Report April 2024

Informe Columbus Septiembre 2020

Pareturn Columbus class I drop by 2.30 % in April and -2.62% since the beginning of the year.  Since its inception in June 2008, Columbus has achieved a return of 142.21%, far outperforming European equity markets.

The major event during the month was the takeover bid for Salcef, the Italian railway infrastructure company, in which we had 3% of the fund. The takeover represents a meager 20% premium from the controlling family that has partnered with Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.

Over the next few months, the market expects the European Central Bank to start lowering rates, possibly in June, joining the interest rate cuts that have taken place in Switzerland and Sweden. The Bank of England is also expected to join the cuts, either in June or August. Corporate earnings have been positive on average, beating estimates. Both the expected rate cuts and corporate earnings are supporting European stock markets.

The stability of the euro and the revaluation of some large European companies that have a global presence and are undervalued are a good sign. We believe that there are significant signs that investors are willing to invest selectively in Europe in good companies at very reasonable valuations. To the extent that the U.S. public deficit poses a problem for interest rates and the dollar, and the valuations of the U.S. giants normalize, European companies will attract international investor interest.

As for the Columbus portfolio, during the month of April many stocks stand out for good performance in a market environment that was not so positive during the month. In the portfolio there are many stocks with good expectations that had a positive month, such as Salcef (+14%), Siemens Energy (+13%), Teleperformance (+10%), Fresenius (+10%). Getlink (+8%), Prysmian (+7%). On the negative side, April saw corrections in some stocks such as Befesa (-20%), Trainline (-13%) and YouGov (-11%).

We currently continue to hold significant positions (almost 25% of the fund) in the financial and insurance sector, where we are considering a gradual reduction: Unicaja, Hiscox, Scor, Ageas, Mapfre, EFG International. The global background where rates are higher than expected, capital has to be remunerated, which is favourable for the sector as it maintains an exceptional dividend yield (6%-8%). Lately there has been important news with Sabadell’s takeover bid, which favours our position in Unicaja. Consolidation is also foreseeable in insurance, where Generali has announced purchases in Europe.

In 2024, the fund has continued to be affected by two very specific positions that have had a notable impact and in which there have recently been signs of recovery: Grifols and Teleperformance.

We end with a comment on Grifols and Teleperformance, the two stocks that have suffered a huge correction. Columbus initiated positions in these stocks in the third quarter of 2023 after a significant fall in both cases. In Grifols, the company has refinanced 1 billion euros and obtained approval to sell an investment for 1.6 billion euros, both of which significantly change the financial profile of the company. In Teleperformance, the company posted good results and the management team has reiterated that for the time being, the company will be able to continue to grow its business soon.

 

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Since May 2023, Spanish investors can access the Columbus strategy through the Spanish fund GVC Columbus European Equities FI. The Fund can be purchased through the AllFunds, Inversis and Fundsettle platforms. Columbus has a Master-Feeder structure. The Pareturn GVC Gaesco Columbus European Equity Fund in Luxembourg (master) and the GVC Columbus European Equities FI (feeder). The Luxembourg vehicle offers institutional and retail share classes denominated in euros and sterling.