Archive for February, 2013

Markel and Alterra shareholders “overwhelmingly” approved the acquisition

February 27th, 2013 Comments off

Shareholders of Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) and of Alterra Capital Holdings (NASDAQ: ALTE) approved “overwhelmingly” the acquisition of Alterra by Markel which in reality has more the character of a merger than an outright acquisition!

Markel’s share price which suffered a lot after announcing the planned acquisition in December recovered since then.

But at yesterday’s closing price of $ 492.16 Markel is still valued at only 1.2 times their December 2012 book value per share of $ 403.85 and the post acquisition combined price/book value per share doesn’t look very different.

So why not snap up some shares at this cheap price?

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Colfax FY 2012: integrating and restructuring in a difficult economic environment

February 15th, 2013 Comments off

The 2012 results of Colfax Corp. (NYSE.CFX) are a mixed picture:

Everything the company can influence they did well:

restructuring, streamlining and integrating the acquired companies.

As CEO Simms explains: “We were extremely pleased with the performance of our Soldexa acquisition in November and December, which contributed over $3 million in operating profit before transaction costs and acquisition accounting items totaling $5 million.”

And he continues: “our working capital performance in the fourth quarter was outstanding. We generated $163 million in operating cash flow in the quarter. Inventory balances were reduced by $56 million, accounts payable increased by $56 million and a significant improvement in construction contract funding was achieved. This accomplishment was broad-based across all 3 businesses and shows what focused application of the CBS tools can deliver.”

But the economic environment remained difficult in 2012:

Most of the ESAB regions continued to experience relatively soft demand consistent with the third quarter due to the weakening of the global economic environment. As discussed on last quarter’s call, we expect a slight decline in operating margins at ESAB as we planned a number of factory shutdowns for December.

But there are also positive signs:

Colfax’ backlog was a strong $1.4 billion at year end. Their book-to-bill ratio for the fourth quarter at 1.01:1 was stronger than the typical fourth quarter.

They saw strong bookings in the gas-handling business, unfortunateley offset by continued weakness in fluid-handling.

So what do these results mean for investors?

The management team is working hard to improve the group’s effectiveness implementing their „Colfax Business System (CBS)” and they are very successful at doing it!

We can expect improving margins and strong cash flow numbers over time.

They are well positioned in a number of industrial markets and when they economy improves they will profit immediately!

Colfax share at yesterday’s closing of $ 42.25 is valued at a p/e of 23 as analysts expect EPS of $ 1.82  in FY 2013.

To me this seems to be a „buy” on weaknesses!

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Colfax Corp. FY 2012 Conference Call Transcript

February 6th, 2013 Comments off

Seeking Alpha published the transcript of today’s Conference Call to discuss their FY 2012 results!

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Colfax released its FY 2012 results!

February 6th, 2013 Comments off

Colfax Corp. (NYSE:CFX) has just released its FY 2012 financial results!

They beat the consensus estimate by $ 0.03 and missed slightly on the revenue side!

Have a look!

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3 points from Markel’s conference call

February 6th, 2013 Comments off

After having read the Conference Call transcript I just want to highlight 3 points here:

1. – Markel Ventures

Markel’s total year-to-date operating revenues grew 14% to $3 billion in 2012 from $2.6 billion in 2011. The increase is due to 9% increase in revenues from their insurance operations and a remarkable 54% increase in revenue from the non-insurance operations, which they call Markel Ventures.

In 2012, year-to-date revenue for Markel Ventures were $489 million compared to $318 million in 2011. Year-to-date net income for shareholders from Markel Ventures was $13.5 million in 2012 as compared to $7.7 million in 2011

These strong numbers reflect the rapidly growing importance of their non-insurance operations „Markel Ventures”!

… Watch out: Mini-Berkshire at work!

2. – The Alterra deal:

They just gave some information about the next steps:

The shareholders’ votes are scheduled for February 26th.

They are in the process of obtaining regulatory approvals and they believe that this transaction could close as early as April 2013.

3. – Markel’s long term strategy once again plays out in their investment results:

As in 2012 „the total investment return of the portfolio was 9% whereas 19.6% the equity investment and 5.1% on their fixed income portfolio”, this is only an example of their long term strategy:

Over the last 23 years, they have earned nearly 200 basis points of excess return per year compared to the S&P 500 Index on the equity investments and they earned more than 350 basis points of excess return from their equities compared to the Barclay’s Aggregate Fixed Income Index.

Markel’s share price yesterday closed at $ 488.69 which translates into a price/book ratio of just 1.2 !

You should consider to join insiders buying shares at this rather cheap price!

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Markel’s FY 2012 conference call

February 6th, 2013 Comments off
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Markel reports 2012 Financial Results

February 5th, 2013 Comments off

Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL) today reported its FY 2012 results!

Diluted net income per share was $25.89 in 2012 compared to $14.60 in 2011.

Despite hurricane Sandy which cost $107.4 million or five points of underwriting loss in the 4th quarter, the 2012 combined ratio improved to 97% compared to 102% in 2011.

Book value per common share outstanding , the very important metric in the insurance industry, increased 15% to $403.85 up from $352.10 at the end of 2011.

Let’s wait for the conference call to possibly get some news about the “Alterra deal”!

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