Disclosure: I have no exposure to Grenke nor do I plan to have no exposure for the foreseeable future.
Grenke is a company I have written about quite often in this blog. My only investment had been the purchase of Grenke Bonds after the “Short Attack” in September 2020. I divested them relatively soon after the first rebound with a decent profit.
Since then a couple of things happened: The COO suddenly resigned on Feb. 8th, with an understandable explanation given only one day later. The story that was also communicated via some back channels was, that everything was fine and the main issue was that the German regulator BAFIN is over eager after the Wirecard Fiasco and there is no reason to worry. Another story is that Grenke is still an “innocent” inexperienced company and therefore communication is not so professional but the company as such is a great company with a great future.
Personally, I always had issues with Grenke. Yes the numbers always looked great, but I found the reporting very intransparent, for instance their “Free Cash Flow” definition which included debt issuance which at least in my “old school” thinking is not even close to free cash flow.
Last week now, Grenke came out with an update which at first sounded like what we in Germany would say is a “Persilschein” or a proof that everything is great. It starts as follows:
In the first 9 months of 2020, the Value & Opportunity portfolio gained +3,7% (including dividends, no taxes) against a loss of -6.9% for the Benchmark (Eurostoxx50 (25%), Eurostoxx small 200 (25%), DAX (30%), MDAX (20%), all TR indices).
Since inception (01.01.2011), this translates into +201 % vs. 98% for the Benchmark.
Links to previous Performance reviews can be found on the Performance Page of the blog. Some other funds that I follow have performed as follows in the first 9M 2020:
Partners Fund TGV: +6,3%
Squad European Convictions +5,99%
Ennismore European Smaller Cos -19,82% (in EUR)
Frankfurter Aktienfonds für Stiftungen -6,1%
Evermore Global Value –18.37%(USD)
Greiff Special Situation -3.69%
Squad Aguja Special Situation 12.45%
Paladin One 15.94%
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Please do your own research and never believe anything from anonymous bloggers !!!!
A first a quick quick recap on what happened since the last post.
Friday’s written statement from Grenke pre press/analyst was actually pretty lame. I think they made clear that the money laundering and Ponzi issue were indeed minor issues but they didn’t shed any more light on the whole CTP issue.
Unfortunately I missed the press/analyst call. From what I have heard there was nothing new.
A quite surprising statement from Grenke on Monday was more substantial. All past M&A transaction with Franchises will be checked by an independent auditor, Grenke AG will have the option to buy the existing non-consolidated franchises and Wolfgan Grenke will (temporarily) step down from the Supervisory Board. It is also mentioned, that in the future, Grenke AG will fund new franchises.
Another 25 randomly selected German stocks. This time, there is only one “watchlist candidate” among them.
601. Elbstein AG
Elbstein AG is a 29 mn EUR market cap holding company that is majority owned (75%) by the billionaire Ehlerding family. The company invests among others in listed German companies. The stock price is flat over the last 5 years or so which might indicate that the investment success is limited. Nothing to see for me, “Pass”.
602. Rheinland Holding AG
Rheinland Holding is a small German Insurance company with a market cap of 119 mn EUR. The stock chart is “super boring”, although with a small long term uptrend that one rarely sees with insurance companies over this period:
carefully randomly selected German stocks.
576. TDMI AG
Zombie stock, “pass”.
577. New Work AG (XING AG)
New Work AG (former XING AG) is a very interesting company. The 1.3 bn market cap company is the German speaking version of LinkedIn. I used to be a (happy) member of XING until they began flooding me with tons of unwanted adverts. I still maintain an account there but since then have moved to LinkedIn. That’s maybe one of the reasons why the B2C side seems to be stagnating, but they compensate with increasing B2B revenues. They also run the German version of “Glasdoor” called kununu.
Disclaimer. This is not investment advice. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH !!!!
More than five years ago I wrote about why it could make sense to invest into other actively managed funds even if one considers oneself an active investor. I would summarize the criteria that were important to me as follows:
The interests of the manager should be long term aligned with investors and the manager should possess specific skills to complement the own portfolio as well as to enable some learning.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Please do your own research !!!!
German Startups Group – Sell
As mentioned in the comments of the original post, I sold out the complete position today at an average price of ~1,71 EUR per share.
When I established the position in December 2019, the case was simple:
My assumption was that the intrinsic value of the portfolio was higher than the ~ 1,40 EUR share price, that the management would continue to liquidate the portfolio and that there would be a catalyst in form of share repurchases.
From an incentive perspective, the CEO had a big incentive to move the share price above 1,80 EUR so that the management fees would kick back in.
Implicitly however there was always the risk, that the CEO would hesitate to reduce the asset base as this would reduce the AUM and management fees accordingly, but the risk/return profile looked OK for me.
After a 4 week break, a new batch of 25 randomly selected German shares. Seven of them I found worth “watching”, although none of them with super high priority. And only 200 more stocks to go 😉
551. Pfeiffer Vacuum AG
Pfeiffer is a 1.7 bn company that specializes in vacuum technology and especially vacuum pumps. the stock price recovered quickly after the crisis despite a pretty disappointing 2019 and is still within the long term growth path: