Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Catalyst Investment Research- Avigen Inc

Two week's ago, Damien Park (of Hedge Fund Solutions and the Activist Investing Blog)and I announced the formation of Catalyst Investment Research, a research product that will combine shareholder activism with deep value fundamental analysis.

Click here to download a complimentary copy of our latest report, an analysis on Avigen Inc.

Annual Subscriptions (a minimum of 24 reports/year) are now available. Please message:research@hedgerelations.comif you are interested in more information.

*The author does not have positions in any of the companies mentioned. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

JG Boswell Update: 2008 Annual Report

Shares of cotton and farming giant JG Boswell, owner of an estimated 142,000 California acres, and another 30,000 in Australia, have been hit hard this year, just like most other companies. Shares can now had for $435, (if you can get them that is; average daily volume is just 322), nearly 60% below the 52 week high of $1000.

The appeal of Boswell (BWEL) is not in its farming operations, which although impressive in their own right, merely represent the current use of assets which might ultimately be much more valuable used for other purposes.

The company continues to develop its Yokohl Ranch project, a master planned community of 35,000 acres in Tulare County California which may have a 10 year life. The Eastlake project, a master planned community in Chula Vista, California is near completion.

But, as we've stated several times before, the real gem may lie beneath some of Boswell's land: massive amounts of water that may be worth several billions. ("May" being the operative word. Ultimately, in order for value to be realized, assets must be converted, or have a good probability of being converted into cash. Water is a touchy and political subject, especially in California, and given dire predictions about California agriculture by officials in the new administration.)

We recently obtained a copy of the company’s 2008 annual report, and here are the highlights for the year ended June 2008:

Current Price: $435
Current Dvd Yield: 3.2%
Quarterly Dvd: $3.50/shr
2008 Revenue: $366.494 million
Net Income: $15.31 million
Diluted EPS/shr: $15.57
Current Assets: $205.471 million
Cash: $4.451 million
Total Assets: $729.75 million
Current Liab: $218.678 million
Short Term Debt: $147.261 million
Long Term Debt: $0
Stockholders Equity: $463.349 million
Shares Out: 974,132
Book Value Per share: $475.7
Market Cap: $423.75 million
Enterprise Value: $566.7 million
Enterprise Value/California Acre: $3991 (estimated)

2008 revenue rose 8% to $366.5 million, while net income jumped 9.6% to $15.57 (fully diluted). Boswell ended the year with $147 million in short-term debt and no long-term debt. Shares currently trade at just .91 times book value, and yield 3.2%.

Based on just the California land, we estimate Enterprise Value/Acre to be about $3991, and that ignores any value in the Australian land. We continue to be intrigued by the Boswell story, especially at these prices. Buyer beware, though: Shares are difficult to obtain, information is scarce, and there is little liquidity.

*The author has a position in JG Boswell. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Announcing: Catalyst Investment Research

Damien Park, the President and CEO of Hedge Fund Solutions, LLC, a Philadelphia based firm focused on issues related to shareholder activism, and I are teaming up to launch Catalyst Investment Research, a new research product that will combine shareholder activism, with deep value fundamental analysis.

Each report will explore an interesting activist situation with a catalyst event. Damien has built a solid reputation in this area of expertise, and is a frequent speaker at related conferences. He currently offers a free weekly product, Catalyst Equity Research, which highlights current activist situations, and The Offical Activist Investing Blog.

In each case, the research will strive to provide readers with: (1) the activist's investment thesis and analysis, (2) the activist's track record for improving value in targeted companies, (3) the likelihood that the activist investor will achieve their goals in this circumstance, and (4) an in-depth analysis of the company's financial health irrespective of the activist's involvement.

For additional information about the subscription-based product email

Click Here to download a complimentary copy

Value Investing Congress West, May 5th and 6th

I'll be heading back to Pasadena in early May, to attend my fourth session of the Value Investing Congress. This has become the premier forum for value investors; an extremely well-run event that attracts quality speakers, offering compelling insights and actionable ideas. What's more, I've found the presenters to be approachable both during and after the Congress.

There's even more reason to attend this year given the markets implosion. That may sound counter-intuitive, but I believe that there's a great deal of value to be had now, for patient investors. This market has decimated some companies to the point that they've become "stupid" cheap, and there's no better event to gather intelligence from some of the greatest value investors.

The folks at The Value Investing Congress have been kind enough to extend a discount -$100 off the early bird rate for a total savings of $1300- to Cheap Stocks readers. If you are intested in attending, please click here use discount code P09CS1, which will be valid until March 15th.

Hope to see you in Pasadena!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fertile Environment For Net/Nets

As the market doldrums continue, hope springs eternal that we will hit a bottom. But, when? Investors continue to receive their daily doses of bad news, continue to see their portfolio balances diminish, and continue to lose hope; all of which is a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts, driving the markets even lower.

The new administration is not helping matters. The hope and optimism we were bombarded with during the campaign has given way to fear, uncertainty, dire predictions if certain legislation is not passed, and an almost complete lack of confidence among consumers and investors alike. There has been no bounce; the S&P 500 is down 30% since election day, and 12% since inauguration day. With all the big spending plans, Mr. Market is signaling fear that the new agenda will not have a positive outcome. Without confidence, without hope that the recession will end and that there are better days ahead, we'll continue to be whipsawed.

Meanwhile, the list of companies trading below their net current asset value continues to rise to levels we have not seen since the tech bubble burst. As of last count there were:
433 companies with market caps greater than $5 million trading below their NCAV, including:
58 above $100 million
24 above $200 million

The difference between what we are seeing now and post tech bubble, is that today's net/nets are of much higher quality then what we saw in the early 2000's. There are dozens of profitable companies, many are loaded with cash on a relative basis, and more than we've ever seen trading below 2/3 of NCAV. In the coming weeks, we'll reveal some of the more interesting names in various categories, starting with:

Top 5 Profitable Net/Nets by market Cap

Tech Data
Ticker: TECD
P/E: 7
Market Cap: $816
NCAV: $1.415 billion
Mkt Cap/NCAV: .58
Price: $16.29
Cash/Share: $7.7

Signet Jewelers
Ticker: SIG
P/E: 4
Market Cap: $641
NCAV: $977
Mkt Cap/NCAV: .66
Price: $7.51
Cash/Share: $.4

OM Group
Ticker: OM
P/E: 3
Market Cap: $450
NCAV: $492
Mkt Cap/NCAV: .91
Price: $14.78
Cash/Share: $8.11

K-Swiss Inc
Ticker: KSWS
P/E: 10
Market Cap: $335
NCAV: $353
Mkt Cap/NCAV: .93
Price: $9.57
Cash/Share: $8.4

Ticker: SKX
P/E: 5
Market Cap: $277
NCAV: $303
Mkt Cap/NCAV: .91
Price: $5.98
Cash/Share: $2.5

*The author does not have positions in any of the companies mentioned. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only. The author will not trade any of the securities mentioned (buy, sell, short) for at least two weeks
following the date of this post.