growth, includes Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, as well as Johor Bahru, which are likely have traffic growth that is higher than the average for North South Expressways.

To simplify things, we will just split the highway into three portions, called Northern, Southern and Central.

In addition, in PLUS’s annual report (they are not listed by the way), they announced RM3.7 billion in toll revenue (excluding toll compensations), as the revenue is not split by concession (they own 5 highways altogether), we need to think of a reasonable estimate.

As two of the concessions are basically intertwined (North South Expressway & North South Expressway Central Link.), I’m just going to make a high level projection, and say that both of them amount is about RM3 billion (this proportion also makes sense in terms of what was seen in terms of traffic volumes stated in the report).

Now, we will now do a high-level estimate and try to obtain the growth and revenue by region. This is where it becomes more speculative, but we will try to be as reasonable as we can, and err on the side of conservatism.

We start by identifying the characteristics of each region, before coming up with some assumptions and estimates.

Characteristics of Each Region.

Central Region
This region holds the bulk of Malaysia’s economic development and thus should logically have the highest traffic growth and toll revenue.

Look at it from economic development wise, car ownership in each region etc, it would be reasonable to say it’s toll revenue is the combined of both Southern and Northern Regions.

Northern Region
Other than Penang, which is a really small island, in terms of economic development, it should be the lowest of all regions.

Perak, Kedah, Kelantan etc are not known for their economic prowess after all. Therefore, we can say that traffic growth and toll revenue should be the lowest among the 3.

Southern Region
This area includes Johor Bahru, which due to its closeness with Singapore, should do better.

However, it also includes areas like Negeri Sembilan and Melaka and the other parts of Johor, which are not exactly economic powerhouses.

On net basis, it should at minimum do better than the Northern Region, but not by much. Let’s say 20% better.

All this translates to the following assumptions.



I think this is a relatively reasonable one and if it errs, its probably on the side of conservatism.

Now that we have our long-term growth, we now need to really think about its initial growth rates (as a new highway grows faster at the first few years before stabilizing), as well as the Initial Revenue.

For Initial Traffic Growth, I decided to use the following,



Again, it seems conservative enough for me, i think a stronger initial pop may happen as it is about 50km from NSE, despite being parallel, however, again we strive to err on the side of conservatism.

What about the Initial Revenue then?

Well, as per the table above, Northern Revenue for North South Expressways is around RM675 million per year.

According to RAM Rating, WCE’s traffic consultants projected RM471 million (RAM sensitized it to RM 275 million) in revenue per year.

This represents somewhere between 40% (RAM Sensitized) – 70% of North South Expressways Northern Revenue.

Since WCE is expected to take away some traffic from North South Expressways, this amount seems a little high to me, especially since PLUS have lowered the toll rates by 18%, bringing it to around 11.45 sen per km in the article above.

How much is WCE’s toll rate then?

The information is not public, however, according to the article above, it is estimated to be 13.7 sen to 15.53 sen per km.

This appears to be corroborated by this article at the end of 2018, stating that it should be in line with PLUS’s 13.96 sen per km, according to a minister.

My guess is that it’s probably somewhat higher that North South Expressways. As if it was lower, they would have answered it clearly.

This is not good news.

However, to be fair, WCE is also banking on vehicles that uses the free federal roads to use their highways as well, as its likely to be more convenient and a better drive.

However, one should also note that the Northern Federal Roads are actually quite well maintained, without much traffic jam, in which case i’m not sure how much traffic will transition to WCE’s more expensive highway.

So, what’s the right number?

I have no idea, but if I to put some money on it, and predict a number that is within 30% lower of the actual future traffic, i would say around RM 200 million, which is far lower than what was represented by management and sensitized by RAM Rating.

Expected Concession Asset Value and Expected Income Tax

Now back to the other assumptions, we also need to calculate the Expected Income Tax. As the income tax is likely to be determined by the profit for the year, which will need to include the expected amortization rate, we will need to derive it by identifying the Expected Concession Asset Value.

And then amortize it using the revenue for the year, against the total projected revenue.


For the project cost/ highway cost, i’ll be using this amount. The interest capitalized is around 3% of the entire project cost from 2015 to 2023. This is about half of the current interest rate.

I did this to account for the fact that the loan is progressively drawn down.

For the tax rate, we will use the current corporate income tax, which is 24%.

For losses brought forward (to be used to reduce tax), i will assume that the current 7 year law applies till the end of concession.


Dividend and Discount Rate

For the dividend, we will just massage it to have it fit such that the all borrowings is paid off at the end of the concession period.

Discount rate of 4% is used. This is the current 30 year MGS (not sure if it changed with).

Some will think its a little low, but for me, i am already adjusting in the margin of safety via all the other assumptions, and we will also compared it against the current share price later (difference is the margin of safety).

I’d rather do it this way than make my life unnecessarily complicated.

Value of Investment

Now for value of investment, this is to identify out what is will be the NPV per share. Again for this, we will go the most conservative route.

To identify our number of shares, we refer to the right issue prospectus. According to the prospectus, under the maximum scenario, the maximum number of shares is ~3,509,575,000 shares.

This assumes that all RCPS currently held by shareholders will be fully converted to new WCE Holdings Berhad shares, by surrendering one RCPS together with the required cash payment, for one new share of WCE Holdings Berhad.

It also assumes that the Warrants currently held by the shareholders will be fully exercised in the First Exercise Period at RM0.39 per warrant.


This expands the number of shares to ~3,509,575,000 shares from the current ~1,297,000,000 shares.

This expands the number of shares by around 171%. Dropping the final valuation by that amount.

In any event, if as an investor you think the shares are valuable, you would want to exercise the warrants, and in this case, all of them thought so and did so.

I accounted for the cash inflow as a positive in the Cash-flow workings, as we are already dividing it over the maximum number of shares.

WCE Highway High Level Cashflow

Given all of the above assumptions, what does the cash-flow look like?



Using realistic assumptions (that err somewhat on the side of being conservative, in terms of your Initial Revenue and Number of Shares), your lottery ticket is worth about RM0.25 sen per share.

This is about 2.18% lower than the current market price.

Having said that, these numbers hinges on one very important thing, which is that toll rate increases at 10% every 5 years. I think this accurate, but we need actual confirmation on this.

Even then, it does not look that attractive to me.

Also, remember, these numbers does not consider the possibility of toll compensations being lower than what is supposed to be received (traffic caps) and delays in toll compensation etc.

Having said that, my guess is that the traffic caps will not come into play when toll compensation is calculated as my projected traffic used is so much lower than that of management’s, which would have been used in negotiating the toll concession.

I think considering the conservatism I took in calculating this, this fair value should more than account for toll compensation delays etc.

Now, if you were to decide to use managements traffic projection, and instead of RM200 million and 1% growth, and replace it with RM471 million and 3% growth.



Your lottery ticket will be worth about 13 times more or RM3.26.

But these numbers would be a real stretch and quite frankly, I don’t think it’s possible in this world.

If this was another reality where for some reason, Singapore did not separate from Malaysia, and this new Malaysia was didn’t have Race, Religion and Royalty completely baked into our culture, enabling the kind of economic development across the Northern Region that can give rise to this kind of traffic growths, this may be possible.

But there is a price for everything.




Conclusion

With that i end this piece.

Having said that, for the current shareholders, my assumptions are probably quite conservative, and if its only 2% below market price given these very strong assumptions, its not all bad.

In addition, you have a relatively decent property development arm in WCE Holdings Berhad.

With some luck, the RCPS will not be fully converted, enabling the fair value per share to go up. And that the warrant expire in 2024 and 2029 mostly unconverted, enabling your per share value to increase significantly.

Of course, this is all predicated the current cash being sufficient, and that there is no additional cash calls.

I hope this is the case.

One thing i did find particular impressive about when writing this article, is the fact that this highway concession is not completely underwater when using my assumptions. It’s actually still likely to be profitable, just severely impaired.

This for me speaks volume about how good a deal this was back in 2015.

Of course, an alternative explanation is that the low traffic growth for the last 4-5 years is just cyclical.

Though i would struggle to think of any reason why its mostly cyclical, as we’ve had boom years in that period.

If i had to make a guess, i would say that this is from income for the middle and bottom half of society having not as grown much in the last 5-10 years.

This resulted in many people deciding to use Motorcycles instead of Cars. (In exchange, this particular trend gave rise to companies like AEON Credit, who are now recording super-normal profits)

As always, if you feel i’m wrong, or missed out on anything, please let me know.

https://choivocapital.com/2020/07/28/why-highways-are-a-gruesome-industry-wce-holdings-berhad-3565/

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

8 things I learned from Warren Buffett’s 2020 letter to Berkshire shareholders - Kenny Quek

Berkshire Hathaway’s letter to shareholders is something I look forward to each year. Unfortunately, it was quite a disappointment for me this year as I expected much more than ‘Never bet against America.’ The optimism surrounding the much-vaunted American Dream is partly rooted in how capitalism in America gave birth to successful everyday entrepreneurs — think the Claytons, Haslams, and Blumkins who prospered building homes, operating truck stops, and selling furniture to fill out homes.

As much as I appreciate his hopes for America, I wanted to hear more of Buffett’s thoughts on the pandemic, how it had impacted businesses, and perhaps the effect of stimulus on the economy. It would’ve made this article it a whole lot more interesting, but nonetheless there are still nuggets of wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha:

1. Focus on earnings that count. Since the implementation of the new GAAP rule to include capital gains and losses in the net income, Buffett has reiterated annually in his letter to focus on operating earnings to gauge the performance of the business. With a portfolio worth US$281 billion, periods of bull and bear markets could mask the underperformance and resilience of Berkshire Hathaway.

In 2020, US$21.9 billion out of US$42.5 billion in Berkshire’s GAAP earnings consisted of operating income, which has declined by 9% in the absence of growth and acquisitions. The rest consists of US$4.9 billion in capital gains, US$26.7 billion of net unrealized capital gains, and an US$11 billion asset write down.

2. Berkshire repurchased 80,998 Class A shares at US$24.7 billion. Without forking out a dime, shareholders’ ownership of the conglomerate has grown by 5.2%. Buffett has mentioned in the past about doing buybacks whenever he sees value in Berkshire stock, and he bought big in 2020.

Source: Berkshire Hathaway

3. Buffett overpaid for Precision Castparts. Berkshire wrote down US$11 billion of the asset that they acquired for US$32 billion in 2016. COVID-19 has impacted the airline industry, causing them to slash plane orders which curbed the demand for Precision Castparts’ products. Nobody can anticipate this in their financial projections, but as the leader of the pack, Buffett must take responsibility for his actions.

4. Berkshire will not make reckless acquisitions in the name of growth. When there are no great businesses up for sale, conglomerates often settle for mediocre businesses without any durable competitive advantages. They inflate their balance sheets to offset the hefty premiums to control the business, and this is not something Buffett wants for Berkshire. He would rather own a non-controlling interest in a wonderful business rather than have a full ownership of a struggling enterprise.

5. ‘Invisible’ earnings are going to add significant value to shareholders. Although retained earnings from Berkshire’s US$281 billion worth portfolio of companies are not reflected in the books, they are the invisible building blocks used to expand operations, pay down debt, and repurchase shares, which will materialize in the form capital appreciation in decades from now.

6. Buffett is not a big fan of bonds. Fixed income investors, pension funds, and insurance companies reliant on the bond market for returns will fare poorly in the coming years as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell to 0.93% at the end of last year. Due to Berkshire’s financial strength and cash flow from its non-insurance businesses, Buffett is free to deploy US$138 billion worth of float from their insurance business into the equity market.

7. Berkshire Hathaway Energy to become the leader in clean energy. In 2006, the utility business spent US$18 billion to rework and expand their electrical grid to transmit clean energy, solar and wind energy, from remote areas to population centers where their customers reside. This capital-intensive project is expected to be completed in 2030, putting them ahead of their competitors.

8. Never bet against America. Don’t lose faith in America’s economy and businesses, which will continue to thrive despite the pandemic. Buffett continues to believe in the American Dream: ‘In its brief 232 years of existence, however, there has been no incubator for unleashing human potential like America.’

