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Book review: “Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money”

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Knowing more about Bitcoin was one of the points on my personal “to do list” for this year. By chance I found this book on Amazon which looked like it would be a good starting point.

This book is written by a “real” journalist, so the style of writing and the pace of the narrative is very good.

It covers the story of Bitcoin from the very beginning, when a guy calling himself Sathoshi Nakamoto uploaded the original white paper on Bitcoin in 2008 and was met initially with very little feedback.

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“Luxury update” – 4 years later (Prada, Boss)

Almost exactly 4 years ago I pondered shorting luxury stocks in 2 posts.

Part 1 – Idea Generation

Part 2- follow up

The only stock I actually shorted was Prada and I gave up 1 year later as the stock strongly went against me.

Back then, I divided (totally arbitrary) a “peer group” of luxury stocks into 2 sub groups, “tier 1” and “tier 2” brands. Let’s look how those stocks performed over the past 4 years:

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Greenlight Re & E.On/Uniper update

Greenlight Re update:

As some readers might remember, I bought shares of Greenlight Re, the Bermuda Reinsurer with investment advise from David Einhorn back in December 2015, but then sold them one month later, triggered by the insight that I don’t really understand his investment criteria. Looking back, the decision to sell doesn’t look very smart, as the stock priced since then increased by around 18% in USD (or 14% in EUR). YTD the stock is up 14,8% in USD.

In early August, Greenlight Re filed their 6M report. Interestingly the NAV per share declined by -4% from 22.20 USD to 21,32 USD per share.

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Some links

Forget accelerators. Slowing down makes you more creative (TED talk)

Emerging Market bonds are back again and a profile of EM bond guru Michael Hasenstab

Interesting observations on Coach and its brand strategy

Some interesting facts about the Swedish stock market

A few weeks old but still interesting: Bronte Capital on UK banking (and RBS)

Be carefull when peer-to-peer lenders report “returns”

 

 

SportsDirect (SPD) – Bad PR but maybe good Capital Allocation ?

Already some days ago, I linked to an interesting write up from Wertart on UK retailer SportsDirect.

sportsdirect-com_logo

In general, I liked a lot of things at SportsDirect from a share holder perspective:

+ It is kind of “Owner operated” with an experienced management
+ Aldi/Lidl like business model (Some brands, own brands, “hard discount”)
+ good growth track record since IPO
+ very good profitability
+ looks cheap based on past performance

Of course there are a couple of issues as well:

  • it is retail after all
  • Brexit / GBP issues (higher import prices, potential issues with consumer confidence)
  • Bad PR (low wages, zero hour contracts, incidents)
  • some governance issues (related party dealings etc.)

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Exor SpA: Buying a Reinsurance company doesn’t mean that you’re the “next Bershire”

Following my Old Mutual “sum of parts” valuation I saw the following Ira Sohn presentation of Exor Spa, the Agnelli family holding (FiatChysler, CNH etc.) as a potential  “Sum of part” value investment.

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To summarize the presentation  in my own words:

  • Exor Spa is basically a “Berkshire like” company at a “Graham” valuation
  • Exor is managed by a “great capital allocator” and trades at a discount as people see it as an Italian company
  • After the acquisition of Reinsurance Partner Re Exor should trade at similar valuations as Berkshire or Markel
  • Big upside potential as FiatChrysler, Ferrari (and CNH) are severely undervalued (“Coiled springs”)

The study sees a potential upside of several times the current share price. They forecast a 150 EUR NAV per share (vs. ~50 EUR now and 30 EUR share prices), driven by a quadrupling in value of the FCA and the CNH stakes.

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From the archive: Emak Spa, Sol Spa, Piquadro – The Italian update

From time to time I check on previous investments how they performed and if they might be interesting again. I find  this a very efficient way to create potential (re)investment ideas as only relatively little effort is needed to get up to speed.

EMAK SpA

EMAK SpA was an Italian “special situation” investment I made in 2011 following an “italian style” capital increase in 2011 and then sold end of 2013 and early 2014 for a decent profit. Looking at the chart we can see that the timing of the sale was not that bad, as after a peak of around 1 EUR in early 2014, the stock is now trading ~30% below that price:

emak

Optically, EMAK looks very cheap now:

P/E 12,8
P/B 0,7
EV/EBITDA 7,0

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