Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Management Unreliability Has Soured The GEA Group Story, But Value Remains

Eighteen months or so ago, I thought GEA Group (OTCPK:GEAGY) (G1AG.DE) looked fully valued despite the long-term attractiveness of a leading company in the food/beverage automation and equipment market. Since then, confidence in management has soured due to an extended period of underperformance and questionable moves like a substantial guidance reduction only a couple of weeks after the 2016 Capital Markets Day. 

GEA Group's dairy processing end-market, which is responsible for around 20% of sales, is likely to struggle for another year or so, but farming, food/beverage, brewing, pharmaceuticals, and industrial markets (including oil/gas) are looking better. What's more, an activist investor is now involved in the shares, which may put a little more pressure on management to up its game. 

I do have some worries about recent cost overruns on new projects and self-inflicted inefficiencies, but I believe the food and beverage markets are attractive long term and I believe GEA Group can get back to double-digit returns on capital. Even with lower assumptions regarding revenue and margins (versus my last article) and a higher discount rate, these shares now look a little undervalued and worth a look from patient investors. 

Investors should note that GEA Group's ADRs don't offer optimal liquidity, so those investors willing and able to trade on foreign exchanges may want to consider buying GEA Group shares on its home exchange.

Read more here:
Management Unreliability Has Soured The GEA Group Story, But Value Remains

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