This year the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting will be held in Los Angeles. Warren Buffett decided to move the meeting from Omaha to reunite with his BFF, Charlie Munger, who resides in California. Berkshire’s vice-chairmen, Ajit Jain and Greg Abel, will be joining them on stage to answer shareholders’ questions from around the world.

As usual, Berkshire’s annual meeting will once again be available via live webcast on Yahoo. To view the event, go to https://finance.yahoo.com/brklivestream at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (GMT-4) on Saturday, 1 May 2021. If you’d like to read Buffett’s full 2020 annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, you can click here. Enjoy the read!

https://fifthperson.com/warren-buffett-2020-letter/

SWKPLNT ~ Growth and Dividend Play

Author: i3gambler | Publish date: Sat, 6 Feb 2021, 5:28 PM



See the FFB growth:

Year 2017, Total FFB Production: 237,827mT

Year 2018, Total FFB Production: 245,852mT, Growth=3.4%

Year 2019, Total FFB Production: 281,263mT, Growth=14.4%

Year 2020, Total FFB Production: 341,065mT, Growth=21.3%

What about for Year 2021?

Analyst from Public Investment Bank in their report dated 23rd November 2020 wrote:

.......management has targeted FFB production growth of 18% to 415k mt for FY21 on the back of yield improvement from the enhancement area transferred to harvestable area......

Why such a non-stop high growth in FFB production?

Please read SWKPLNT's 2018 and 2019 annual reports.



Read the quarterly balance sheets side by side.

The net debt reduced significantly.

The balance sheet now look very healthy, that was why they could afford to pay out 2 x RM0.05 in Year 2020.

I guess they would pay out more dividend for Year 2021.



Read the quarterly profit or loss statements side by side:

Now already started to earn finance income instead of paying finance cost.

They sure will be able to pay out more dividend.

Now come back to the FFB target for Year 2021,

The growth in FFB production will be 415,000 - 341,000 = 74,000mT.

Assume the average FCPO price in 2021 is RM3000 (Yesterday was RM3914)

I checked from MPOB website, on the same day the FFB price for Sarawak was RM37.39 per 1%OER,

meaning if the FFB is of the grade 20% OER, the price was RM37.39*20 = RM747.80.

So, if the FCPO is RM3000, the FFB price will be around 747.8*3000/3914 = RM573.

SWKPLNT was very transparent since 2018, they disclose the estate and mill cost separately in the quarterly report.

Make a chart of estate cost against FFB production, apply a trend line y=mx+c. where

y=estate cost

x=FFB production

we get

m = RM159 per mT

c = RM9,970,000

Meaning the estate gross profit will increase by = 74,000 * (573 - 159) = RM30,636,000

or RM0.1099 per share.

Assume tax rate of 24%, EPS will increase by RM0.0834.

After reading the growth story of SWKPLNT, now we look at the dividend record:

1) Year 2016: 4.5 cents ex-dated on 08.03.2016

2) Year 2017: No dividend

3) Year 2018: 5.0 cents ex-dated on 28.05.2018

4) Year 2019: 5.0 cents ex-dated on 11.07.2019

5) Year 2020: 5.0 cents ex-dated on 14.07.2019 and another 5.0 cents ex-dated on 28.12.2020.

What about for Year 2021?

I think when SWKPLNT announce their Q4 2020 result later this month, they will declare another dividend of at least 5 cents.

And I predict they would pay out a total of 20 cents dividend in calendar year 2021.

Last,

Consult your stockbroker and Invest at your own risk.

HARTA ~ Valuation by Discounted Model

Author: i3gambler | Publish date: Sat, 16 Jan 2021, 12:32PM

1) I use EPS instead of DPS, as I believe the earning if not 100% distributed to shareholders will be invested for company future growth.

2) The formula for discounting is as shown below.

3) When things are back to normal, if market give a fair PE ratio of 40 times to HARTA, then HARTA's present fair price is RM14.63.



What if the market like HARTA very much and give a fair PE of 60 times?

The fair value is RM19.68.





What if the market give only a fair PE of 20 times?

The fair value is RM9.59.




Discussion and Notes:

1) What about those call warrants of HARTA, issued by CIMB? All are very expensive because both HARTA's price and volatility have dropped quite a lot.

2) I currently don't own any HARTA share or all warrants, and will not buy in near future.

3) Last time I thought of investing some money in glove stocks for security and hedging purpose. However, as KLK has already ventured into medical gloves, and I am holding KLK's parent BKAWAN, so no longer need to buy glove stocks.

4) Very important, must say three times...... Invest at your own risk! Invest at your own risk! Invest at your own risk!

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Aztech Global Ltd - One-Stop Electronics Manufacturing Solution

  • Aztech’s net profit posted a 107% CAGR (FY17-19) to S$47.2m as management shifted its strategic focus to IoT and smart lighting products.
  • Profit margin/EBITDA margin expanded from 2.9%/5.2% in FY17 to 11%/15% in FY19, driven by higher-margin smart lighting and IoT products.
  • The global IoT device market is expected to deliver 20.8% CAGR (FY19-23F), offering a US$425bn opportunity, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Aztech - Company Background

  • Aztech was established in 1986 by Mr. Michael Mun to undertake the design, manufacture and distribution of PCs. Today, Aztech has a core focus on one-stop design and manufacturing solutions for Internet-of-Things (IoT), data communication and LED lighting products. Aztech has over 290 customers in more than 40 countries, with three manufacturing facilities in Dongguan, People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Johor, Malaysia, as at 15 Feb 2021.
  • Aztech operates three key business segments, namely IoT devices and data communication products, LED lighting products, and other electrical products.
  • The company will list its shares on the SGX on 12 Mar 2021 as Aztech Global Ltd (SGX:8AZ), with a market capitalisation of S$990.4m, based on an invitational price of S$1.28 and post-invitational share capital of 773.7m shares, according to the company’s offer document.
  • Aztech Global Ltd IPO Product Highlights Sheet.

IoT devices and data communications

  • The IoT device and data communications product segment accounted for 68.2% of Aztech's FY19 revenue at S$292.5m (9M20: 82.6%).
  • This segment offers customers ODM, OEM, JDM or CMS manufacturing services for their branded products, such as smart security cameras, IoT lighting products and satellite modems. Aztech also manufactures and distributes its own range of IoT device products marketed under its own brands “Aztech” (B2B) and “Kyla” (B2C).

LED lighting products

  • The LED lighting product segment accounted for 31.7% of Aztech's FY19 revenue at S$136.0m (9M20: 17.2%).
  • Under this segment, Aztech manufactures general lighting products, including a variety of luminaires, bulbs and tubes, for residential, commercial and industrial uses. Aztech also manufactures key components such as drivers and optics for its LED lighting products.

Other electrical products

  • The other electrical product segment accounted for 0.1% of Aztech's FY19 revenue at S$0.3m (9M20: 0.3%).
  • This segment offers primarily kitchen appliances, such as ovens and air fryers, as well as other home and living products, such as cordless vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. As at 15 Feb 2021, Aztech had over 11 product lines and more than 35 models of electrical products, which are marketed under its “Aztech” brand.

Aztech's Competitors

As an electronics manufacturing service (EMS) provider, AZTECH faces competition from other EMS players both domestically and globally that offer similar services.

  • In Singapore, we believe that EMS providers such as Valuetronics (SGX:BN2) and Venture Corp (SGX:V03) provide similar services such as ODM, JDM and CMS for the manufacturing of electronic products. Meanwhile, global peers include Foxconn Technology Co Ltd (2354 TT).

Aztech's Peer Comparables

Global EMS providers trading at CY20 P/E of 13.2x.

  • Aztech’s invitational price of S$1.28 and FY19’s earnings per share of S$0.076 (based on pre-IPO number of shares) imply a 16.8x P/E, according to Aztech Global Ltd's offer document.
  • Historically, other EMS companies traded at an average CY20 P/E of 13.2x, based on Bloomberg consensus data.

Aztech - Company History

2006 SGX mainboard listing – 2017 privatisation

  • Aztech Group (SGX:AVZ) was listed on the SESDAQ (Stock Exchange of Singapore Dealing and Automated Quotation System) on 23 Feb 1994, before its listing status was transferred to the mainboard of the LED lighting products in 2013. Aztech cited low trading liquidity and no present need to access the capital markets as reasons for the privatisation, according to Aztech Global Ltd's IPO Prospectus.

Post-privatisation rationalisation exericse and IPO in 2021

  • Following the privatisation, Aztech underwent a rationalisation exercise and divested most of its non-core business units, which include the marine and shipping business as well as the food and beverage business, according to the company’s offer document.
  • Aztech entered into US$425.2bn between 2019 and 2023F, underpinned by mass adoption of IoT devices, according to Frost & Sullivan, a global market research company.
  • According to management in its offer document, it believes that tapping the capital markets again will position Aztech to capture the robust growth in the fast-growing IoT electronics business.

Aztech's Major Customers

3 main customers formed 86.3% of AZTECH’s FY19 revenue (9M20: 83.3%). Customer A is AZTECH’s largest customer, accounting for 49.0% of FY19 revenue (9M20: 57.8%).

  • Aztech began manufacturing smart security cameras in 2015 for a consumer electronics company that was acquired by Customer A, a major US e-commerce retailer in 2017, according to the company’s offer document. Customer A and Aztech entered into a manufacturing and development services agreement in 2018 to supply smart security cameras, which drove Customer A’s revenue contribution from 5.7% in FY17 to 49.0% in FY19 as smart security cameras rose in popularity from active marketing efforts online post-acquisition.

In FY19, Customer B and Customer C accounted for 28.4% (9M20: 13.4%) and 8.9% (9M20: 12.1%) of revenue, respectively.

  • Customer B is a Hong Kong subsidiary of a leading Europe-based multinational lighting group, while Customer C is a German company specialising in smart home technology; Aztech manufactures LED lighting products and HomePlug for them, respectively, according to the company’s offer document.

Aztech's Financials

Revenue, profitability and margins

  • Aztech’s revenue recorded 6.6% CAGR in FY17-19 to reach data communication business segment.

Net profit delivered 107% CAGR in FY17-19 to reach S$47.2m, while net profit margins expanded by 8.1% points to 11.0% in FY19.

  • As Aztech increased its focus on smart lighting products and its IoT business, which commanded higher profit margins, and discontinued the production and sale of lower profit margin products in the LED lighting business, the company recorded higher sequential net profit growth of 81% y-o-y and 136% y-o-y in FY18 and FY19, respectively, to reach S$20.1m and S$47.2m. This helped drive its net profit margin expansion from 2.9% in FY17 to 11.0% in FY19.

9M20 operations and profitability impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in China and Malaysia.

  • Aztech’s 9M20 revenue fell 19.6% y-o-y to S$262.2m, due to the decrease in the offer document. As a result, net profit fell 13.5% y-o-y to S$30.5m in 9M20 (from S$35.3m in 9M19).

 

Source: CGS-CIMB Research - 11 Mar 2021

Boustead Singapore - Set for Another Good Year

Completion of Boustead Project’s (52.8%-owned subsidiary) value unlocking exercise could translate into special dividend being declared by Boustead Singapore, in our view.

Strong earnings momentum to continue in 2HFY21. Excluding disposal gains, we forecast FY21F core net profit of S$49.4m (+35% y-o-y).

Reiterate ADD on Boustead Singapore with higher target price of S$1.40.

Value Unlocked; We See Potential for Special Dividend From Boustead Singapore

With the completion of Boustead Project (SGX:AVM)’s (Boustead Singapore (SGX:F9D)’s 52.8%-owned subsidiary) injection of 14 industrial properties into Boustead Industrial Fund (BIF) on 4 Mar, significant value of Boustead Project’s leasehold portfolio has been unlocked, in our view. Refer to our first take note: Boustead Projects - CGS-CIMB Research 2021-01-04: A Major Step To Unlocking Value.

We see high possibility of special dividends being declared by Boustead Project in the upcoming FY21 (Apr 2020 to Mar 2021) results announcement. Given Boustead Singapore’s strong net cash position, we believe the payout will be passed on to its shareholders.

Assuming 50% of net cash proceeds from Boustead Project’s asset disposal are paid out as special dividends, we estimate special dividend of S$0.07 per share (~8% yield) for Boustead Singapore.
Boustead's Strong Earnings Momentum to Sustain in 2H21F

Excluding the disposal gains, we forecast Boustead Singapore to record core net profit of S$24.2m in 2HFY21 (Oct 2020 to Mar 2021), bringing full-year core net profit to S$49.4m (+35% y-o-y).

