Tag Archive for: Columbus European Mid-Cap Equity

Pareturn Columbus class I is up +7.15% in May 2024 and +8.36% in the last three months. Since its inception in June 2008, Columbus class I has risen 153.8%, outperforming the European equity indices.

May was a positive month for Columbus. The Fund benefited from the takeover bid for Neoen, the French renewable energy company, with a premium of 27%. Neoen is the only position we hold in the power generation sector and has received a takeover bid from Brookfield, an infrastructure fund, and its largest shareholder. This is the second takeover bid for a Columbus company in recent months. In April, Salcef, an Italian rail infrastructure company was also bought by another infrastructure fund and the controlling family. It is not surprising that corporate activity in European midcaps is returning for two reasons: there are good opportunities in quality companies, and there is financing at acceptable prices for these deals.We have also had a good evolution of relevant positions in the fund such as Siemens Energy (+29% in the month), Prysmian (+18%) and Befesa (+19%) and Kontron (+14%). In these three positions we had increased our position in recent months, it is satisfying to see how we are adapting the positions we hold in companies that we follow closely. On the negative side, the positions in Scor (-12%) and Kinepolis (-9%).

We have also reduced positions in Unicaja, Buzzi and Senior, as we consider that their share price already reflects the valuation we attribute to them. We have taken positions in 3 other stocks which we will discuss in future communications.

The takeover bids we have received in Neoen and Salcef are an indication that there is a lot of value in Europe. The stability of the euro is also a good reference, as are interest rate cuts by the European Central Bank. There are significant signs that investors are willing to invest selectively in Europe in good companies at very reasonable valuations. As the US public deficit becomes a problem for rates and currency, and the valuations of the US giants normalise, European companies will attract international investor interest.

The fund’s objective is to take positions in quality companies with good returns, and opportunistically in some cases to take advantage of market inefficiencies.

 

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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.

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.

 

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


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.

Pareturn Columbus class I returned 3.41% in March and -0.4% since the beginning of the year. Since its inception in June 2008, Columbus has returned 142.21%, far outperforming European equity markets.

It is a good time to reflect and explain the fund’s philosophy well. At Columbus we think that there is an investment opportunity in good medium-sized European companies that in many cases are leaders in their segment, are growing and offer attractive valuations, this is the largest group represented in our portfolio, such as Interpump, Buzzi, Prysmian, Befesa, Trainline, Bodycote or Unicaja. In the portfolio there are also some investments in which we expect a change in trend to positive, normally companies with restructuring or changes in management. This area encompasses the negative impact of Grifols, which has been notable, although diversification into other good companies has moderated the impact.

The fund’s philosophy is not to take excessive risk and diversify, avoiding poorly managed companies or companies with uncontrollable risks. The result in the quarter has been affected by two stocks that have had a negative impact, Grifols (-46% in the quarter), Teleperformance (-32%). We maintain the position in Grifols and it is recovering (+15% in 1 month), paradoxically it was bought with the expectation of changes in its balance sheet that, for now, have proven insufficient but that are still developing and we hope that they will recover, at least, a good part of their value.

On the positive side we highlight two blocks:

  1. Financial sector and insurance: due to persistent inflation and lower rate falls, the financial sector has performed well, in this case we have maintained relevant positions in securities that have seemed to us to remain very undervalue, have good expectations and a very solid dividend, examples of this are Unicaja (+29% in the first quarter of 2024), Mapfre (+21%), Scor (+21%) and Hiscox (+18%). We will reduce positions in some of these securities as the year progresses due to somewhat tighter valuations.
  2. Industrial and consumer: in this area we have had good results in companies such as Buzzi (+32%), Prysmian (+18%), Siemens Energy (+42%), Bodycote (+17%) and Trainline (+15%).

This is an important moment for Columbus. In the last 3 months we have thoroughly reviewed our positions, we have met with more than 100 companies and started some changes that we trust will have a solid return for our co-investors with contained volatility. The investment opportunity in good European companies is still there and we trust in a good return in the medium-long term.

 

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


From May 2023, Spanish investors can access the Columbus strategy through the Spanish GVC Columbus European Equities FI fund. 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 Fund (subordinate). The Luxembourg vehicle offers institutional and retail share classes denominated in euros and sterling.

