So much for sell in May

Greg Dean's picture

Shoppers Drug Mart is a company and management team we have immense respect for, having invested in the stock going back to our days at our prior firm. They have done all the right things in a tough political and competitive environment and were finally rewarded for those efforts. Shoppers is the epitome of a large core holding, with management aligned with shareholders through their compensation philosophy, and a demonstrated track record of intelligent capital allocation through dividend increases and consistent share buybacks.

With significant positions in Shoppers, Loblaws as well as Westons, we are thrilled and hope our unit holders are as well, but the announcement that Loblaws is acquiring Shoppers is bittersweet. While we like it when companies we hold in high regard help us recognize the value we see in our large core holdings, it also means it's one less high-quality business we can remain invested in over the long term. A twenty five percent gain in a day is great, but 10-15% a year for a decade is a lot better.

The good news is the deal is partially for shares, so we can continue to have exposure to Shoppers though our large and increasing positions in Loblaws and Weston. The other piece of good news is that we are not focused solely on Canada. Our time is focused on finding high-quality ideas globally, and to that extent Kroger has been a very big win for us. Just last week they announced the acquisition of Harris Teeter Supermarkets. We were shareholders of HTSI for a while and made very good money in the name, selling at around $48 when we started to believe the stock was reflecting a healthy take-over premium.

So we are happy to benefit from the takeover of Shoppers, but sad to see it go. It's a world-class organization run by a team we hold in high regard. Rest assured, our focus on finding the next Shoppers is not limited to Canada. The consumer sector has been and remains among the largest weights in most of our funds and we see opportunities all over the world.

Comments

Submitted by E Kwok on

I couldn't agree with you more regarding Shoppers. Our investing philosophies are very similar and it gives me confidence to continue to recommend your funds.

By the way, do you have any input with the Cambridge U.S. fund?

Greg Dean's picture
Submitted by Greg Dean on

Thanks for those kind words. The U.S. portfolios are managed by Alan Radlo in his own style but we all employ a consistent philosophy of focusing on absolute returns and mitigating risks. We have a significant allocation to U.S. equities in our Canadian mandates and have for several years, which reflects the flexibility that we have to find ideas globally and avoid sectors and geographies where we have concerns.

Below I show our allocations by geography and asset class as of the end of June. It may surprise you that we actually have a larger amount of money invested in stocks outside of Canada (46% of assets under management) than inside (35% of AUM). We have found great opportunities all over the world and believe that our clients have benefited by not being confined to investing only in Canada -- especially over the last two years, as the TSX has lagged the S&P 500 by about 30%.

 

Asset Class

Current %

Cdn Equity %

35%

US Equity %

29%

Int'l Equity %

17%

Bonds %

4%

Cash %

15%

Total

100%

 

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