Valuation of emerging market companies and the role of company risk

Nkala, Dumisani
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Emerging markets have become important investment destination for international investors as they seek opportunities to grow and diversify their investment portfolios. At the same time, emerging markets are perceived to be riskier than developed markets. It is therefore imperative for the international investor to fully comprehend and appreciate the risk faced by their investments in the emerging markets and the drivers of the underlying their value. A significant amount of research has been carried out on the valuation of companies in emerging markets and the role country risk has in determining the final valuation price. Despite this, there is still no consensus amongst practitioners in the financial industry and academics on the best approach. The valuation methodologies currently employed vary significantly and in some cases involve making arbitrary adjustments based on “gut feel” with limited empirical evidence. This research study appraises existing emerging markets valuation frameworks such as the discounted cash flow model (DCF), including capital asset pricing model (CAPM) and its variants. It also looks at relative valuation and real option pricing framework with intention of proposing the “best practice” valuation framework for valuing companies in emerging markets. The general theory is that emerging markets are segmented from the developed world capital markets making portfolio optimisation across these markets difficult. Segmentation of emerging markets is as a result of inefficiency of the capital markets, in particular the inability of foreign investors to enter and exit the local capital markets at no extra costs. The emerging markets valuation frameworks are designed to address the inability to effectively diversify investments due to the segmentation of these markets. It was therefore pertinent that this study determines whether emerging markets are indeed segmented from world capital markets and therefore significantly riskier than developed markets. This part of the study was carried out by conducting both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the emerging capital markets. Quantitative analysis was done on the performances of twenty-seven emerging equity markets for the period between July 1998 and November 2008 and the results were compared with the US equity market analysis (United States was used in the study as the proxy for the world equity market) for the same period. The study used volatility of the markets as the measure of risk and the correlation to measure the level of integration. Qualitative analysis involved reviewing regulatory, legal and political risks of the different emerging markets. The results from this part of the study showed that emerging markets are indeed riskier than developed markets and are somewhat segmented from the world capital markets. Based on 4 this result, we concluded that the valuation frameworks in emerging markets should be adjusted or modified to incorporate the impact of country risk. A total of eleven different emerging markets valuation frameworks were appraised. The study reviewed the literature relating to the emerging markets valuation frameworks to establish their theoretical and empirical basis. The study also conducted qualitative and quantitative analysis of each of the eleven selected methods regarding relevance and practicality in the valuation of emerging market companies. Valuation models were developed from the different valuation frameworks, a process that included deriving different variants of the models such as the country risk premium. The qualitative analysis looked at the how practical is the valuation frameworks considering its variants. For quantitative analysis the emerging market valuation models were used to value ABSA Bank Group; Edgars Consolidated Stores Limited; and Standard Bank Group and outcomes of the valuation were compared with the final purchase price paid in recent corporate transactions involving these companies. The absolute difference between the notional valuation and the actual transaction price was used to rank the valuation frameworks, with smallest difference indicating the best fit. All the eleven emerging market valuation methodologies yielded results different from the purchase prices. Erb−Harvey−Viskanta (EHV) model had the best fit when compared with the actual purchase price. However, the study does not propose the usage of EHV as the “best practice” method because of weak theoretical basis. The study concludes that at least three to four methodologies should be used to derive a valuation range for purchase price negotiations
Country risk, Emerging markets, Asset pricing, Valuation, Finance theory, Investment