Search Results for: spin-off

Uniper/E.On Spin-off: Take one ugly duck and transform it into ….. 2 really ugly ducks ?


Monday, Sep 12th will be the first trading day for Uniper, the E.On spin-off. E.On shareholders will get one Uniper share for each 10 E.On shares they are holding.

Just to recap: Uniper will contain all the (unwanted) power generation assets of E.on, so all the “fossil fuel” power plants, the Russian assets and the Swedish nuclear plants plus some other stuff. The German Nuclear assets (and the corresponding liabilities) will remain at E.on due to the reasons I mentioned in the last post.

Uniper is clearly an ugly Duck, maybe the “most ugliest spin-off” I have seen since I started the blog. If we look into the most recent investor presentation, it is clear that you have a problem when the 3 listed growth projects are a German Hard Coal Power plant, q Russian power plant closed due to an accident which will reopen in 2018 and some strange dealings around the North Stream gas pipeline (page 9.). It doesn’t help either that Uniper had to take a 3,8 bn EUR pre tax write down in the first 6 months of 2016.That makes the duck still uglier.

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Missed opportunity: Autogrill SpA spin-off

Sometimes, the good old-fashioned simple ideas still work very well. One very recent example, which for some reasons I totally missed, was the recent spin-off of Word Duty Free from the parent Autogrill in the beginning of October.

The remaining business is the well-known restaurant business along Freeways, the duty-free business is the international business in most of the world’s airports.

If one looks at the Autogrill stock, the spin-off was a fantastic success:

A more than 50% outperformance against the index. The spun off stock World Duty Free now trades at a P/E of around 20, reflecting the assumed growth potential, the market cap is with 2 bn EUR higher than the parent (~1.5 bn). The CEO of the parent by the way is now CEO of the spin-off company.

I remember having read about the spin-off some months ago but I didn’t really follow-up. It is very interesting to see, how in this case this has unlocked value so quickly. It clearly shows also in my opinion, that some PIIGS companies with international exposure might still be heavily discounted by the market.

Unfortunately, I think the Autogrill spin-off is rather an exception than the rule for PIIGS companies, but I think it still makes sense to look for similar deals in the future.

Hankook Tire Co. (ISIN KR7161390000) – Spin-off Gangnam style ?

Hankook Tire is well known as a succesful Korean manufacurer of Tires worldwide. This year however, the company performed a spin-off which to a certain extend looks strange compared to other spin offs.

Basically, Hankook Tires spun off the operating tire business into a new entity. The old entity has been renamed Hankook Tire Worldwide and trades under the old ISIN KR7000240002. The spin-off entity is called Hankook Tire Co. and trades under the ISIN KR7161390000.

The spin off is strange to me at least for those “specialties”:

1. Before the spin-off, the stock was suspended from Trading for ~5 weeks, from August 30th to October 5th.
2. After the spin-off, the holding company will receive royalties from the operating company

There is a very interesting report from KDB Daewoo Securities about this “korean style” spin-offs in general and Hankook in particular.

Genrally, this seems to be the result of new rules in Korea which limits cross shareholdings as a mean to control companies.

If I understood the mechanics correctly, the process in general works the following way and intends to increase the stake in the HoldCo to the highest percentage possible:

A) The OldCo is split into a HoldCo and OpCo. So the “big shareholder” holds equal percentages in both compnaies
b) in a second step, the “big shareholder” will then execute both, a rights issue and a tender offer for the holding company

In the second step as far as I understood, the HoldCo will issue new shares. The “big shareholders” will tender their OpCo shares for new HoldCo shares. As not many investors are interested in in the new HoldCo shares. the price of the Holdco will suffer.

In order to maximise their final percentage in the HoldCo, the “big shareholder” has the following incentives:
– push down the value of the HoldCo shares before the offer
– push up the value of the OpCo shares before the offer

This leads, according to the research report to the following “investment opportunities”:

buy the OpCo shares after spin off and sell before or at tender offer
– buy the HoldCo shares after the tender offer

If we look at the stock charts, at least the first step seems to work perfectly:

So the HoldCo already lost -25% since October 4th. However the second part, the increase in value of the OpCo shares didn’t really work out so well, especially after the OpCo lost ~5% market value today.

So this might be a good special opportunity to buy the OpCo shares now and maybe hedge them with a Kospi Short position.

