How to transfer cash via bitcoins, for dummies

Tired of capital controls? Want to move cash abroad without paying a fortune on FX fees?
Bitcoin promises to make our lives easier..

What is bitcoin?
A digital currency based on cryptography. In contrast with physical currencies where there is a central bank controlling supply and demand, Bitcoins are decentralized. Bicoins live on the internet in decentralized computers that “mine” new coins while helping existing users to make transactions. Every coin can be used only once, they can divided in fractional units and their value fluctuates according to the demand. So this new breed of currency can be used as an exchange mechanism to buy goods or transfer cash abroad saving on bank fees.

How I make a wallet?
You need a wallet to store them. Handle them with care because a copy-paste is enough to lose them. My favorite wallet is the Blockchain because it can be controlled both via an app and via a browser. It is free and you can sign up here https://blockchain.info/wallet

Buying / Selling bitcoins 
The easiest way to buy bitcoins with cash is via special cash-points called “Bitcoin atm”, the nearest one can be found here: http://coinatmradar.com/ in most of the cases this website discloses the fees as well. Usually these ATMs charge a 4% transcaction fee, Outch!
Cheapeer way to buy/sell bitcoins online is via a P2P network, like https://localbitcoins.com or a bitcoin broker like Kraken.com. I prefer Local Bitcoins to Kraken especially for smaller transactions because there is no-minimum fee for deposits/withdarwals and usually the total transaction fee charged is only 1-2%
LocalBitcions is like Craigslist or Ebay so you need to check a) the exchange rate you get is close enough to the market price as quoted on brokers like Kraken.com (at this moment 1 bitcoin is worth 253 euros) and b) you deal with a reputable dealer that made similar transactions in the past.
LocalBitcoins offer a bitcoin escrow account, so you can chat with the dealer and ask to put the bitcoins in the escrow account, then you transfer you money via a bank-transfer and ask the dealer to have the bitcoins released in your digital wallet. Once you have your first bitcoin (or a slice of it) you can sell it back to another dealer for another currency and ask for the proceeds to be transferred to another bank account that doesn’t have to be in the same country where the bitcoin was purchased.
For example you can deposit 258 euros via a SEPA bank transfer to a reputable dealer found on https://localbitcoins.com/ and get 1 bitcoin. Then after a couple of minutes you can sell this bitcoin to another dealer and get a deposit in your foreign account of 177GBP, at GBP/EUR 1.42 after fees, which is the most competitive rate I could find !!

Air partner .. take profit and fly?

Air Partner (AIP LN) is up +15% since our previous post at the end of April. I feel itchy to take at least some of the profit after an insider sale from the honorary chairman Anthony G. Mach who sold all of his 7.3% stake.  I also see limited value in the Cabot Aviation deal, where management paid x1.7 times turnover (GBP 1.2m) to buy a Jet broker firm.

 

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Air Partner share price appears cheap, bullish results (AIP LN)

AIP Air Partner Air Partner (AIP LN) reported stellar performance this morning, new management delivers strong results. Share price started reflecting this performance. Net cash stands at 1.83 GBP per share,  or 18.7m Thus enterprise value (EV) at today’s 36.7m market cap. is 18. Air Partner reported operating profit of 2.6m GBP, valuing AIP LN at x6.9 EV/EBIT, a significant discount to Easyjet and Ryanair. Management’s confidence in the future is reflected by the 10% increase in final divi. making the total divi for the year 22.06p or a 6.1% divi.
Net cash balance increased, reflecting the success of the JetCard as pre-bookings came higher. CEO says “the group reported underlying profit before tax of GBP 2.6m which is ahead of the revised market expectations…’. ‘the second half provided a great deal o be positive including a major new contract win in Oil & Gas, which commenced in the current financial year”
I think Air Partner share price remains cheap and undervalued comparing to the sector, offering a well supported 6% dividend yield. A more detailed analysis to follow soon ..

M&S share price needs a discount

downloadA quick analysis on M&S share price reveals that it had a stellar performance over the last 12 months, appreciating by  30% and outpacing even the archrival Next (NXT LN), which is up by “only” 12%.Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 22.59.21 The results announced on 2/4/15 have shown growth in General Merchandise segment which accounts for 45% of total revenue) after 4 years of declines, driving investor optimist and hopes for cash returns.  Of course easy comparatives helped to paint a more positive picture and I believe the consensus already incorporates an optimistic growth expectation with margin improvement. However, it seems like the consensus ignores the company’s weak balance sheet and it would be very interesting to see on the upcoming full year results (20/5/15) what steps management took to heal the weak spots we discuss on this post.

