1. How to use GuruFocus - Tutorials
  2. What Is in the GuruFocus Premium Membership?
  3. A DIY Guide on How to Invest Using Guru Strategies
Clayton Young
Clayton Young
Articles (6)  | Author's Website |

Get Paid to Wait With Daihatsu Diesel

The company offers an attractive opportunity to safely invest in a troubled shipbuilding industry

Troubled shipping industry

Not long ago, the shipbuilding industry fell apart. This particularly affected the Korean shipbuilders. What started with the collapse of Hanjin Shipping (HKSE:117930) cascaded down to major Korean shipbuilders like Daewoo Shipbuilding (XKRX:042660), Hyundai Heavy Industries (XKRX:009540) and Samsung Heavy Industries (XKRX:010140). These companies were all in financial distress as industry-wide new build orders for 2016 came in below financial crisis levels.


Source: Daihatsu Diesel 2017/3 Earnings Presentation

According to data from The Shipbuilders’ Association of Japan, the industry does not look like it is sailing toward recovery yet, with only 4.95 million tons of orders received worldwide in first-quarter 2017. Annualized, this is 19.8 million tons, which is slightly better than 2016’s 18.8 million tons. In comparison, the industry saw 33.6 million tons of orders in 2009.

Now, it is not like companies can order ships and have them delivered tomorrow. Shipbuilding often comes with long lead times. This means a decline in 2016 new orders can affect shipbuilders and affiliated companies into 2017 and 2018. In other words, there is a real chance companies involved in the shipbuilding industry have not felt the full extent of the pain just yet.

Daihatsu Diesel and its shifting business model

With this context, I would like to introduce Japan’s Daihatsu Diesel Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSE:6023). Daihatsu Diesel builds combustion engines for ships. On the surface, there is not a whole lot to be excited about with this company. For starters, revenue and gross profit have gone nowhere over the past 10 years:


However, Daihatsu management’s focus has shifted. Ten years ago, the company was building engines for ships. Today, the company still builds engines for ships, but also captures more after-sale service revenues. Investors familiar with the car and truck dealership model would be familiar. These companies do not make a whole lot of money on selling cars and trucks. The bread and butter is service and maintenance. It is not uncommon to see service parts and maintenance making up a third of revenues and two-thirds of gross profit. AutoNation (NYSE:AN) and Rush Enterprises (NASDAQ:RUSHA) (NASDAQ:RUSHB) are educational companies to look at in this regard.

To be sure, Daihatsu Diesel is not a dealership, but it shares similar characteristics. Part of the reason for service parts and maintenance generating high margin revenues is because downtime of assets can be incredibly expensive. Trucks only make money when they are hauling a load. The same deal applies to ships.

According to Daihatsu Diesel’s 2017 third-quarter earnings presentation, after-sale service delivered revenues of 24 billion yen ($214.5 million), compared to 15 billion yen 10 years ago (9% CAGR). It is no secret shipbuilding is a cyclical industry as margins tend to be dependent on production levels. With few new orders coming in, asset utilization and operating margins decline:


What a normalized environment might look like

It might be strange to figure out what a “normalized” environment looks like for a largely choppy, cyclical industry. Given the downturn and Daihatsu’s shifting business model, however, having a rough idea of an OK year in the shipbuilding industry will clarify the effects of Daihatsu management’s efforts over the past 10 years.

Daihatsu Diesel does not break out gross profits for after-sale services. A mid-term business plan presented by management back in 2015, however, gives us a workable figure, though no specific percentages are shown:


Source: Charts by Daihatsu Diesel, English added by author

The figure in the middle of the charts show 50.6 billion yen in sales and 11.2 billion yen of gross profits. An eyeball estimate of the charts above shows approximately 40% of sales and 70% of gross profit from parts and service.

  • 40% of 50.6 billion yen = 20.2 billion yen.
  • 70% of 11.2 billion yen = 7.8 billion yen
  • 7.8/20.2 = approximately 39% margin

With a similar approach, we can calculate a rough 10% margin on engines sales, though this figure is bound to fluctuate wildly due to the amount of operating leverage employed in engine production.

Using the revenue and gross profit distribution chart above, as well as the 39% parts and service margin as a baseline, we can play with numbers.


2008/3 (yen)

2017/3 (yen)

Total revenue

60.7 billion

58.9 billion

After-sale service revenue estimate

15 billion

(25% of total rev)

24 billion

(41% of total rev)

Total gross profit

17.5 billion

14.3 billion

After-sale service gross profit

5.9 billion

(34% of total GP)

9.4 billion

(66% of total GP)

To be clear, management noted a decline in margins for engine sales. This is not particularly surprising given the industry-wide slump. They also noted a decline in after-sale service revenues (down from 26 billion yen in FY2016).

Time for some napkin math.

