Three fundamental rules of investing with Kyle Macintyre | ASX Week

HOSTS Alec Renehan & Bryce Leske|4 June, 2021

Meet your hosts

  • Alec Renehan

    Alec developed an interest in investing after realising he was spending all that he was earning. Investing became his form of 'forced saving'. While his first investment, Slater and Gordon (SGH), was a resounding failure, he learnt a lot from that experience. He hopes to share those lessons amongst others through the podcast and help people realise that if he can make money investing, anyone can.
  • Bryce Leske

    Bryce has had an interest in the stock market since his parents encouraged him to save 50c a fortnight from the age of 5. Once he had saved $500 he bought his first stock - BKI - a Listed Investment Company (LIC), and since then hasn't stopped. He hopes that Equity Mates can help make investing understandable and accessible. He loves the Essendon Football Club, and lives in Sydney.

It’s the final episode in our series celebrating the ASX Investor Day. In case you missed the live sessions held around the country over the past month, we’ve partnered with the ASX to bring you some of the best sessions and experts from the conference. It’s been an epic week, that we’ve absolutely loved hosting. The theme of this episode is “Three Fundamental Rules Of Investing”withKyle Macintyre. Kyle is investment director at Firetrail Investments – the high conviction investment experts. In his presentation, he used QANTAS as a case study to explain his three fundamental rules, so we asked him to re-tread this path with us.

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Alec Renehan: [00:00:00] So, Bryce, we often say on the show that we're crypto curious here. Yes, we're interested to watch this asset class develop. There's plenty going on in that space. Plenty of noise in that space alien was buying. Ellen was tweeting, he stopped buying. He's still tweeting. But look, it's it's a very interesting asset class to watch develop. And we own some crypto. We do acclimates owns a bit of bitcoin. Yes. And we when we are buying, we like to use swift eggs. [00:00:37][36.3]

Bryce Leske: [00:00:37] That is right. Swift is Australia's fastest-growing crypto trading platform. The choice here at equity markets with over two hundred and twenty different crypto assets. We have certainly not worked our way through all of them. Bitcoin is the choice for us. But if you are a crypto curious and want to have a look at many of the others that are available, then Swift might be the platform for you that tiny spreads low fees and plenty of options to deposit cash into your account. So if you are looking to a deputizing, the good news is Swift are offering fifteen dollars of bitcoin to everyone who signs up. So that is 15 dollars. If you head to swiftx.com.au/equitymates for 15 dollars worth of Bitcoin. [00:01:18][41.3]

Alec Renehan: [00:01:22] That's right. Now, crypto may not be for everyone. It may not be for you. But if you're curious like Price and I go check out Swift X and say if it's the right platform for you. [00:01:32][9.8]

Bryce Leske: [00:01:48] Welcome to another episode of Equity Markets, a podcast that follows our journey of investing, whether you're an absolute beginner or approaching Warren Buffett's status, our aim is to help break down your barriers from beginning to dividend. My name is Bryce and as always, I'm joined by my equity buddy Ren. How are you going? [00:02:03][14.9]

Alec Renehan: [00:02:03] I'm very good, Bryce. Very excited about this episode. And as I've been saying, very excited about this week. It's pretty special what we've been able to do this week with the ASX speaking to some of the best in the business, really, from all around Australia, covering a wide variety of topics, all of which were covered at the ASX Investor Day. So if you're at the day and you want to relive the magic or you missed the day and you want to hear from some of the best speakers and get excited for the next Investor Day, then this week has been a great insight into, you know, some of the content that the ASX is putting on. [00:02:39][36.0]

Bryce Leske: [00:02:40] That is right. The next Investor Day should be sometime in November. So keep your ears and eyes open and peeled for that. NALEBUFF But the theme of today's episode is the fundamental rules of investing. And we are very excited to welcome Kyle Macintyre to the studio. Kyle, welcome. [00:03:04][24.1]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:03:04] Yeah, thanks for having me, guys. [00:03:05][0.9]

Bryce Leske: [00:03:06] So Kyle is investment director at Fire Trail Investments, the high conviction investment experts. And he ran a session at the ASX Investor Day around three fundamental rules of investing. So we're going to spend the next 40 minutes or so really picking Kyle's brains on what those rules are and how it will help our investing journey. But as always, we'll start with our introductory questions. We always love to hear the story of our guests. First investment. Always a few lessons to be learned. Sokal, are you able to share the story of your first investment? [00:03:38][32.3]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:03:39] Yeah, for sure. We'll have to go pretty far back in time because I actually remember my first investing experience was actually when I was five years old. And at the time I was dying to buy a color television. That was really what I wanted. And so my parents actually sent me an investment goal, an investment challenge, if you like. And they said to me, well, you can have a color TV, but you've got to earn it. And so they actually set me up an investment saver account. And so my first investment was in a very exciting asset class called Cash. But I remember it was such a good experience, I had to say for two years to be able to afford this television. I was doing things like cleaning cars. I was doing stuff in the yard. I was just doing stuff around the house. And then obviously birthday Christmas, any sort of money I got. But I finally got there and and and got the color TV in the end. And I had it for like five or six years sitting in my bedroom. It was a real proud moment for me. So I sort of hooked on the lessons of investing in sort of seeing the value that can come from, you know, having a goal and sort of saving and investing to get there a lot easier. At the time, the cash rate was around six percent. Yes. So so today you wouldn't really be able to have that same sort of experience. But I guess, you know, in terms of thinking about my equities career, I was actually a really late starter. I didn't start out in the investment management industry. I actually started in advertising and then spent a big chunk of my career in a small tech start-up as well specializing in cloud computing and that sort of thing. So that really shaped my first sort of equity investment decisions, investing in companies like WPP who owned Ogilvy, Ogilvy, and Mather, and the like, and also investing in Microsoft. I was doing a lot of work with Microsoft. I saw how much the rollout of the cloud was taking hold. I saw their transition moving from Office 365, from being basically platform-based within your computer to move to cloud-based, and what that meant. So, you know, that was the start of my investment journey. But I don't think I was actually making proper investment decisions at that stage. And I was just sort of buying companies I knew quality sort of companies and really didn't start to think about the fundamentals of investing. Until I went back to school. I did an MBA. I started learning about guys like Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger. I really got into behavioral finance with guys like Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky and really found my passion for investing there and joined Macquarie in 2013. I met the team that I work with today at the trial, investment experts like Paddy Hodgins, you know. Twenty-eight years as head of equities at Macquarie Black Kendricks, who was the co-lead of the Aussie high conviction strategy there at Macquarie as well. And they really set up the fundamentals for me to make proper investment decisions. And that's really where I. Consider my actual investment journey starting, but yet all for me starts back when I was five years old, setting goals to buy a TV. [00:06:52][193.7]

Alec Renehan: [00:06:53] I love that. So at the ASX Investor Day, you presented the three fundamental rules of investing. So we want to step through each of those rules in detail and use some case studies to really illustrate them. But let's start, General, what are these three fundamental rules [00:07:11][18.0]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:07:12] just so that everyone listening knows as well? You know, these are the same fundamental rules we apply at a fair trial. They're the same rules we applied back at Macquarie. And we've actually been using these for the past six years to generate, you know, outperformance for clients. We think they work. They work well. But the three rules are, number one, every company has a price and we can dive into what that means. No, to focus on what matters. You know, there's so much noise when you're investing, whether it's news media, social media, even just people in your ear telling you their different views of different views across the market. And one way to cut through that noise is to just really focus on what matters, what's going to drive the earnings for a business, what's going to drive the share price into the future. And then the final one is to take a longer-term view, you know, at a fair trial. A longer-term view for us is around about three years. That's a really good starting point for making investment decisions. It's far enough out that you're making decisions that are different to the market, which generally looks around 12 to 18 months forward. But it's also not so far out that you're starting to throw darts into a cave and hope that you're going to hit the target. I think three years is a good forecastable sort of range to start to think about companies. And it's also the same sort of timeframe that management used for their strategic goals, etc. So really helps you to make, in my view, informed investment decisions that are a little bit different from what participants in the market are making. [00:08:38][85.8]

Bryce Leske: [00:08:38] So in your presentation, you used Qantas as a case study to explain these three rules. So let's use Qantas to sort of walk through each of those in detail, as we spoke about, but also feel free to add any other stocks that you've been looking at or that are in the portfolio to use as examples as well because, at equity rates, we love stock chart. [00:08:58][19.9]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:08:59] So you guys, after my own heart [00:09:02][3.5]

Bryce Leske: [00:09:03] said bring it on in yours. So let's start with every company has a price in the presentation. You first slide was a picture of a rundown house and then a picture of potentially my dream mansion. And you ask, which is a better investment, can you explain why the price is the key determining factor for this year? [00:09:27][24.1]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:09:28] For a sure price. I show this image to investors all the time. You know, one of my jobs is to go around talking to professional investors, but also to mums and dads and, you know, just just just your everyday investor. And I always like to take it back to thinking about buying a house as an investment, because investing in the equity market is actually very similar to buying a house. And you use the two examples before, whether it's a shack on the outskirts or a harbourside mansion. You know, there are some key fundamentals you want to know about that. The image I show people is of the shack in the harbourside mansion. And people love to speculate that the shack is on acres and acres worth of valuable land. They love to speculate about the harbourside mansion. I'd say it's generally 50/50 when I ask people, which is a better investment. But the truth is you actually don't have enough information just by looking at two pictures. First of all, you don't know the quality of the asset. Second of all, you don't know any of the underlying fundamentals. What street is it on? What part of the neighborhood? What what are other houses going for? But the most critical piece of information you don't have is, is the price. You know, in my view, you cannot make an informed investment decision without thinking about a price. And it doesn't matter how good an asset is, whether it's, you know, the nicest house in the nicest suburb with the best harbor views. If you pay a billion dollars for that house, it is going to end up being a really bad investment. And it is exactly the same when you think about buying a company. If you overpay for a company, whether it's a good company or a bad company if you ever pay for that, that asset, it's going to turn out to be a bad investment. So our philosophy is that every company has a price knowing the price is absolutely key, but also knowing the value of the underlying asset is key to making good or bad investment decisions. [00:11:21][113.5]

Alec Renehan: [00:11:22] Now, for beginner investors, they'll often hear every company has a price, and then they're like, yeah, but what is what makes up that price? And then you'll hear, you know, experts say the present value of future cash flows. Can you explain, I guess, how you think about what the right price is for a company? Is it discounted cash flow or is it something else? [00:11:44][21.9]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:11:44] It's it's. For every company, you know, I still think one of the most practical measures in the market of price is the price to earnings ratio, which is actually looking. If you think about it intuitively, the price to earnings ratio is just saying, OK, looking at the earnings over the past year or over the next year, what is the multiple of those earnings you are willing to pay? So how many years worth of earnings are you willing to pay today to have those earnings into the future? So, you know, using Qantas as an example, you know, historically, Qantas has traded on a round about a nine times price to earnings multiple, which basically means you've got to wait nine years. If Qantas was to own the same amount today over the following nine years, that's how long it would take for you to get your return on investment coming through, given the price that you paid. So for me, that's a really, really practical investment tool to use. But there are all sorts of different valuation methods you can use. You know you can use a price to earnings multiple. You can use a price to sell multiple. Where you just looking really simply at what is a price versus, you know, the revenue that business is earning today. You can use a discounted cash flow that you mentioned before where you're actually modeling out the earnings over the next 10 years. You come up with a terminal timeframe, call it 10 years from now, and then you put a terminal value on at the terminal growth rate and the discount rate coming through. That's another valid thing. What I would say is it's absolutely different for every single company you look at. So if you look at the price to earnings ratio, if you're buying a really high-quality business with really strong earnings growth, you're obviously going to be willing to pay more for that business. So the way I look at it is the average stock on the ASX 200 trades within the range of 16 to 20 times the price to earnings ratio, really high quality business with great strong earnings. You know, it could be a Sikh, it could be a zero. They're going to have a higher price-to-earnings ratio than your average company. Then you've got companies that are considered value style businesses or more cyclical style businesses. It doesn't mean they're a bad business. It just means their earnings are more cyclical. They're more volatile in nature. Those businesses might have more debt, whatever it is. And Qantas definitely fits within that bucket as a more cyclical value. So business trading at nine times historically, if you look over the last three to five years as our average. But that's how I think about it. It's different for every single company. There are different valuation methodologies. And you should use the one that makes sense for the company that you're looking at and the ones that you're comfortable with for new investors, you know, price earnings ratio is a great thing to use at trial, will use price to earnings relative to the market because sometimes the market will be more expensive, sometimes it will be less expensive. But to give you an example, an insurer will generally trade at a 25 percent discount to whatever the market p e multiple is. It allows you to say, okay, well, looking at different insurers and where they've generally traded, does it look cheap today or does it look expensive relative to history? And if you find a company that's trading at a discount to its historical valuation range, that to me is a catalyst to do further research, to work out whether the company's broken and not an investment opportunity or whether it can get back to that historical valuation. And you've uncovered a hidden opportunity. [00:15:03][198.3]

