I posted about this liquidation on August 20 2017. At that time, the Kubera Cross-Border Fund was already in liquidation mode. It was about to close a sale of their largest asset, a stake in Planet Cast Media Services, valued at $23m. The deal finally closed on June 14 2019 (more than 2 years after the announcement of the sale!) at a value of $20m (a small discount to the initial agreement + FX effects). The company made a distribution on July 19 of 0.18 USD per share.
The remaining net asset value of the company is 0.116 USD per share while shares are available at ~0.050 USD per share. This represents a discount of more than 50%. The shares are very illiquid, but from time to time larger blocks are sold. With a bit of patience, you should be able to acquire a sizeable retail position.
The assets consists of a stake in Synergies Castings Limited (manufactures alloy and chrome plated wheels for OEMs), a tax fund to be received from the Indian tax authorities and positive net working capital.
The fund has annual costs of approximately 600k USD per year (administratitive and liquidation costs). Management of the fund explained me that they are currently assessing options to reduce these costs significantly, potentially including a delisting of shares. They expect to provide more details soon.
I expect a long liquidation process (Indian authorities have showed to move slowly) and therefore estimate cash burn and liquidation costs for a period of 2 years adjusted for some savings. If we further take the book value for granted, total distributions add up to 0.108 USD per share (116% upside).
If we discount the stake in Synergies Castings Limited and the tax refund by 50% and take 2 years of current annual expenses we still break-even. Downside seems well protected.
For the tax refund I believe that it is unlikely that it will be lowered as it is based on simple tax rules, however I have no experience with similar situations in India. The actual refund should amount to $4.85m, it is valued at $4m on the balance sheet to take into account the time value of money and uncertainty with regard to timing. So there could be further upside.
Synergies Castings Limited
The fund agreed to sell its complete stake in the company for $14-16m in four tranches ($2m discount if consumated within 18 months) in August 2017 to a buyer (I believe to be the founder of Syergies Castings Limited) who at the time still had to find buyers. A strange situation. I believe that the founder basically guaranteed to buy the stake at this price and believed that he could find buyers for a higher price.
Payments for the first two tranches were received soon after the agreement. However, the 18 months have passend and the 3rd and 4th tranche are still open. The fund also received an advance of $1m (liability on the balance sheet) which is a penalty which the fund can keep in the case the 3rd and 4th tranches don’t close. The fund values the remaining stake based on the lower range of $14m out of caution. The fund is in discussions with the buyer/founder and confident that they will eventually close the sale, although with further delays (based on conservation with the funds manager the Indian and US market conditions are not as favourable as a couple of years ago, however they see this as a temporary issue).
The company is still growing revenues and profits and makes investments for the long term (https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/synergies-castings-to-set-up-a-650-cr-greenfield-plant-in-visakhapatnam/article23738268.ece).
This indicates that there are no real issues in my opinion. The business itself is not wonderful. EBITDA margins are in the 11-15% range historically, I have no view on capex but for a manufacturer with a high degree of automation this is likely substantial.
Below an overview of historic performance. The fund explains that revenues, EBITDA and net income increased in both FY18 and FY19.