Markel just released its 13F Holding Report

November 12th, 2014 Comments off

Markel Corp. (NYSE: MKL) just released its 13F Holding Report which they filed with the SEC.

As always this is a very interesting filing!

It reveals in which shares of public companies CIO Thomas Gayner is invested in in order to achieve his above average investment results!

Of course this does not include “Markel Ventures” which invests exclusively in privately held companies.

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Markel needs to improve Markel Ventures!

November 8th, 2014 Comments off

Markel Corp. (NYSE: MKL) released its Q3 2014 results and the 10Q.
As usual the transcript of the conference call has been published by Seeking Alpha.

So what’s the picture?
Book value per share, perhaps the single most important metric in the insurance business is up 8% year to date at $514.06

All three insurance segments — U.S., international, and reinsurance — made an underwriting profit with an overall combined ratio of 97% and they continued to align the legacy Alterra reserves with the Markel’s reserving philosophies.

Equity investments returned 7.3% and fixed income 4.5%, for an average return of 5.2% over the 9 months period which is pretty good.
During the quarter, Markel added $300 million to its equity portfolio, which now stands at 52% of shareholder equity, up from 48% at the end of 2013.
Markel will gradually increase the equity percentage of their holdings over the next months which means better investment returns over the long term but at the same time also more volatility.

But what a contrast to the results of Markel Ventures:
This non-insurance division had revenues of $595 million in the nine month period, up from $486 million in the corresponding period last year but net earnings were a meager 2.7%
Management emphasizes that the more important metrix to watch is EBITDA but as we all know this backs out depreciation which is a real cost!

Markel Ventures purchased Cottrell Industries, the leading manufacturer of car holding trailers and equipment during the quarter.

As CIO Thomas Gayner pointed out we’ll see more from Cottrell as well as the rest of the Markel Ventures companies in the fourth quarter.

We certainly have to watch closely within three months!

Markel Ventures is designed after Berkshire Hathaway but in order to match this success story or even get up to the profitability of the investments within the Markel insurance divisions they need to improve dramatically!

At book value/share of $514.06 and at yesterday’s closing price of $701.89 Markel is valued at a price/book ratio of 1.4
As a price/book of 1.5 times is surely justified for this high quality company, the share price will eventually rise to $771 over the next months.

Although not a discount at today’s price Markel certainly remains a buy as a long term investment!

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Markel released its Q3 2014 Earnings!

November 6th, 2014 Comments off

Markel Corp. (NYSE: MKL) released its Q3 2014 earnings.

Book value/common share came in at $514.06 up 8% from $477.16 at December 31, 2013

Have a look!

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Colfax marches on!

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

Q3 2014 was a disappointing quarter for this successful company.

Colfax (NYSE: CFX) is working in a still difficult macroeconomic environment.

The earnings release you can find here and the Conference call transcript as always was published by Seekingalpha.

Results were short of expectation. Demand remained soft in both segments, the gas and fluid handling and in the fabrication segment, and margins were below expectations in fabrication technology as CEO Steve Simms pointed our on the conference call.

Total net sales came in at $1.160 billion, an increase of 15% over the same period last year. This consists of 20% growth from acquisitions and negative 1% impact from foreign exchange, resulting in an organic decline of 4%.

As a consequence Colfax is lowering their guidance range for 2014:
They now expect full year revenue to be between $4.675 billion and $4.725 billion and adjusted EPS to fall in the range from $2.11 to $2.18.

But the general outlook given by Steve Simms was rather upbeat:
The new fluid handling management team has executed a restructuring program and the order rate at their high-margin services business has continued to strengthen.

Each of their businesses will be reducing 2015 costs in response to the current demand environment.

And arguably the most important hint came at last:
„We continue to aggressively pursue strategic acquisition. Our M&A pipeline is extremely robust with numerous active projects as well as many strong prospects for 2015.“

Don’t forget that part of Colfax business model is the successful acquisition and integration of new businesses into the existing organisation.
So stay tuned for more on this front!