Underpinned by government agencies’ increasing use of smart book of S$203m (as of end-1H21).

Meanwhile, property segment should also return to profitability on the back of resumption of construction activities in Singapore, and strong leasing activities.

Reiterate ADD on Boustead Singapore With Higher Target Price of S$1.40

Reiterate ADD on Boustead Singapore. With the fruition of the value-unlocking exercise, we reduce our FY21-23F core earnings per share forecasts by 0.4%-6.0%.

Boustead Singapore is backed by S$175m of ex-Boustead Project net cash (S$0.35 per share, or 39% of market cap) and stable dividend yield of 3.3%.

Potential re-rating catalysts include weaker order wins for energy and property segments.

Source: CGS-CIMB Research - 17 Mar 2021

快餐巨头英雄迟暮/拿督刘明

某天的星期六傍晚开完会经过大城堡新区,来来往往的行人和车辆把狭窄的道路挤的水泄不通,疫情的肆虐似乎没有影响人们的消费。

几年前这商圈开发之后,渐渐成了大城堡的商业中心。

好久没有路经此地了,一个管控令,似乎让整条街道风云变色,我较熟悉的商店和餐厅,都纷纷易主换了招牌,感觉有点陌生但又焕然一新,心里五味杂陈!

我开着车缓慢行驶,两旁店家的广告招牌设计得干净俐落,简单得来又不落俗套,很潮。店主应该以年轻人居多吧,我想。

一眼望去,这些便利店和餐厅几乎都高朋满座、人头攒动。

两排不算短的街道,每家每户都使出浑身解数,把店面设计得别出心裁,让整个商圈充满朝气和活力。

但我突然发现,偏偏有一家穿插其中的快餐店,装潢设计老旧,风格色调数十年如一日,和周遭亮丽风景线对应,反差甚大,格格不入,更显得这家店的沧桑和落寞。

用餐黄金时段,店内竟然空无一人!

这家叱咤风云,分店曾经比肯德基和麦当劳还多的三文治快餐店--赛百味此刻看来,垂垂老矣!

这就是品牌老化的迹象……



赛百味门店数量依然以4.5万家世界排名第一。

巨人面临危机

这家自2015年创办人去世后就争议不断的快餐店,我查了一下资料,原来赛百味门店数量依然以4.5万家世界排名第一,挤下麦当劳的3.7万家和肯德基的1.5万家。

赛百味能以门店总数独领风骚,皆因它的加盟门槛比其他两个大佬低,所以若以单店平均表现,麦当劳和肯德基都比她好太多!

赛百味2019年的全球营业收入为100.2亿美元,麦当劳为200亿美元,肯德基则为22.7亿美元。

以上三家快餐巨头,麦当劳不论外观、装潢或菜单都随着时间改变而不断创新,所以至今都取得非常出色的成绩。

肯德基创新力度不大,屡屡犯错,比如几年前在中国发生鸡肉被查出有苏丹红事件,公关公司危机处理不当,导致形象跌入谷底。

赛百味虽然贵为全球门店最多的连锁快餐品牌,但明眼人都能看出她正面临巨大危机,是什么原因让这个巨人翻了跟斗?我总结以下原因:

1)忽视问题的根本,靠开店增加业绩。

2)沉浸在自我“伪健康”的世界。赛百味创业初期的健康概念现在已经过时,低卡路里并不是唯一的指标,其他因素如有机食材、非转基因食材或现场加工等才是现代人所要求的。

3)菜单数十年如一日,自一尺长(Footer)推出曾经让市场掀起轰动之外,他的菜单就一直停滞不前,没有创新就很难进步。

4)装潢设计跟不上时代。

5)加盟费低导致加盟商参差不齐。赛百味的加盟费低,但他的权利金(Royalty)却是业界最高的,那些财力有限的加盟商加盟后发现每月的高昂权利金让他们吃不消,业绩跟不上来就更雪上加霜。

传统品牌不敌岁月洗礼

市场瞬息万变,但假如品牌却万年不变,消费者看腻了,品牌就自然老化。

环顾四周,我国有非常多这样的例子。

Papparich 、旧街场咖啡店、Secret Recipe等这些风靡一时的品牌,你有多久没进去消费了?

你又有多久没有逛百货商店了?而我可以非常笃定,你的90年后的孩子从来不在百盛、伊势丹等百货商店购物!

我问我的两个孩子为什么不在百货商店购物或闲逛?他们异口同声说:过时了,老人去的地方!

不久前泰国中央集团宣布永久关闭John Master集团属下所有品牌,这些陪我们一起走过的品牌,又有多少抵不过岁月的洗礼而寿终正寝?

品牌老化原因很多,追根究底跟不上时代节奏才是主因。

星巴克最抗老

在众多国际餐饮品牌,星巴克的不断创新,是对抗品牌老化的佼佼者。1971在美国西雅图创办的星巴克,至今仍然是连锁加盟的炫耀明星品牌。

星巴克全球有3万1千多家门店,营收为265亿美元,稳坐快餐龙头宝座!在创办人霍华德.舒尔茨努力不懈下,于1992年在美国上市。

2000年,舒尔茨曾卸任总裁一职,卸任后,星巴克曾因高速开店等原因,利润下滑陷入困境。

2008年舒尔茨回归星巴克,扩大了星巴克门店的咖啡、食品、饮品种类,并对星营销方案做了大幅调整,赋予门店更多产品及功能,让星巴克重新回归正轨并继续其门店扩张的步伐。

他致力于把星巴克打造为一家与科技挂钩的餐饮品牌,任命了数字总监,坚持对科技的巨大投资。

星巴克对顾客体验的创新从来没有停止过。2017年12月,星巴克臻选(Starbucks Reserve)上海烘焙工坊开幕,是当时世界上最大的星巴克旗舰店,2层楼高,占地2700平方尺。

这里网罗了全世界所有最好的咖啡豆,让顾客现场感受烘培咖啡的过程。

2019年11月,星巴克又打破自己的记录,全球最大的星巴克咖啡店在芝加哥的密西根大道上隆重开张。这是星巴克全球第6家烘焙坊,同时,也是世界上最大的星巴克门店。

这家店高五层,占地43000平方英尺,是上海店的1.5 倍大!

星巴克臻选芝加哥烘培工坊是一家集饮、食、逛、玩于一体的超级门店,打造沉浸式体验,致力于烘焙和酿造来自世界各地的小批量星巴克储备咖啡。

与其说这是一座旗舰店,不如说它更像是咖啡博物馆和游乐园的合体。

所以敢于尝试新事物,挑战自己的认知,是摆脱品牌老化的唯一途径。不过知易行难,这个世界没有多少个星巴克和舒尔茨。

退堂!

https://www.enanyang.my/名家专栏/快餐巨头英雄迟暮拿督刘明

Thursday, March 18, 2021

商业道德一线之差/拿督刘明

名家专栏

2021年03月12日

一位为公司打拼了20年的老员工要告老还乡,和我谈起了往事种种。

她说我在这里学到了什么是商业道德,即不是我们份内该赚的钱,绝不会违背良心占为己有。


她说:所以我经常告诉我们的代理商,和我们合作除了品质保证,最重要的是公司一定会保障他们的利益!

商场上很多人为了赚取多一点的利润,绕过中间商直接联系买家是蛮常发生的事,反之有时候客户为了省下一些佣金,而直接找上我们也时而有之,但我们做生意的底线是只要是中间商接洽的买卖,利润一定归他,我们绝不抢人饭碗,该给的佣金我们一分也不拖欠!

我们和朋友介绍的供应商来往之前,也会和朋友打个招呼,以免引起不必要的误会,这些都是我持之以恒的经商之道。

所谓商业道德有时候只是一线之差,角度不同,看法自然不同。

它有时候是一种习惯,有些灰色地带你不觉得有问题,过些日子,自然就成了你的道德标准!

但这种道德标准,无论你如何自圆其说,它或多或少,都会让你的合作伙伴心生芥蒂,留下不太好的印象!

我做生意总是抱着用人不疑,疑人不用的态度,所以对生意伙伴尤其是供应商都坦诚相待,那么多年建立起来的高度互信,让我们合作无间、关系融洽。

这也是我们产品品质保证的关键因素!

最近公司发生一连串新的供应商“绕道而过”、背后插刀的事件,同事们暴跳如雷,大呼毫无廉耻,没有商业道德。

诚信是经商之道

我对他们说:你们眼中的商业道德,是我那么多年的身体力行、潜移默化影响所致,那些不太恰当的生意手段都因我不屑为之,嗤之以鼻,久而久之成了公司的道德标准甚至提升至公司文化。

假如耍手段是我惯用的生意模式,大家就不会有那么大的反应,反正剃人头发者,人亦剃其头。

商场上看事情的角度,会影响利益关系,而一个人平时待人处事的态度,则会影响他看事情的角度。

很多年前我公司的董事主席在政坛上退休,彭亨州政府为表扬她对社会的贡献,颁给她一个拿督封衔。

我聊表心意,也打算登报祝贺。

我打了一些电话,希望和我熟悉的商界朋友伙伴能慷慨解囊,共襄盛举。

这些事情,本以为理所当然,因为我每年花在这方面的应酬也不少,熟悉的朋友开口打个招呼,我几乎来者不拒。

付出未必有回报

风水轮流转,现在家有喜事,我出面邀请,不看僧面看佛面,他们应该投桃报李吧?反正每人份的钱也不多。

但出乎意料,至少有三位我自认熟悉的朋友拒绝了我,而且遣词用字很不客气,理由堂而皇之。

其中两位说:我只认识你,不认识你的主席,她受封,关我何事?

另一位和我关系非常密切的“哎呀兄弟”更绝,自己不好意思拒绝,吩咐太座打电话给我,她说:这是我听到最荒唐的事,我为什么要祝贺一位我完全不认识的陌生人?

我听了完全傻眼,愣了好久说不出话……

回过神来想想,她们说的也未曾没有道理,也许是认知的问题吧!

经一事,长一智,此后我打死再也不做这些“鸡仔媒人”的窝囊事!

过了那么多年,自己阅历颇深,脑海偶尔还会浮现此事,但以我现在的观点来看,我倒觉得这不是认知问题,而是待人处事的态度问题!

比如朋友的父亲或岳母去世,报馆来电招徕广告,你总不会用不认识他的父亲或岳母这个借口来推搪吧?



君子爱财 取之有道

我很多年前看过一部电影,片名叫做:《发达秘诀》印象非常深刻,由当时的香港著名导演兼喜剧演员黄百鸣主演。

故事主角黄百鸣是一位非常憨厚老实的人,他的邻居老李夫妇,是一对膝下无出的退休夫妻。

老李退休后偶尔会做一些买卖,赚到的钱除了交给老伴当家用,他还偷偷把大部分剩余的钱交托主角黄百鸣保管做为他的私房钱,还嘱咐他千万要严守秘密,不要把这事告诉别人,尤其他的老伴!

主角在众人心中就是那么一位“担屎唔偷食”的圣人。

一天早上,主角在公园散步,突然在板凳上发现一本书,书名叫《发达秘诀》。

翻开书中第一页,四个斗大的字写着:六亲不认!

他有点好奇,耐着性子看下去,结果一发不可收拾。

书中尽数了做人做事的下三烂手段,极尽厚黑之能事!

战战兢兢、老老实实半辈子的主角如当头棒喝,惊为天人,他终于发觉自己不能发达的最大原因:心不够狠!他告诉自己,要摆脱穷困,做一个比李嘉诚更有钱的人。

傍晚时刻,他在用着晚餐,突然一阵急促敲门声,开门一看,是隔壁李太。

李太气急败坏地告诉他,老李今天早上意外去世,她曾经隐约听到老李提起有一笔钱存放在他这里。

不义之财焉能心安

主角几乎脱口承认,但书中第一页那四个大字:“六亲不认”突然浮现脑海,他顿时决定实践书中理论,于是狠下心告诉李太,也并不曾帮老李收藏任何贵重物品。

李太当然非常相信主角的为人,失望的离开了!

