Financial Services equity research

Explore the most viewed and latest equity research and media content for companies within the Financial Services sector. Stocks in this sector provide services such as: asset management, retail finance, mortgages, and investment platforms & services.

Financial Services equity research

Explore the most viewed and latest equity research and media content for companies within the Financial Services sector. Stocks in this sector provide services such as: asset management, retail finance, mortgages, and investment platforms & services.

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Groupe Bruxelles Lambert

Challenge taken up

A year ago, we wrote that GBL was about to succeed in its challenge of evolving its portfolio towards greater geographic and sector diversification (see our Latest dated 02/08/2016). The appointments of Ian Gallienne and Gérard Lamarche as Group Managing directors in 2012 have effectively led to a change in GBL’s strategy. Even though the new managers declared that they would keep a patrimonial approach and a long-term view, GBL’s portfolio has significantly evolved over the last five years. As announced, the shift in the portfolio was gradual, while maintaining the principles of a “ friendly ” approach, a main shareholder position (1st or 2nd largest) and a sound financial situation (with a net cash position or a time-limited debt). One of GBL’s strategic priorities remains to “ optimise the balance between growth and yield investments ” with the view to creating value for its shareholders over the long term. “ GBL invests and disinvests depending on the development of the companies and on market opportunities to reach its objective of value creation, while maintaining a solid financial structure. ” To implement the portfolio diversification, GBL strengthened its financial flexibility by the launch of two exchangeable bonds, respectively into Suez Environnement shares in September 2012 and into GDF Suez (ENGIE) shares in January 2013, while continuing to collect the dividends of the holdings for three and four years. The proactive rotation of the portfolio was accelerated through a mix of spot and forward sales of historic assets (Total, ENGIE, Iberdrola, Arkema). The position held in Lafarge (21.1% since 2008) became 9.4% in LafargeHolcim in 2015, after the merger (supported by GBL) of Lafarge with the Swiss company Holcim. The cash issued from the divestments and GBL’s indebtedness position allowed the company to purchase new investments. In June 2013, GBL announced that it had reached an agreement with the Agnelli family’s holding Exor to acquire its interest in the capital of SGS, the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification group – becoming its reference shareholder, next to the von Finck family. Other investments followed, GBL buying a stake in some listed companies and then intending to increase its stakes further, the timing dependent on the share prices. In this way, GBL acquired a first stake in Umicore (in 2014), Ontex and Adidas (2015), Burberry (2016) and Parques Reunidos (2017) and increased its shareholding in these companies during the four-year period.

  • 16 Aug 17
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