My 22 (+1) investments for 2019

Edit: I actually forgot to include Expedia…..

This post has become now a small tradition at the end of December and is also very helpful for me to review my holdings.

The summaries of the previous years can be found here:

My 21 investments for 2018
My 27 investments for 2017
My 27 investments for 2016
My 28 investments for 2015
My 24 investments for 2014
My 22 investments for 2013

From the 21 stocks of last year, 4 have left the portfolio:

Silver Chef and Metro were clear mistakes from my side and I exited them as discussed with significant losses. IGE & XAO was a much more positive case. The company received a buy-out offer from Schneider SA and I exited at 138 EUR per share. DOM Security finally was merged into the main shareholder company SFPI. Luckily, I could sell 40% of my holdings at 75 EUR/ share.

1. Miko (4,8% weight)

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Belgian company, family owned, providing Coffee workplace services and plastic packaging.  Slow and steady grower, doing small acquisitions along the way. In 2018, Miko was struggling early on with a rising oil price. Additionally, the EU introduced legislation to ban one-way food plastic packaging. It remains to be seen when and how this affects Miko’s packaging business. Competitor Guillin reacted already by buying paper packaging businesses. I like the company very much but this needs to be watched.

2. TFF Group (9,7%)

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One of the initial investments from 8 years ago. Family owned oak barrel manufacturer. Has grown well over the past years due to Asian demand for oak aged French wines and opportunistic acquisitions. These days, Whisky barrels are booming and driving growth. It needs to be seen how Brexit & Trump Tariffs will impact the underlying trade but still, this is a position I plan to hold at least 10 years.

3. Installux (3,0%)

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Small French company specialized in aluminium appliances. surprisingly resilient. Still run by the founder and majority shareholder, one of the cheapest quality stocks in Europe. Downside well protected via large net cash position. The expected recovery in France was short and Installux share price got hit hard in 2018. Still a position I’d like to keep for some time.

4. G. Perrier (4,7%)

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French small cap, specialist for electric installations with a strong position in Nuclear maintenance. Good growth despite economic headwinds. Cheap (ex cash) despite attractive, capital light business model. In comparison with other French small caps, the stock price has been remarkably stable

5. Thermador (3,8%)
thermador_logo
Thermador is a French based construction supply distribution company. Distinct “outsider style” corporate culture. Thermador has been accelerating (small) M&A this year. Will be interesting to see how this develops. But clearly a “very long-term” position for me, despite the drop in the share price in 2018. I have been adding a little bit to the position and might do more if prices still go lower.

6. Van Lanschot Kempen (2,0%)

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Dutch based private bank, initially bought as turn around story with new management. The company has made progress, top line growth looks OK, including  a few acquisitions such, however the bottom line suffered slightly due to a “strategic investment” program. In the core private banking business there is also increasing competition from family offices. Overall, Van Lanschot is one of the positions I need to review in 2019

7. TGS Nopec (3,5%)

“Outsider style” seismic data company. Clearly influenced by the oil price but with strong competitive advantages against competitors due to “capital light” business model. Has weathered the storm much better than almost all other oil related stocks despite significant off shore exposure. Business and the stock price picked up significantly with rising oil prices in the beginning of 2018 but then the stock price went down again with oil.

8. Admiral (6,7%)

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“Outsider style” direct internet insurance company. UK based, large cost advantages, management/founders own significant share positions. Several growth projects on the way. Especially the European subsidiaries seem to make good progress with a long growth runway in front of them. P/L impacted by organic growth investments. (Very) long-term hold. Self driving vehicles might have an impact in the very long run but I trust Admiral to find new opportunities if necessary.

9. Svenska Handelsbanken (2,6%)

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Handelsbanken in my opinion is an “Outsider” style bank which has a strong position in Scandinavia and (still) growing quickly in the UK. Although they offer internet access, their focus is on branch based banking with full delegation of responsibility. In 2018, interestingly UK is stikll the main growth driver. To a certain extent I am not too bullish on banks as the sector is currently being thoroughly “disrupted”, but I think I will stick with Handelsbanken for some time.

10. Bouvet (3,9%)

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IT consulting company from Norway. Stock price previously had been hit hard by oil decline, Statoil was the largest client. The business and the stock showed a strong recovery in 2016 and 2017. Although my initial target price has been surpassed and I was unsure about the stock in 2017, I will hold the stock as they seem to execute their strategy really well and IT consulting seems to be very good business in the age of digitization.

