Monthly Archives: October 2017

Some links

Forager with a mini case study on how a good business can quickly deteriorate

An analysis of TABS Holland, a pretty obscure stock from the Netherlands

Notes from the “Capitalize for kids” conference (Einhorn)

An interesting slide deck on High Frequency Trading

Prof. Damodaran thinks Bitcoin is a currency (and not a very good one), not an investment. Plus a follow up.

There is too much money in Venture Capital these days

Must Read: “How to remember what you read” from Farnam Street

Trivago Update: From virtuous to vicuous circle in only 7 months ?

When I first reviewed Trivago in March this year, the company looked like an unstoppable growth machine, although much too expensive. Looking at the stock chart we can see that the stock almost doubled after my write-up but then lost 2/3 since its peak in July and now trades -40% against the IPO price 11 months ago:

trivago design_big.chart

So what happened ?

In July, Trivago came out confirming their earnings guidance 2017 with +50% in sales and increasing margins. In early September, after the stock had dropped already significantly, they came out with this warning:

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Canada Mortgage banking follow up: Home Capital group (2) & Equitable

Quick Home Capital Group follow-up:

After my first post about Home Capital Group, a reader recommended to look at the KPMG report on Home Capital Group. This document can be easily obtained via a dedicated Home Capital Short Seller website which seems to be run by “famed” short seller Mark Cohodes.

I am a big fan of actually reading documents so I did read it fully (its only 20 pages).

My summary is as follows: Yes, there were serious deficiencies in HCG’s underwriting process. At its core, management emphasized volume growth above anything else and controls were not adequate.

The core issues of the “documentation fraud” is summarized as follows:

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Some links

Why investing and Quantum Physics have a lot in common (h/t Valueinvestingworld)

Mark Cohodes vs. Warren Buffett (Home Capital)

A deep (and disturbing) look into the matress online business

The curious case of the BINDQ liquidation trust

Interview with Danny Meyer, founder of the Shake Shack chain

Interesting thought: Cryptocurrencies are “Non-Financial Collective Equity”

Graham & Doddsville Fall 2017 edition



Home Capital Group (HCG) – Contrarian Opportunity in Canada after being rescued by Buffett ?



Home Capital Group is a Canadian bank/mortgage lending company founded in 1986 and run by the same CEO for 30 years, which came into the spotlight over the past few months. It ran into trouble, almost imploded and then got saved by no one other than Warren Buffett (and Ted Weschler).

There is good coverage following this link. The story in short:

Home Capital wanted to aggressively expand into insured mortgages. However at least one underwriter collaborated with mortgage brokers to get mortgages approved without proper documentation. At some point regulators reigned in but management did not tell shareholders about it. Then the regulator got tough and management had to go. In the meantime, short-term financing was pulled and the company got into real liquidity troubles.

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Some links

Geoff Gannon has been writing a lot this week: The Danger of holding onto great stocks, why you should avoid the value investing crowd and his 4 favourite blogs

Seth Klarmann’s Baupost is holding a lot of Puerto Rico debt

John Kingham looks at five “high yielding” UK stocks

Eddy Elfewnbein’s high quality stock watchlist

David Rubinstein interviews Masayoshi Son (Softbank)

A good overview of the Internet economy in China

Some interesting thought on “Must happen” mean reversion

Trisura (TSU) – Interesting spin-off opportunity or intransparent minority mess ?


A friendly reader had mentioned Trisura as a potential Spin-off opportunity in the comments and the stockspinoffinvesting blog mentioned it a few days ago  and linked to a  Seeking Alpha write-up.

At first sight, Trisura indeed looks interesting:

  • it’s a small cap specialty insurer currently mainly active in Canada
  • it hasn’t been “discovered” by sell side analysts yet
  • only mini spin-off dividend for Brookfield holders (1 Trisura stock for 170 Brookfield stock(~0,3%)
  • the company has been growing very quickly over the last few years

This is from the listing prospectus:

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Performance review 9M 2017

Perfomance 9M 2017:

In the first 9 months of 2017, the blog portfolio gained +18,1% +18,5% (including dividends, no taxes) against 15,1% for the Benchmark (Eurostoxx50 (Perf.Ind) (25%), Eurostoxx small 200 (25%), DAX (30%), MDAX (20%)). Since inception, the score is now +178,2% 179,1% vs. 95,1% for the benchmark. The full details (and graph) as always on the performance page. (adjustments for TGV Partners final 30.09. valuation)

In the third quarter, the portfolio underperformed the benchmark significantly (+1,8% vs. +5,33%). Several of my larger positions did not very well in this quarter.

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