Value Ideas Blog
Hargreaves Services PLC, a diamond in the mud?

Disclaimer: This is not an investment advice, please do your own research and don’t follow anyone blindly. Furthermore, it has to be mentioned that the author don’t have a position in Hargreaves but affiliated parties may have. Thus they participate if the share price increases. Additionally, the author and related parties may sell their shares without further notice.

 

We wrote about Hargreaves two times in the past, since then the stock price tanked another 50%. Here you can find the first and the second writeup about the company. In the meantime, we visited the company in the UK and more recently, Hargreaves published a trading update in which it basically revealed all cash which can potentially be realised within the next 5 years. After this update the share price rose ~20% within a couple of days.

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Disclaimer: This is not an investment advice, please do your own research and don’t follow anyone blindly. Furthermore, it has to be mentioned that the author and related parties are long-term shareholders of S&T AG for many years and thus participate if the share price increases. Additionally, the author and related parties may sell their shares without further notice. As this post is already extremely long, I will write another one for the Smart-Energy business.

 

1. Executive Summary

1.1. Business

  S&T AG (‘SnT’) is an Austrian company active in three different markets.

  1. IT Consulting and System House
  2. Niche market Security Appliances
  3. Hardware & software products for Smart Energy

Today, the System house activity stands for over 80% of revenue and is used to cross sell S&Ts smart energy & security Appliances. In the system house division S&T offers IT and ERP implementation services but also outsources the whole IT-Infrastructure of customers. The regional scope of S&T is focused on Eastern Europe and Russia. Major clients are governments and big companies like Skoda and Mikros.

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Today we would like to provide further insides into our hidden Asset valuation of Hargreaves Services plc, where a friend of us, Daniel Gilcher helped us.   According to the annual report of 2014 the book value of land assets are carried at cost: 8,418m GBP. The problem is, that we don’t have a lot available information on the different land patches across the country nor the status and information of the plan projects.     Her is what we know: Where the old mines are and that 300 acres (1% of overall land) is developed towards a residential area. A minimum of 1600 housing units will be erected. The cost for development remains unknown. Please see below the landbank of Hargreaves around Edinburgh.   land portfolio around Edinburgh And in the next picture the landbank around Westfield. read more

Today I would like to present you a company which pops up in nearly every value screener which we use and is already well known by some value investors (the result below is from the quant investing screener):

 

QuantInvesting

 

I’m talking about Hargreaves Services Plc. (OTCMKTS: HGRVF), which was founded in 1994 with the acquisition of a haulage business from RJB Mining plc which consisted out of 20 trucks and simply hauled coal around. But we will come to the history of Hargreaves later in the text. Recently the share price has tanked to just below 3 GBP which is far away from its old high of 2012.  So the question is what happened? First in 2011 and 2012 some company specific news hit the share price when Hargreaves discovered in the year of 2011 that its Maltby coal mine had geo-structural issues and had to be mothballed. Later Hargreaves discovered a fraud in their Belgian operations, and took a GBP 17.7m write-down. You can see this development quite nicely in the share price development of that time. Than in 2013  many value investors found the company, it was pitched 2 times in Omaha, and called for an entry which ends in a share price stabilisation in the year of 2013 to 2014.

 

Hargreaves

 

In the same time the coal price collapsed from its high in the year of 2011, when one tonne of coal was traded at around 130 Dollar to  now 58 Dollar. As coal mining companies are normally dependent on the coal price this is the explanation for the collapse of the stockrpice of Hargreaves.

 

Coal Price

 

But Hargreaves is not a simple coal mine. The key to Hargreaves business model lies in its history.  Especially the 1990’s  where from importans for Hargreaves, when it continued to grow organically and bought further haulage operations. At the start of the millennium, Hargreaves Waste Services was founded and haulage diversified to hauling waste. Gordon Banham, the current CEO joined the group in 2001 and began a strategy of diversifying into higher value services.

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    Today Hornbach announced that they consider changing the legal structure of the Holding into a KGaA. You can find the news here. The Baumarkt AG of which we are shareholders should not get affected by this considered change. This announcement happened shortly after the change of the CEO of the Group.   We don’t like above mentioned news due to the fact that the CEO has done a good work and that the change in the legal status to an KGaA can lead to a decrease of shareholder rights which we have already observed at STO KGaA SE (you can find our analysis here and here). But as we are not affected by the change of the legal status, no detailed information is yet available and because we think that this is only the first step to reach full controlled over the Baumarkt AG we stay long Hornbach Baumarkt AG.   Also, as you might have noticed, our posts have become a little less frequent recently. We apologize for this and promise improvement!  
This is a rather unusual post for us, because it’s event-driven. Carmat S.A. is a 2008 founded company that produces advanced biological materials. The founder of the company is the 80 year-old surgeon Alain Carpentier who invented the scientific Carpentier-Edwards ® heart valves in the year 1968, which are the most used in the world. The company describes itself with the words: Carmat S.A. is the designer and developer of the world’s most advanced total artificial heart project, providing an alternative for people suffering from end-stage heart failure. Due to the company this disease currently affects over 100 000 patients in developed countries.   The first implantation of the Carmat S.A. bioprosthetic artificial heart in a human was performed on December 18, 2013 at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, by the medical-surgical team headed by Professor Alain Carpentier and consisting of Professors Christian Latrémouille (HEGP), Daniel Duveau (Nantes University Hospital), Bernard Cholley (HEGP) and Doctor Denis Méléard (HEGP). Today the newspaper reported that the first client died 75 days after the surgery. That led to a trading stop of the stock. read more