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Profits-Revenues Prediction for 2012
Trulia (an online property listing service) stock began trading on Thursday Sep 19, 2012 at $17.00 per share, the IPO price, and was up $7.00, closing at $24.00 on its debut, after the first day of trading, see Refs. [1-3]. The company offered six million shares of common stock to the public at the IPO price of $17.00.
http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1349454/000119312512359749/g352334g08i94.jpg Image from the S-1 Registration Statement with the United State Securities Exchange Commission
However, based on the financial data for the years 2007 to 2011 and the first two quarters of 2012, reported in the S-1 Filings (Registration Statement with the United States Securities Exchange Commission, filed August 17, 2012), the company has not yet reported a profit. Thus, assessment is not very kind, as noted by Cyram, Ref. , especially after some of the recent IPO fiascos, “It also has never turned a profit in seven years of existence, a foundation on which only a web IPO could be built. If Trulia can’t swing into the black soon, investors could move the shares into the shabby tech neighborhood.”
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Table of Contents
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Summary Introduction Linear Profits-Revenue Relation Linear law and Breakeven Analysis for Profitability Revenues and Profits Projections for 2012 List of References
3 3 4 6 7 9
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§ 1. Summary
A revenues estimate and a profits estimate for Trulia, for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2012 is provided here. Using a high revenue growth rate (observed between 2009 and 2011), the revenue estimate is $52 .608 million.The linear profits-revenue relation, observed between 2008 and 2010, then permits an estimate of the profits (or losses). The profits-to-revenues conversion rate (slope of the profits-revenues graph) of about 50% will be required to boost the profits from the 2011 level (which were lower than for earlier years). The profits-revenues conversion rate currently is 34.4%. ******************************************************************
§ 2. Introduction
The main purpose here is to analyze the annual profits-revenues data for Trulia, which can be obtained from its S-1 filings prior to the recent IPO. The data is summarized in Table 1 and can be represented graphically as seen in Figure 1.
Table 1: Annual Profits-Revenues data for 2007-2011
Year Revenues, x Profits, y Change, ∆x Change, ∆y Slope $, 000s $, 000s $, 000s $, 000s h = ∆y/∆x 1,675 -7,646 2007 8,066 -7,866 2008 10,338 -6,983 2009 19,785 -3,838 11,719 4,028 0.344 2010 38,518 -6,155 2011 28,987 -7,640 2012 For 2012 through June 30. The changes are between 2008 and 2010.
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§ 3. Linear Profits-Revenue Relation
Any two points (x1, y1) and (x2, y2) on this Profits-Revenues (P-R) diagram can always be joined by a straight line. However, we notice that the data for the years 2008, 2009, and 2010, seem to fall on a nice upward sloping straight line. The data for 2007 and 2011 do not fall on this line. Although revenues increased between 2007 and 2008, there was very little change in the losses (or negative profits). Likewise, even with the greatly increased revenues for the six-months ending June 30, 2012, the loss is again roughly the same as for 2007 and 2008. (All the three points lie close to the horizontal for a loss of $8 million loss in Figure 1.)
y = hx + c = h(x – x0) = 0.344x – 10.64 = 0.344(x -10.64)
Profits, y [$, millions]
2.0 0.0 -2.0 -4.0 -6.0 -8.0
2007 1 2011 2012
-10.0 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0
Revenues, x [$, millions]
Figure 1: Profits-Revenues diagram for Trulia, based on the financial data from the S-1 filing on August 17, 2012. The stock started trading on Thursday, Sep 20, 2012 at the IPO price of $17.00 and was up to $24.00 after first day of trading. The 2012 data is through June 30, 2012. With greatly increased revenues, the loss for six-month ending June 30, 2012 is roughly the same as for 2007.