Bryce Leske: [00:15:04] So then, for example, Amazon is trading on a PE ratio at the moment of 61. So if you were to compare that to market, you'd say it's pretty expensive. But then if you look at if you were to look at Amazon and look at the competitive landscape and, you know, its growth potential and, you know, other underlying factors, you get to that sort of growth, the price dilemma, how do you think about price, but then growth as well? [00:15:30][26.7]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:15:31] Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head with regards to how to think about it. You know, one of the simplest ways you can look at something like an Amazon is to look at its growth relative to peers and to look at what the market's willing to pay for companies that are growing at similar rates. So, you know, Amazon is a great example, trading on 60 times pay. But if you look at it on a price to sales SA multiple, it's probably only trading between two to three times price to sales. And for a really high growth company, that might actually be the better metric to be using to compare that business, because a lot of those earnings that Amazon are making, they're actually reinvesting into growing the business, into growing the top line. So, you know, the bottom line earnings falling out of Amazon really isn't the focus of the business. It's probably not the focus of Amazon investors either. What Amazon investors are more interested in, in my view, is the revenue line. So thinking of things like price to sales, they're interested in the underlying free cash flow within that business. So you can use metrics like a price to free cash flow, or you could use traditional metrics that are more theoretical, like a discounted cash flow to to value a business like Amazon, to be able to work out whether or not it's undervalued or overvalued. And the way I do it is relative to peers and relative to different growth opportunities that are growing at a similar sort of rate. Most importantly, though, looking at what you think that business is going to do over the next three to five years, and how fast do you think that business will grow over the next three to five years? Because history is history. When you're investing, you've really got to look forward and look at where you think that business is going into the future. Now, history can provide some sort of guide, and it's a really good basis. But you've really got to look in and understand the business in the different segments of that business to work out where you think the growth is going to come from in the future and where you think that growth rate will lie. [00:17:23][111.8]

Alec Renehan: [00:17:23] So you've looked at a company that you think is interesting, you see that are on a relative basis to the market. The price to earnings is cheap, or you do a discounted cash flow and you think their intrinsic value is higher than the market price is. Do you buy it instantly? Is that is that the end of the process there? [00:17:41][17.6]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:17:43] No, it's not because the price is only one factor. And so, you know, let's use Qantas because Qantas is a is a great example. And it's an example I spoke to at the ASX Investor Day, because I think it really illustrates this philosophy that every company has a price. If you rewind back to March 20, 20, Qantas I mentioned before, generally trades on nine times price-earnings ratio back in March. Twenty, it was trading on four times price-earnings ratio. So the market was telling us one of two things. It was telling us, number one, Qantas could be out of business in four years. You know, there's only four years' worth of Qantas's earnings or not. Number two, there's going to be a big capital raising coming or some big event that's causing a discount. And, you know, probably it was telling us a combination of those two things now travel. We don't just say, hey, it's trading on full-time price to earnings. Well, you know, you've put it back on nine times and you've got some pretty material, 100 percent plus upside. That's the catalyst for you to do the work. Yes. And that's a catalyst for you to say, okay, what are going to be the key drivers for this business over the medium term or what matters for this business? And moving on to that second fundamental investment principle, really focusing in on what matters for that business and what's going to drive that business into the future and cutting through the noise. [00:19:07][84.5]

Alec Renehan: [00:19:08] Well, that is a great Segway into the second fundamental rule of investing, which is to focus on what matters. But before we get there, we're going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsors. Bryce, you're a man that moves to the beat of his own drum, actually literally moved to the beat of his own drum when you studied drumming back at uni. Yes. [00:19:27][19.3]

Bryce Leske: [00:19:28] Is true. Got booted out. Yes. [00:19:29][1.3]

Alec Renehan: [00:19:30] And after you study drumming, you had a short-lived but highly successful career as a Canberra nightclub deejay. So you're all about moving to your own date. And that's great because our sponsor to kick off today's episode is all about banking to your own beat. And that is Virgin Money. [00:19:49][18.5]

Bryce Leske: [00:19:49] That's right. Ren banking with Virgin money has never been more rewarding. You can earn rewards on your everyday spending and pay zero monthly fees with the Virgin Money Go transaction account [00:19:59][10.6]

Alec Renehan: [00:20:00] and with points, perks, and epic experiences tailored to you. You can manage your money easily on the go, smash your savings goals, get money fit, and be rewarded for it. So, Bryce, are you ready to bank to your own beat? [00:20:14][14.0]

Bryce Leske: [00:20:15] OK, I'm ready to bank to my own Bayit Ren bank to your own Bayt Virgin money terms [00:20:20][5.2]

