Monday, May 27, 2024

All Belgian Shares part 3 – Nr. 41-60

Another month, another 20 randomly selected Belgian shares. This time, I found 3 stocks worth watching. The Expert Market so far is quite disappointing, but let’s see if there is maybe a gem or two among all the other stuff.

41. BPost

BPost with a market cap of 700 mn EUR seems to be the former state monopoly mail and parcel company in Belgium which is still majority owned by the Belgian Government. The stock looks cheap, but looking at the share price it seems to be more like a melting ice cube. Operating margins have been declining from 18% in 2013 to 5% in 2023.

As I try to avoid Government owned companies in general, I’ll “pass” despite an 11% dividend yield.

42. Brouwerij Handelsmaatschappij NV

This one is a brewery with a market cap of 146 mn EUR. Looking at the Chat, things don’t look so great:

The main reason is that the company has been making losses for 3 out of the 4 last years. Although they seem to offer a wide range of interesting beverages and Belgian Beer is legendary, this does not seem to turn into commercial success.

82% of the shares are hold by a family. Nevertheless, doesn’t look like a financially interesting investment, “pass”.

43. What’s Cooking Group NV

What’s Cooking Group is the new name of Ter Beke, a food producer that produces different sorts of meat products and ready made meals.

The stock is on a downwards trend since 2017 with a small recent bump:

The stock looks quite cheap at 10x P(E and 4x EV/EBITDA. They had some top line growth in the last years but margins deteriorated. Operating margins are razor thin at around 1-2%. The company pays out all its earnings as dividends.

Cash flow looks significantly better, on top of the dividend, they managed to significantly reduce debt over the past years. Overall, that seems to have been a hangover from an acquisition spree in 2017.

Somehow it seems to be an interesting story that I want to look at closer, so “watch”.

44. Charbonnier Du Bonnier (Expert Market)

This Expert Market stock seems to have been an actual coal mine. According to Wikipedia, there seem to be now apartments on the site. Although the stock was traded in 2020, I didn’t find any financial information or even a website. “Pass”.

45. Proximus

Proximus is the 2,5 bn market cap former Belgacom. Asother traditional Belgian companies, they clearly have seen better days as the chart shows:

The stock is very cheap, but the have some debt. Margins have been shrinking for many years and have halved over the last 10 years.

The company pays out its earnings as dividends but no share buy backs. Overall, this looks more like a melting ice cube, “pass”.

46. DEXIA (Expert Market)

Dexia seems to be the remainder of the Belgian Bank that needed to be rescued by the Belgian and French Government. The company seems to be in run-off and is owned 99,6% by the Government. The stock traded last in 2020 but I’ll “pass” happily.

47. Immo Mechelen City Center Naamloze vennootschap

Finally the first real estate company in this batch. It has a market cap of 13 mn EUR and seems to offer these Belgian style real estate certificates. Not a business a do understand, “pass”.

48. DMS Imaging Group

DMS Imaging is a 31 mn market cap penny stock that “engages in the design, development, and manufacturing of medical imaging systems for digital radiology and bone densitometry in Belgium”. The company seems to have some sales but has been loss making for many years and the share price is flatlining. Not my type of company, “pass”.

49. IEP Invest

According to Euronext, IEP is a 50 mn EUR market cap company that has a 67.25% share in the listed real estate development company. “Pass”.

50. Accentis

Stepping out of the random order, Accentis itself has a market cap of 38 mn EUR and seems to develop or own real estate in Belgium and Germany.

Also nothing to see for me here, “pass”.

51. Van Genechten (Expert Market)

Van Genechten is an Expert Market stock that seems to have never traded in recent history. it seems to be a printing/packaging company. “Pass”.

52. DEME Group

DEME is a 3,4 bn market cap Marine Engineering company. Here I make my life a little bit easier, so I just link to my write-up from November 8th 2023. This was one of my better timed investments.

53. Grottes de Han-Sur-Lesse et de Rochefort SA (Expert Market)

This Expert Market stock actually traded a  little until 2017 and seems to be a Wildlife park plus Museum in Belgium. It sounds like a cool place to visit, but I didn’t find any financial information. “Pass”.

54. Abattoir (Expert Market)

Abattoir is an Expert MArket stock that traded last in 2017. “Pass”.

55. Smartphoto Group

Smartphoto Group is a 99 mn EUR market cap company that seems to offer persoolaized photobooks like German CEWE Color but also a range of other gifts.

As other similar business, they have benefitted from Covid, but seem to have been able to keep that level of business. The latest trading statement shows quite OK 2023 numbers and they seem to have a significant net cash position. 

Adjusting for the cash, this company looks quite cheap for a decent quality business, “watch”.

56. OZ Group (Expert Market)

Although listed as OZ Group on the Expert Amrket, Euronext gives this description:

Ice Concept specializes in leasing and selling refrigerated vehicles (panel truck, semi-trailers, tractors, etc.). The company also offers vehicle servicing, repair, and maintenance services, as well as tire management and accessory supply services (fastening bars and straps, elevator platforms, partitions, etc.). The group has a fleet of nearly 120 refrigerated vehicles.  

The share were traded last in December 2021 at 7 cent/share. Not sure if this is still a going concern business. 

Clicking on the link on the Euronext description page takes us to a company called “Petit Forrestier” which rents out refrigerated vehicles. This all sounds too confusing for me, “pass”.

57. CS Brux (Expert Market)

This Expert Market stock has traded last in 2015. I didn’t find any information about this company. “Pass”.

58. Immobiliere Agricole et Forestiere (Expert Market)

Another Expert Market company that has traded last in 2015. It seems to be a nursery for trees but I haven’t found any more detailed information. “Pass”.

59. Vastned Belgium

Vastned Belgium is a 153 mn EUR market cap real estate company that invests mostly in retail properties. Vastned Belgium is a 66% owned subsidiary of Dutch Vastned Retail which is also a listed company. 

As all Belgian Real Estate companies, the stock looks cheap and has a high dividend. Vastned Belgium also seems less leveraged than the parent. Nevertheless, not my cup of tea, “pass”.

60. Umicore

Umicore is a 4,9 bn market cap company that is active in the catalyst business as well in precious recycling. Looking at the chart, we can see that the company has seen better days.

The stock spiked 2 times, once in 2018 and secondly in 2021 before losing ⅔ .

What is interesting, that Umicore always enjoyed a relatively high valuation but based on EV/EBIT now trades at a “multi-decade-low” as we can see in this TIKR chart:

The spike in 2021 was most likely due to the ESG fad and especially the role Umicore is supposed to play in battery recycling. When every EV maker flew high, someone needs to recycle all the batteries and Umicore would be a prime candidate.

Interestingly profits also quadruplet in 2021 as we can see in the chart:

But only to come down significantly in 2022 and 2023. 

The business is clearly capital intensive as well as energy intensive. In addition, profits also depend on the price of raw materials.

In their result presentation, the outlook for 2024 was quite mixed, but overall I do find the company very interesting. There seems to be a structural tailwind and it is also an indirect play on commodity prices. Clearly a stock to “watch”.

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