If non after-sale service revenues recover to 2008 levels (approximately 45.7 billion yen) and after-sale service revenues are maintained at current levels, revenues would come in at 69.7 billion yen. An approximation of gross profit would come in at 15.8 billion yen. Selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) remained roughly flat around 11 billion yen over the past 10 years. This gives us 4.8 billion yen in operating income. A three times EV/EBIT valuation would put Daihatsu Diesel’s enterprise value at 14.4 billion yen, which is 25% above today’s 11.5 billion yen. Historical EV/EBIT averaged around three to four times over the past 10 years, though fluctuating wildly.

As a reference, here’s how the U.S. dollar to Japanese yen exchange rate has moved over the past 10 years:


Source: Xe.com

Don’t lose any sleep

The last round of dividends paid out 15 yen per share. Today’s share price is 706 yen. That is still a little over 2% in dividend yield. It is not like Daihatsu Diesel is short on cash either. The balance sheet is holding strong with a debt-equity ratio of 0.38 and a 24 billion yen cash position. Even during the financial crisis, Daihatsu Diesel was profitably sailing along, and continues to do so today. In fact, the company has tripled shareholder’s equity over the past 10 years. Investors can also take comfort in the fact 35% of the company is owned by Daihatsu Kogyo, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM).


It is difficult to lose here. Not only has Daihatsu Diesel consistently turned profits, it successfully shifted its business model to incorporate more of the after-sale service, which delivers high-margin revenue. This shift has largely gone unnoticed thanks to the troubled macro in shipbuilding. The good news is patient Daihatsu Diesel investors get paid to wait for the shipping industry to recover.

Disclosure: I do not own shares in companies mentioned in this article (yet).

About the author:

Clayton Young
I grew up in Japan and completed an MBA in the U.S., but learned more from reading Howard Marks. I apply an American value investing approach to Japanese companies that are often inscrutable to outsiders who lack fluency in the unique cultural context.

Visit Clayton Young's Website

Rating: 5.0/5 (6 votes)



The Science of Hitting
The Science of Hitting - 3 weeks ago    Report SPAM

Another great article. Do you have any sense for what Toyota plans to do with their 35% stake? Is this a position they've passively held for years? Thanks!

Cyoung1989 premium member - 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the comment, Alex.

Daihatsu Kogyo is a car manufacturer that is well known in Japan for making "Kei" or light/small vehicles. The company has had a stake in Daihatsu Diesel forever. Toyota and Daihatsu Kogyo started partnership in 1967, then Toyota acquired controlling stake in 1998, and now has full control as of last year. Toyota is pretty involved with Daihatsu Kogyo. In fact, you'll see Daihatsu (and Yamaha) engines in smaller, non-hybrid Toyota vehicles in Japan.

I don't know if the Toyota group has made any public announcements in supporting Daihatsu Diesel, but Daihatsu Diesel management commented on getting support from the Toyota group in building its new Himeji facility, which is a waterfront facility intended to build engines for large vessels (go-live is late 2018 if I recall correctly). Not financial support, but knowledge support - incorporating Toyota's production process into the new facility.

The Science of Hitting
The Science of Hitting - 2 weeks ago    Report SPAM

Interesting - thanks for that information.

Praveen Chawla
Praveen Chawla premium member - 2 weeks ago

Thanks for introducing this company. Are their any western competitors for ship engines? What is your guess at the timing for industry recovery?

Cyoung1989 premium member - 2 weeks ago

Hi Praveen, thanks for reading and commenting!

For western competitors, Denmark's MAN Diesel, Finland's Wartsila, Britain's Rolls Royce, and US-based Caterpillar are the main western competitors I can think of right now. With that said, ~90% of shipbuilding is done by China, Korea, and Japan.

I can't answer your question on recovery timing with any degree of precision. All I know is that 1. shipbuilding is cyclical, 2. the industry is currently going through a downturn, and 3. unless a new, revolutionary way of cost-effective transportation is developed, the world will revert to building ships. It's hard to say whether the industry has too much capacity. Not that this is an indicator of recovery, but the China Containerized Freight Index has worked its way back up 30+% since its lows in 2016. I would broadly guess that ships will be built again in the next couple of years.

Companies like Daihatsu Diesel have somewhat of a tailwind going in terms of emmissions regulations too. The shipping industry has increased NOx and SOx emmission standards at a gradual rate and this will continue into 2025, if I recall correctly. Shipowners are supposed either buy miscellaneous attachments (like scrubbers) or cleaner fuel to reduce emmissions. Daihatsu Diesel sells this stuff too.

Hope this helps!


Please leave your comment:

GuruFocus has detected 1 Warning Sign with Daihatsu Diesel Mfg Co Ltd $TSE:6023.
More than 500,000 people have already joined GuruFocus to track the stocks they follow and exchange investment ideas.

Performances of the stocks mentioned by Clayton Young

User Generated Screeners

sunnywhyPure Tech
pbarker46RSI & F Score
Get WordPress Plugins for easy affiliate links on Stock Tickers and Guru Names | Earn affiliate commissions by embedding GuruFocus Charts
GuruFocus Affiliate Program: Earn up to $400 per referral. ( Learn More)

GF Chat