Topdanmark – The Danish Cannibal
Topdanmark, a local Danish Insurance company has been on my extended “to do” list for a long time for 2 reasons: It is the second most profitable European insurance company after Admiral (based on ROE) and as Charlie Munger would call it a “true Cannibal”.
Those are some selected numbers from Topdanmark over the last 18 years:
The author of the book is Nils Kröner, a German who among others worked as consultant at McKinsey, at Barclays and for AKO capital before he became professor.
The book has been written following the big financial crisis and starts with a review about what went wrong in general.
Then he introduces the “7 deadly sins of banking” that contributed in his opinion to the banking crisis which are:
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. please do your own research !!!
Stada is a company I had been looking at many times in the past. A business which in principle is quite good (Generics and OTC drugs) but the company was run by a long time CEO who acted as it was his own company without owning a single share. He paid himself huge salaries, employed his son in a non-sensical but highly paid job, the company afforded itself a huge corporate center and so on. As a result, the company created little to no shareholder value in the 10 years up to mid 2016. As a comparison, the 10 year return of Stada until 03/2016 was only around 1,8% p.a. compared to 7,5 % p.a. for the MSCI Europe health care index, a significant underperformance.
Then however something happened which is still very rare in Germany: A local activist investor (Active Ownership Capital) and some other funds acquired a significant stake in the company and pushed for change.
Already a couple of weeks ago, Handelsbanken issued their 2016 annual report. On the surface, the numbers look like a small disappointment with flat profit and a slight decrease in EPS.
Behind the surface however, some things happened. The CEO was fired in 2016 for “too much centralization”.
Some highlights of the annual report from my side:
- the number of branches in Sweden went down from 474 to 435
- the 4th quarter was very weak, but most likely driven by cost for branch closures in Sweden which happened in Q4. I liked this comment:
As I currently own a 5% poisiton in (special situation) Biotech company Actelion, I thought it makes sense trying to learn at least a little bit about Biotech.
By chance I came across the book “Genentech – The Beginnings of Biotech” which recounts the history of Genetech from the very early beginnings in the 1970s until the company went public in October 1980.
Langfrist hosts a new interesting fund: Rubicon Stock Picker fund with their first 2016 annual letter describing their 3 largest positions in some detail (Eurotech, Max21, Songa Bulk)
Good collection of 2016 year end fund letters (Reddit)
Is there a huge fashion retail bubble in the US ?
Rob Vinall has posted some interesting Videos from his investor day a few weeks ago on Youtube
Chris Hohn (TCI) tries to kill the Safran/Zodiac take-over (presentation slides)
How stock investing looked in the 1950s with an appearance of Benjamin Graham (h/t Valueinvestingworld)