Alec Renehan: [00:20:21] and conditions and monthly criteria apply. Now let's get into the show. So, Carl, we've touched on the first rule, which is that every company has a price critical if you're looking to invest in individual stocks but not the end of the journey, then the second rule that you spoke about at the ASX Investor Day was focus on what matters. And we love this rule because we are very strong believers and there's a lot of noise out there in the markets. You know, people are trying to sell newspapers and the sensationalist headlines and people are trying to get clicks and downloads. And, yes, that's the game we're in. We're trying to get downloads. But, God, there's a lot of noise out there. So the second rule is focusing on what matters. And you made you distinguish between what's interesting and what matters in your presentation. So maybe let's start there. Can you explain that distinction? [00:21:11][50.6]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:21:12] Yeah, for sure. I mean, investing is noisy. And you could look at that as one of two ways you could say, wow, that makes it really, really difficult for you to make investment decisions or you can look at it and say, wow, that creates a really big opportunity for people who are willing to cut through the noise and focus on what's going to drive a business into the future, what's going to drive the share price of a company into the future. And that really is the difference between what's interesting and what matters. And so, you know, if you go back to the Qantas example, you know, investing is noisy, but investing in an airline is absolutely deafening. You know, there there's so much noise when you're investing in an airline. You know, there's noise from some of the investment legends in the world, like Warren Buffett, who says, you know, rule number one of investing is never investing in an airline. Rule number two never breaks, rule number one. But in 2016, Warren Buffett was actually one of the largest investors in US airlines owned [00:22:16][64.3]

Alec Renehan: [00:22:17] all four of the major ones. [00:22:18][0.9]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:22:19] Exactly. And so I guess rule number three is every company has a price and you can really uncover some material investment opportunities if you take that philosophy into your investment approach and focus in on what matters. And so if you think about Qantas, some of the big noisy elements are things like the oil price, things like whether or not whether or not they're going to do the Sydney to L.A., Sydney to New York trip. And most recently it's been whether or not international travel will open back up. But I'll let you in on a really misunderstood piece about Qantas. International travel does not matter for Qantas is earnings. In fact, if you look back in F1 19, which was a record profit year for Qantas profitability, the international part of the business was less than 15 percent of Qantas's earnings. Now, if you want to understand Qantas and you want to know what matters for Qantas, you've got to focus on the domestic business. It's 85 percent of Qantas's earnings and it is what will drive the value in Qantas, and it's what will drive the share price over the next three years. And just being able to look at Qantas's business, break down those earnings, and understand that the international part of the business doesn't matter really opens up the opportunity in Qantas when you're looking at it now for us. I spoke to going back to March 20, 20, and looking at what mattered for Qantas. And for me, there were two key things. The first was a balance sheet and cash flow. Qantas had a problem, and the problem was that revenue had basically gone to zero in their aviation business due to lockdowns. And they were burning a lot of cash. So at the time, they were burning around 500 million dollars in cash every single month. That was their cash burn. And so as an investor, what I wanted to know is, number one, how long can Qantas survive in this sort of scenario, burning that much cash? How much cash do they have on their balance sheet? What are they doing to improve their cash profile? And what are they doing to improve that cash burn profile? And when we actually looked at it and did the work, which was can Qantas survive and how long can they survive for? It was really interesting there. But they were one of the first to move to tap the debt or equity markets. In March, they raised one point eighty five dollars billion worth of capital from debt markets in March, [00:24:43][144.7]

Alec Renehan: [00:24:44] one point five billion, which was two months of burn, right? [00:24:47][2.8]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:24:48] That's right. That's right. Yeah. Yeah. So it doesn't [00:24:50][1.9]

Alec Renehan: [00:24:51] long to [00:24:52][0.5]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:24:52] put it into context, but they'd already started to tap markets and the markets were open for them, which was absolutely critical. And they actually got some pretty good financing rates. You know, today, probably not as impressive, but at the time it's two-point seventy five per cent, which was better than what you could get on your home loan at the time. Now, today, you can get a lot better on that, on your home loan. But at the time, that was pretty impressive. And the reason they could get that was because they were able to asset back at against some of their flight. Now, Qantas had that competitive advantage on their balance sheet balance sheet, where they had around five billion dollars worth of aircraft assets that they owned. And so. They weren't even backing it against a lot of that, so there was more they could use to be able to raise capital. But in addition to that, they were moving really quickly on the cost side. And to put this into perspective, in the six weeks since 20th of 2020, the subsequent six weeks, they move that cash burn from 500 mile per month down to less than 300 miles per month. And they'd subsequently get it to below 200 million dollars per month on the cash burn profile. So putting that all together, we got to the scenario where we thought Qantas could actually survive with the cash they had and with what they were putting into place until 2021. In a worst-case scenario, we're talking complete lockdown's domestically and internationally. And so we thought, OK, well, do we think things can get better from here, at least domestically, which is a key part of their business? And the answer was yes, we did think things could get better. We were looking at the US where travel was already opened up within their own national borders, looking at places like the EU where countries were already starting to put plans in place, open back up. And we thought it was pretty realistic to think that there could be some sort of national travel bubble if we could get this under control. And so the second part was looking at the part of the business that really mattered and what we thought was going to happen in that domestic business. And when you look at Qantas's domestic business, there are two key parts to it. The first is the aviation business, which is around 60 per cent of Qantas's earnings. So Qantas and Jetstar domestic travel. The second part is the Qantas frequent flier business. Now, really interestingly, during covered, the Qantas frequent flier business was actually going from strength to strength. I actually know brought that's [00:27:08][136.0]