主角回到屋里,急忙找出自己名下老李的银行存折,天啊!这几年老李断断续续竟然也储蓄了近400万港币!

发达秘笈原来那么管用,只用了第一招:六亲不认, 就无端端多了400万元!

他决定继续引用书中狠招,延续他的发财美梦!

至于结局如何,我自己也忘了,但重点是,这种埋没良心得来的财富,你焉能心安理得、理直气壮地享用?

君子爱财,取之有道,视之有度,用之有节。

退堂!

https://www.enanyang.my/%E5%90%8D%E5%AE%B6%E4%B8%93%E6%A0%8F/%E5%95%86%E4%B8%9A%E9%81%93%E5%BE%B7%E4%B8%80%E7%BA%BF%E4%B9%8B%E5%B7%AE%E6%8B%BF%E7%9D%A3%E5%88%98%E6%98%8E%C2%A0

大马便利店业烽火连天/拿督刘明

名家专栏

2021年03月06日



我在前几期的专栏里预测所谓新常态赢家,到了后疫情时代,将会面对极大竞争或挑战,便利商店是其中之一。

和经营此行业的朋友聊起这事,他说其实疫情前杂货零售业(他认为大马便利商店应该以此方式来表达比较贴切)的战争早已硝烟四起,只是行外人还未曾觉察而已!

我国的便利商店,在日本全家登陆之前,都是非常保守的。

货架上陈列的都是数十年如一日的商品。方便面、零食、饮料等好像自我懂事以来,从包装、设计和技术都"怀旧"得很!

所以很多大马人到其他国家如日本、韩国、台湾或中国等地区旅游,其中一个节目是到他们的便利店血拼人气小吃!

2016年全家登陆大马的时候,把一些熟食、便当等即食品(Ready to Eat,RTE)引进便利商店,同时也开始售卖进口零食,因此大受本地消费者尤其是年轻人欢迎和青睐!

疫情前没人看得起

记得3、4 年前我率队到台湾驻马外贸协会拜访初来乍到的萧主任时,全家的第一家店刚好开在外贸协会办公室对面。

萧主任有点惊讶的对我说:大马人好夸张,对面全家的生意好到吓死人,货架上的东西空空如也,经常被人一扫而光!

经她此一说,搞到我们有点尴尬!疫情肆虐前,其实没有人看得起赚蝇头小利的“Kacang Putih”便利店。

所以那时候的便利店可以说处于真空状态,99快捷超市、KK超市、7-11、MyNews、全家等大佬拼了命开分店,大家各据一方,各有各的特色,河水不犯井水,其乐融融!

中国超市开始冒起

当然触角敏锐的中国人也看到了这个商机,随着在马定居的中国人越来越多,吉隆坡各地突然冒起了很多中国超市,卖的清一色都是各式各样的大陆进口杂货和零食,选择多样化、琳琅满目,不像一般超市那样一成不变!

而政府实施行动管控令后,让便利商店突然成了各小区住户最常光顾的去处,这时人民才猛然发现,原来这个让人看不起眼的“Kacang Putih”才是最后的赢家!

密度低发展空间大

我上个星期到几家专卖进口商品的便利店走走,发现它们货架上贩卖的产品绝大部分是从大陆和韩国进口,顶多配搭少许的本地畅销食品,而曾经是我国年轻人的最爱——包装精美的台湾商品竟然销声匿迹!

我粗略统计了一下,我住的蒲种区在去年的管控令期间竟如雨后春笋开了几十家不同品牌、不同模式的便利商店和超市!

然而,这些单打独斗、零零星星的小企业还不足以撼动那些老树盘根的连锁超市大佬,我认为近日来市场上一连串有关连锁超商的股权变动才是关键的重头戏,便利商店和连锁超市的春秋战火已经一触即发!

为什么大马是那么多国际连锁超市的兵家必争之地?消费能力是原因之一,最重要的是大马便利商店和人口比例还远落后周边发达国家!

日本便利商店的密度是全世界第一,就是平均每1500人就有一家便利店;台湾的密度是2200人就有一家店,中国大陆是1000至2000人对上一家店!

我手上没有大马便利商店的资料,但估计比中国大陆略优,应该是在1万人对一家左右,所以大马便利店的发展空间还很大!

卜蜂一条龙供应链杀入

2021年12月,源自英国的特易购以100.6亿美元把泰国和大马的所有分行卖给泰国卜蜂集团(中国称正大集团),让这家本来就野心勃勃的泰国零售业巨擘,明正言顺的成为东南亚首屈一指的零售业集团!

卜蜂将在今年底把所有74家特易购易名为莲花-特易购,让这家大马历史最悠久的霸级超市开启全新篇章!

卜蜂是以家畜业起家,现已经发展成为泰国最大的商业集团,业务涉及零售、电信、产业发展、金融,遍及20多个国家和地区,属下400多家公司,员工人数近20万人。

卜蜂集团在泰国拥有1万3000家7-11,134家卖客隆霸级卖场、1900家莲花-特易购霸级超市和1700 家快捷莲花-特易购便利店!

这家超级巨无霸夹着上下游一条龙供应链杀入我国零售业,他带来的震撼力之大可想而知!

竞争激烈的春秋战场

另一家上市的零售业集团MYNEWS控股(MYNEWS),不久前也宣布和韩国人气便利店CU签下加盟协议,计划在5年内开设500家门店,今年将会在首都试开30至50家店!

CU在韩国有约1万5000家店,是很多大马人旅游韩国的时候打卡的人气商店,现在管控令期间虽然不能出国,但在国内也能买到韩国点心小食,韩粉们自然嗨到极点!

以便宜著称的99快捷商店,门店总数已经达到1781家。KK超市在去年疫情肆虐期间也开了70家店,累计门店也有510家,足以和530家的Mynews和2400家的7-11分庭抗礼!

全利资源(QL)属下的全家便,利店,也马不停蹄的开足马力往2020年300家店前进,以全利的财力物力,达至目标应该不是难事。

以上都是传统的线下便利商店,但很多人不知道,线上的送餐平台FoodPanda也已经如火如荼地积极拓展杂货零售业,这新的平台叫做Pandamart,他们在2020年底开业,短短几个月已经开设了32家纯线上门店,今年计划除了雪隆,还会在柔佛、槟城等大城市开设36家门店。

总结以上资料,所以说疫情后的未来几年,大马便利店绝对是竞争激烈的春秋战场!

这场战役,是资金、专业、经验,配送、定位、加上一条龙食物链的竞争,但有竞争才有进步,在消费者角度来看,苦闷无趣的大马杂货零售业,终于迎来了百花齐放的春天。

在便利店老板眼里,大家正磨刀嚯嚯准备迎接一场硬仗,鹿死谁手,你我都是参与的裁判,大家决定吧!

谈价值基本面和成长/冷眼

2021年03月18日

许多投资者,对价值基本面,没有明确的概念,因此,对于到底应该采用价值投资法还是基本面投资法,无所适从。

实际上,他们没有在价值与基本面之间,作出抉择的必要。

因为基本面是达致价值的手段而已,换句话说,基本面因素的终极目标,就是创造价值。

请允许我打一个比喻:

投资者是学生,价值是考试的得分,而基本面就是考获高分(或低分)的条件

这名学生在某一科中考得高分(比如90分,甚至100分),是由许多因素造成的,比如他很用心听课,很勤力温习,又很聪明……这些都是他考得高分的基本面因素,我们称这些因素为“基本面”,因为没有这些因素就不可能考获高分,高分就是“价值”高。

当我们要判断一名学生是不是优秀生时(通常称为“学霸”)我们可用两种方法,第一种就直接看分数,高分就是优秀,低分就是不优秀,第二种是看他平时是否用心听课,是否勤力温习,又是否聪明。

如果是还没有考试,我们也可以从他具备这些条件,判断他是不是一个优秀生。所以,要判断这名学生是不是优秀生,我们既可以看分数,也可以看他考获高分的条件,两者其实是殊途同归的。

两种投资法无矛盾

判断一只股票是不是优质股,我们可以直接了当的看数字,比如价值2令吉、3令吉。也可以从有关企业的基本面来看,比如成长、股息、现金流、业绩纪录等。从这些基本面因素来判断一只股票的优劣,然后作出投资决定,前者叫价值投资法,后者就是基本面投资法,两者并无矛盾。

那么,有人把股票分为价值股和成长股,似乎投资者只能在这两类股票中选择一种,那又怎么说?

价值股投资者作出投资法定的依据是“价值”,而成长股投资者的依据是“成长”。

成长其实只是基本面因素之一(其他为股息、现金流……等),而基本面是创造价值(通俗的说法是“创富”)的手段而已。所以,我认为较恰当的区分是价值投资法和基本面投资法,以价值和成长区分是不大恰当的。

股市中人习惯地将股票区分为“价值股”和“成长股”,其实是已把基本面包括在“价值股”之中了。

“成长股”多少含有贬意,这是因为“成长股”很容易沦为“投机股”,因为大多数成长快速的企业,负债都相对的较高,而业务尚未稳当,业绩大起大落,风险较高。

成长股易变投机股

债高而业绩不稳定的企业遇到经济风暴时,生存率较低,所以“成长股”与“投机股”常被划上等号,尤其是在纳斯达克的成长股倒塌之后,“成长股”常被视为高风险股,稳健投资者多数不沾手。

我当然了解“成长股”的缺点,所以,在“终极方案”(GDP + PRC = W)中,我把股息包含在创富部分(GDP)中,就是要弥补“成长股”的缺点。

所派股息的成长股,表示净现金流强劲,净现金流强劲反映了有关企业的“资本开支”较低,而“资本开支”较低的企业,负债通常较低,而业务也相对的较稳定,这样的企业如果有合理的成长的话,就是创造价值的理想企业。

过于乐观易被套牢

但是,并不是所有的成长股(即使是有派股息),都是理想的投资对象。

值不值得投资还要看股价(以本益比判断)而定,即使是最佳成长股,如果股价高得离谱(本益比六、七十倍,甚至百倍),也不值得投资,因为股价已反映了多年(五、十年)后的价值。这就是我把股价(P)列为终极方案“创富部”的主因。

在过去数个月中,部分成长股(多数是科技股,部分是医疗用具股),股价暴升十数倍,大部分(不是全部)投资者对这些企业的前途过于乐观,是不实际的,投机的成分较高,到将来业绩表现不符理想时,股价多数会打回原形,被套牢者可能5年、10年后都无法回本。股市菜鸟最好提高警惕。

https://www.enanyang.my/名家专栏/谈价值基本面和成长冷眼-0

价值投资从老子、孙武和克劳塞维茨那里学习了什么?| 巴伦读书会



巴伦






文|马克·斯皮茨纳格尔

编辑|彭韧

编者按:

价值投资与中国的道家哲学、经济学里的奥地利学派有什么联系吗?

