Category Archives: Bilanzanalyse

Synchrony Financial (SYF) – a Spin-off that is better than its Parent GE ?

While looking at General Electric some days ago, I remembered that I had the IPO/Spin-off GE Capital Credit Cards which is now Synchrony Financial on my research list for quite some time.

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Company Background

This is from the 2016 annual report explaining how Synchrony was separated from GE:

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Cars.com (CARS) – Interesting spin-off opportunity ?

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH !!!

 

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Cars.com is a recent (May 31st) spin-off from publishing company Tegna, which itself is a spin-off of the Gannet publishing Group. Interestingly, Gannet/Tegna only bought control of cars.com in 2014 for a total value of 1,8 bn USD.

Cars.com – The business & Market

Cars.com is a typical “Online classified” business, meaning that it collects offers of merchandise (in this case cars), aggregates and sorts them and then shows it to as many potential customers as possible.

The economic value of such a “service” is relatively easy to explain: For a potential customer, it saves time because he can look at and compare different offers at one place. For the sellers, such a service is basically an advertising and/or sales channel which ideally reaches many potential customers.

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

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Background:

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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Northgate Plc (NTG): Just another vehicle rental/leasing company ?

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Business / Background:

Northgate is a UK based company that specialises in what they call “flexible rental” of smaller delivery vans to small businesses. My main interest in Northgate is not that I am so bullish on the UK and this sector, but that this company is somehow similar at least to the GoGetta part of Silverchef and I was looking for a peer company in order to be able to compare some metrics.

On a stand-alone basis, Northgate looks cheap:

Market cap: 570 mn GBP
P/E: 9,3
P/B: 1,1
EV/EBITDA 3,7
Div. Yield 4,1%

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Universal Insurance Holdings (UVE) – Just punched by “Irma” or potentially knocked out ?

Universal Insurance is an US-based P&C Insurance company which has been on my extended watch list for some time now. Why ? Well, the company always traded cheap (single digit P/E), was very profitable (~31% ROE for the last 9 years on average) and growing strongly year by year (400% over 9 years). So from the outside this looked like a cheap but highly profitable growth stock.

The main reason why I didn’t analyze the stock further is that Universal is a specialized homeowner insurance company which almost exclusively operates in Florida.

The company has a market cap of currently ~620 mn USD.

Not surprisingly Universal now is in a tough spot as “Irma” is creating havoc on Florida as I write this post. The stock price has dropped by around -30% by Friday:

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Record Plc (ISIN GB00B28ZPS36) – I like that record too !!!

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH !!!

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A few months ago, fellow blogger Wexboy had a very interesting post on Record Plc, a UK based “specialty asset manager”. Go and read the whole thing, it is worth it.

I try to summarize the business & background  in my own words:

Record Plc provides so-called “Currency overlay” asset management services. Currency overlays are in principle used for two reasons.

  1. To hedge an international investment portfolio into one single currency, usually the currency of the investor and/or
  2. To gain some extra yield by hedging currency exposures more “dynamically”

It is important to know that they do not manage the underlying assets, but “just” a derivative portfolio hedging the underlying assets and that they do not use their own balance sheet but act solely as an agent for the ultimate client.

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