Segments: Most of the revenue is UK driven and split between 50% in Food and 40% in General Merchandise. M&S international division is heavily exposed to Russia, Ukraine and Turkey and faces continuing deterioration

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Online: M&S made a promising start building its own distribution centre in Doncaster but it suffered from an outage, although last year management spent GBP 247m in “Supply Technology” CAPEX.

Consensus on M&S share price : appears quite optimistic, in my view, as it assumes for the next 2 years a similar growth rate to Next although half of M&S revenue comes from food sales (are actually in deflationary territory). Consensus also expects an improvement in Operating Profit margin (OP), assuming no-margin erosion from online sales.

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Volatility: we can see Revenue and Margins for M&S  have been historically volatile and difficult to predict. Trading at x17.2 times next year’s bloomberg earnings v x16.8 for Next  (NXT LN), the stock is priced for perfection.

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Spending money unwisely: in the past return on some investments was particularly poor, to cite two examples: M&S bank suffered, over the last 2 years GBP 66.3m losses for misselling Payment Protection Insurance. This is about half the operating profit from the International business. It’s is quite impressive how a tiny little revenue segment can make such damage…The second example is about  the GBP 99.3m write-offs related to the closure of a logistics site, store closures in Ireland, China and Czech Republic. Well, I thought closing stores and opening new ones is part the bread and butter of a retailer, however M&S took the view these are ‘one-offs’ and decided to exclude them from the normal operating profits.

Audit rotation: M&S put their Audit on tender and Deloitte won, replacing PWC that had been auditing them since 1926 (this means loyalty..) Reading the audit report it is interesting to see that ‘Supplier Rebates’, a key area of risk highlighted blew up  at Tesco’s wasn’t picked up as a risk. I am looking forward to reading Deloitte’s report and see if they consider any new areas of risk (Ukraine maybe?)

Magic picture – Find the hidden debt: A very common “window dressing” trick among retailers is to make “sale and lease back” transactions, to reduce debt and improve liquidity. This is a temporary cosmetic adjustment as it relies on short term leases (that can be expensive) to fund long term infrastructure needs.
The total amount of these commitments amounts to the staggering GBP 4.6bm. This is almost half of today’s market capilisation. (anyone steel hopping for a divi increase? )

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Old habits die hard and last year M&S indulged to one more “sale and lease-back” to get some extra cash that needs to repay soon as a rent loan.

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Pension conundrum: Last actuarial valuation took place in March 2012 and estimated a deficit of GBP 290m. The next valuation is due to be carried out for March 2015. Probably actuaries are working on it as we speak an update is expected by November 2015. In this low interest environment is very likely the deficit will be much wider as the expected return from the fixed income investments has shrunk.

Derivatives: The disclosure on hedging says management took a position on a GBP 1.6b derivative to lock the FX exposure related to supplier payments. However, the trade payables (i.e. suppliers) are GBP 1.14b. So that leaves us with a speculative naked position of GBP 0.5b, unless there is something I ‘ve missed..

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Adjusting Leverage :Net Debt as reported at year end (29/3/14) was GBP2.46b, adding the pensions GBP 260m and the recent Sale and Lease back of GBP 100m Net Debt increases to GBP 2.82b. EBITDA was GBP 1.24b, adjusting for store closures excluded from reported profits (GBP 0.99m), EBITDA declines to GBP1.14m The new Net Debt / EBITDA ratio becomes x2.47 higher than targeted x1.5 – x2. If we consider the operating lease commitments as borrowings, because they have exit clauses and management intends to honour them, then Net Debt skyrockets to GBP 7.4b and Net Debt to EBITDA deteriorates to x6.5
Good luck to the shareholders awaiting for share buybacks to boost M&S share price  🙂

A snapshot with key ratios:

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The Seeking Alpha blog just came into life!

seekingalphaThank you for visiting Seeking Alpha, we hope to bring new insights in equities and have some fun 🙂  We aim to explore equities in both developed and emerging markets, focusing on recovery themes and paying particular attention on balance sheets. Readers please do leave us your comments after each post, this blog aims to stir up a debate. AfterAll, it takes two to make a market 🙂

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