投资者马克·斯皮茨纳格尔(Mark Spitznagel)认为,他的投资方法是中国道家的迂回策略,“输者得之,失者得之”,同时也是从奥地利学派中提炼而来的,一种典型的、反直觉的、经过验证的投资方法。

在《资本的秩序》中,马克·斯皮茨纳格尔阐述了奥地利学派的投资方法论,即从哪里寻找局面优势,实际上,这本书的英文名直译过来就是资本之道:扭曲世界中的奥派投资(The Dao of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World)。

斯皮茨纳格尔是第一个将路德维希·冯·米塞斯和他的奥地利学派理论浓缩成一个有凝聚力的高效投资方法的人,本文选编自《资本的秩序》第十章中的一个小节:《价值投资:奥地利学派投资的远亲》。

奥地利学派投资法Ⅰ和Ⅱ听上去都很接近著名的价值投资方法。实际上,奥地利学派投资法可以被看作价值投资的先驱,不仅在理论方面比价值投资更早,而且更重要的是,提供了清晰的理论,以及更专注系统回报的最终来源。虽然它们的路径有时是交叉的,但价值投资并不严格遵循本书的理论。两者之间存在显著的差异,主要体现在思想上——尤其是奥地利学派投资法强调在寻求齐格弗里德式机会的过程中进行有意的迂回,其根源在于对优势的坚定信念(而非价值投资创始人宣称的“神秘”)。

所以我们可以说,被当作价值投资和证券分析之父的本杰明·格雷厄姆(Benjamin Graham),以及追随他的价值投资者群体,他们所遵循的理论事实上是奥地利学派的一个远亲:一个在不知不觉中分裂的派系。理解这些差异应该有助于我们完善、集中和改进价值投资方法,或许还可以吸引一些人接受奥地利学派的正统观点。我们将看到的,对已经根深蒂固方法进行的这种调整,以及更好地理解方法的真正信息来源和优势,可能会是最有成效的。

1894年,本杰明·格雷厄姆生于伦敦本杰明·格罗斯鲍姆(Benjamin Grossbaum)家族(在德语里,这个姓氏代表“大树”)——他是如此接近我们所讲的针叶树策略——(由于第一次世界大战后人们对这个德国姓氏的偏见而改为格雷厄姆)格雷厄姆一岁时,这个家族移居纽约,过着舒适的生活,直到其父于1903年去世,他的瓷器生意开始衰败了。

格雷厄姆的母亲把家变成了民宿,还借钱做股票保证金交易,1907年经济崩溃后,这个家庭陷入贫困。在保留了哥伦比亚大学教职之后,格雷厄姆成了一家债券交易机构的职员,之后还担任过分析师、合伙人,并最终成为自家企业的老板。

作为一名凯恩斯干预主义的支持者,尤其是看到经济衰退期的消费不足情况,格雷厄姆颂扬一种类似于所谓福特—爱迪生货币的商品货币。而且和凯恩斯一样,20世纪20年代的大萧条蒙蔽了他的双眼。(我记得在第七章说过,预言了大萧条的米塞斯那时很不受人欢迎。)

“华尔街院长”格雷厄姆在1929—1932年损失了其套利投资组合的近70%。这将成为令他印象最深刻的经验教训——很可能是他的价值投资原则得以发展的原因。这纯粹是一个归纳式的教训,它确立了价值投资的传统,即回忆起了大萧条,但却从未认识到造成大萧条的原因,但是他在《证券分析》开篇写道——来自贺拉斯(Horace),虽然它可能正好出自《老子》——“十年河东,十年河西。”

在书里讲述了我们看到的由货币推动的市场波动的矛盾故事,这是一个相当不错的奥地利学派投资法I的近似版本,尽管过于简化。格雷厄姆的“市场先生”的两极比喻是一种合理的方法,虽然是近义词,但可以回避扭曲陷阱(最终由奥地利学派解释清楚)和企业家“想象力缺乏”。(如果他听从奥地利学派的话,无疑就会诊断出“市场先生”出现人格障碍的真正原因。)

价值投资与它的奥地利学派前辈之间有很多共同点。当然,价值投资与我们今天的实践接近,已经成为一种流行的直觉方法。[尽管我认为只有一小部分价值实践者真正认同格雷厄姆在1934年出版的权威教材《证券分析》和1949年出版的《聪明的投资者》(The Intelligent Investor)中的观点——米塞斯在同一年出版了英文版《人的行为》。]

有人可能会说,格雷厄姆赋予了投资实践一种以前不常见的严谨、逻辑和企业导向,而且他表现得具有明显的奥地利学派风格。(正如格雷厄姆曾有名言,“把有价证券当作一项生意去投资是最聪明的投资”。)

也许格雷厄姆最深刻的洞见是避开证券市场的阴影,忽略各种噱头表演,而完全专注于企业活动本身:商业和资本。作为一名勤奋的股票分析师,他非常关注作为资本的有形资产,这是一只股票的核心价值所在。

我们可以在MS指数和福斯曼比率以及格雷厄姆的市账率(或P/B,简单地将公司的股权与其总净折旧账面资产进行比较)中看到这一点;这三个指标都是在问:与其各部分的总和相比,整体情况如何?(目前尚不清楚格雷厄姆是否曾经阅读过福斯曼或奥地利学派的著作;虽然他精通德语,但他承认自己在经济学方面没有受过教育。)

单凭他的P/B方法,格雷厄姆就取得了不错的成绩。他提出了许多量化指标,从债务限制到长期盈利、稳定增长的股息,再到市盈率(P/E)(在他的书《聪明的投资者》中详述)。在作为投资者的长期职业生涯中,他表现得很好。(他的多元、定量的股票投资组合配方还在被现代金融工程师采用。)

然而,我们可能会说,传统价值投资有些用词不当:传统价值型股票(由低市盈率和市盈率定义)已经被证明在统计上与传统成长型股票有着相似的收入增长,并且ROIC低于成长型股票。 这是幼稚地将所有资本当成同质的做法的另一个例子。

考虑到P/B和P/E是完全不可比较的,除非我们假设所有的公司都有相同的基本资本结构。在现实中,企业具有不同程度的迂回,因此其ROIC也不同;实际上,投资者必须始终深入研究经济盈利的手段——当然这是本书的中心思想。

奥地利学派投资和价值投资之间的差别,又一次体现为视野的深度与跨期的长度。后者是耐心地等待很长时间,就好像在等待一张遥远的优惠券——像一只慢吞吞的乌龟,或抱着钓竿坐着的马可。前者是关于耐心地收集更多潜在的优惠券的因素——加速的乌龟兔或鲁滨逊。两者都需要纪律和耐心,但奥地利学派投资关注的是有效的跨期过程而不仅仅是终点。

有趣的是,当今与价值投资联系最紧密的一个人,格雷厄姆曾经的学生,而且也许是历史上最成功的一位投资人——沃伦·巴菲特(Warren Buffett)——曾经通过他的父亲霍华德·巴菲特(Howard Buffett)接触过奥地利学派。在1962年的一封信里,霍华德写信给奥地利学派经济学家穆瑞·罗斯巴德,想为“非常渴望阅读有关恐慌和类似现象”的儿子沃伦要一本《1819年恐慌》(The Panic of 1819)。

显而易见,尽管儿子后来对奥地利学派正统学说的大部分内容进行了直言不讳的批评,但他的基本投资行为却比他承认的更加紧密地和奥地利学派理论联系在一起。(大多数人已经忘记了20世纪90年代末巴菲特的保守、走划以及非常米塞斯式的现金头寸是多么的不受欢迎,甚至被大家嘲笑。)

这些年来,价值投资已经在奥地利学派/格雷厄姆主题上产生了很多变种。1992年,尤金·法玛(Eugene Fama)和肯尼斯·法兰奇(Kenneth French)承认了一个价值因子,基本上与格雷厄姆的P/B类似。

另一种方法称作“魔法公式”,由乔尔·格林布拉特(Joel Greenblatt)提出,结合了我们传统的ROIC筛选标准和一个比企业价值更简单的EBIT指标。 还有一个类似的筛选标准被称作“品质”,选择的是高毛利润—资产比率(避免了惩罚高资本投入的企业)和低P/B。

它们涵盖了变量的范围(尽管这些变量肯定存在无数的子变量,包括它们的交叉点,比如巴菲特的方法),实际上是三方交叉验证了奥地利学派投资法Ⅱ。所有方法在假定更大自由度的同时,也引入了噪声:太多的自由度(以格雷厄姆复杂的筛选为例),异质的资本生产率(对于法玛—法兰奇唯一的P/B参数),异质的EBIT增长率(格林布拉特对增长敏感的P/E参数),异质的资本折旧,从而提高生产率(在质量的免折旧毛利参数的情况下)。

但是,尽管它们可能近似于这种方法,但它们未能必然地分离出真正重要的东西:迂回的资本及其价格。所以我们应该预期到,这些变种抓住了一些齐格弗里德式投资组合的特征,具备其中一些优势,但是也带来了一些额外的噪声,表现为由于采用的筛选方法中信息含量较低导致的回报率较低,以及所采用的一系列投资组合构建方法之间的不一致。

为了验证这种预期是否成立,我测试了这些投资组合的业绩表现:在我的实验中,一年持有40只股票的头寸,我以不同的方式错开了每个月迷你投资组合的买入数量,并且限制了每个迷你投资组合以及每个头寸可允许的波动区间。

这种变化和一些随意的投资组合构建技术,导致投资组合具有本质上不同的组成结构,从而很好地揭示了结果中的一些运气成分和不一致性,并且消除了进行优化的能力(从而保持了作者的诚实)。所有投资组合共用同一套筛选标准,包括了可交易性(规模)限制和一般噪声限制。这个测试和前一个一样,也是从1978年开始(同样,这不会影响相对的结果)。

阶梯状精练:下图展示了业绩情况,以及这个阶段的平均表现情况。




注:各种投资组合的年化回报率(均值和区间,1978~2013年)。

在这里,我们看到一个真正的阶梯,从单纯的市值加权标准普尔综合指数上升到我们最纯粹和典型的奥地利学派投资方法Ⅰ(齐格弗里德式投资组合)。这不是一个进化过程,因为在这些方法的历史发展中,关键是第一步,而其他方法则零星地成为分支展开来;但它仍然是方法论和最重要的思想方法的精炼。

关键是我们有一种方法,把小麦从谷壳中分离出来,把重点放在重要的事情上,而忽略不重要的事情。在这一点上值得赞扬的是,价值投资方法已经和奥地利学派投资方法非常接近了。但是集中注意力所能做的远不止是在一些聪明的投资者已经做得相当不错的基础上,再增加5~10个百分点。

最重要的是,它为理解其中缘由提供了一个符合逻辑的合理的基础。奥地利学派投资方法的严谨和吸引力在于其原则的直观逻辑;甚至在我们测试之前,已经知道我们的优势为什么存在了。

对于大多数价值投资者来说,即使他们看到价值投资方法提供的优势,也不理解——通常仅仅依赖于模糊的长期价格会向均值回归这一点,格雷厄姆有句名言,称之为“我们业务的奥秘之一,对我和每个人来说都是一个谜”。因此,他们仍然容易被下一个看似有吸引力的投资计划和扭曲的市场环境所淘汰(就连格雷厄姆自己在20世纪20年代末也是如此)。

诚然,当我们面对不同投资结果的严重的跨期限制条件时,对于我们中的菲尼亚斯·盖奇这类人来说,这是无法接受的前后不一,甚至是完全不负责任的。考虑到我们是在投资于一种后续会获得更多利润的方法,而不只是为了得到更多的利润,因此不得不采取迂回策略,以获得更大的跨期优势。这样的思考廓清了我们的视野,赋予了这个策略极为重要的深度。

当价值投资被认为是奥地利学派投资方法的一个有点嘈杂和扭曲的版本时,也许价值投资的奥秘就可以解开了:创造企业利润的生产是一个极其迂回的过程,需要时间和资本,因此在获得这个过程的间接手段方面要有耐心。

在这个过程中,我们不应该期望这样的企业利润一开始就很容易甚至令人满意(并且由于货币扭曲,情况可能变得不那么理想)。那些能理解并且能忍受这个过程的人,就可以汲取到资本主义的精华。

目的最终达到了

通过奥地利学派投资法Ⅰ和Ⅱ,我们终于实现了“无为迂回投资之道”的最终目的。将这两者结合起来,就构成了一套迂回策略,前一个蕴含在后一个之中——道家大师的取势策略;两者都是导向更高目标的中间手段,用于培植最大化的生产性资本投资和再投资——一个渐进的经济和文明。

这些策略本质上是奥地利学派式的,奥地利学派投资法Ⅰ依赖于米塞斯提出的概念,奥地利学派投资法Ⅱ依赖于庞巴维克提出的概念。然而,正如第九章所述,奥地利学派投资法Ⅰ非常困难;对大多数投资者来说,唯一适用的做法就是当扭曲抬高了MS指数时避免进入股市。

幸运的是,这本书不需要投资者同时采用方法Ⅰ和方法Ⅱ。这两种方法都可以单独使用,因为每一种策略都能战胜绝大多数专业水准的业绩,即利用市场扭曲(也包括了第九章的米塞斯式投资策略),识别并投资于定价错误的生产性资本。

作为一个奥地利学派的信徒,在我的成年生活中,我有幸在写作这本书的过程中更深入地阅读了奥地利学派的理论著作,我可以非常肯定地说,来自维也纳的人的影响是我在市场过程中取得所有成功的源泉。在这几页中,我的目的是分享这些知识,特别是在最后两章,提供了所学知识的实践应用要点。

作为投资者,无论你采取何种行动,再次强调,最重要的考量是这个方法论背后的思想。你的方法是否用到了“势”,采取了迂回和目的论的最终路径?还是在用“力”,只关注当下的结果和今天的收益?这种方法并不适合所有人;如果是这样,优势就会消失。

但对于每个投资者来说,这仍是一个重要的理想,不管他持有什么样的时间偏好。所有人都可以和巴师夏、门格尔、庞巴维克、米塞斯(以及老子、孙武、克劳塞维茨,当然还有克里普)一起衡量他们的方法。经常要问的相关问题总是:你离奥地利学派的理想境界还有多远?在你继续沿着无为迂回投资之道前进的征途上,就让这个问题作为你的指南针和地图引导你前行吧。

巴伦书单《资本的秩序》

作者:【美】马克·斯皮茨纳格尔(Mark Spitznagel)

译者:郑磊 / 刘子未 / 郑扬洋

出版社:机械工业出版社

https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/346692768

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

[转贴] 有錢人的決策思維:搞懂「概率權」是成功的開始?