The only practical problem with this is that Hankook shares are not listed outside Korea and it is currently not that easy to buy shares on the Korean stock exchange. Ii still did not try to open a brokerage account with a Korean broker, but maybe I Should at some point in time….

I am not sure if I should open a “paper trading” position for the portfolio. If I would really run a 10 mn fund, it would be reall making sense to open a Korean brokerage account.

To be continues…….

Spin-off watch – TNT and Cable & Wireless

Following last years oposts about spin-offs (part 1, part 2, part 3), I tried to keep track of some of the more interesting spin off situations.

TNT Express

TNT Express was the express service spin-off from the Dutch Postal company. I had them on my research pile somewhere at position 10 to 15. However on the weekend, UPS made a 9 EUR per share offer for TNT Express, roughly a 50% premium on the previously traded price.

If we look at the chart, until last week, both shares significantly underperformed the index since the spin-off happened, only TNT Express made it above the index after the offer.

The 30% stake of TNT Express which PostNL owns, has almost the same value as PostNL’s market value. So PostNL might be an interesting company to look at.

Cable and Wireless

Cable and Wirless, the UK telephone company spun off the “international” part into Cable and Wireless Worldwide in February year. The international part was supposed to be the sexy part, but due to management and accounting issues, the stock suffered.

Last week, there was the rumour that Vodafone might be interested in hte “boring” part, the UK fixed line operations. However there was no confirmation from Vodafone and so the shares didn’t manage to rise as TNT Express did.

Again, as with TNT/PostNL, both parts underperformed the index significantly, as the chart shows:

So is there something to learn form this ?

Both cases show that spin offs per se are not a sure thing at all. In the case of C&W it rather looks like a desperate measure of a desperate company. In both cases, the performance after the spin-off event was relatively bad, so there is no need to hurry aftger spin offs are executed. As with all other “special situation” investment startegies, patience is required.

European Spin-offs – Reality check part 3 (and final)

Due to overwhelming demand (ok ok, it was only wexboy asking for it), I decided to add part 3 to my series about spin-off companies (part 1, part 2) in order to focus on a longer term view.

This time I selected 143 spin offs beginning on 01.01.2001 which were completed before December 2008 in order to analyse 1, 2 and 3 year performance numbers with the goal to validate the claim that year 1 and or year 2 are always difficult for spin offs and year 3 is kind of “take off”. Again, I compared the performance to the Stoxx 600 price index.

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All Swiss Shares Part 15 – Nr. 141-150

Moving forward with another 10 almost randomly selected Swiss stocks. This time, only one stock looked interesting but in that case so interesting that I initiated a 1% starter position.


ASMALLWORLD is a 36.4 mn CHF market cap company that was IPOed in 2018 at 9,75 CHF per share, climbed to over 20 CHF and then dropped big time even pre Covid. According to their web site their are some sort of travel community, whatever that means. Life is too short and there is a big world full of more interesting stocks. “Pass”.

142. Schaffner AG

Schaffner is a 176 mn CHF small cap that seems to be active as a specialist automobile supplier and produces components for electrical systems. A third division active in “Power Magnetics” was just sold to Swedish AQ Group, a company that I covered several years ago.

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All Swiss Shares Part 13 – Nr. 121-130

Back to Switzerland with 10 “fresh” and randomly selected Swiss stocks. This time, 5 of the 10 stocks might be worth to watch after a first analysis, although I need to slim down my watch list to a more manageable number at some point in time. Enjoy !!

121. VZ Holding

VZ Holding is a 3,5 bn CHF market cap financial services company, that in contrast to most other Swíss financial companies seems to been able to create some long term value over the last years:

VZ Holding

VZ is an Asset advisor/manager and there is a very decent write-up available from Verus Capital (in German).

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All Swiss Shares Part 12 – Nr. 111-120

Half time. With this post I will have covered more than 50% of the 217 SIX listed stocks. This time only one stock made it onto the watch list. Again, I will be on vacation when this scheduled post will be published.

111. Basler Kantonalbank AG

Basler KB is another one of the Swiss regional banks. The listed stocks seem to be “participation” shares only. As the other regional banks, the stock looks cheap with a dividend yield of almost 5%.

However, as the other banks, Business has been stagnating for some time and I don’t see any scenario that looks better. “pass”.

112. Hochdorf Holding AG

Hochdorf is a 115 mn CHF market cap Dairy company that has a surprisingly exciting chart for such a boring business:

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