FEDERAL BANK - Strong Buy @ 435, Target 700 in 1 to 1.5 year

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Rakesh Jhunjhunwala has picked stake in Federal bank recently. He disclosed this in an interview. The reason seems to be very obvious, its undervaluation relative to the other private sector lenders like ICICI bank, HDFC, AXIS Bank, ING Vysya Bank etc.

On FY-12 basis it is quoting at around 1.2 times book value. Even public sector lenders are available at somewhere in the range of 1.5 to 2.5 times book. Private sector lender are anyway available in the range of 2.5 to 4 times book.

The reason for its undervaluation in past 2 years has been its low retun on Net worth because of its right issue in 2007. But with loan book growing at 25% annually it is expected to report better RONW in coming years and hence should start commanding better valuation.

At expected PBV of 2.0 for the Financial year FY-12, the stock is expected to generate around 60 to 70% return from current levels in 12 to 18 months time frame.

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