PSU Holding Company – An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Yesterday’s Economic Times carried an interesting article on why it makes sense to have a holding company for all PSUs.


Personally, I am a proponent of dividend investing and think that it makes sense to go for good dividend paying stocks to build core of one’s portfolio. (Read more about Core-Satellite approach to build your portfolio here.)
So, when I read this article’s heading, I got even more interested as most of these PSEs are known to be good dividend paying companies. That’s a different matter altogether that its because of political pressures and lack of vision that these companies pay dividends.
I think the article makes a few valid points, if not all. These companies over years have accumulated huge reserves of cash, which are going unutilized or are being given back to shareholders (read govt). And by huge, I mean real huge. These PSUs have combined reserves that run into to lakhs of crores!!! 
Now if there is just one board (of directors) and not different ministries that gives mandate to these companies, that too without any political intervention, just imagine how efficient and effective these PSUs might become. And this would eventually reflect in market-capitalization of these PSUs. A company like IOCL having 11 refineries (each costing almost 30,000 Crore) is available for less than 50,000 Crore! That is the level of undervaluation which exists in some of these PSUs.
And having a central holding company would ensure that these companies are run without direct interference by administrative ministries in their day-to-day affairs. But it is also possible that this approach would lead to situations where cash reserves of profitable companies are used to fund expansion plans of ‘dead’ loss making businesses. But these are operational issues which can be handled with detailed planning, where certain criterias would have to be met before cash reserve of one company would be used to fund other.
But on the face of it, this idea does seem to be an interesting one. Isn’t it?

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Written by Dev Ashish

Founder - Stable Investor Investing | Personal Finance | Financial Planning | Common Sense

6 comments

  1. I don't agree with your idea that PSU Oil Marking companies are undervalued. You can check valuation of such companies in US, (Phillips 66, Valero etc…). Most of them are trading at 0.3 times sales. IOC looks cheap because the equity valuation is less. But enterprise value (equity + debt) is near 0.3 times sales.

  2. One simple approach may be to keep investing 15K-20K every month via SIP.
    Rest 5K-10K can be parked in recurring deposits or other such instruments. In this way, you can break these RDs when the time is ripe to pick your chosen stocks at low prices.

  3. Somehow your comment landed in spam folder and hence this delayed reply.

    You are right. Investing is not my full time business and hence I feel the need to invest regularly. 🙂 And you have correctly pointed out that value investing is the other option. But to be honest, its simple but not easy at all.

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