2021 年 3 月 17 日

文章來源
36氪
作者
孤獨大腦/老喻在加

什麼是概率權?概率權是我創造的一個詞。概率權,是基於機率計算的未來選擇權。

塔勒布和交易員勞倫共進晚餐,兩人擲硬幣決定由誰付帳,塔勒布輸了,只好乖乖掏出腰包。勞倫本來想道聲謝,卻突然改口說: “ 看了你的書,我想你一定會說,在機率上,這頓飯我付了一半的錢。 ” 理解這一點並不容易,有些人寧可追求比被雷劈機率還小的中獎機會,也不願意去做有 50% 把握成功的事情。

概率權與未來有關。2020 年 3 月份爆賺 30 倍的基金經理斯皮茨納格爾在《資本的秩序》裡寫道:

資本具有跨期特徵:它的定位和在未來不同時點的優勢是核心。

時間是資本的生存環境——定義它、塑造它、幫助它、阻礙它。

我先將概率權搭個簡單的框架,以督促自己早點兒寫一篇完整的。

基於期望值計算的(與空間有關的)概率權。
歷史上贏得了彩票的人,都是利用了彩池偶然出現的正期望值。所以他們抓住機會拼命買,買的越多,越接近於大數定律下的期望值。另外一方面絕對收益也更大。但是,如果面對負的期望值,再死磕,也沒用。勤奮對於賭博和買彩票這類期望值為負的事情毫無意義。

基於貝氏更新的(與時間有關的)概率權。
創業上的快速試錯,是希望透過貝氏更新,不斷優化商業模式上的機率,直至發現正期望值的套利機會。厲害的人,會不停扔骰子,去看骰子怎麼說。這就是蒙特卡洛的仿真模擬,在一個可以收斂的半徑內,聰明地犯錯誤。不僅從別人那裡學習,還敢於親自當骰子。貝氏學派相信模擬不確定性是學習的關鍵,並利用貝氏網路和馬爾科夫網路來工作。

基於三層結構的概率權。
這三層分別是資源層、配置層、執行層。世俗世界的最終結果取決於三者機率相乘的結果。

在一個博弈環境中製造有相對優勢的(基於統計學的)概率權。
放棄追求所謂最優,只在乎發現相對的機率優勢。這是一種套利思維。有時候,利用的是對機率計算的認知優勢;有時候,利用的是競爭對手對不確定性的恐懼感。

概率權還是 “ 無所不知者 ” 對機率的分配權。
例如,流量、IP 等等,背後其實都是平台的概率權分配遊戲。所以,最好的商業模式,尤其是那些平台型商業,本質上是製造了一個 “ 賭場 ” 。如此一來,平台就成為概率權的設計者,和分配者。

懂機率的人,人生都不會太差

據推測,翻車魚從一枚受精卵發育成成魚的機率只有百萬分之一。
那該怎麼辦呢?秘密武器是:機率。一條中等體型的翻車魚一次性就能產下 3 億個卵,是脊椎動物中產卵數量最多的。這種長相奇怪的魚,用這種方式頑強地繁衍了下來。從生命到宇宙萬物,假如真有造物主,他主宰的工具就是機率。

機率,在我看來是對一個人最有價值的數學知識,然而我們並沒有認真學過這門課程。
為什麼呢?因為:
a、懂得機率計算,未必具有機率思維;
b、理解機率思維,又未必能夠採取機率行動。
人們不願意計算。尤其是不願意計算機率。更多時候,人們喜歡採用啟發式思考,用深藏在記憶中的、被我們編織起來的故事,來取代更精確的機率判斷。

現實中,絕大多數人,黑白分明、非此即彼,但現實是灰度的。
機率就是用來精確描述和運用這種灰度的。蔡崇信說過: “ 任何機會,基本上是有 30% 把握去做的時候才能贏得最大——因為機率太小很可能虧本,而有 50% 把握的時候,贏了基本也是小贏;而有 80 %把握去做的時候,基本就是紅海了;如果等到 100% 機會的時候⋯⋯。世界上可能根本沒有這種生意。 ” 當然,這背後還需要入場後的貝氏更新。
即使是極度厭惡不確定性的巴菲特,其價值投資也會出錯,只是長期而言賺錢的機率更高。認識了機率,在行動上就不過度追求完美。我們往往必須在資訊不完整的前提下做出決策。

投資和人生,都是對不確定性的處理。我們要為犯錯做好準備。也要適當的冒險,這是一種或然性思維。
人們總是容易高估自己與眾不同,也會經常幻想 “ 這一次真的不一樣 ” 。然而很多事情真的很難跳脫機率。例如,你要出版一本書,先別想自己能不能做成這件事,以及計劃多長時間做完,先去問一下做出版的朋友,這件事以前的成功率是多少?(卡尼曼講過類似的故事。)

這個世界從物質的角度看,也受機率支配。
量子世界的本質是機率的。牛頓力學的嚴格因果關係在量子世界並不存在。費曼說,這有點兒讓人沮喪,但物理學並沒有因此垮台。

機率從何而來?
想要回答這個問題,我們要追溯至數學、物理和哲學。這三者,探索的都是世界的本源問題。很遺憾,我們的教育,沒有通識這一塊。所以,想要真正理解機率,對於成年人而言極其艱難。

我們需要按照機率行事。
要想改變世界,首先要改變自身的機率結構。人生的絕大多數時候,量變不會產生質變,你會被大數定律牢牢地鎖死在機率劣勢(或優勢)中。就像愛因斯坦對愚蠢的定義:重複做一件傻事,卻指望得到不同的結果。行事方式(你的機率結構),比聰明與否和經驗都更重要。
段永平談及 “ 怎麼保證選對人 ” 這個問題時說:沒有絕對的辦法來保證,但如果選人時先看合適性(價值觀匹配)會比只看合格性(做事情的能力)要好得多,選中合適的人的機率要大得多。看,無處不在的機率。

斯賓諾莎說:幸福並不是美德帶來的報酬,而是美德本身。
我們遵循機率,未必一定會有好的結果。因為命運會用惡作劇捉弄機率。但這並不影響我們由此獲得的從容和幸福。此外,為了讓自己不被偶然戲弄,我們要努力從賭徒模式升級為賭場模式,讓大數定律為自己服務。

諾獎得主蓋爾曼說:宇宙的歷史並不只是由基本定律決定的。它取決於基本定律和除此之外的一長串巧合或者說機率。基本理論並不包含那些機率,它們是額外的東西。因此它並不是萬物理論。實際上,宇宙中圍繞我們的大量資訊來自於這些巧合,而不只是基本定律。現在人們常說,透過檢驗由低能量到高能量再到更高能量,或者說由小尺度到更小尺度再到更小尺度的現象來逐步向基本定律靠近就像是剝洋蔥。
我們這麼不斷繼續下去,建更高能的加速器來找尋基本粒子,這樣就能夠逐步深入粒子的結構,沿著這條路,我們就可以逐漸接近基本定律。

人生贏家都是機率贏家。
他們不是走了超級狗屎運,不然就是洞悉了巧合背後的基本定律。大部分人屈服於命運,少部分人與命運抗爭(作為他們命運的一部分),極少人試圖去發現命運的把戲。總之,機率思維,已經成為當今在社會上行走必備的基礎能力。

機率統治世界

時間只負責 “ 統計 ” ,不負責 “ 判決 ” 。機率層面,這是簡單的常識:

假如一個不規則的硬幣落在正面的機率是 55% ,你下注於正面。結果,硬幣落在了反面。你輸了錢。時間並沒有說:你錯了。時間的意義是,你不斷重複這個遊戲,最後你有 55% 的機率贏。

可是,我們對時間最大的誤解,就是以為它是最英明的裁判。例如,一個阿根廷的孩子在街頭踢球,他熱愛,聰明,但又脆弱,各種坎坷,甚至被認為沒有前途。可他後來成了梅西。通常我們會認為,時間 “ 證明 ” 了梅西的成長,它肯定了這個孩子的天賦和努力。然而,時間並不是這樣一個高考閱卷老師。時間只是從統計學意義上,觀察到梅西的湧現。

即使時間是萬能的,但是在梅西小時候,它對小梅西成為梅西這件事情,和每個人一樣一無所知。理解了這一點,我們就知道,假如我們想要培養梅西,無法靠 “ 我早就知道 ” 的設計,而是要靠基於 “ 演變 ” 的統計。統計,將 “ 偶然 ” 和 “ 命中註定 ” 聯繫在了一起。《自下而上》寫到:

人類歷史的傳授方式,也由此充滿了誤導,因為它太過強調設計、指導和規劃,而太少關注演變。所以,打了勝仗的,是將軍;經營國家的,是政客;發現真理的,是​​科學家;創造流派的,是藝術家;實現突破的,是發明家;塑造心靈的,是老師;改變思想的,是哲學家;佈道的,是教士;做生意的,是商人;陰謀導致危機⋯⋯。

於是,有人呼喚 “ 我們需要天才馬斯克 ” ,卻不知道,也許創造奇蹟的,是一代在後院兒玩兒土火箭的少年,是大量專業的太空發燒友。只有當街頭有很多光著腳快樂踢球的孩子時,才有機會 “ 湧現 ” 出梅西。過去,我們想把幾十個天才足球少年送去歐洲和南美,定向培養出馬拉多納。現在,人們又指望定向製造馬斯克。

我也並非徹底推到 “ 規劃 ” 。例如日本就曾經規劃 “ 諾貝爾獎得主 ” 。但這個 “ 規劃 ” ,是 “ 自下而上 ” 與 “ 自上而下 ” 的結合。是去 “ 規劃 ” 一整片森林,而非定向規劃少數幾棵看起來大有前途的天才樹木。模糊的精確,好過精確的模糊。在一個複雜的世界裡, “ 因 ” 這個概念本身就值得懷疑: “ 這就是別太在乎報紙說什麼的另一個原因,它們總是無休無止地為事情找原因 ” 。

時間容易造成 “ 前因後果 ” 的幻覺。因為時間的單向、線性、均勻,都只是人的一個幻覺。時間也許更像大爆炸的宇宙,向四面八方加速地展開。甚至於,時間本身的維度,也遠不止我們心智中的三維,並且連維度的數目也在 “ 分裂 ” 。所以,在一個開放的系統裡,試圖透過極其有限的數據與觀察來發現 “ 絕對的因果 ” ,極可能是錯的。當然,我上面一大段對時間因果的懷疑,仍然是在人類語言和思維模式的因果框架下展開的。

我贊成不要因為 “ 統計學 ” 在這個時代格外有效,就放棄對 “ 因果 ” 的探究(其本質是求真,並且避免陷入虛無)。牛頓力學不夠精確,但已經能確保我們的房屋與橋樑的相對牢固;量子力學充滿疑惑,卻構成了手機和網路的基石。假如我們接受時間負責 “ 統計 ” ,而不是 “ 裁判 ” ,就能夠做到:既追求真理,又保持懷疑;既享受一生(極小的一段時光)牢靠的幻覺,又能將心靈投影至沒有盡頭的宇宙最深處。

以下重發最早的 “ 概率權 ” 一文。

一道趣題的 8 個解答

如下,一道 ” 簡單 ” 的選擇題。你按紅色按鈕?還是綠色?



