Borrowing against Brands !…Interesting,but Risky area opening out !

For Years ,Brand Valuation has been part of my sessions on Valuation of Equity at BSE and Other Forums….so it was with great Interest that I read the Economic Times Front Page atricle today on ‘Cos flash brands to raise cash’

Strapped for cash,Kingfisher Airlines has managed to Borrow from State Bank of India against it’s Brand of ‘Kingfisher Airlines’ which has been valued at Rs 1900 crs,that’s US $ 391 Million at an Exchange Rate of US $ =Rs 48.50 

Interestingly,Kingfisher Airlines has actually included this Brand Value as an Asset in it’s Balance Sheet…If it had not,then the Debt/Equity ratio would have computed higher….However,It’s probably because the Brand  is shown in the Balance Sheet,that PSU Bank,State Bank of India has been convinced to lend against this Asset

‘Kingfisher Airlines’ is a seperate registered Brand than ‘Kingfisher’ for Beer and Wines…Just a thought…if the Airlines defaults ,then the bank could opt to make the Brand it’s property…It would need to monetise this to recover dues…so it will have to sell the Brand !…to a Competitor Airline or a new Airline maybe !?…does the Borrowing Agreement categorically state that this Brand also include all the licenses and permissions  etc ?…what’s the hairline % taken by the Bank for this Asset value when lending?

Now Brand Value,like Intellectual Property Rights and Goodwill is an Intangible Asset.It normally is never reflected in the Accounts,because no real consideration has been paid for it…Thus this makes this Asset Class,riskier to lend against…It may be difficult to liquidate or realise monies for it in case of default

Being an Intangible,Brand Valuation is one of the most subjective and controversial areas in Valuation…Valuing Tangible Assets is a more objective exercise

Will Banks lend against Brand Value even if it is not reflected in the Books as an Asset !?

Clearly,Corporates appear to be running out of Tangible Assets to pledge or offer as Collateral and therefore borrow against…….They are resorting to prop up their  Brand Values for actual Funds leverage

An interesting Valuation and IPO assignment I was involved in recently,threw up this demand from the Promoters when we were working to price the placement and the IPO…”Does not our Brand count for anything ?”…Of course it did…In fact it is one of India’s largest companies in it’s field and has been in existence for over a hundred years !….but potential buyers were reluctant to negotiate a higher valuation that included,both soft and  hard numbers

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