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BSE Ltd – No.2! So They Try Harder

Company Name – BSE Limited (BSE)

Current Share Price – INR 597 (June 30, 2022)

Market Cap – INR 8,074 cr


1. What is interesting about the stock?

We all have seen Scam 1992. Where was all the action happening?

The 1992 Indian stock market scam was a market manipulation carried out by Harshad Shantilal Mehta with other bankers and politicians on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Yes! you read it right – it was all happening on the Bombay Stock Exchange or BSE.

Which is the oldest stock exchange in the world? The Amsterdam Stock Exchange was set up in 1602. If you had said BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange), you had merely confused Asia for the world. It was set up on 9 July 1875 on Dalal Street, near the banyan trees in front of the Town Hall where traders had been conducting meetings for a couple of decades.

BSE is the 10th oldest and one of the largest stock exchanges globally in terms of several listed companies. Over the years, it has become one of the most valuable franchises in the duopolistic equity exchange market in India, sharing it with National Stock Exchange. BSE currently operates in a wide array of segments and offers a bouquet of products including equity, debt, derivatives in equity, currency, commodity and interest rate, mutual fund, insurance, SME, and start-ups segment.

StAR MF platform is an online platform launched by BSE in Dec ‘09, which allows mutual fund distributors, investment advisors, etc. to purchase and redeem mutual fund units on behalf of their clients. It has emerged as the largest mutual fund distribution infrastructure in the country with close to 73% market share.

With high under penetration of investment in financial assets mainly in equity markets across the demographic landscape of India, there’s a sizeable long-term opportunity for an exchange like BSE. The revival of derivatives volume on BSE, smart order routing, and interoperability are key triggers for transaction revenues for the exchange.

Why invest in BSE?

The key investment arguments summarized would be:

  • BSE’s India INX (India International Exchange), GIFT City is the dominant International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) player with a market share of ~84% in derivatives trading and ~92% in the bond listing universe

  • It has a 20% stake in Central Depository Services Ltd. (CDSL), India’s fastest-growing and only listed depository

  • The stAR MF platform has seen a doubling of transactions in the last year reflecting the rapid increase in retail investments in the MF space

  • Covid-19 pandemic tailwind has helped increase the equity culture in the country with a large set of younger participants in the stock markets. This bodes well in the long run for a technologically advanced stock exchange with a vast variety of product offerings that have been gaining market share

  • The leadership troubles at NSE (current CEO refusing to opt for a second term, former CEO and COO jailed due to fraud charges, co-location server fraud cases yet to be concluded) have clouded its IPO plans, and therefore, BSE remains the better investment avenue for investors

2. Key Historical Financials

  • Revenue and net profit of the Company hasn’t grown much since FY19

    • Significant revenue is linked to the trading activity and hence revenue is linked to the bull/bear market phase

  • BSE has low ROE/ROCE in a duopolistic set-up

  • Company has given strong results in Q4FY22 with 65% growth in EBITDA YoY basis

3. What is my view on company valuation?

For INR 597 per share, the trailing twelve months’ P/E ratio is ~33x, which is high, given that a lot of new retail investors have not seen market cycles and therefore, their longevity in the market is still unknown. The stock price has risen nearly 3x in the last 3 years but has dipped ~35% since mid March 2022 on the back of weak market leading to lower participation of retail investors. International listed exchanges like ICE (NYSE) and NASDAQ trade at 13x and 21x respectively. Both these exchanges have also seen rapid growth in the last couple of years on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic as well, but the under-penetration of the equity culture in India allows for more headroom for growth.

However, the valuation triggers available in the form of INX, CDSL stake, and stAR MF platform in the Company and the possibility of monetization through the induction of strategic partners, apart from a strong fundamental business, make the Company an interesting long-term investment. Through increased interoperability, the Company has managed to gain market share in the overall market as well as in the equity derivatives segment.

4. What are the risks to the investment analysis?

Risks to the analysis are:

  • National Stock Exchange was founded nearly 120 years later, but using technology extensively, it became the larger exchange in the country by a wide margin. So technological obsolescence can lead to negative network effects very quickly and impact businesses rapidly

  • If NSE can come out of its corporate governance woes and does an IPO finally, people will want to move out at least a part of their holding in BSE putting pressure on the share price

  • A lot of the recent growth has come through relatively inexperienced retail participants and any prolonged downturn can affect their participation, thereby impacting the volumes and revenues of the Company


About the Author

I have over 16 years of experience in private equity and public markets. I am an engineer by background and MBA from a premier institute in India.


I have no stock, option, or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned in the last 30 days, and shall not initiate any such positions within the next 5 days. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from SocInvest). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

I am not a SEBI registered advisor. This article is purely for educational purposes and not to be construed as investment advice. Please consult your financial advisor before acting on it.

I have used publicly available information while writing this article.


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