Colfax stock yesterday closed at $ 54.03 . This translates into a p/e ratio FY 2014 of 26 with respect to the lower end of guidance.

Colfax is only temporarely slowed down by the macroeconomic environment.

The stock remains a buy on weak days like these!

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Colfax released its Q3 2014 results

October 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Colfax Corp. (NYSE: CFX) just released its Q3 2014 results which missed earnings and revenue expectations.

Have a look!

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Is Colfax a buying opportunity?

September 18th, 2014 Comments off

Investors in Colfax Corp. (NYSE: CFX) learned something new in the past months: weakness of the stock price!

After the company missed expectations in their Q2 2014 results due to weakness in some of their markets the stock price receded from an all time high of $75.37 down to less than $62 in these days.
Is it a buying opportunity? Insiders think so and bought on several occasions within the last months.
Colfax stock certainly is not cheap but it never was all the way up to ten-bagger status for readers of this blog! Today it is trading at a p/e FY 2015 of 20.

The fluid handling market will recover and Colfax business model of permanent improvement of their operations together with the successful integration of acquired businesses is working better than ever.
Expect above average growth potential which justifies an above average price of Colfax stock!

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Markel – steady as it goes

August 11th, 2014 Comments off

Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) released its Q2 2014 results.

The conference call transcript as always is made available by Seeking Alpha.

The insurance group reported book value per common share outstanding of $511.28 at June 30, 2014, up 7% from $477.16 at December 31, 2013.

The combined ratio was 101% for the second quarter of 2014 compared to 103% for the second quarter of 2013. The combined ratio was 98% for both the six months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013.

Markel made very good progress integrating the Alterra and the Hagerty Insurance acquisitions which explains that total operating revenues grew 35% to $2.5 billion in 2014 compared to $1.9 billion in the first half of 2013 and earned premiums increased 42% to $1.9 billion.

Excellent news came from their investment activity:

During the first half of 2014, the total return from the portfolio was 4.6% with equities up 8.6% and fixed income up 3.5% Recasting of the investment portfolio they picked up in the Alterra acquisition is largely complete. They have reset the fixed income portfolio, largely eliminated the high cost alternative investment activities and continued the process of building up the equity investments. Equities now represent 51% of shareholders’ equity up from 48% at year end and this percentage will continue to climb over the next years.

Perhaps the most interesting comments were made on „Markel Ventures“:

The contribution from this segment is still rather poor.

During the first six months of 2014, revenues from Markel Ventures were $355 million compared to $314 million a year ago. Net income to shareholders from Markel Ventures was just over $5 million in 2014 compared to $10.5 million for the same period in 2013.

As chief investment officer Thomas Gayner explains the manufacturing operations within the Ventures Group are lumpy businesses where big orders come irregularly and make a big difference on the bottom-line

Therefore they set high hopes into the Cottrell acquistion, the leading manufacturer of car hauling in the US.

The initial consideration for Cottrell is $130 million and this is the largest transaction yet for Markel Ventures.

With this addition, revenues of the Markel Ventures companies will now round to $1 billion, about 20% of Markels total revenues and they expect double-digit EBITDA profitability.

The market reacted negatively to these results and the stock fell to $ 632. But we are convinced that patient investors will be rewarded over the long term.

Fortunately Markel does not only depend of their insurance results. The investment portfolio especially the equity part is very promising and key to further development will be „Markel Ventures“ ability to acquire companies like Cottrell! Markel’s stock trades at a price/book ratio of only 1.2 ! That’s not expensive at all – Markel remains a buy!

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100% elektrisch – fahren Sie mal Probe mit der Zukunft!

July 30th, 2014 Comments off

Anlässlich einer Road Show von Tesla Motors machten wir eine Probefahrt mit dem Tesla Model S: Ein toller Eindruck!

