Short cuts: G. Perrier, Tonnellerie, Thermador, Verbund

G. Perrier

Already a few days ago, G. Perrier issued 2013 sales figures which were better than expected. Especially interesting was the accelerating growth from quarter to quarter, with 17% qoq growth in the last quarter and over 30% growth in the final quarter in the energy segment. As the energy segment used to be the most profitable, one could expect even higher growth in profits than in sales, all other things equal. That might also be the reason why the stock price jumped to a new all time high after the numbers. A great result in a very difficult environment.

Thermador

Thermador already reported 2013 results yesterday. Although they did rebound as well from a weak first half-year, the rebound was not as strong as for G. Perrier. The 2013 result in total was therefore ~-6% lower than in 2012 but based on a very high tax rate of 37%. Still a very good result in a tough environment.

Tonnellerie (TFF Group)

No new numbers here but still a surprise: They actually issued their first ever English language annual report for 2012/2013. At least they used such a bad font style that it is still hard to read for potential Anglosaxon investors 😉

Verbund

Verbund, the Austrian hydro power utility issued a quite unusual 2014 profit warning today, before they even announced their 2013 results. The outlook was horrible, although they did not specify where and why. So we do not know if the troubled Italian subsidiary, the Austrian core business or the Eastern European subsidiaries are the problem.

Nevertheless a good reminder, especially after I have presented Energiedienst on monday as a new investment, that the road for all European utilities is still very “bumpy” and clearly we should not expect a V-shaped recovery.

Verbund’s diverse (and unsuccesful) subsidiaries are also the reason why I didn’t consider them as an adequate “electricity price bet” like Energiedienst. Similar to other big Austrian companies, they made the mistake in trying to build up a “KuK style” empire without thinking about the prices paid and potential profits. Politically driven empire building is always bad for shareholders.

10 comments

  • Hello
    PERR publishet its 2013 annual results this morning
    http://www.gerard-perrier.com/images/pdf/gpi/avis_financiers/2013/avisfinancier_31122013.pdf

    10% op margin
    2014 outlook stable sales, op margin>9%

    balance sheet
    22m€ net cash

  • Hi,
    A short question, how do you know that Ardatem is the most profitbale division of GPI ? looking again at the annual report, it seems impossible to reconstruct the EBIT Margin per division due to the large share of intergroup transactions and the fact that the holding generates around 3m of EBIT (from charging the other divisions I suppose). So far I used the average revenue per employee as a proxy for the profitability per division, Ardatem is around €82k while SOTEB is at €118k and Geral or SEIREL at around € 250k (but the GM is not 100%). So I would exepect Geral or SEIREL to have the highest EBIT (the Business model should help as well).

    • Paul,

      I just used the 2012 annual report (segment reporting). There, the segment “Energy” is shown to have an operating margin of ~8.9% against 8.8% for Seirel and Geral with 7,1%. As the “Energy” sector is also requiring comparably less assets (EBIT/Assets 10% vs. 7,3% for Seirel), I think it is fair to say that “energy” is overall the most attractive business.

      Revenue per employee in my opnion is a pretty bad meassure for profitability, especially if you compare a capital intensive business with a capital light one.

      mmi

      • Hi mmi,

        The problem with the 8,8% is that it is impacted by the holding costs and the inter-group transactions. Looking at the data provided by the company since 2006 you can see that the margins are fluctuating in a range between 5% and 8%. I suppose the holding company is charging a varaible amount to each division thus twisting the EBIT Margin in the AR segment reporting… Therefore i don’t believe that ARDATEM has the highest EBIT Margin.

        I agree with you that in the absolut comparing revenu/employee between different industries is meaningless. But in the case of GPI you have 2 businesses which are similar: SOTEB and ARDATEM, there are both staffing businesses. And when you look at the business models GERAL and SEIREL should earn the highest margins and highest ROCE because they seem to be superior businesses (you develop a short serie tailor made component for your client and you are the only one able to produce the spare parts so for the entire life of the product so you lock the competitors out and you lock the client in).

        I actually believe that ARDATE is the weakest business of GPI, but the company is enjoying a supply/demand imbalance due to the large demand for skilled workforce for maintaining nuclear plants in France. This market situation is probably not over yet thanks to the beginning of larger programs such as “grand carénage” (€ 55-70bn investment program by EDF … between 2014 and 2025).

        Paul.

        • Hi Paul,

          thanks for your insights. I am not sure if charging variable holding costs to different segments would be “true and fair” under IFRS. It remains the fact that Ardatem needs very little capital, independent on any holding costs charged. So I am not sure that Ardatem is the most unattractive segment, taking into account, both margins and return on capital.

          MMI

  • Ich finde es interessant, dass EVN auf den Verbund-Absturz nicht reagiert hat.

    Osteuropa war halt vor 2009 auch Emerging Markets. Jetzt erinnert sich nur niemand mehr daran. Auch andere haben Kohle in OE versenkt. Vattenfall zieht sich jetzt komplett aus Polen zurück.

    • ja, und irgendwann wird es auch mal wieder interessant in Osteuropa……

      Versorger ist einer der wenigen Bereiche wo ich überhaupt noch hinschaue.

      • OE ist generell interessant, nur:

        – Wachstum Fehlanzeige
        – Schulden meistens in Euro/USD und CF in lokaler Währung
        – und halt die generelle Frage: Wie lange tun sich junge Menschen so ein Leben an? Abwanderung (bei EU-Staaten) oder Aufstände werden wohl irgendwann zunehmen
        – dazu sind interessante Branchen oft eh in der Hand ausl. Unternehmen

  • “aged” of course.

  • “At least they used such a bad font style that it is still hard to read for potential Anglosaxon investors.”

    May be it is easier after some glasses of Whiskey ages in the wood containers of “the brothers” od TFF today 😉

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