Columbus class I is down 0.36% in January 2024 and up 12.88% in the last three months. The year started mildly down but has gradually recovered since then with a little more volatility than we expect in the long-term. Performance for the last 3 months is in line with the European markets. Since its inception in June 2008, Columbus has returned 114.7%, far outperforming European equity indices.

Interest rate volatility has been the most relevant topic lately. The strength of the American economy has caused the market to adjust its expectations of interest rate decline to further in the future. Inflation is going in the right direction, but the economy remains at full employment and the FED has expressed some caution when it comes to lowering rates. Rates are very relevant for asset pricing and will inevitably mark the evolution of mid-caps, especially in Europe where valuations are very attractive. Investors remain on the sidelines while the opportunity to buy good companies in Europe remains very attractive.

Market consensus expects the economy to decelerate moderately in 2024 and rate cuts in the second quarter of the year, which should be a favourable driver. The risk of a macro adjustment remains there but has been postponed, in any case we are not taking much cyclical risk. In this environment, we are convinced that the Columbus portfolio is well positioned with companies with high margins, not excessively cyclical and healthy balance sheets.

Regarding the Columbus portfolio, three companies stood out during this month for all of them stocks with good long-term expectations such as Buzzi (+14.5% in January), Reply (+6.7%) or Elementis (+11.65). Also, stocks that we bought after their poor performance in 2023 have also rebounded as our investment case is being confirmed, such as the case of Teleperformance (+10.3%). One of our stocks, Elementis, has received an offer that has so far been rejected by its board on valuation grounds. We expect that corporate operations will continue to be active in small and medium company segment.

We would like to end with a comment on Grifols, a stock that has suffered a notable correction during this month due to a sell report. Columbus initiated a position in the stock in the third quarter of 2023, following a significant stock price decline, despite solid signs of operational and management improvements. We have studied the business in depth, it has barriers to entry and high returns, but the management team and the balance sheet needs to improve. Our position had a very good revaluation in 2023 but January events had a 1% cost in the portfolio. We maintain the position waiting for 3 catalysts in 2024: operational improvement, debt reduction and improvement of its governance.

 

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


The Columbus 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 fund (subordinate). The Luxembourg vehicle offers institutional and retail share classes denominated in euros and sterling.

Columbus class I is up 4.5% in December, 9.0% in 2023 and 37.4% in the last 5 years. This was a good end of the year for European midcaps (MSCI Mid Europe: +8% in Q4), and in general for equity markets (Stoxx 600: +6% in Q4), but on the big context for small/midcaps, it was just a bounce after a weak 2022 (MSCI Midcaps: -21%).

In 2023 the small/midcap asset class continued to underperform the US “big 7” stocks, but it was good to see that the year-end rally in bond markets was followed by a good recovery in small/midcaps. We believe there is light at the end of the tunnel for European midcaps, and we also detect that the investment community is starting to pay attention to the space. Recent WSJ article is a good example (“Why Now May Be the Time To Invest in Midcap Stocks” Jan.2024)

The recent bond rally changes everything. Such a material change in trend is very relevant for 2 reasons: 1) Business and families can now finance cheaper than months ago, and it’s not just the cost, the fear of higher rates is a deterrent to take business decisions. Prospects of a more stable rate environment will ease fears and facilitate refinancing. 2) The rates level is the key factor for asset pricing and explains large monetary flows. Short-term monetary funds reached an all-time high in 2023, investors moved quickly into long-term rates in Q4 2023 and partly into midcaps. The alternative of fixed income is less appealing, and we believe there is no other asset class more interesting that high yields in quality smallcap equities. European midcaps continue to offer very interesting valuation levels and relatively good prospects, even if macro prospects continue to be uncertain.

We continue to see deep value in many high-quality companies in Europe which have solid growing cash flow prospects. The opportunity to invest in quality growth companies in Europe is still there, no matter if the macro situation can remain subdued for some time or if inflation does not return to the 2% target for some time.

There is excessive value concentration on the “Big 7” stocks, usually a driver of low returns in the long-term. An open economy requires a large group of companies that respond to economic needs and a good selection of midcaps tends to have better revaluation in the long term than the market average. Market consensus expects the economy to slow down in 2024 and begin a period of rate cuts that may be favorable for bond and equity valuations. The risk of a macro adjustment remains present. In this environment, we are convinced that Columbus’ portfolio is relatively well positioned.

