Ideas already getting Value Investing Congress bumps

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, October 1, 2012

So far we’ve heard from two presenters, Guy Gottried from Rational Investment in Canada presented two Canadian small caps that clearly caught the attention of the attendees — ClubLink (CLK in Canada, CLKXF on the pinks) owns a trophy tourism asset in Alaska (a scenic railway and the port that cruise ships use to get to it) and a lot of golf courses in eastern Canada and Florida. They bought the Florida ones dirt cheap and have apparently done a great job of managing capital, he expects great things as they take advantage of broke golf course owners to keep expanding at cheap prices, and as the value of their past cheap acquisitions gets realized. The stock was already at a 52-week high before the talk and spiked another 6-8%, but is far below his estimated value still … I’ll keep an eye on it, it’s almost possible to present a small cap to this group and not have it spike up, these people manage billions of dollars and the stock has almost no trading float.

He also presented CanAm (CAN in Toronto, CNMGA on the pinks), a construction firm that also bought dirt-cheap assets in the US — only they’re in the structural steel business. Wealthy investors don’t like bridges as much as they like golf courses, so that one has jumped up only 4% — he sees it trading at something like four times free cash flow, less than that if you account for the many non-core assets they’re selling, so if you think steel buildings and bridges will continue to be built and replaced in the US and Canada there’s probably some value hiding in this very small company that is nonetheless a large player in North America, with good market share in the US and dominant market share in Canada and long-term family ownership that’s been sober and stable. Not as fun as buying dirt-cheap golf courses, but intriguing.

And the third presentation was from Kian Ghazi of Hawkshaw, on a larger company you’re more likely to have heard of, Layne Christensen (LAYN) — a pitch from a hedge fund guy who just wound down his fund after it got too small with redemptions after a bad 2011. This is one of his faces, their earnings all come from mineral exploration drilling right now but they have a huge position in municipal water civil works ...

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