Bryce Leske: [00:27:08] because they turned around and said, aren't we going to get rid of all our Qantas points? Everyone comes and spend and all this sort of bits and pieces then? [00:27:15][6.5]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:27:15] That's right. But you'd probably know from your time working at Woolies, Qantas's biggest frequent flier customer is actually Woolies the rewards. That's right. The rewards. Every time you spend money at Woolworths and Neuzil, Qantas frequent flier card at Qantas earns money on those on that transaction. They get paid for the points. And that is one of the key ways the Qantas frequent flier business makes money with their different partners. And Woolies was going to a record salesperson because people like you and I, we were hoarding toilet paper, we were buying whatever we could and they were having record sales. So the Qantas frequent flier business was actually really resilient and those earnings were quite resilient through through through that covid period. And so we really just needed to dove deep into the domestic business and what we thought was going to happen in the domestic business. Now, when you look at the domestic business, there were some really interesting things happening in the competitive landscape. Virgin had just was going under. There were rumors they were going to be taken over by PR. They eventually got taken over by Bain Capital. And what we've found when we've been investing it, fire trail and throughout our time is that competition is one of the key drivers of returns and earnings for four businesses. And if you can find a business with low competition where competitive dynamics are quite rational, what it means is that you can have better earnings then in more competitive environments. Now, this was exactly the environment that drove Warren Buffett to invest in US airlines in 2016. And so we had a really great case study for what can happen in an airline business when there's rationality in the competitive environment that can actually be really great investments and be really profitable. And we were seeing the same sort of thing happening with Qantas in Australia. It's been happening for a long period of time. But the acquisition of Virgin by private equity actually accelerated this and accelerated it for two reasons. The first is Virgin being taken over by private equity. Private equity obviously wants to have a return on capital. They want to focus on profitability. And they'd actually been out in the market saying we're going to focus on capacity utilization, which means filling up planes, full planes are profitable planes. And they were going to focus on ensuring that ticket prices remained higher. So as a Qantas shareholder, that's music to the ears, because Qantas having 65 percent of market share in Australia would be the material beneficiary of a more rational competitive environment and higher ticket prices moving forward. So we actually believed that the Qantas competitive dynamic had actually improved. Yes, right now they had a problem. But looking into the future, that's the sort of market we want to be in as an investor is a rational market. And secondly, I mentioned the cost-out opportunity that was going on and the cost out program that Alan Joyce and the team had started to embark on really aggressively stripping costs out of the business. But Alan Joyce has actually used this as an opportunity to rightsize his business and to improve earnings margins across the business, to put some numbers around it. You know, he's looking to get the Qantas domestic airline business to have earnings, earnings, margins or profitability moving in from. 18 percent through to 22 per cent in Jetstar, moving from 14 per cent to 18 per cent, and really most of that opportunity is coming from pulling costs out of the business. And so we were looking at a scenario where right now things are really challenged. But looking forward, three years, the competitive position was looking good. They were pulling costs out of the business. And when we ran that through and actually did the work, looking at the FBI, 23 Qantas domestic business, as long as things started to get better domestically, could actually be on track to do a record profitability year in the aviation business. The Qantas frequent flier business was going from strength to strength. And we've just well, I've prosecuted the case that the international business really doesn't matter all that much. So when you pull that all together and you focus on what matters and what was going to drive the earnings into the future, it was starting to look quite attractive in our view, particularly given the reaction in the share price trading on four times price to earnings ratio relative to its history at nine times. [00:31:24][248.2]

Bryce Leske: [00:31:24] Yeah. How you know, you speak of a time horizon of three years or so, but when you're doing that forecast in the midst of a pandemic that no one's ever seen in our lifetime, how do you forecast the uncertainty of that into a model over three years? You say that it could be more profitable than ever, but you don't know what kind of it's going to do. So. [00:31:43][19.3]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:31:44] Yeah, yeah, great. Great point. And that's where, you know, investing is not all science. There's judgment that comes in that comes involved. And to invest in Qantas, you absolutely had to believe that things were going to get better over the next three years. And you could look at proof points around the world that I mentioned before, areas like the US and in Europe where domestic travel had started to open up. But you're right. You know, there was judgment involved and you had to believe that things would get better over the next three years, that a vaccine, you know, eventually would come through or that we'd learn to live with, you know, a virus and and a pandemic and that, you know, we'd get through that part of things. So, you know, it wasn't it wasn't without risk. But I think when A is trading, you know, 60 to 70 percent cheap versus where it was in history, you're actually taking on that risk and taking on that risk at a materially discounted price. So we were happy to take that risk on. And you've got to remember, when you're investing, you're not just investing. Well, at least at the trial, you're not just investing in one company. You're investing in a portfolio of different businesses. And so you're balancing those risks across your portfolio just in case you aren't right. And we're not going to get them. All right. And, you know, I'd love to have, you know, a portfolio full of examples like Qantas sits at one hundred percent plus since we made the decision to significantly increase our investment there. But that's that's not investing. It's about getting more right than you get wrong. And part of it is making a judgment call. [00:33:23][99.1]

Alec Renehan: [00:33:25] Yeah. So it fell 70 per cent thereabouts in the initial covid crash. And then it's it's up about 100 per percent from there. Pretty good call. You focused on what matters. [00:33:35][10.1]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:33:36] Focusing on what matters is is absolutely key. But what I'd flag is we were holders of Qantas going into it. So, you know, we wore some pain going into the event and we had a decision to make it at the trial, which was, is Qantas going to make it? Do we still want to hold this company in the future? And is this a massive opportunity to significantly increase our position and make money from Qantas? And you look at it from peak to trough and then back up. And now Qantas has been a key contributor to our returns, even though we were holding it going into the pandemic. So, you know, it's that's investing. It wasn't it wasn't hey, these pandemics create an opportunity and we don't know anything about this business. And we just invested in Qantas. We will holders going into it and we significantly increased our position in it. Given the changing dynamics in the market, that's interesting. [00:34:28][52.0]

Bryce Leske: [00:34:28] Would your thesis have been just not starkly different, but going into the pandemic, you know, the reasons that you were buying international business would have been flying as no pun intended, you know, very different elements, competition, the competitive landscape would have been completely different. So your thesis would have had certain pillars then covid hits and you've just put your thesis forward and changing competitive landscape X, Y and Z completely different. Had those to align or was there much difference like how you sort of think through that? [00:34:58][30.0]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:34:59] They were totally aligned. Oh really? Yeah. Yeah, they were totally aligned, you know. So you didn't [00:35:03][4.2]

Bryce Leske: [00:35:04] even care about the international business beforehand and, you know, at Virgin was going to do like [00:35:08][4.6]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:35:09] the international business. It's just never been a key driver of Qantas's earnings. And the domestic business has always been what matters and what drives profitability in the business. And so, you know, we've been invested it at various points. In terms of how large our position is in Qantas since 2014 and the catalysts at 2014 was looking at the competitive landscape and what was changing and doing a lot of work on the US airlines and what had happened over there and using that as a case study for what could happen for profitability for Australian airlines. And the big shift for us was back in 2014, Virgin's commentary around looking for market share and trying to gain market share had actually shifted, and they moved from trying to gain market share at any price and basically destroying profitability in the airline industry to saying, actually, enough's enough. We've got enough market share in the Aussie market and now we're going to focus on profitability. So the competition was still the key driver of the thesis. Then where the thesis changed was we had to go into survival mode and say, is Qantas going to make it through this? And our view was if they could make it through and they had enough capital to get through eight months or two years, we believe things would get better. And that really was where the focus was and the focus part of our research and also updating our views on competition. I do believe the competitive environment actually strengthened post that and in particular for the domestic business. You know, those earnings we believe will be a lot stronger coming out of this and they were going in. [00:36:49][99.9]