11. Partners Fund (6%)

An investment into a fund run by a close friend. Mathias is a “Munger style” investor with a relative concentrated portfolio of “moat” companies, many of them from the US. I think it is a good complimentary exposure for my investment style. It has worked very well so far with a fantastic relative performance in 2018 and I assume he will do well over the next 10-20 years

 12. Electrica (4,0%)

Extremely cheap electric grid company from Romania. 2018, a lot of things happened. The CEO was exchanged, all Non-Romanian Board members resigned, the regulator cut the allowable returns and finally, the Romanian Government introduced a few surprise extra taxes before Christmas. With the exception of the tax event however, Electrica performed pretty OK in 2018. Many of the potential risks of such an investment have no materialized. Still I like the stock as it is still “dirt cheap” compared to similar assets and the risks are uncorrelated to what is happening elsewhere. But clearly on needs to have a strong stomach for any kind of surprises. I don’t recommend this stock to anyone who just wants to hear good news, they might look at Nestle or Google instead.

13. Drägerwerk Genüsse (2,6%)

Capital structure “arbitrage”. Price of Genußscheine still far below the fundamental value which should be 10x the Draeger Pref shares. Draeger as such is not a great company but plan to hold this for the long-term.

14. Majestic Wine (4,0%)

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A UK-based wine retailing company. This is a “bet” on the  CEO which came on board when Majestic acquired online wine company Naked Wine. I think the underlying business is solid despite Brexit but again for 2019 one will need a “strong stomach” for the to be expected volatility.

15. Record Plc (2,6%)

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Small and specialized Asset management company from the UK. Unspectacular but solid business with good cash generation. Management owns significant part of the company. In 2018, business stagnated which let to a drastic drop in the share price. There is relatively little direct Brexit exposure but one should prepare for some more volatility in 2019.

16. Kanam Grundinvest (2,4%)

A special situation (liquidation) that I added in 2017. A formerly open-ended real investment trust that had been closed and moved into liquidation. Little real estate exposure left. Main risk is delay in paying out the available cash which actually materialized. Position did perform quite well in 2018.

17. Cars.com  (3,5%)

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The last special situation (Spin-off) that I bought in 2017. An online classified business that has been spun off by its ailing parent Tegna. The stock looks cheap compared to other online classifieds. An activist investor (Starboard) has taken a 10% position. The stock got hammered in late 2018. As this is not a long term investment, I wil need to watch the development more closely than my long term positions.

18. Groupe SFPI SA (4,1%)

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Groupe SFPI is a new position as a result of its merger with DOM Security. Despite DOM Security, SFPI is active in the industrial and construction sevrices, specializing in niche businesses. Around 60% of the business is done in France, the rest is international. Dom Security is around 1/3 of the sales. What I like is that the company in total still has net cash, is well managed and many of the businesses have good profit upsied in my opinion.

19. Paul Hartmann (3,4)

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Paul Hartmann is a new member of my “boring” companies category. It is a German manufacturer of all kind of health care / clinic supplies. Although at the moment, things are not that great (the just issued a profit warning for 2019), I think the company is a good and “safe” boring long term stock at the current price level.

 

20. Kinnevik (1,4%)

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Kinnevik is a Swedish based investment company specializing in growth investments. I looked at the company back in December 2017, but only started slowly a position in 2018. Kinnevik’s main investment is currently still German based Zalando which was hit pretty hard in the second half of the year. Other investments are mainly in the Nordic telecom sector. Despite the current wobbles, in my opinion, Kinnevik has proven to be a great long term capital allocator.

21. Vostok New Ventures (2,0%)

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Vostok New Ventures ,another of my 3 “true” new 2018 investments is kind of the smaller and younger version of Kinnevik. It specializes in Online market places and due to its main asset being the leading market place in Russia, it is also a somehow riskier investment. On the other hand it also has more upside and I like the management very much. As with Kinnevik, I started the position small and will add to it over time.

22. Expedia (4,2%)

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Expedia was part of my original “travel series” and I looked at the stock first in 2017 but deemed it to be too expensive. In February 2018 I then revisited the stock and bought it opportunistically. I am not yet sure if I want to hold the stock long ter. The online travel area is super dynamic. Expedia clearly has a size advantage, but in my opinion, Booking.com is actually the better company/business. So I’ll need to watch that one in 2019 also very closely.

 

22+1. Ahlsell (3,8%)

Ahlsell finally was a “Last minute” additionn to the portfolio in the week before Christmas. Although I like the company as such, it is only a short-term special situation on the take over by previous owner CVC in February. I hope to earn ~ 5% on this for 2-3 months holding period.

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