Nicht nur das wir jetzt verstehen, warum dieses Auto die besten Kundenbeurteilungen erhält, und zwar von allen Autos seiner Klasse, nicht nur den elektrischen. Hier ist ja im Internet schon viel diskutiert und beschrieben worden.

Es ist auch ein spannendes Gefühl, wie unmittelbar der Wagen auf das Gasgeben eh.. ich meine Watt geben reagiert, nicht die geringste Verzögerung wie sie bei Diesel- oder Benzinfahrzeugen normal ist.

Völlig neu ist auch die Beziehung Hersteller – Kunde! Tesla Motors verkauft seine Fahrzeuge direkt ohne Händler an die Kunden.

Zum ersten Mal hat hier der Kunde das Gefühl, der Automobilhersteller interessiert sich weiter für den Kunden, wenn einmal der Wagen gekauft ist!

Tesla Motors (NMS: TSLA) wird morgen über seine Q2 2014 Zahlen berichten. Möglicherweise gibt es auch schon neuere Informationen zum Bau der Gigafactory für Batterien. Interessant wird es in jedem Fall!


Hier kommt der neue Ess-Trend!

July 28th, 2014 Comments off

Zwei zufriedene Kunden (.. naja … genauer gesagt eine, die Kleine ernährt sich noch aussschliesslich von Milch …) kommen gerade aus dem letztes Jahr eröffneten Chipotle Mexican Grill im Frankfurter Skyline Plaza Shopping Center!

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) ist Vorreiter in der Welle des “Sich gesünder ernähren” und verwendet nur Fleisch von natürlich aufgezogenen Tieren, eben “Food with Integrity”.

Ausserdem sind seine Lokale architektonisch chic und bieten bequemere Sitzmöglichkeiten als beispielsweise McDonalds und repräsentieren den neuen Typ des “Fast Casual Restaurant” im Unterschied zum herkömmlichen “Fast Food”!

In Europa kann man diese Kette erst in London (3 Restaurants), Paris und Frankfurt/M. (je 1 Restaurant) ausprobieren.

Also, wer in einer dieser Städte ist, nichts wie ‘rein und testen!

Chipotle Mexican Grill hat gerade phänomenale Q2 2014 Zahlen vorgelegt, worauf die Aktie einen kräftigen Sprung nach oben gemacht hat und leider jetzt nicht ganz billig ist!

Aber mit Geduld kommt sicher noch ein besserer Einstiegszeitpunkt, um bei diesem wichtigen Trend unserer Zeit auch als Investor dabei zu sein!

Colfax Q2 2014 results were slightly disappointing but the big picture hasn’t changed!

July 21st, 2014 Comments off

Colfax Corp. (NYSE: CFX) the industrial manufacturing and fluid handling company released its Q2 2014 results which came in a bit short of analysts expectaions.

Adjusted net income per share were $0.48 and net sales increased 11.7% to $1.199 billion but declined organically by 5.0%.

As always Seeking Alpha published the conference call transcript.

There were weeknesses due to soft demand in welding and pumping markets, as well as certain issues in fluid handling as CEO Steven E. Simms pointed out but the recent acquisitions performed generally in line with expectations.

So how did Colfax react to these difficult markets? They applied their Colfax Business System (CBS) tools in a rigorous way to realize additional cost savings.

At the Vamberk site in the Czech republic e.g. the ESAB business established an electronic pool system delivers direct to the customer, bypassing any warehouse or distribution centers.

Nevertheless for the balance of the year Colfax decided to reduce their 2014 guidance because sales in the fabrication technology and in the fluid handling business were below expectations.

But don’t get confused or disappointed!

All this means only temporary weekness for Colfax and as some of their markets are a bit soft they continue to apply their CBS tools and reduce costs more rigorously than ever!

Their balance sheet is strong, the debt level is reasonable. This enables them to continue to acquire and integrate opportunistically when occasions arise.

Colfax share price ended Friday at $ 67.67

Colfax is a buy for the long term investor even if it is not exactly cheap … but quality rarely is!

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