Value Ideas Blog
Quick news on Hornbach
    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!  
Since our last post some interesting things happened which we think are still not reflected in the share price of the Hornbach Baumarkt AG. Hornbach-Treppe   1. The representatives of Kingfisher, which had owned 25% of the common stocks of the holding and 5% of the Baumarkt shares have left the supervisory board and have sold the shares back to the family and the Baumarkt shares to institutional investors. Kingfisher is now entering the German market. But I think that was not the main reason why they sold their shares and here is a very good article of the FAZ over the reals reasons.   Kingfisher would like to target the “professional” market and not the retail sector. I think that Hornbach has a little stronger position in the professional market than in the retail sector, but in total we are not concerned about this development due to the fact that Kingfisher’s major markets are in UK and France. At the moment you can observe what happened to Tesco etc. when Aldi and Lidl entered the UK market due to the fact that the German retail market is one of the most brutal markets in the world; our players know how to play the game.   2. A few days ago Hornbach Baumarkt was announced to become a SDAX member, this will attract new investors for the share.   3. Hornbach announced incredibly good Q1 numbers. EBIT nearly doubled for the Baumarkt and same store sales increased by more than 15%, this development actually exceeds our own expectations and you can observe a really big “Schlecker effect”.   But a really interesting thing is the development and valuation gap between the holding and the Baumarkt shares. What you can observe is that the Holding nearly performed twice as good as the Baumarkt shares did. We think this is due to the fact that if a bigger fund would like to establish a position it prefers to buy into the more liquid Holding.   Hornbach   So what can be a potential catalyst to change this valuation gab? We heard some rumors from knowledgable persons that the midterm perspective of the Hornbach family, now after they solve the problem with Kingfisher, would like to merger the two companies back into one company with two different traded shares. This is a logical step for the family due to the fact that they can save the money and still hold the full control over the company. So in our opinion it is way better to hold the common shares of the Baumarkt like the family is doing it, because we think the bearer shares of the Holding AG will be switched to bearer shares in the Baumarkt AG. With this move the family will also increase the free float of the total company, with this Hornbach is a clear MDAX candidate and will enhance the stock price of the Baumarkt AG shares.   We think these facts, the development and the future potential show that our first target price of 41,2 € was quiet conservative and still implies an upside potential of around 25% for the Baumarkt Shares which would lead to the same performance which the Holding AG shares already showed. At the moment the operational performance of Hornbach also exceeds our best case scenario which results in a share price of around 50 €. All in all we are really happy with the outcome and we think that  the future which lies ahead of Hornbach is also bright.   Disclosure: Long Hornbach Baumarkt AG