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Kakaku is one of my Top Picks, this portfolio manager says

You may not know the name but there’s enough promise in the stock and company that investors ought to be thinking about Japanese online media company Kakaku (Kakaku Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TYO:2371). That’s the take from Jason Del Vicario of Hillside Wealth Management at iA Private Wealth, who just named Kakaku on of his top picks for the 12 months ahead.

Kakaku operates both a restaurant comparison platform and a comparison whopping website, and with a company history dating back to 1997, Kakaku has now become Japan’s largest price comparison site.

“Think Yelp,” said Del Vicario, speaking on BNN Bloomberg on Friday. “They’ve got the number two restaurant review, search and reservation website in in Japan and they’ve got the largest price comparison website.”

“What’s really interesting with Kakaku is that they then will also spawn new websites, new web based services. This is an asset light business because, of course, other than the cost for the engineers there’s not much capital investment in terms of bringing these new services online,” he said.

The Kakaku platform allows customers to search and compare prices on a products like electronics, autos, travel services and financial services, and it also has product information capabilities and a loyalty program. The company currently has a market cap of ¥416 billion with a P/E ratio of 25.36, according to Yahoo Finance.

Revenue rose 18 per cent in Kakaku’s fiscal 2023, reported last month, with the company’s topline hitting ¥61 billion. Operating profit was up 25 per cent to ¥24 billion and profit before income taxes was up 11 per cent to ¥23 billion.

“We are targeting a profit margin of about 40 per cent, including investments for growth. We are also planning to make some medium to long term investments in advertising and PR in Tabelog, Kyujin Box, and Kakaku.com. The 40 per cent OP margin is the overall result of these things. This is not to say that we are understating our performance,” the company said in a news release.

For Del Vicario, Kakaku’s focus on net income for shareholders is a key attractive feature.

“They are one of the few global businesses that we’ve come across where they have a return on equity target. Their target is 40 per cent. We love companies that think like we do, which is focusing on return on capital because, of course, return on capital over the long term is the single most important metric that matters to shareholders pretty high return on equity,” he said.

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