While I was on vacation for just three weeks a ton of companies thought that would be the perfect time to release news. So some quick thoughts on the latest portfolio developments:
Awilco Drilling (AWDR.OL)
Awilco refinanced its debt last month. The company had ~$100 million of debt outstanding at a 9% interest rate that matured in 2015 and they replaced this with $125 million of debt with a 7% interest rate that will mature in 2019. Because Awilco decided to increase its debt load the lower interest rate will not lead to a meaningful reduction in interest payments which is unfortunate. Although $25 million isn’t a whole lot of money (for Awilco) I don’t see why they would want to borrow more. It’s not very cheap at a 7% rate, they don’t need it because they pay this much in quarterly dividends and since the effective tax rate of Awilco is low it has little value as a tax shield.
Conrad Industries (CNRD)
Conrad Industries reported their 2013 results last month, and business continues to be good. Earnings increased from $20.8 million in 2012 to $28.6 million in 2013 and the backlog is up 27% compared to last year. With the stock now trading at $42/share the company is certainly not as cheap anymore as it once was, but with a capable and shareholder friendly management team at the helm this is a business I don’t mind owning close at fair value (it would probably be more correct to incorporate a premium for management quality in the fair value estimate).
PV Crystalox Solar (PVCS.L)
Crystalox also reported their 2013 results last month, and their news was positive as well. The solar panel business is still struggling, but the company managed to increase revenues by 54% and they recorded a small profit of €3.7 million. After returning €36.3 million to shareholders at the end of 2013 they still have a net cash position of €39.2 million while the current market cap is just €37 million. Given the positive operating cash flow and the strong balance sheet I think Crystalox is still cheap and in a good position to wait for better times. So despite the fact that the shares are up significantly this year I’m keeping my position.
Schuff International (SHFK)
The last company in my portfolio that reported 2013 results was Schuff International. I never wrote about the stock on this blog because it has been covered extensively on other value investment blogs, and because I never managed to buy a full position (unfortunately). A good introduction to the stock can be found on OTC Adventures (part 1, part 2).
Just like my other holdings Schuff also reported excellent results. Revenues stayed more or less flat, but margins increased significantly: almost doubling operating income. What’s very encouraging is that the backlog has grown a whopping 130%: next year should be good! What’s also nice is that they managed to eliminate most of the debt that they incurred when they bought back almost 60% of the outstanding shares at the end of 2011. Looking back this must have been one of the best share repurchases ever.
Schuff recently also launched a shiny new website that includes a pretty cool infographic that showcases how much of the Las Vegas strip has been built by them:
Author is long all names mentioned
I suspect that the extra £25million is to help AWILCO to pay for the large scheduled capital expenditures (including replacement of BOPs) due in 2015/6 without substantially reducing the dividends
That could be the logic, but it’s imo not rational. Cutting the dividend temporarily is a lot cheaper than borrowing money at 7%.
Awilco’s tax bill may be going up due to UK tax changes. This could be part of the reason.