Regarding Columbus portfolio, during the month of December, the return of some stocks stands out. The best performing stocks in December coincide with some companies where we recently increased our stakes such as Mobico (+27%), Prysmian (+17%), YouGov (14%) or Trainline (+13%). If we look at the full year 2023 the best performing stocks included Elecnor, Buzzi, Computacenter, Salcef, EFG International and Auto Trader.

On the negative side, during December financials continued to suffer from lower rates prospects (Unicaja: -13%, SCOR: -9%, Mapfre: -4%). Nevertheless, we retain exposure (c.17% of NAV) to several low-risk financials as current rates will continue to support earnings, value remains very supportive, and we see good earnings momentum particularly in insurance (we own SCOR, Ageas and Hiscox). Stocks that detracted performance in full year 2023 (partly recently recovering) include: Duerr, Mobico.

Over the past 2 months we have been very busy visiting more than 50 companies and made several changes in the portfolio. Recent additions to our portfolio include Kinepolis, an unappreciated growth and transformation story in cinemas, Befesa, a turnaround story in metal recycling, and Fresenius, another deep value turnaround story in pharma. Year 2024 appears to be favorable, despite the first trading days have been complex. The macro-outlook in our view is likely to set the tone, while rates could be supportive. At some point we expect a rerating for quality European midcaps, and we want to be ready to capture its long-term potential.

 

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


The Columbus 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 Equties FI fund (subordinate). The Luxembourg vehicle offers institutional and retail share classes denominated in euros and sterling.

We are delighted to announce that Bosco Ojeda has joined Columbus. Bosco brings a wealth of experience having worked for over 25 years at UBS, where he held the position of Head of European Small and Midcap Research.

Pareturn Columbus class I is up 8.30% in November, 4.24% in 2023 and 24.5% in the last 5 years. This was a great month for European midcaps (MSCI Mid Europe: +6.4%) and in general for equity markets (Stoxx 600: +6.4%), although it’s just a small bounce after a weak October. The bounce was largely driven by a rally in bonds which experienced one of the best months for the past 40 years. Time will tell if inflation is set to return to central banks goals, but today inflation is no longer the concern it was months ago. Companies, families, and governments can now refinance 80bp lower than at the peak in October and there is a strong feeling that the rates risk is now limited. Money market funds are so heavily overweighted that the inflation change is a massive event. For European midcaps this is a very relevant theme, we see deep value in many high-quality companies in Europe which have solid growing cash flow prospects. The opportunity to invest in quality growth companies in Europe is still there, no matter if the macro situation can remain subdued for some time or if inflation does not return to the 2% target for some time.

 

The “big 7” (Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla) underperformed midcaps this month. There is excessive equity concentration on those stocks, usually a driver of low returns in the long-term. An open economy requires a large group of companies that respond to economic needs and a good selection of small/midcaps tends to have better upside in the long term than the market average. Market consensus expects the economy to slow down in 2024 and begin a period of rate cuts that may be favourable for bond and equity valuations. The risk of a macro adjustment remains present, but rates relief is taking away a big risk of stagnation. In this environment, we are convinced that the Columbus’ portfolio is well positioned.

Regarding the Columbus portfolio, during the month of November, the return of some of the stocks we hold stand out. The 2 best performing stocks this month coincide with companies where we increased our stakes in 2023, including Grifols (+22%) and Elecnor (+16%). In both cases there was a clear catalyst behind the strong performance (asset disposals). A reminder that stocks can be cheap for long, but a good catalyst can revert how the market looks at some companies.
Other stocks that enjoyed a strong performance include Fraport, Prysmian, Neoen and Reply. These are stocks which were penalized despite a solid operating performance, there are quite a few of those in our portfolio that should be heavily rerated. On the negative side, during November a few financials have suffered from lower rates prospects (Unicaja: -6%, Mapfre: -2%, SCOR: -2%). We maintain a moderate exposure to low-risk financials as current rates will continue to support earnings for a while and value remains very supportive.

Over the past 4 weeks we have been very busy visiting more than 40 companies. This is a great time of the year to meet with management teams ahead of 2024. Most companies have good visibility on the budgets for next year and for Columbus is a fantastic opportunity to rebalance the portfolio. We anticipate relevant changes in Columbus over the coming days with fresh new ideas and changes in weightings. November performance can be the tip of the iceberg of a potential rerating for quality European midcaps and we want to be ready to capture its long-term potential.