Alec Renehan: [00:36:49] So a lot of the thesis focuses on price rationalization. And obviously the there's a big two in Australia, Virgin, and Qantas, but there are two other so that is sort of, I guess, trying to be a little bit more irrational. And yeah, Rex is moving into some of the major routes and then Tiger as well. How do you think about them as sort of disruptors to this happy equilibrium that Virgin and Qantas seem to find themselves in? [00:37:18][28.4]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:37:18] Well, the good news is for Qantas shareholders is that Tiger's been taken out of out of the market now. So, yeah, you don't need to miss that. You don't need to worry about that. You don't need to worry about Tiger anymore, only [00:37:30][11.5]

Alec Renehan: [00:37:30] focusing on what matters most of the stock. [00:37:32][1.7]

Bryce Leske: [00:37:33] Thank goodness. The world's worst airline. [00:37:34][1.3]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:37:36] Yeah, but you're absolutely right. You know, Rex, Rex is a competitive threat. And it's something when we're looking at our investment thesis or we're looking at what matters for Qantas, it's something we've got to follow pretty closely and it's something we've done a lot of work on. There are a couple of reasons why we believe Rex isn't going to be a serious competitor. The first is they probably don't have enough capital to actually compete in in in the domestic market. They raise around 500 mil to be able to compete against Qantas and Virgin. And if you go back to what I was mentioning, the monthly cash burn for Qantas was before it was about the total that Rex has raised to compete in the domestic market. The second is they're actually very different businesses, although their domestic aviation businesses, rexes business has traditionally been propeller-driven fleet, which is very different to running a jet fuel style fleet. It's actually completely different when you look at the maintenance, the engineering, et cetera, that you need. And so there are definitely going to be challenges for Rex, which comes back to the capital that you need to put into those businesses. And the final point there is the different routes that Rex needs to get into. So in Australia, you've got what we call the Golden Triangle of profitability in Australian aviation. It's Sydney to Melbourne, Sydney to Brisbane, Brisbane to Melbourne. And really that accounts for around 80 percent of profitability in the Aussie market. Sydney to Melbourne is actually one of the most profitable airline routes in the world. [00:39:16][100.2]

Alec Renehan: [00:39:16] Yeah, isn't it like the third busiest or something? [00:39:18][2.0]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:39:19] Yeah, correct. And the key reason for that is there are really no alternatives in Australia. You know, in Europe you've got some great rail alternatives and you've got similar and [00:39:27][8.3]

Bryce Leske: [00:39:28] we have a train. It just takes 15 hours. [00:39:29][1.6]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:39:31] That's exactly right. So you can imagine hopping on for a business meeting and saying, okay, great, I've got to be there today, but I'll see you tomorrow. And the way it works for those different routes is they're basically allocated. And so Qantas does still have the lion's share there. And so when you're looking at the routes and the availability of those routes in which are the most profitable routes, which generally for commercial, it's the really early morning route and the flight home from five to six p.m. onwards, a lot of those slots have actually been taken by either Qantas or Virgin. And you just haven't seen those slots opening up for Rex, but you have seen a competitive response. And the competitive response has been Qantas pretty aggressively going into rexes regional routes and really looking to disrupt that business in their regional routes. And in my view, you need those routes to be profitable to. Be able to fund successfully going in and competing with Qantas and Virgin and what you're seeing is a competitive response there. What we don't want to see is rationality completely breaking down in the market. You know, as an investor, you're happy to see that competitive tension for a few months, but you don't want to see profitability deteriorating. And that's something we're monitoring. It's a key part of the thesis is watching that. And you're right, you know, things change, competitive landscape change, and you've got to monitor that and update your views as things change. But we haven't seen any sort of real competitive threat that that that would disrupt our thesis so far. [00:41:02][90.8]

Alec Renehan: [00:41:02] So I just want to recap at this point, because we've gone deep on Qantas, which is actually it's been a really enjoyable conversation. But I think a lot of what you have said has really illustrated this idea of focusing on what matters. So you had a pretty clear thesis around the competitive landscape and pricing rationalization. You looked at what businesses in Qantas matter and what don't like. The domestic business is real. The real profit generator. When covid here, you were looking at what matters in terms of do they have the balance sheet to survive it? And you were less worried about a lot of the news in the sensationalist headlines around covid and international travel and all of that stuff. New competitors come in and you look at the routes that matter, the Golden Triangle, Sydney, Melbourne, Melbourne, Brisbane, Brisbane, Sydney. So like even in that pretty wide-ranging explanation about a Qantas as a business, it was we're not talking about news headlines. We're not talking about Scott Morrison and the Virgin CEO getting in a fight in the media. It's there are key things that matter to the long-term profitability of this business. And that's what we're talking about. So I think that was a good illustration of focusing on what matters. [00:42:10][67.8]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:42:11] Yeah. Now that's you've hit the nail on the head. That's it. [00:42:13][2.5]

Alec Renehan: [00:42:13] Well, you did. I just repeated it so [00:42:15][1.8]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:42:17] far more eloquently than I put [00:42:18][1.2]