這道題比想像中有趣,我試著回答一下:
  1. 根據期望值理論,綠色按鈕價值 5 千萬;
  2. 很多人仍然願意選拿到確認的 100 萬,因為他們無法忍受 50% 機率的什麼都拿不到;
  3. 換而言之,假如一個人無法承受 “ 什麼都沒有 ” ,那麼右邊的選擇就相當於 “ 你有 50% 機率得到一個億,有 50% 機率死掉 ” 。你當然無法承受死,何況高達 50% 機率;
  4. 開放地想,假如你擁有這個選擇的權利,你可將右側價值五千萬的選擇權賣給一個有承受力的人,例如兩千萬(甚至更高)賣給他;
  5. 繼續優化上一條,考慮到增加 “ 找到願意購買你該選擇權利的人 ” 的可能性,你可以只用 100 萬(低首付)賣掉這個權利,但要求購買者中得一個億時和你分成;
  6. 再進一步,你可以把這個選擇權做成彩票公開發行,將選擇權切碎了零售,兩塊錢一張,印兩億張。頭獎一個億。對比 5 ,風險更低,收益更大;
  7. 鑑於 6 的成功商業模式,開始募集下一筆一個億作為頭獎,令其成為一項生意。
  8. 按照P/E估值,募集 20 億,公開上市,市值 100 億。
三個風險決策概念

從 100 萬到 100 億,讓我們跳出腦筋急轉彎遊戲,研究一下背後嚴肅的數學原理。經濟學裡有三個風險決策概念:期望值,期望效用,展望理論。

期望值:在機率論和統計學中,一個離散性隨機變量的期望值(或數學期望、或均值,亦簡稱期望,物理學中稱為期待值)是試驗中每次可能結果的機率乘以其結果的總和。換句話說,期望值是隨機試驗在同樣的機會下重複多次的結果計算出的等同 “ 期望 ” 的平均值。(來自維基百科)

例如,擲一枚六面骰子,其點數的期望值是 3.5 ,計算如下:



期望效用:在微觀經濟學、博弈論、決策論中,期望效用是一個效用理論,指在風險情況下,個人所作出的選擇是追求某一數量的期望值的最大化。該假說用於解釋賭博和保險中的期望值。(該概念為解決 “ 聖彼得堡悖論 ” 而生)

展望理論: 1970 年代,卡尼曼和特沃斯基系統地研究展望理論。長久以來,主流經濟學都假設每個人作決定時都是 “ 理性 ” 的,然而現實情況並不如此;而展望理論加入了人們對賺蝕、發生機率高低等條件的不對稱心理效用,成功解釋了許多看來不理性的現象。

基於以上理論基礎,我想拋出幾個自覺有趣的結論:
  1. 反人性的 “ 每一步都按照整體最優機率做決策 ” ,是傳統意義上成功人士的第一秘密;
  2. 窮人將自己的 “ 概率權 ” 廉價賣給了富人,概率權是更隱蔽、更大筆的剩餘價值剝削(並不代表我認同剩餘價值的概念);
  3. 當下熱門的人工智慧,就是依靠每一步都獨立、冷血的計算最優機率,從而戰勝人類。例如 AlphaGo ;
  4. 然而,非理性,衝動,有可能成為人類最後的堡壘。(我以後會單獨寫這個)
先過一遍基礎概念。

期望值理論(智者的基本決策工具)

根據期望值理論, 100% 機率得到 5,000 萬,和 50% 機率得到一個億,是一回事情。貝氏定理,是聰明的決策者使用頻率最高的簡單公式之一。

說明: “ 用虧損的機率乘以可能虧損的金額,再用獲利機率乘以可能獲利的金額,最後用後者減去前者。這就是我們一直試圖做的方法。這種算法並不完美,但事情就這麼簡單。 ” (By 巴菲特)

舉例A:(來自高盛前 CEO 魯賓的傳記)
“ 在兩家公司宣布合併後,烏尼維斯的股票交易價為 30.5 美元(合併宣布前為 24.5 美元)。這意味著如果合併事宜談妥的話,來自套利交易的股價上漲可能 3 美元,因為烏尼維斯公司每股股票將會值 33.5 美元( 0.6075 ×貝迪公司每股股票的價格)。如果合併沒有成功,烏尼維斯公司的股票有可能回落到每股大約 24.5 美元。我們購進的股票有可能下跌 6 美元左右。

我們把合併成功的可能性定為大約 85% ,失敗的可能性為 15% 。在預期價值的基礎上,股價可能上漲的幅度是 3 美元乘以 85% ,而下跌的風險是 6 美元乘以 15% 。
3 美元× 85% =(可能上漲) 2.55 美元
– 6 美元× 15% =(可能下跌)- 0.9 美元
所以,預期價值= 1.65 美元

這 1.65 美元就是我們希望透過把公司 30.50 美元資本擱置三個月所得到的收益。這就算出了可能的報酬率為 5.5% ,或者以年度計算的話為 22% 。比這樣的報酬率再低一些就是我們的底線。我們認為不值得為了低於 20% 的年報酬率而支付我們公司的資本。 “ 魯賓特別解釋道,這就是他每天要做的事情,看起來似乎是賭博,而且的確也經常會輸掉。但他要確保的,是大多數時候賺錢。

舉例B:(來自《黑天鵝》作者)
塔勒佈在投資研討會說: “ 我相信下個星期市場略微上漲的機率很高,上漲機率大概 70% 。 ” 但他卻大量賣空標準普爾 500 指數期貨,賭市場會下跌。他的意見是:市場上漲的可能性比較高(我看好後市),但最好是賣空(我看壞結果),因為萬一市場下跌,它可能跌幅很大。

分析如下:假使下個星期市場有 70% 的機率上漲, 30% 的機率下跌。但是如果上漲只會漲 1% ,下跌則可能跌 10% 。
未來預期結果是: 70% × 1% + 30% ×(- 10% )=- 2.3% 。
因此應該賭跌,賣空股票獲利的機會更大。如蒙格所言,巴菲特每天做的,都是算這個簡單數學問題。與其說是一種數學能力,不如說是一種思維模式。知道容易,做到極難。

舉例C:
機率有時候顯得 “ 反直覺 ” 。一輛出租車在雨夜肇事,現場有一個目擊證人說,看見該車是藍色。已知:
該目擊證人識別藍色和綠色出租車的準確率是 80% ;
該地的出租車 85% 是綠色的, 15% 是藍色的。

請問:那輛肇事出租車是藍色的機率有多大?
答:該車是綠車但被看成藍車的機率是( 0.85 × 0.2 ),該車是藍車且被看成藍車的機率是( 0.15 × 0.8 ),所以該車真的是藍車的機率是(( 0.15 × 0.8 )/【( 0.85 × 0.2 )+( 0.15 × 0.8 )】= 41.38% )。即,該車更可能是綠色的。

會不會和你的大腦直覺有些差異?我們的大腦做工雖然非常令人驚嘆,但在有些數學直覺方面,顯得非常稚嫩。然而,期望值理論無法回答,為什麼紅色按鈕價值低到 100 萬,仍然有很多人選擇?

期望效用理論(野心或者恐懼)

丹尼爾・伯努利在 1738 年的論文裡,以效用的概念,來挑戰以金額期望值為決策標準,論文主要包括兩條原理:
  1. 邊際效用遞減原理:一個人對於財富的佔有多多益善,即效用函數一階導數大於零;隨著財富的增加,滿足程度的增加速度不斷下降,效用函數二階導數小於零。
  2. 最大效用原理:在風險和不確定條件下,個人的決策行為準則是為了獲得最大期望效用值而非最大期望金額值。

回到文頭的案例。選擇紅色按鈕,立即變現 100 萬,放棄價值 5,000 萬的選擇權,一方面是因為 “ 滿足於 ” 100 萬,就其財富而言, 100 萬已經帶來數量級的變化,能解決當下最大的難題,足夠心滿意足。而再多一個數量級, 5,000 萬能幹嘛呢?可能也想像不到;另一方面,是想規避綠色按鈕 50% 的歸零風險。對歸零的恐懼感,遠大於多拿到 4,900 萬的期望。確切說,選擇紅色按鈕,交織著 “ 期望效用理論 ” 與 “ 前景理論 ” 的綜合作用。

前景理論


《別做正常的傻瓜》引用因前景理論獲得諾獎的卡尼曼的總結:

  1. 在得到的時候,人們都是風險規避的;
  2. 在失去的時候,理性者是風險規避的, “ 正常的傻瓜是 ” 是風險偏好的;
  3. 理性的決策者對得失的判斷不受參照點的影響,而 “ 正常的傻瓜 ” 對得失的判斷往往根據參照點決定;(例如理性決策者不會非要等到回本才拋掉一支應該拋掉的股票)
  4. 正常的傻瓜通常是損失規避的。
如同業為經濟學所研究的,社會、認知與情感的因素,會令人作出不那麼 “ 理性 ” 的選擇。例如,財富的基數,作為參照點,極大程度上決定了人們去按紅色和綠色。

笨人放棄的概率權

笨人不懂得機率的基本常識,不會算期望值(基於三種理論之一)。

誤解 1 :不懂 “ 大數定律 ”
在數學與統計學中,大數定律又稱大數法則、大數律,是描述相當多次數重複實驗的結果的定律。根據這個定律知道,樣本數量越多,則其平均就越趨近期望值。笨人總想在賭場裡賺錢,而賭場恰恰是大數定律的堅定贏家。

誤解 2 :賭徒謬誤
特沃斯基和卡尼曼總結:在實際生活中,人們會錯誤地將每次隨機試驗之間獨立的機率建立起聯繫。用擲硬幣的例子來說,我們知道每次拋出得到正反面的機率都是 1 / 2 ,但總有人會認為如果連續幾次都得到正面,那麼下次得到反面的機率就會更大。人們常常以為在整體上符合期望的機率分布,在局部上也會符合相同的機率。這種將從大樣本中得到的規律錯誤應用於小樣本中的現象,被稱為 “ 小數定律 ” 。回想 2015 年股災,給股民帶來致命打擊的,是抄底。跌了這麼狠了,總該有次像樣反彈吧。這也算是賭徒謬誤的一種。

誤解 3 :倖存者偏差
其含義是:根據以事件倖存者為樣本所做出的統計分析是存在偏差的,因為失敗者(或者說是 “ 遇難者 ” )沒能入選樣本(《黑天鵝》中的沉默證據),所以,以倖存者為樣本所代表的整體是存在偏差(甚至是錯誤)的。

誤解 4 :鮮活性效應
人們過分看重更鮮活和更容易從記憶中提取出來的證據。誰該向誰道 “ 一路平安 ” ?朋友B開車 20 公里送A去機場,A將從那裡飛往 750 公里以外的某城。離別時,朋友B會對A說: “ 一路平安 ” 。諷刺的是,B回家的 20 公里車程,死於交通事故的機率,比A乘坐航班不幸遇難的機率高出三倍多。然而,受 “ 鮮活性效應 ” 的影響,仍然是B為A祝福。

窮人放棄的概率權

窮人急於變現,無法做到滿足延遲,對效用的期望過低。

哈佛教授塞德希爾在《稀缺》一書中闡述到:我們陷入了稀缺的困境。每個人一旦面臨稀缺狀態,不管是時間還是金錢稀缺,我們都會走入 “ 管窺 ” 狀態,進而引發我們的稀缺心態,稀缺心態容易引發短視和向未來借債。最終我們陷入越來越窮,越來越忙的困境。

曾經和一位老兄聊天,他說,我們最缺的,其實就是有個老爸告訴自己你很牛逼。為何書香門第或者財富世家會出許多偉人,除了基因,資源,可能還有以下原因:
  1. 有足夠高的參照點,不會被小利益勾走,更能承受風險(其實是低機率的),從而捕獲高回報;
  2. 身邊一群人的示範效應;
  3. 被點燃的內心激勵。

他們比窮人更不容易 “ 廉價 ” 甩賣自己的概率權。所以:
  1. 貧富差距的關鍵決策點上, “ 窮人 ” 放棄了自己的概率權益;
  2. 所謂贏家的秘密就是,堅持按照優勢機率行事,哪怕屢屢受挫也不更改人生下注的原則;
  3. 買彩票是最為昂貴的關於機率選擇權的自暴自棄,所以被稱為收智商稅。