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Between 2008 and 2010, on the other hand, the revenues increased by the amount ∆x = (x2 – x1) = $11.719 million and losses decreased (mathematically equivalent to profits increasing) by ∆y = (y2 – y1) = $4.028 million. Hence, the slope of the straight line joining these two points equals, h = ∆y/∆x = 0.344. The intercept made by the straight line with the y-axis is c = y1 – hx1 = y2 – hx2 = -$10.64 million and the intercept x0 = -c/h, made with the x-axis, has the value x0 = $30.95 million. This means that if Trulia had maintained the nice linear trend observed between 2008 and 2010, it would “turn the corner” and report a profit when revenues x > x0 = $30.95 million. This is indicated by the solid blue dot, placed on the x-axis (red horizontal, ZERO profits) in Figure 1. Indeed, revenues in excess of this cut-off, or “breakeven”, level were reported in 2011. The revenues had nearly doubled between 2010 and 2011, from $19.785 million to $38.518 million. If the linear trend had continued, a profit of $2.601 million (the second blue dot on Line A) would have been reported, instead of loss of $6.155 million. The missing profits gap is indicated by the “red bracket” placed between the actual 2011 data point and the projected profits for 2011. The vertical separation means that the data for 2011 can be imagined to fall on a parallel to Line A with the equation y = 0.344x – 19.394. The intercept c for this parallel is more negative and the difference in the two intercepts ∆c = $19.394 – $10.638 = $8.756 million is the profits “gap”. (Note: The profit gap $8.756 = $6.155+$2.601 = $8.755 which is sum of projected profit and the actual loss.) In spite of the increase in the losses in 2011, it is still too soon to rush to a judgment about Trulia, Inc. The fact that the loss for 2008 and the loss for 2012 (through June 30) are roughly constant, even with the increased revenues, is a cause for some concern, some losses must decrease (or equivalently profits must increase) as the revenues increase. However, exactly similar trends have been observed with successful companies, for example, Google and Southwest Airlines. The financial performance of these two companies have been discussed in Refs.[5,6]. Google reported a loss in 1999 and 2000, with increasing revenues, just as we see with Trulia. Southwest Airlines also reported a loss in 1971 (partial year of operation) and 1972 (full year of
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operation) before “turning the corner” and reporting a profit in 1973. It has since reported a profit for every year for the past 37 years. Let us wish Trulia well and hope that it emulates these two successful companies. Of course, there are also examples of struggling companies and others doing well, after recent IPOS, see Ref.[7-9]. Nonetheless, it is nice to see that Trulia has been able to establish the nice upward sloping linear pattern revealed in Figure 1. Since the slope h = ∆y/∆x = 0.344 for Line A, when Trulia is operating on this line, it is able to convert 34.4% of the additional revenues ∆x into profits ∆y. It can either return to line A by the end of FY2012, or continue along a parallel to line A, in the coming years, following the example of other successful companies. The significance of this movement of the profits-revenues data along parallel, or roughly parallel, lines can be appreciated by recalling the classical breakeven analysis for the profitability of a company which is discussed in the next section.
§ 4. Linear Law and Breakeven Analysis for Profitability
The linear law y = hx + c = h(x – x0) relating revenues x and profits y can be shown to be a consequence of the classical “breakeven” analysis for the profitability of a company. Consider the simple case of a company making and selling N units of product. The total costs C associated with the operation equals the sum of the fixed cost “a” and the variable cost “bN” where “b” is the unit variable cost. Hence, C = a + bN. The revenues R generated from the sale of the U units is given by R = pN where “p” is the unit price. The profits P = (R – C) = pN - a - bN = (p – b)N – a. Now, we can eliminate N using N = R/p to get profits P = [(p –b)/p] R – a. This can be written as P = hR + c, or as y = hx + c where x is revenues and y is profits.
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Slope h = 1 – (b/p) depends on unit variable cost b and unit price ……(1) Intercept c = - a Depends on the fixed cost, y-axis intercept Breakeven x0 = - c/h = ap/(p – b), x-axis intercept ……(2) ……(3)
Not all the revenues R generated by a company appear as profits. Profits can only be reported if fixed costs are exceeded. Even after the fixed costs are exceeded, only a portion of the revenues (pN – bN) will appear as profit because of the variable costs associated with the operation. The slope h of the profits-revenues graph therefore tells us the rate of conversion of profits to revenues. The breakeven x0 = -c/h = ap/(p –h) reflects the complex interaction of the three constants (a, b, p). Although we have used a simple model here, empirical evidence suggests that the same linear y = hx + c = h(x – x0) is also followed by many real world companies, such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, Southwest Airlines, General Motors (after its bankruptcy. The analysis of their financial performance has been presented in other articles cited in the reference list.
