Catching up: Green Mountain, AS Creation and AIRE KGaA Tender offer at 17 EUR
What a week for the portfolio ….
Green Mountain imploded (again) last week after they lowered their guidance.
Green Mountain had many attributes making it a “perfect short”:
+ shady accounting as revealed early by Sam Antar at WhiteCollarFraud
+ massive insider sales
+ negative free cashflows
+ pumped up growth through expensive acquisitions
+ expiring patents in 2012
David Einhorn, now credited for “revealing” the over-valuation was actually relatively late in the game. However one has to admire his timing capabilities. I was relatively early and hat to swallow a intermediate -40% loss on the position before I got into the money.
The question is now, how low can the stock go ? If GMCR is a “real business”, then the current valuation seems to be fair. If they are a real fraud, the stock could go down much further. Also one should remember that momentum always goes in both directions. Nevertheless, as the easy money on the short seems to have been made, I will exit (cover) the short on Monday.
AS Creation reported surprisingly good Q1 numbers which show that at least with a certain time lag, the company does have some pricing power in its core business. The outlook is mixed as they expect losses when they ramp up the Russian JV.
Nevertheless, I think the first quarter gives credibility to the managment as they always told investors that on an annual basis they are able to pass cost increases onto clients.
AIRE KGaA Tender offer EUR 17 per share
After I was already happy that my special situation investment AIRE KgAA offered to buy back 10% of the shares at 14 EUR, suddenly AIG real estate issues an offer for 17 EUR per share for the whole company.
Luckily, I only sold relatively small amounts of AIRE at around 14 EUR. As someone said before: Sometimes it better to be lucky than smart.
What I find interesting about the offer are two things:
– first, they seem to have already 31.8% of shares under their control, so from their existing 7.85% the have bought 24% through option contracts
– second, based on the official NAV of around 21 EUR, the 17 EUR offer in theory does not leave a lot of upside for AIG. However one has to remember, that AIRE KGaA owns a lot of highly leveraged equity positions in US developements which were pretty aggresively written down to zero over the last few years. So there is lot of positive optionality in the legacy portfolio. If some of those projects are “coming back”, the NAV could be significantly higher. AIG Real estate as the previous manager should know those projects pretty well.
If I remember correctly, they were active in residential, multi tennant developements. Maybe this has to do with AIG’s decission from early April to go back into real estate investments on a larger scale. I had actually read this but didn’t really make the connection.
For the time being, I will wait for the final offering documents to decide what to do, however I will continue to sell down to 5% of portfolio weight.
As Green Mountain was the ideal short, AIRE KGaA was the ideal special situation:
+ unusual vehicle (listed, closed real investment fund, US and Asian real estate, only German listing)
+ difficult to analyse (lot of debt, but non-recourse)
+ bad name / scandal, however no direct exposure (AIG)
+ early entry of “activist” investors (Grevenkamp, Swiss guy)
From a timing perspective, I was very lucky in the portfolio, getting in at a very low point in January 2011. The chart shows that with such investments, one usually has time to analyse and invest. It doesn’t reallypay out to invest driectly after the drop:
After the big drop in 2008/2009, the stock was “sleeping” now for almost 3 years before something happened.
That is something to keep in mind for investing in such situations. I t takes some time until the value will be (hopefully) realised by someone.