October 13, 2008
One last post about Greenlight Capital’s letter to investors. Below is a excert about Porsche AG, who holds a 35% interest in Volkswagen, an investment that is larger than Porsche’s current market cap.
The PAH3 stub (symbol formerly POR) fell sharply during the quarter, as PAH3 increased its stake in Volkswagen from ~30% to ~35% and the state of Lower Saxony postured that it would consider increasing its stake from ~20% to ~25% in order to keep its veto rights if the European Union deemed that this was necessary. We believe that these actions are providing an artificial bid for Volkswagen shares in the market place. We also suspect the stub value suffered due to liquidations by other funds including a certain failed investment bank that market participants believe held the stub. On a fundamental basis, we believe that Volkswagen is highly overvalued at 21 times estimated 2009 EPS, more than twice the multiple of its peer group.
PAH3’s market cap is €13.3 billion and it has €4.2 billion of net debt. At current market prices, the company’s 35% interest in Volkswagen is worth €28.9 billion.
October 7, 2008
Excerpt from Greenlight Capital’s recent letter to investors which talks about Punch Taverns (PUB).
PUB is an operator and lessor of over 8,000 pubs in the United Kingdom. Approximately 875 are owned and operated, and 7,500 are leased to live-in long term lessors. PUB charges “dry rent” equal to 50% of the estimated 5-year average of pre-rent profits and “wet rent” of markup In beer. Lessors are required to buy all their beer from PUB, which PUB sells at a markup, acting as a distributor from the brewers. U.K. pubs are suffering from the initiation of the U.K. wide smoking ban, supermarkets’ aggressive beer discounting, and the U.K. consumer crunch. We believe the franchise model creates high margin revenues with low volatility. In addition, it appears the stock is under pressure because the market misunderstands PUBs debt structure. PUB has three debt securitizations, each structured to pay down incrementally between now and 2036 without needing to be refinanced. In addition, PUB has £283 million of convertible debt at the parent company due December 2010. During the quarter, the market began pricing in a high risk of default or cash trapping within the securitizations. In addition, PUB announced its intention not to pay a final dividend for fiscal year 2008 to conserve cash at the parent company. The market took PUB’s conservatism as a sign of potential cash flow problems regarding the debt and began pricing in an equity issuance to pay down the convertibles. Based on conversations with the company and analysis of the debt documents, Greenlight believes PUB has the flexibility to manage its securitizations without a liquidity crunch, even in a difficult period for pubs. PUB is likely to use the cash savings from the cancelled dividend to pay down some of its debt early. We do not think the chances of an equity issuance are high. Greenlight initiated the position at £2.83 or less than 4x estimated 2008 profits. PUB shares ended the quarter at £1.32 (you do the multiple).
Valuecruncher seems to agree putting a valuation of £5.25 / share on the PUB
October 7, 2008
Excerpt from Greenlight Capital’s recent letter to investors which talks about the Dr Pepper (DPS) spinoff.
DPS was spun off from U.K. based Cadbury PLC in May 2008. The Partnerships established their position at an average price of $23.84, which represents 12x estimated 2008 earnings. DPS exhibited many of the characteristics we have seen in successful spinoff investments, including favorable management incentives (which were struck while market participants were still wondering how bad the company’s initial outlook might be in the difficult industry environment), systematic selling by U.K. shareholders more interested in the global confectionary business and less so in the U.S. beverage business, and a conservative management posture. DPS is the third largest liquid refreshment beverage company in the Americas, with a portfolio of 50 brands including Dr. Pepper, Canada Dry, 7-Up and Snapple. The company is a combination of a high-margin concentrate business (like Coke and Pepsi, which trade at 17x earnings) and lower-margin and more capital-intensive bottling and distribution operations (like Coca Cola Enterprises and Pepsi Bottling Group, which trade at 12x earnings). While the market seems to apply a discount for its bottling ownership, we believe that an integrated model affords DPS the opportunity to expand distribution of its underrepresented and newly-launched brands. Over time, DPS has the potential to generate meaningful earnings growth through new product extensions, increased use of its distribution capacity, further cost reduction, and increased exposure to single serve channels, where it is currently underrepresented. DPS shares ended the quarter at $26.48.
Other bloggers have posted on the DPS spinoff previously:
Gurufocus (which tracks investments by funds) points out that Greenlight have invested 6% of their fund in DPS.
October 7, 2008
Dealbreaker has posted four investor letters from prominent hedge funds, the letter from Greenlight Capital (pdf) grabbed my attention.
It contains lots of great investment ideas, following this post I will share what I think are the two best ideas mentioned.