Money on the Frontier: Mongolia, Myanmar and Africa

A few readers have written in asking about Chris Mayer’s new pick in Mongolia — he hinted about such a pick in a recent email interview he did with his colleagues at Daily Resource Hunter, but there weren’t many clues. This is his exchange:

“What is your favorite emerging market right now?

“Right now, I’m pretty jazzed up about Mongolia. The pace of growth there and the potential is mind-boggling. I plan to visit in June. I can’t wait. We just added a new play on Mongolia, a company that I’ve followed and written about for a year now. I’m sure I’ll turn up some other interesting ideas on my trip.”

So what does a Gumshoe do? Well, in my case, he uses this opportunity as a hook to ramble on about investing in frontier markets for a little while. Ready?

As I said, Mayer didn’t provide any details so I don’t know for sure what it is, but I’ll speculate that he’s probably recommending Mongolia Growth Group (YAK in Canada, MNGGF on the pink sheets). I do know that he has written about Mongolia Growth Group before, since he talkd about them in a free note and, in response, I shared some of my initial valuation thoughts on Mongolia Growth just about a year ago.

Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote to the Irregulars in May of 2011, to give you a taste:

“Right now, Mongolia Growth Group trades for about five bucks a share — and there are roughly 25 million shares outstanding according to their latest presentation. That means they have a market capitalization of about $125 million. Given the disconnect between prices and assets, it doesn’t really matter whether we’re talking US or Canadian dollars, but that’s US$. Their assets so far are, as best I can tell from recent presentations, about $4 million worth of real estate (apartments and office space) in downtown Ulaanbaatar and $5 million that they’ve put into a Mongolian insurance company that they intend to build pretty aggressively. It is extremely early days, the company only formed in February.

“They have raised about $20 million — it’s true that the founders and insiders have “skin in the game”, but they put that skin in a few months ago at a much lower price, they have invested a bit over $6 million and own roughly 40% of the company ...

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