úterý 11. března 2014

Russian Crises Presents an Investment Opportunity

Russia - Next Big Opportunity

Buy when others are fearful is good advice by Warren Buffet. If you are looking for situations like this than you should look at Russian equities. Since the Ukraine crises the Russian equities sold off sharply. And I believe that unless the situation dramatically changes (Russia invading other parts of Ukraine) we might see a bottom of the valuations this week.

Putin cares about his image. He invested 50 bln USD at the Sochi event to promote his and Russia image abroad. And I believe that he was quite surprised by the West reaction to his Ukrainian adventure. Until now he got away with everything - defaulting on his debt, almost eliminating Chechnya from the map, and steeling part of Georgia territory. West did not move much. He is surprised it is different this time. Now he has ruined his image in the West and equally importantly he scared all his former USSR allies, such as Belarus and Kazakhstan, who were integrating their economies with Russia. He runs a big domestic propaganda that he got Crimea and he can not back away from it. What will he do now?

1. Until the referendum there will be no talks between Russia and Ukraine or allies. Russians have nothing to talk about, as they are going to steal their neighbor's territory. West can not do anything, sanctions would backfire due to highly globalised world.

2. After the referendum the negotiations will begin. Russia will try to legalize the stealing of Crimea and will be offering recognition of Ukraine government in exchange. Ukrainians have given up on Crimea, they had to subsidise it heavily every year and the place never integrated. Ukraine is concerned about further attack and will after some dances find an agreement with Russians.

3. It will be a lengthy process. I believe that once the direct negotiations between Ukraine and Russia begin the Russian equity market will start to go up, as the markets will take the risk as significantly decreased.

I have started to build up my portfolio. My Russian favorites are Mail.ru, Yandex, Alrosa and Epam Systems.

Disclosure: I am long YNDX, EPAM, MLRUY.

pondělí 9. prosince 2013

How To Make Money On KPN - Vote For Abolishing Of The KPN Foundation

How To Make Money On KPN - Vote For Abolishing Of The KPN Foundation

KPN is having a shareholder meeting on January 10. The reason for the meeting is (i) to cancel the shares issued to the KPN foundation, (ii) to reduce the subscription price for future share issues executed for the foundation.
If you are a shareholder and if you want to make money on your KPN shareholding than press the company to abolish the foundation. The share price will jump up immediately.
The reasons for this are very simple:
1. There is no value to KPN shareholders to be prevented from making a choice on a takeover bid. To the opposite the shareholders will value the option to make the choice. The valuation of this right is simple - it has a value of a put option. There is no reason for the shareholders to give up this value.
2. The foundation is expensive - KPN pays interest on the shares it issues to the foundation. The interest payment is not small - it has to cover the foundation´s funding costs for the purchase of the shares and its related operation costs. Further, the costs are tax non-deductible for KPN - the interest costs are paid from after tax profits. These money belongs to the shareholders of KPN. And the amounts are not small. The foundation borrowed 252 mln EUR to purchase the shares.
3. The foundation is value destructive - the only beneficiary of the foundation mechanism is the management. As stated by the foundation chairman the foundation acted because the AM submitted the takeover offer without first striking a relationship agreement with the KPN management. With the management, which oversaw 75% value drop in KPN shares over the last 12 months prior to the offer, one of the worst performances in the industry. The management deserved to be fired. The foundation acted to protect their positions. This is wrong in principle and it is value destructive.
In his press conference the foundation chairman Mr Jacques Schraven stated, that "In football the rules in the Netherlands and Mexico are the same, but it is not football." The point here is that Mr Schraven rules are wrong and should be abolished. Everywhere. It is time to liquidate the foundation and let Mr Schraven watch his favourite game without KPN shareholders paying the bill. It may not help Mr Schraven, but it will certainly help the KPN share price.

pátek 6. prosince 2013

40% Annualized Return Idea From RBS Fixed income Investment

This article aims to show how to make money from Capital Revolution (my own term) which EU banks will go through in 2014.

The opportunities arise form the new EU banking regulation, namely CRD IV (Capital Requirement Directive IV) that comes into effect on 1 January 2014. In simplification CRD IV will limit the use of grandfathered (issued before 20 July 2011) capital instruments) mainly preferred shares and subordinated instruments) as bank regulatory capital. From 2014 the banks would be allowed to count only 80% of those instruments as bank capital. Each subsequent year until 2022 the limit for recognising grandfathered instruments as bank capital would decrease by further 10% per year.

This regulation in substance will have two capital markets implications:

1. we will see an avalanche of new generation of hybrid instruments called contingent convertible bonds (so called CoCo) to be issued by the EU banks to boos their capital ratios and to replace grandfathered instruments by the banks to reduce its funding costs

2. we will see a waive of buybacks of grandfathered instruments.

When preferred shares cease to be eligible for recognition as bank capital it will remain just an expensive form of debt. There are two main reasons: (I) preferred shares have lower seniority than bank debt and therefore investors require higher yield, (ii) preference dividends are paid from after tax profits while debt interest is paid from profit before tax.

It makes no sense for the banks to retain preferred shares if they loose their capital status. The banks will buy them out. The banks will have two options how to buy them - call them at nominal or buy them back at market in LME (Liquidity Management Exercise), which is a sophisticated name for tender offer. The tender offer would in my experience have to be at about 10% premium above market price. It could be in cash or though an exchange offer to Coco instruments. In each case the purchase will be above market price. The trick is to find the right instruments that are most likely to be repurchased.

My most favourite instruments are RBS Preferred Shares Type G, I, E (tickers RBS PRG, RBS PRE and RBS PRI). All three of them are preferred instruments issued by ABN Amro (now called RBS N.V.) before its takeover by RBS plc. They are still in former ABN Amro entity, which has capital ratio of 24.9% as of 30 June 2013. The entity has more capital than it needs to and than is common. These instruments would be candidates for repurchase even now before the new rules and the new rules just give an additional incentive. When the new rules come into effect at least part of those issues would become uncountable as capital. RBS is here therefore in a situation:

- it needs new capital in the UK RBS plc entity

- it has surplus capital in the former ABN Amro entity

- part of this capital can not be counted by capital even in ABN Amro entity

It is very likely that these instruments would be called. The instruments have nominal of 25 USD while trading 21.3 - 21.8 USD. If called at nominal the investor would make 15% premium to current market prices. Meanwhile the instruments yield around 7% p.a. If you assume that the instruments would be called in the first half of 2014, than the total return would be around 20%, which is 40% annualised return. Not bad for fixed income investment.