 

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


The Columbus 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 Equties FI fund (subordinate). The Luxembourg vehicle offers institutional and retail share classes denominated in euros and sterling.

The month of October has been a difficult month for the stock markets. European equity indices fell between 3.6% for the Stoxx600 index and 5% for the MSCI Midcaps Europe in the month. Stock prices factor in tough macro developments and the highest interest rate environment in a decade. In the US, the Russell 2000 of medium-sized companies also fell 7% in the year to October. Pareturn Columbus class I decreased by -5% in October 2023 and -3.7% year to date. Since its inception in June 2008, it has risen by 114.7%, widely outperforming the European equity indices.

There are three closely related factors that are affecting the markets and specifically midcaps. The first, interest rates, which after one of the most pronounced increases in recent decades, are beginning to show signs of stabilization. The second, macro expectations that until now have shown more strength than expected, but with signs of incipient weakness. Finally, inflation, which, although still high, has been substantially reduced. In this environment, investors have chosen to invest in the money market and short-term duration fixed income and concentrate on the “big 7” (Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla). While it is true that consumers and certain trends (e.g. artificial intelligence) are favorable to these names, history shows that excessive concentration in certain stocks ​​is a poor indicator of future returns. The market economy requires a broad group of companies that respond to economic needs and a good selection of securities tends to have better appreciation in the long term than the market average.

For the year 2024 we expect reductions in interest rates, which will be favorable for valuations and risk assets such as equities. In this environment, we are convinced that Columbus’ portfolio is well positioned with high margin, not excessively cyclical companies with healthy balance sheets.

Regarding the Columbus portfolio, during the month of October, the return of companies with good growth expectations stands out, such as YouGov, which presented results and rose 13% in the month, and other securities that had a strong performance, such as Elecnor (+8% ), EFG International (+5%) or Kontron which rose 4%. We particularly highlight YouGov, which rose significantly after publishing results that significantly beat the market expectations. On the negative side, industrial stocks continue to show weakness such as Duerr (-25%), Bodycote (-12%) which are suffering from the increase in costs. In all cases, we expect these companies to recover ​​due to their restructuring plans and potential price increases.

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


Since May 2023, Spanish investors have been able to access the Columbus strategy through the Spanish GVC Columbus European Equities FI fund. 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 Equties FI fund (subordinate). The Luxembourg vehicle offers institutional share classes denominated in euros and sterling and retail in euros and can be purchased by international investors.

imagen ficha junio

Pareturn Columbus European Equity class I is down -2.37% in September 2023.

The month of September has been a complicated month for the stock markets, dragged down by the behavior of the fixed income markets. The MSCI Midcap index is down -3.00% in September and almost -4% in the last quarter, largely driven by difficulties in controlling inflation and fear of a longer period of high rates.

Since its creation in June 2008, Columbus has obtained a return of 126%, far exceeding European equity benchmarks.

Despite external headwinds, it is interesting to note that relative valuations of European smallcaps are already pricing in tough macro developments and a higher rate environment in the last decade.

The interest rate environment and inflation dynamics are conditioning the market, and it is foreseeable that it will continue to do so. So far, the global economy has been resilient in the face of a sharp rise in rates. The consensus expects the economy to slow down in 2024 and begin a period of rate cuts that may be favorable for bond and equity valuations. However, the risk of a harsh macro adjustment and persistent inflation remains present. In this environment, Columbus’ portfolio is well positioned with high-margin companies and relatively healthy balance sheets.

Regarding the Columbus portfolio, during the month of September, the positive performance of companies with good growth expectations stands out, such as Computacenter (+16% in the month) and Trainline (+20%) and Elecnor (+8.5%). Both Computacenter and Trainline reported quarterly results that positively surprised the market.

On the negative side, Ariston dropped 15% when the structure of the subsidies that the Italian government offers for the replacement of water heaters was modified. We believe that this sharp decline is excessive and do not reflect the good performance of the company after the purchase of the German company Centrotec Climate Systems in Germany last year.

 

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


Since May 2023, Spanish investors have been able to access the Columbus strategy through the Spanish GVC Columbus European Equities FI fund. 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 Equties FI fund (subordinate). The Luxembourg vehicle offers institutional share classes denominated in euros and sterling and retail in euros and can be purchased by international investors.

