2015 Portfolio review

2015 was dismissal! I increased my portfolio just by 3.53%.



2015 Buy Price Buy Date Price Date Perf.abs BEGIN END
Hold






Nestle 67.89 € 2015-02-09 69.66 € 2015-12-30 2.61% 10.00% 10.26%
Barrick Gold 10.99 € 2015-02-09 6.98 € 2015-12-30 -36.49% 20.00% 12.70%
Oracle 37.79 € 2015-02-09 33.96 € 2015-12-30 -10.13% 10.00% 8.99%
Reply 67.69 € 2015-02-09 127.90 € 2015-12-30 88.95% 10.00% 18.89%
SMT Scharf 14.67 € 2015-02-09 10.00 € 2015-12-30 -31.83% 15.00% 10.22%








Sold






Mircosoft 22.30 € 2013-04-18 38.94 € 2015-09-19 74.62% 10.00% 17.46%








Cash




25.00% 25.00%








Performance




100.00% 103.53%


This year I failed to achieve my target RoIC of 26% p. a. by a whopping 22.5%. The suckers were Barrick Gold and SMT Scharf which I overweighted.

SMT Scharf
The coal decline was somewhat foreseeable - surely not to its extend.* The years before 2015 coal mines produced more than the world demanded, thereby anticipating growth mainly in China. Right now China seems to grow slowly. Looking at electricity consumption growth of 1.3% from January to June 2015 [ZHELEC], I cannot believe in an economic growth in China of 6.9% in 2015.

My investment thesis was, that SMT Scharfs earnings and multiples will normalize after the CEO has been exchanged. Well this did not happen. The coal price took a dive and so did SMT Scharfs stock price.


Deep dive in my error
The high coal price suggested growth in China, assuring mines to extend production and produce on inventory. This lead to increased capex spending and an increased demand for SMT Scharf's products. The moment the China growth story proven wrong, the coal bubble collapsed - way before the media caught the story. Right now, coal mines around the world having a hard time. They reduce capex to have more money to pay back their debt. The EU sanctions against Russia hurt, too. All that giving SMT Scharf a hard time. Fast forward the stock price recovered a bit to 11.65 € until now (March 2016).

Coal Price versus Production Overlap
Seeing the multi-year overproduction above, should have been a big red flag. SMT Scharf numbers were inflated because the cyclical coal industry were thriving in a high tide / favourable environment. As Warren calls it, the low tide came and now we see a lot of companies naked. 

The next investment I do, I have to understand the economics of the underlying customer relationship.

Checklist: Does the company thrive, because its customers having a high tide?

Barrick Gold
Barrick Gold was the biggest sucker in my portfolio, but my thesis did not change. My thesis is a hedge against monetary and financial policy failure. If policy fails, the Gold price explodes and Barricks stock price will increase even more. If policy is right, my other portfolio positions will thrive. Only if the Gold price did not increase to at least $1.200 until 2019 than Barrick can go bankrupt. 

Barrick sold mines and ownership rights of mines of it in 2015 to serve its debt. It sold a part of a mine to a Chinese state company at a "fair" price - not unfair cheap, but in my opinion too cheap.

Life lesson: Do not get in debt! If you are in debt, than you can be force to sell your stuff at a price your buyer dictates! This is true for individuals, companies and states (look at Greek!)). 

The interesting part is that China is one of the world largest gold producers but it is importing gold, too. So some of the gold will be used in industry but the rest kind of disappears within China. The Chinese central bank updated their gold numbers, but it was way fewer than the "disappeared" gold.

Since end of 2015 Barrick jumped nearly 100%. As of now (March 2016) the price of Barrick Gold increased to 12.55 €, which is a little over my initial buy price of 10.99 €.

Microsoft
I bought MS because it was valued at a PE of 10 and I sold it after it revered to a PE of 16. I wanted to use some of my 2015 tax benefits. As of now Microsoft increased further to 47.50 € and I left >40% of performance on the table within the last 6 month.

Microsoft is a great company. Its core business model did not changed and it has some bets outstanding (cloud, mobile, games, IoT). Its core business prints money (OS, office) and it has a wide and deep moat around it. The management and CEO is great. I have deep insights into the company and I have seen the immense cultural shift from a Software behemoth to a agile internet-focused software company! From business perspective, I know they will do well. I just have to get in cheaply - and I did get in cheaply!

I regret, I should not have sold!

Checklist: Does the company have sustainable competitive advantages? If yes, let the winner run (Warren: holding period forever) and sell only if the price is really wealthy.

Checklist: Are the tax benefits substantial so that my compounding benefits in the long run? If not do not use the tax benefits.   

*: I will write a post about commodity markets, micro economics and market structure in future. It is a very interesting topic. Just one question. It is more likely that the oil price is expensive (>100) or cheap (<35) than that it is in between - why?
[ZHELEC] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-23/china-electricity-consumption-grows-slowest-pace-30-years

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