Landis & Gyr, the Swiss based company was on my research “to do” list for some time. Why ? Because it looked very much like a “forced IPO” special situation when in Summer 2017 then almost bankrupt Japanese Conglomerate Toshiba decided to sell Landis & Gyr which was deemed to be one of their crown jewels.
Toshiba itself had bought Landis & Gyr in 2011 for around 2 bn USD from a Private Equity Seller (Bayard) who in turn had bought Landis & Gyr from KKR (via DEMAG), another PE shop in 2004. Back then, Landis & GYr had around 390 mn EUR in sales and it was rumoured that the purchase price was quite low at around 100 mn EUR (those were the days…..).
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH !!!
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.
I had briefly written about the Metro/Ceconomy Spin-off in January. After some legal hassles, the spin-off took place last week last.
This is what I wrote back then:
With 327 mn shares outstanding, this would translate into ~6,20 EUR per share as a lower bound value for Ceconomy under my (very rough assumptions).
It think at or below this price, Ceconomy could be an interesting “Ugly duck” spin-off investment.
Interestingly, Ceconomy had a very good start, opening around 9,40 EUR and has gone above 10 EUR per share, far above my buying threshold.
A lot has happened over the last few weeks for my 4 largest special situation investments:
Actelion / Idorsia
The original Actelion idea was very simple: Buy an M&A target at a small discount which is relatively safe and get something (the Idorsia spin-off) extra which no one seemed to have noticed.
Although the case played out exactly as I thought and Idorsia even seems to be worth more than I assumed, I only made around +4% on it. Not bad for around 5 months but not great either.
Looking back I think I made 3 mistakes:
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.
It has become already a small tradition that I do a short review of my portfolio at the end of the year. As mentioned before I found it quite helpful to list my current investments at the end of each year and try to explain (to myself) the investment case in a few sentences.
Former posts can to be found here:
My 27 investments for 2016
My 28 investments for 2015
My 24 investments for 2014
My 22 investments for 2013
Compared to last year, Hornbach, Koc, the Depfy TRY bond, the HT1 Bond, NN Group, Citizen’s and Greenlight have been sold. New positions bought in 2016 are Dom Security, Majestic Wine, Handelsbanken, Coface, Silver Chef, Italgas and SAPEC and Kuka. Some positions (Gaztransport and Kinder Morgan) went in and out in 2016.So 19 out of last years 27 are still in, a turn-around of 30% is acceptable and consistent with my strategy.
With 27 stocks, the portfolio is still maybe a little bit too diversified, my preference would be to have not more than 25 positions. However 2 positions (Kuka, Sapec) are special situations which will most likely be sold/terminated early in 2017. The cash level at the moment is quite low at around 4%.