§ 5. Revenues-Profits Projections
Finally, consider the growth of the revenues, as a function of time, using the graphical representation in Figure 2, permits two estimates for the revenues for the fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2012. Through June 30, 2012, Trulia (SEC filing) has reported revenues of $28.99 million with a loss of $7.64 million. This six-month ended data falls right on the line A, which connects the 2007 and 2010 data. The data for 2011 and 2009 fall above and below this line and are joined by Line B, with the steeper slope. A high revenues estimate of $52.608 million is obtained if the data follows line B. The equation of this line is x = 14.09 t – 28,296.5 where x is in millions and t the calendar year.
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A lower revenues estimate of $31.858 million is obtained by extrapolation along line A. This is lower than the actual revenue for 2011. Although the six-month data falls on line A, this follows the data for earlier years, whereas line B follows the data for 2009 and 2011. Hence, the higher revenue estimate seems more feasible.
Revenues, x [$, millions]
70.000 60.000 50.000
40.000 30.000 20.000
10.000 0.000 2006
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Time, t [Calendar year]
Figure 2: Growth of revenues as a function of time t, in calendar years. Each data is for the 12-month ending Dec 31 of each year. The data for six-months ending June 30, 2012 is therefore plotted at 2011.5 years. Now, using the profits-revenues diagram, let us estimate the profits for revenues of $52.608 million. The data point for 2011 falls below the line A on the P-R diagram. Let us assume that the 2012 point will lie on a parallel to line A, passing through the 2011 point. This permits an estimate of the increase in profits (or reduced losses) over the 2011 value. The estimate y = -$1.312 million, i.e., a lower loss than for 2011. However, if the slope h = 0.344 is exceeded, and h = 0.50, then a profit of $0.890 million is possible.
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In other words, between 2007 and 2010, Trulia was able to convert 34.4% of its revenues into reduced losses (effectively into profits). To turn the corner in 2012 and report a profit, the profits to revenues conversion rate must exceed the 34.4% rate since losses had increased in 2011 compared to 2010. If not, Trulia will continue to report a (smaller) loss in 2012 and most likely report a profit in 2013.
§ 6. List of References
1. Real Estate Wave Helps an IPO Avoid a Tech Wipeout, by Robert Cyram, slate.com, Sep 20, 2012, http://www.slate.com/blogs/breakingviews/2012/09/20/real_estate_wave_helps _an_ipo_avoid_a_tech_wipeout_.html 2. Trulia Soars in Trading After IPO Prices Above Range, by Dan Levy and Lee Spears, Sep 20, 2012, http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-0920/trulia-surges-in-trading-debut-after-pricing-ipo-above-range 3. Trulia stocks to begin trading Thursday at $17 per share, by AGBeat, http://agbeat.com/news-business/trulia-stocks-to-begin-trading-thursday-at-17per-share/ 4. Trulia, Inc. Form S-1 United States SEC Registration Statement, Filed on August 17, 2012, http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1349454/000119312512359749/d352334ds1 .htm 5. Google Inc. A Lovable One-Trick Pony Another Single-product Company Analyzed using the New Methodology. http://www.scribd.com/doc/98825141/Google-A-Lovable-One-Trick-PonyAnother-Single-Product-Company-Analyzed-Using-the-New-Methodology, Published July 1, 2012. 6. The Future of Southwest Airlines, Completed June 14, 2012 (to be published). http://www.scribd.com/doc/102835946/The-Future-for-SouthwestAirlines-The-Unknown-Story-of-Rising-Costs-and-the-Maximum-Point-onProfits-Revenues-Curve Published August 14, 2012.