Informe Columbus Septiembre 2020

Pareturn Columbus European equities Class I is up by 1.90% in February 2023 and by 9.66% in the last 3 months, higher than the European equity markets. Since inception in June 2008, Columbus has returned 147.4%, far outperforming the European equity markets.

We maintain our view that the key to the behaviour of the markets is the evolution of inflation. It has now peaked and begun its journey to lower levels and the markets have reacted to the upside. Investors are assuming a longer period of higher interest rates as they begin to accept the message from Central Banks that more time is needed to cool inflation in the face of resilient labour markets.

Market sentiment continues to shift depending on whether participants believe the economy is headed for a hard or soft recession. Expectations of where terminal rates end up in the US continue to rise, standing at 5.5% now and moving higher. Since 2012, Central Banks have committed to a 2% inflation target. The appropriateness of the 2% inflation target itself, could be questioned, and we could see changes over the years to a higher target (3%-4%). For the time being, Central Banks are sticking at least verbally to that target.

Chart performance Columbus

As for the quarterly results companies continue to surprise both in sales and profits as they publish their results. Nevertheless, they are moderating their guidance for the coming quarters and the message to control spending is spreading, in anticipation of a slowdown in economic activity.

As for the Columbus portfolio, the main performers during February have been Borregaard (Biochemicals, Norway) up 14.7% after publishing better than expected quarterly results with sales increases of more than 20% and Ebitda up by 38%. Dalata Hotel (Hotels, Ireland) also performed well (+10.9% up in February). The Irish hotel company also announced results that exceed the income of 2019, the last year before the pandemic, by more than 20%. On the negative side, Global Dominion fell on the stock market by -10.8% in February. The Spanish services and projects company surprised the market by increasing its stake in its renewable energy subsidiary from 35% to 98%. The transaction also changes the company’s financial profile by going from a net cash position to having financial debt. We await the presentation of the business plan to obtain more information on the new strategy.

 

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


Since June 14, 2018, both national and foreign investors have been able to access the Columbus strategy through the Master-Feeder structure between Columbus 75 Sicav in Spain and the Luxembourg registered Pareturn Columbus European Equities Fund offers institutional and retail share classes denominated in euros. We have also just set up a sterling share class to facilitate investments from the UK. The Spanish Sicav has been dissolved in December 2022 to adapt to the new Spanish legislation. Total return for the Sicav since inception in June 2008 was 113.32%.

Pareturn Columbus European equities Class I is up by 8.80% in January 2023 and by 15.16% in the last 3 months, higher than the European equity markets. Since inception in June 2008, Columbus has returned 142.7%, far outperforming the European equity markets.

We maintain our view that the key to the behaviour of the markets is the evolution of inflation. It has now peaked and begun its journey to lower levels and the markets have reacted to the upside. Investors are assuming a longer period of higher interest rates as they begin to accept the message from Central Banks that more time is needed to cool inflation in the face of resilient labour markets.

Since 2012, Central Banks have committed to a 2% inflation target. The appropriateness of the 2% inflation target itself, could be questioned, and we could see changes over the years to a higher target (3%-4%). For the time being, Central Banks are sticking at least verbally to that target.

A very important development is that Europe has managed to make it through winter so far without severe energy shortages, thanks to above normal temperatures, ample supplies, and reduced consumption. Gas storage sites are around 81% full, some 20 percentage points above the five-year average. The region is on track to end the season with inventories over 50% and more than enough gas to completely replenish its storages by the start of next winter.

 

Companies continue to surprise both in sales and profits as they publish their results. Nevertheless, they are moderating their guidance for the coming quarters and the message to control spending is spreading, in anticipation of a slowdown in economic activity.

As for the Columbus portfolio, the main performers during January have been Fraport (Frankfurt airport) up 36.8% and Autotrader (+21.6%), the UK second hand car web. The main laggard was Neoen (-8.7%) the French renewable company. The strong price movements were not reactions to specific company news.

 

Download monthly factsheet [PDF]

 


Since June 14, 2018, both national and foreign investors have been able to access the Columbus strategy through the Master-Feeder structure between Columbus 75 Sicav in Spain and the Luxembourg registered Pareturn Columbus European Equities Fund offers institutional and retail share classes denominated in euros. We have also just set up a sterling share class to facilitate investments from the UK. The Spanish Sicav has been dissolved in December 2022 to adapt to the new Spanish legislation. Total return for the Sicav since inception in June 2008 was 113.32%.