錢多的話就價值投資,錢少的話就賭一把。——這可能是投資領域最被廣泛實施的愚蠢。小機率的事情很難實現,看起來反而容易;高機率的事情則顯得路途遙遠,其實到達目的地的可能性要大得多。放棄自己的概率權,選擇舒適的小機率,其實是在用自己本來就微薄的資源,去補貼 “ 成功者 ” 。

聰明人放棄的概率權

換句話說:聰明人為什麼幹蠢事?聰明人既能精確地算出期望值,又野心勃勃,為什麼也會失去自己的概率權,無法在現實世界中過好這一生?
  1. 聰明人也無法躲過行為經濟學家嘲諷的那些 “ 愚蠢 ” 行為;
  2. 大多數聰明人患有 “ 認知障礙症 ” ,理智上想明白的事情,情感上死活沒法接受;
  3. 先入為主,自作聰明;
  4. 沒有將正確的思維方式內化為一種行為習慣。

假如人生是一場機率遊戲,假如我們的一連串選擇決策決定了最終結局,那麼,聰明人貌似該有 “ 先天優勢 ” 。而事實並非如此。機率來自賭博。帕斯卡和費馬對賭博奇特結果的興趣,引發他們提出了一些機率論的原理,從而創立了機率論。

以賭場玩家 “ 不輸 ” 機率最高的 21 點為例,賺錢的秘密是:
選一個 “ 友好 ” 的賭場(相當於選對產業);
對玩兒法基本功滾瓜爛熟;
如電影《決勝 21 點》般數牌;
在優勢機率下,加大下注;
不管結果如何,始終如一地執行以上策略,情緒不波動。

聰明人能夠做好 1-4 。但是對於 “ 反人性 ” 的 5 ,是許多聰明人的弱點。在賭場,你要面對各種干擾,例如:最好的下注時機卻沒有位置,隔壁賭客的抽煙,大胸美女的晃眼,以及擔心害怕。

每個贏家都是一個人肉 AlphaGo

Google 技術團隊與職業棋手,聯合研究了 AlphaGo 對李世乭的棋譜,從中能看到 “ 人工智慧 ” 在進行這項人類最難智力遊戲時,到底是如何思考的。AlphaGo 幾乎會在每一手棋時,都計算自己的贏棋機率。即:對它而言,每一個決策點都是獨立的, AlphaGo 都會冷靜的尋找 “ 當下 ” 的最大獲勝機率。

如本文前面所提及的魯賓、塔勒布、巴菲特,他們差不多都是一個人肉 AlphaGo ,堅持按照機率行事,經常看起來是 “ 反直覺、反人性、反舒適 ” 的。絕大多數聰明人,還沒有這種智慧,以及偉大的行事方式。

被收彩票智商稅的蠢人,和懂得機率但不能堅定實施的聰明人,又都無法逃脫一個陷阱:慾望。在強烈的慾望面前,聰明人認為自己的運氣會提升自己的機率。笨人認為勤能補拙。所謂成功者的確非常勤奮,但此非充分條件。成功者是選擇的結果,其成功秘密都是事後歸因。所以,有另外一種比智商稅更隱蔽的稅:發財夢稅。這能解釋兩個常見 “ 經濟現象 ” :
  1. 為什麼中國的商業街總在裝修、換商家?(對比而言,國外的商家很少變遷)
  2. 為什麼大量淘寶店主們願意為一份低於薪資的收入, 24 小時勤奮工作著?

街頭頻換換手之商舖的過高租金,網路上創業者不計回報的拼搏,正是在為發財夢付出溢價。

你如何定義自己的 “ 賭場 ”

祖克柏不過是中產家庭出身。他仍能在公司成立兩年的困難階段,拒絕了雅虎(母公司 Verizon,VZ-US)的 10 億美元收購。這是一個艱難的決定。幾年以後,祖克柏對記者說,拒絕收購的一年內,幾乎所有的高層全部走光了。

你是馬上就拿到 10 個億,還是以百分之幾的可能性在數年之後拿到 1,000 個億?——這個擺在祖克柏面前的選擇,多麼像本文開篇那個按鈕選擇。比較而言,祖克柏的綠色按鈕(失去懲罰)要殘忍得多。秘密在於,擺在祖克柏面前的,並非 10 億和 1,000 億的選擇,而是堅持或放棄夢想的選擇。數年後,snapchat 以類似的方式拒絕了祖克柏的 30 億美元收購要約。

無論結局如何,這便是矽谷的精神之一。僅靠發財夢,很難驅動太大的事業。財富觀、雄心壯志、年輕氣盛,超越經濟動物的貪婪,讓他們按下了成功機率遠低於 50% 的綠色按鈕。

如何不賤賣選擇權?

許多人生選擇題,除了abcd,還可能有一個 “ 其它 ” 選項。對了對付德國人的密碼機,圖靈決定 “ 以機攻機 ” ,然而領導不批預算,並喝令他服從上級命令。圖靈同學靈機一動問:你的上級是誰?隨後給丘吉爾寫了封信搞掂十萬英鎊。我可以按紅色,也可以按綠色,意味著我擁有選擇權。我可否有另外的變現渠道呢?第三條路,出賣選擇權,將其賣給 VC 和 PE,是利用資本的風險喜好與承受力,分享了 100 萬與 5,000 萬之間的價值地帶。

有趣的是,財富世界為一窮二白的年輕人留下了一個暗門。他們並不因自己渴望 100 萬而非得錯失 5,000 萬。他們只需要更廣闊的視野。這是當下社會財富的創造與分配核心驅動力之一。亦為資本的美妙之處。對於 “ 選擇權 ” 的決策思想與行動模式,決定了最終的財富食物鏈。

成功學的機率常識

假如你在一個正確的區域,下面一定有金礦(這也是個偽命題,地球下面是有金礦,界定的精確性呢?)然後你重複試錯,聰明地試錯,這些試錯可以積澱和滾雪球般,不斷提升你的成功機率。

引用一個雞湯段子:如果一件事的成功率是 1% ,反覆嘗試 100 次,至少成功 1 次的機率是多少?答案:如果成功率是 1% ,意味著失敗率是 99% 。按照反覆嘗試 100 次來計算,那失敗率就是 99% 的 100 次方,約等於 37% ,最後我們的成功率應該是 100% 減去 37% ,即 63% 。一件事倘若反覆嘗試,它的成功率竟然由 1% 奇蹟般地上升到不可思議的 63% 。

前面說過了,勝率不佔優時,不要反覆押注。如果這麼做,根據大數定律,會輸得精光。但為什麼上面的成功學公式卻可以實現反轉呢?原因在於,你在賭場輸的是錢。而在成功學的反轉公式裡,是假設你的時間成本、精力成本、機會成本、金錢成本都忽略了。你需要不服輸,你的體力好很重要,你還願意投入時間,這些都是你的成本。有些人不會因為反覆挫敗而喪失精力。每次重新開始的時候,他都如第一次般充滿激情。每一次他都準備好了。由上,人生的錯誤不是算錯了數學機率,不然就是反覆的次數不夠多,或是經不起折騰。所以,吃苦,可能是最核算的、可以反覆押上的籌碼,尤其適合年輕的人生賭徒們。

美國史丹佛大學工程教授羅伯特・桑頓說:在創造過程中,天縱其才未必比生產能力重要。發現一個有用的好想法,你先要去嘗試許多沒用的。這是個純粹的數字遊戲。

有本書專門探討過該問題:如果創新者本人對他們自身想法做出的評判並不可靠,他們怎樣才能提高創作出傑作的機率呢?答案是:他們想出大量的創意。西蒙頓發現,平均而言,創意天才在他們所在領域的作品並不比同業的作品質量更好,他們只是有大量的想法罷了。這給他們更多的變化,更高的獲得獨創性的機會。

“ 一個人能想出有影響力的成功創意的機率, ” 西蒙頓指出, “ 同他想出的創意總數成正比。 ”

例如莎士比亞:我們對他的一小部分經典作品耳熟能詳,但卻忘記了在 20 年中,他創作了 37 部戲劇和 154 首十四行詩。

如何當一個成功的 CEO ?在這裡,作者霍洛維茨分享了一條重要的經驗:創業公司的 CEO 不應該計算成功的機率。創建公司時,你必須堅信,任何問題都有一個解決辦法。而你的任務就是找出解決辦法,無論這一機率是十分之九,還是千分之一,你的任務始終不變。他還認為:當一名成功的 CEO 根本沒有秘訣。如果說存在這樣一種技巧,那就是看其專心致志的能力和在無路可走時選擇最佳路線的能力。與普通人相比,那些令你最想躲藏起來或者乾脆撕掉的時刻,就是你作為一名 CEO 所要經歷的不同於常人的東西。

“ 只要肯幹,你一定可以出人頭地。要敢於 All in。 ” 這些都是當下流行的人生觀。結合上面的成功機率計算,我們要奮不顧身地為未來下注嗎?仍然是要看你手中的籌碼。在我們的一生中,面對不確定性,我們大多時候扔骰子的次數都是有限的,並且是消耗資源的。永不放棄,指的是你的鬥志,而非押完你錢包裡的最後一塊錢。

錢少就該去賭一把嗎?

由此可以探討兩個經常被誤讀的話題:

錢少的投資者就該買高風險的股票嗎?
當你的籌碼是 “ 有限的 ” 錢時,錢少的人和錢多的人,只是數字上的區別,下注應該以比例、而非金額來區隔。有些人覺得自己錢少,慢慢搞來不及,所以要冒險。這和想去賭場提款一樣愚蠢(除非你是數學博士)。難道錢少就可以不遵循機率的法則?難道錢少就要去賭場,活生生把自己推入大數定律的絞肉機?這就是為什麼 “ 窮人 ” 常自暴自棄,快速地賭掉了最後的籌碼。

創業者是在賣 “ 命 ” 。
接著上個話題, “ 我手上就兩千塊,即使按照巴菲特的報酬率,我這輩子也買不起房啊? ” 回答:
  1. 假如你用錢做籌碼,你就要遵循錢的機率原則;
  2. 你還可以有另外的籌碼,以另外的下注方式,賣命。

也就是:賣掉你的命運,以及動腦、吃苦、拼命。創業仍然是小機率事件。即使你的智慧、精力、時間是零成本,即使你不斷試錯、不斷探索,讓你的成功率越來越高,最後跑出來的也不多。大公司的創新,很多時候不比創業者成功率更高。所以他們買入那些跑贏了的創業公司。某種意義上,他們就是買創業者 “ 小荷才露尖尖角的好命 ” ,避免自己付出大公司極高的試錯成本。
人生選擇有限

人生有很多個選擇時刻,不能總是被 “ 機率 ” 和 “ 最優 ” 驅使。就像《怒海爭鋒》裡,傑克船長暫時放棄追殺敵船,選擇停靠小島,滿足船醫夢寐以求的達爾文式科學考察。想起一個朋友,夫妻選擇將創業和置業延後,將時間留給成長中的孩子。許多美好事物和美好時刻,都是因為一些 “ 不計算 ” 的選擇。

安德烈・高茲說: “ 我開始思考,什麼是應該放棄的次要的東西,放棄了它我才能集中精力追求最重要的。而追根究柢,只有一件事對我來說是最主要的:那就是和你在一起。 ” 當然,最好我們手上有足夠的、靠 AlphaGo 機率計算法贏得的籌碼,供自己去揮霍,或是幫助那些沒有人生賭場權的人。例如蓋茲的慈善基金。

也許選擇本身比財富更重要。如果說時光是最寶貴的財富,比時光還有限的人生選擇呢?我想起 1995 年畢業後獨自去廣州,遇到一位師長,他見我有些無師自通的靈性,不吝在旁人面前贊 “ 這是天才少年 ” 。(時光總是嫌老愛幼,迄今為止尚未有人稱我是天才中年。)他註冊自己公司的時候,頭疼選名,於是說:不如就叫 “ 選擇 ” 。於是這公司成為我加入的第一間公司,其名字蘊含著廣泛的人生隱喻:

“ 選擇有限 ” 公司。

https://www.stockfeel.com.tw/概率權-機率-有錢人/