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7. A Fresh Look at Microsoft after its Historic Quarterly Loss, http://www.scribd.com/doc/101062823/A-Fresh-Look-at-Microsoft-After-itsHistoric-Quarterly-Loss , Published July 25, 2012. 8. A Second Look at Microsoft, http://www.scribd.com/doc/101518117/ASecond-Look-at-Microsoft-After-the-Historic-Quarterly-Loss , Published July 30, 2012. 9. Analysis of the Groupon Profits-Revenues data, http://www.scribd.com/doc/103265909/A-Brief-Analysis-of-Groupon-s-ProfitsRevenues-Data Published August 19, 2012. 10.Groupon’s Business Model, http://www.scribd.com/doc/103027366/Groupon-Analysis-of-ProfitsRevenues-Data-and-its-Business-Model Published August 16, 2012. More detailed analysis including discussion of the idea of a work function. 11.Analysis of Zynga’s Profits-Revenues data and Maximum Point on the profits-revenues curve, http://www.scribd.com/doc/103369016/Analysis-ofZynga-s-Profits-Revenues-Data-Maximum-point-on-the-profits-revenues-curve Published August 20, 2012. 12.The Perfect Apple-II: Taking A Second Bite: A Simple Methodology for Revenues Predictions (Completed July 8, 2012, To be Published) http://www.scribd.com/doc/101503988/The-Perfect-Apple-II, Published July 30, 2012. 13.Annie’s Inc. A Single-Product Company Analyzed using a New Methodology, http://www.scribd.com/doc/98652561/Annie-s-Inc-A-SingleProduct-Company-Analyzed-Using-a-New-Methodology Published June 29, 2012 14.The Future of Facebook, http://www.scribd.com/doc/94325593/TheFuture-of-Facebook-I Facebook and Google data are compared here. Published May 21, 2012. 15.The Facebook Future, http://www.scribd.com/doc/94103265/TheFaceBook-Future Published May 19, 2012 (the day after IPO launch on Friday May 18, 2012). 16.Discussion of the new GM data from 1Q2010 to 1Q2011, http://www.scribd.com/doc/103600274/The-New-GM-A-Brief-Analysis-of-theProfits-Revenues-Data-through-1Q2011, Published May 9, 2011 and again on August 22, 2012, 17.Why Can’t GM be more like Microsoft? http://www.scribd.com/doc/103607023/Why-Can-t-General-Motors-be-morelike-Microsoft-The-new-GM-may-just-be Published August 22, 2012.
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18.GM Before the Bankruptcy, http://www.scribd.com/doc/103938349/GMBefore-the-Bankruptcy-Maximum-Point-on-Profits-Revenue-Graph Maximum point on the profits-revenues graph, Published August 25, 2012. 19.Trulia IPO: With no profits, who will invest? By Erik Sherman, cbsnews.com http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505124_162-57496310/trulia-ipowith-no-profits-who-will-invest/
About the author V. Laxmanan, Sc. D.
Email: email@example.com The author obtained his Bachelor’s degree (B. E.) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Poona and his Master’s degree (M. E.), also in Mechanical Engineering, from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, followed by a Master’s (S. M.) and Doctoral (Sc. D.) degrees in Materials Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. He then spent his entire professional career at leading US research institutions (MIT, Allied Chemical Corporate R & D, now part of Honeywell, NASA, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), and General Motors Research and Development Center in Warren, MI). He holds four patents in materials processing, has co-authored two books and published several scientific papers in leading peer-reviewed international journals. His expertise includes developing simple mathematical models to explain the behavior of complex systems. While at NASA and CWRU, he was responsible for developing material processing experiments to be performed aboard the space shuttle and developed a simple mathematical model to explain the growth Christmas-tree, or snowflake, like structures (called dendrites) widely observed in many types of liquid-to-solid phase transformations (e.g., freezing of all commercial metals and alloys, freezing of water, and, yes, production of snowflakes!). This led to a simple model to explain the growth of dendritic structures in both the ground-based experiments and in the space shuttle experiments.
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More recently, he has been interested in the analysis of the large volumes of data from financial and economic systems and has developed what may be called the Quantum Business Model (QBM). This extends (to financial and economic systems) the mathematical arguments used by Max Planck to develop quantum physics using the analogy Energy = Money, i.e., energy in physics is like money in economics. Einstein applied Planck’s ideas to describe the photoelectric effect (by treating light as being composed of particles called photons, each with the fixed quantum of energy conceived by Planck). The mathematical law deduced by Planck, referred to here as the generalized power-exponential law, might actually have many applications far beyond blackbody radiation studies where it was first conceived. Einstein’s photoelectric law is a simple linear law, as we see here, and was deduced from Planck’s non-linear law for describing blackbody radiation. It appears that financial and economic systems can be modeled using a similar approach. Finance, business, economics and management sciences now essentially seem to operate like astronomy and physics before the advent of Kepler and Newton.
Cover page of AirTran 2000 Annual
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