29 Things to Look For in a Microcap Stock
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The Microcap Opportunity
We worked with Howard Group to come up with 29 points to consider when looking at investing in a microcap stock. The key here is due diligence. Good research can help you mitigate the risks that these stocks have.
Benefits of microcaps:
- Higher potential returns
- Small companies outperform big companies over time
- Valuation disconnect
- Lack of visibility = higher arbitrage
- Nimble companies and boards
- M&A potential
Downsides of microcaps:
- Higher risk
- Less analyst coverage = less due diligence by market
- Less trading volume
Investors who do strong due diligence can mitigate the downsides to trading microcaps and can reap big gains.
Due Diligence Checklist
Good people behind a company make a difference – especially for small companies that have big growth potential.
Here are the key things to look for:
- A proven track record in building successful businesses
- A well-established network of connections and ability to nurture strategic relations
- Ability to raise capital in a tough economic environment
- Skin in the game: ownership of shares of the company represents real stake
- Management that is respectful of shareholder funds: not spending excessive money on General and Administrative (G&A) expenses or overpaying themselves
Pro tip: Review annual Information Circular for excessive levels of management compensation or director’s fees, insider shareholdings, any past bankruptcies, and other Boards that senior officers serve on or previously sat as a director.
The structure of microcaps can tell a story on its own. Here is what to look for:
- The percentage of holdings of retail vs institutional investors, as well as insiders
- How many shares are outstanding and fully diluted
- The expiry dates and strike prices of warrants
Pro Tip: Look at previous financings. Was each subsequent financing done at a higher level than the last? Or does the company have a history of dilution?
The numbers are the meat and potatoes of this checklist. Look at:
- Working capital
- Quarterly expenses with special attention to G&A
- Debt – repayment schedule and interest rates
- Generating free cash flow, or the potential to do so in the near future
- Ability to maintain profitable margins
Pro Tip: Are revenues based on the one-time sale of a product or is there a strong recurring revenue model?
Differentiators and Catalysts
Does the company have an advantage over competitors? What catalysts are on the horizon that could potential impact share price?
- What sets the company apart from its peers?
- Product features, attributes and benefits
- Service features, attributes and benefits
- The company’s client list
- Visibility on events or milestones that will bring significant shareholder value
Pro Tip: Look at management’s past performance to see if they have done what they said they’d do. Have they met the timelines and objectives previously stated?
Relative to the market, is this company fairly valued? Check out:
- For a revenue producing company: how much future potential is built into the stock price versus the fundamental financial situation.
- For a non-revenue producing company: how much potential is built into the ultimate value of the asset and its economic viability
Tricks of the Trade:
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Could you sell your holdings within three trading days without incurring a loss greater than 10%?
Keep an eye on the insiders. Insiders know the internal workings of the company and buying or selling could be a signal.
Watch the stock like a hawk. A sudden price drop could indicate a pending financing or negative news.
Analyze the analysts. Watch what the analysts are saying and if their opinions are shifting.
The World’s Top Cocoa Producing Countries
Here are the largest cocoa producing countries globally—from Côte d’Ivoire to Brazil—as cocoa prices hit record highs.
The World’s Top Cocoa Producing Countries
West Africa is home to the largest cocoa producing countries worldwide, with 3.9 million tonnes of production in 2022.
In fact, there are about one million farmers in Côte d’Ivoire supplying cocoa to key customers such as Nestlé, Mars, and Hershey. But the massive influence of this industry has led to significant forest loss to plant cocoa trees.
This graphic shows the leading producers of cocoa, based on data from the UN FAO.
Global Hotspots for Cocoa Production
Below, we break down the top cocoa producing countries as of 2022:
|2022 Production, Tonnes
|🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire
|🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
With 2.2 million tonnes of cocoa in 2022, Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer, accounting for a third of the global total.
For many reasons, the cocoa trade in Côte d’Ivoire and Western Africa has been controversial. Often, farmers make about 5% of the retail price of a chocolate bar, and earn $1.20 each day. Adding to this, roughly a third of cocoa farms operate on forests that are meant to be protected.
As the third largest producer, Indonesia produced 667,000 tonnes of cocoa with the U.S., Malaysia, and Singapore as major importers. Overall, small-scale farmers produce 95% of cocoa in the country, but face several challenges such as low pay and unwanted impacts from climate change. Alongside aging trees in the country, these setbacks have led productivity to decline.
In South America, major producers include Ecuador and Brazil. In the early 1900s, Ecuador was the world’s largest cocoa producing country, however shifts in the global marketplace and crop disease led its position to fall. Today, the country is most known for its high-grade single-origin chocolate, with farms seen across the Amazon rainforest.
Altogether, global cocoa production reached 6.5 million tonnes, supported by strong demand. On average, the market has grown 3% annually over the last several decades.
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