Bryce Leske: [00:42:18] it. So then let's close out with the third fundamental of investing, which is taking a longer term view. Now, you've made it pretty clear that your idea of longer term is sort of three to five years, that three to five year mark, which I think, you know, we speak about investing for the long term on the show, you know that 20 to 40 year mark. But I understand when you're doing your modeling and looking forward, you know that three to five years is where it sits. So then, you know, in the previous section, we spoke about focusing on what matters. How does an investor determine what news or expectations are like priced in and what is not when we're thinking about this sort of long term view? [00:42:58][40.2]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:42:59] Yeah, it's that's a really good question, because, you know, so much of investing and finding opportunities is actually looking at expectations across the market. And, you know, if you can find a company that's undervalued, where expectations are really low and you've done the work and you've got a view that your expectations for that company are higher, you know that that really is the key for what we look for a fair trial. That is the hallmark of what we look for and a high conviction position. The way we do it at fair trial is we look at consensus earnings across the market and we're actually aggregating what the sell side brokers are looking at. We're looking at company guidance as well, where the company has guided and where our numbers are versus the company. And so, you know, to give you a really simple example, if a company is saying they're going to make 100 million dollars next year and we've done the work and we believe they're going to make 120 million dollars of profit next year, you know, with 20 per cent above where the company's guiding. And then we're working out where the market is, you know, fear every day. Investor, I think really a really good guide is looking at where the company is guiding. And you can find that information in their company presentations, which are all put on the ASX. So every time a company does any sort of event, a lot of these events are with brokers like you, big guys like Macquarie, UBS and soon-to-be Bangui's, et cetera. Every time they do one of those presentations, they actually have to put that presentation onto the ASX. They put it on their website, and so all publicly available information. And so you can actually use that information to get a really good feel for where the company is guiding the market. And often that will set where the market's expectations are for the business moving forward. And that's how you can get a good guide of whether or not you believe things are going to be better or worse than expectations moving forward. The second area is to just look at what the price is telling you. You know, if a company's historically traded at 16 times its earnings and it's trading at ten times its earnings, the market is telling you that expectations for that company are pretty low. Now, what I'd say is sometimes it can be justified. You know, if a business is in structural decline and things look really bad, it actually deserves to trade at a lower price. The key is working out whether or not it's a structural issue or whether or not it's a cyclical issue that can be resolved with self. Help or it might just be cyclicality in the market, it might be a pandemic that we've been talking to, whatever it is, and that is where you can uncover some really outstanding uncomfortable opportunities. But you need to take a medium to long-term view to be able to uncover those opportunities because the Kansas example is rare. You know you don't usually make views, don't change usually within 12 months. Usually, it takes a two to three-year view and it takes a company hitting expectations, beating expectations repeatedly through time for the market to believe that things have gotten better. And so that's why taking a longer-term view is actually so essential, because, you know, if you don't have that longer-term view and you're waiting to be rewarded in six to 12 months, you're probably not going to see those rewards coming through. Yeah. [00:46:14][194.4]

Alec Renehan: [00:46:15] Now, Kyle mentioned consensus estimates from brokers and analysts, and that can often be hard for retail investors to find, although Bryce and I have recently found a free resource that we use that aggregates a lot of that and is available to retail investors. Its tikr.com It's currently in beta, so you can't sign up through the front door. But if you've got a tikr.com/equitymates, you can skip the waitlist and have a look and it's free to use. So if you want to see what Carl means when he's talking about consensus estimates, check that out. So, Carl, you said you think in sort of three-year terms that are long term for you. I do know that you've held Qantas since 2014, longer than three years. So I want to ask you about how you sort of go about updating your thesis. And, you know, you've held Qantas for, what, seven years now? So is it every three years you look at the faces, you ask, has it played out? Are we forming a new thesis or are we continuing to hold? Or is it something you're doing more regularly than that? You're obviously thinking in three-year increments, but you're holding stocks for longer than that. So what's that process like? [00:47:26][70.9]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:47:26] Yeah, for sure. What I'd say as a starting point is for a standard industrial scale style business, like a Qantas, you know, three years is probably the appropriate time frame because the company's planning out to fly 23. You're reviewing their business strategies out to fly 23. You're looking at their margins and earnings targets out the FBI 23. And then you're doing your own work to sort of say, well, can they hit those? What do we believe they can do? And sort of doing the bottom up research from there? You know, it is different for different companies. And, you know, if you look at a business like a zero or seek as an example, you know, you probably have to take a longer term view on those businesses to be able to see the value there, because you've got zero going into new markets, whether it's in the UK and the US, and it's going to take longer for them to penetrate those markets. And they might have a longer term strategy or longer term goal. So, you know, you've got to use a time horizon that makes sense for your modeling. But I do think three years is a bit of a sweet spot where where where you can sort of do modeling that's a little bit more realistic and have forecasts that are more realistic in terms of how we think about opportunities in the portfolio. Yes, we're looking at three plus years in terms of the valuation and the earnings profile of those businesses, but we're always looking forward. And just because a business has been in the portfolio for three years doesn't mean it's not going to be an outstanding opportunity to hold in your portfolio over the next three years. What I'd say is we run really concentrated portfolios at fire trails. So our Aussie equities fund, you know, it's only 25 stocks in that portfolio. We've got an analyst team of nine. So, you know, you've only got two to three stocks per analyst that they have to cover within the portfolio. And then they're obviously looking at new opportunities. And so they're always looking at the companies we hold in the portfolio. They're always looking at the industry that they're operating in and updating their views, updating their numbers. They're writing research notes consistently through time and really trying to understand those businesses as well as anybody in the market. And the reason for that is, you know, investing is a highly competitive sport. You know you look at, you know, what's the pinnacle of the sport in Australia, AFL? I don't know how many AFL teams are there in Australia, 18. So in my sport, in investing, there are over 200 investment managers in the Australian market, all trying to beat the benchmark or trying to beat each other. And so we not only focus in terms of looking at stocks, we really build a focused portfolio and try to understand those stocks better than anyone else. And so we're consistently reviewing the companies in the portfolio as well as looking for new opportunities. But I'd say 50 per cent of our day is just being across what's on what's happen. In the portfolio and always coming back to what matters, is it still what matters, does that investment thesis still hold testing that investment thesis consistently through time and then incrementally updating our view through time? And importantly, that view is always a medium term view. Looking forward because investing, it's all about looking forward. It's it's definitely not about looking back in the past. If you get caught in the past and you extrapolate what's happened in the most recent past into the future, that's where you can really get yourself into trouble in investing. [00:50:56][209.8]

Alec Renehan: [00:50:57] So we've got our final three questions that we like to end every interview with. But before we do, we'll just take a quick break to hear a word from our sponsors. [00:51:05][8.2]

Alec Renehan: [00:52:39] You're not hanging out on any social media. Not big on tiktok or anything. [00:52:42][3.5]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:52:43] You can find me on LinkedIn. Kyele Macintyre's my name that. But yeah. And, you know, Fair Trial has its own LinkedIn account that no, we're not we're not massive on social media. But, you know, if there's demand there, watch that space [00:52:56][12.3]

Alec Renehan: [00:52:56] to busy analyzing companies. [00:52:57][1.0]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:52:58] Yeah, that's right. [00:52:58][0.6]

Alec Renehan: [00:53:00] So we've got to start getting these final three questions. The first one is, do you have any books that you consider must? [00:53:05][5.0]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:53:06] Yeah, for sure. I've actually got quite a few, so bear with me. Yeah. Hit us. Yeah. I mean, I sort of think about books that have influenced my life a lot. And the first one is a book by Paul Paul Odden, who's an advertising guru. He's very, very well respected in the advertising industry. The book is called It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be. And I think, you know, for anyone who's looking to outperform or. [00:53:33][26.4]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:53:34] Do something special, it's a really great book. It's a really easy read. You can probably get through it in 40 minutes. The second one is The Alchemist. It's by a guy called Paul Paulo Coelho and basically just covers an individual's journey on following their dreams. And spoiler alert. It's about the journey. It's not about where you get where you get to. But I suppose we're on an investment podcast. I better talk about some investment. That's right. For me, no one is Warren Buffett's letters to shareholders. You know, you can find them on the Berkshire Hathaway website and they'll give you a really good fundamental understanding of how to think about a company, how to think about businesses, and how to think about investing. Anything to do with Danny Kahneman and behavioral finance really important. It'll give you a good idea of the psychological side of investing. So he's got thinking fast and slow. But, you know, there's also a whole bunch of papers around loss aversion, et cetera, that are outstanding. And the final one I'd give people is if you really want to get into understanding how to value a company and you're really interested in understanding the fundamentals of company valuation, there's a book called Damodaran on Valuation. Now, as with, Damodaran is a lecturer out of New York University Stern School. And this is probably one of the best books I've ever read that just gives you the fundamentals on how to value a company, you know, whether it's using the price to earnings ratios, discounted cash flows, whatever it is. If you want to go deep and you want to understand how to value a business, it's actually a really solid textbook. It's solid in size, but it's also solid in the description. And he's actually got a really great website that explains valuation techniques, etc. When you're looking to analyze companies as well, that's great. [00:55:24][110.7]

Alec Renehan: [00:55:25] That's a good list. So next question in 60 seconds or less, what's the best company you've ever come across? [00:55:31][6.6]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:55:32] Oh, I still think going back to my cloud computing days, Microsoft is one of the best companies I've ever seen. And it might be for a different reason to what other people think. You know, when I was working for this cloud computing business, a big part of what we were doing was rolling out Microsoft products. And I just saw the network that Microsoft had and the ecosystem that they had and the businesses that they support. Our business was totally reliant on Microsoft products and rolling them out and transitioning people to the cloud and their ability to add value to businesses rather than taking value away, you know, very different to a Google SaaS business model where, you know, if you want to sell something, we'll take a clip of your money. You know, these are productivity tools that are adding value and they're actually creating, you know, five 10x sorts of value for different businesses. If I had to choose an Aussie business that's doing a similar thing, I'd say it would be zero, you know, adding value in accounting, allowing businesses to do things more easily, and continually adding value to that platform for small businesses. You know, I think that's a really high-quality business. Doesn't mean they're outstanding investments because every company has a price, a good company. So always a good investment. But I think, you know, they're two of the best businesses I've seen. [00:56:45][72.8]

Alec Renehan: [00:56:46] Nice on. And then final question, if you think back to your younger self, you know, saving up for that first color TV, what advice would you give your younger self? [00:56:55][8.9]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:56:55] I'd say the power of compounding works in every single aspect of your life. And so obviously we've been talking about investing in wealth. You know, the power of compounding absolutely works. Er, but if you can develop good habits in every part of your life, whether it's your relationships. With your family or your kids, whether it's through health, your mental health, your physical health, whether it's through adopting a learning mindset, all of those small habits, those small positive habits apply daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, they all compound. Now, if you flip that on its head and you take the inverse, bad habits can also have a pretty negative impact on your life and they will compound as well. So stripping out the negative habits and acquiring some strong, good daily habits is one of the best things you can do and take advantage of those compounding effects. [00:57:47][51.9]

Bryce Leske: [00:57:47] Yeah, I couldn't agree. More consistency is key, I think. Absolutely. So it's been an absolute pleasure. We enjoyed having you at the ASX Day and this was a really great insight into some of the fundamental ways that you're approaching your investment investment thesis. And I know that a lot of our audience would have taken a lot of value from that. So thank you very much. We very much appreciate your time. [00:58:09][21.2]

Kyle Macintyre: [00:58:09] Thanks for having me. I've loved being on. [00:58:11][1.1]

Alec Renehan: [00:58:11] Thanks for that. [00:58:11][0.3]

Bryce Leske: [00:58:12] And just a reminder that for those that were unable to make the ASX investor days, hopefully you were able to hear through this week that they've been really valuable. And we do thank all the partners involved and the ASX as well. But keep your eyes open for tickets and news for the coming one in November or later this year. So, yeah, we're looking forward to it. [00:58:32][19.9]

Speaker 4: [00:58:33] Equity Means Investing Podcast is a product of equity markets, media, all information in this podcast is for education and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional finance, legal or tax advice. The hosts of Equity Markets Investing podcast are not financial professionals and are not aware of your personal financial circumstances before making any financial decisions. You should read the product disclosure statement and if necessary, consult a licensed financial professional. Do not take financial advice from a podcast. More information had to the disclaimer page on the equity mate's website, but you can find ASIC resources and find a registered financial professional near you in the spirit of reconciliation, equity meets media and the hosts of Equity Mates Investing podcast acknowledge the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their elders past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today. [00:58:33][0.0]

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