Aecon Group’s Buy-out is an instant 22% Gain!

Back in May I wrote a review on Aecon Group, and recommended it as a buy. Following my own advice, since then I have been purchasing shares on dips in both my TFSA and corporate accounts. It seems that I wasn’t the only one that thought Aecon was under valued, and a worthy investment, because CCCC International Holding Limited (CCCI) has offered to purchase Aecon Group at a price of C$20.37/share!

From the Aecon Group press release:

  • All-cash consideration of $20.37 per share; 42 per cent premium to unaffected share price
  • Aecon gains access to new platforms and partnerships for continued growth in Canada and abroad; CCCI advances its global growth strategy
  • New growth and employment opportunities expected as Aecon gains significant capabilities and financial strength by joining the world’s largest network of engineering and construction companies
  • Aecon will retain its name, continue to be Canada-headquartered and led by its Canadian management team
  • Aecon and CCCI share a strong commitment to maintaining customer service excellence and a safety-first culture
  • Aecon board of directors unanimously recommends transaction to shareholders

This is great news for me. My adjusted cost basis is $16.67, and with an offering price of $20.37 that nets me a healthy 22.20% gain!

I had originally purchased Aecon for its strong dividend growth—21% compounded annually since 2007—and great underlying fundamentals, and I will be sad to see a solid dividend payer go away. However, given the capital gains attached to the sale, this is a great win. What makes things even better is that half of my holdings are in my TFSA, which means that the 22.20% gain is tax-free.

All in all, a great way to end October; this was certainly a treat!


Portfolio Update – September 2017

Time for the quarterly results review!

Highlights for this quarter:

  • I’ve increased my payroll contributions to take advantage of employer matching, which should result in some instant returns
  • TTM passive income came in at $6,500, beating the benchmark TTM passive income of $6,000 by 8%
  • Asset allocations are still out of whack

Let’s start off with the monthly performance summary:

This has been a rough quarter; in fact, the past five months have been rough. We have underperformed the benchmark since February, and in the tail end of the summer both the benchmark and my own total fund returns were in negative territory. That said, I did not let this deter me; if anything I went deeper into the market at that time and picked up additional shares of Aecon, Ryder, and Vanguard’s REIT index (VRE). As evidenced by the graph, in August we started to drift upwards again, and as of this quarter we are now exceeding the benchmark again.

One important thing to point out is that the margin portfolio is composed entirely of US stocks at this point; in fact: it is composed of a single US ETF, that of HYG (iShares high yield US ETF). I keep this ETF mainly as a way to generate passive US income for any time I travel to the US. You’ll notice that June, July, and August, had negative returns for that portfolio, and those negative returns were primarily a reflection of bonds dropping in the US at that time, as well as a weakening Canadian dollar against the US dollar. Finally, as expected the LIRA portfolio closely matched the returns of the benchmark — this makes sense since the LIRA and benchmark both track the Canadian Couch Potato strategy. That said, as the LIRA portfolio is only 25% of the aggregate portfolio value, it is only a small contributor to overall returns.

On a trailing twelve month view, we are still relatively in positive territory. We have lost the monstrous 20% TTM returns from earlier this year, but are still coming in at a respectable 7.5%, which is virtually a match to the benchmark. Again, these aggregate TTM returns are being pulled down by the US only margin portfolio.

Of course, month over month returns are one thing, but as an income investor, total passive income is the key metric. The following two graphs show the story there:

The rolling month over month passive income is not that impressive: we have lost to the benchmark virtually every month. However, as discussed last time, this is mainly an artifact of timing. Illustrated in the second graph, TTM income is still relatively strong, and beating the benchmark by ~$500.

You’ll notice that there is a bit of a discrepancy from the March report: in March we reported less than $6,000 in TTM income, but now that number has been exceeded. I had inadvertently excluded some passive income from the certificated portfolio, and from my work DC pension plan, which adds to overall tax-deferred income. The latest numbers paint a rosier picture. That said, I also mentioned a concern with passive income dipping due to a large withdrawal in 2016 to help purchase our new home — that is still a going concern, as we are nowhere near the $8,500 TTM passive income that was occurring in 2015.

Finally, there is the issue of portfolio allocation:

While I have been aggressively investing any spare capital into my tax-free account, and purchasing iShares REIT ETF–VRE.TO–I have not made much of a dent in the allocation. I am still grossly over-allocated to the equity sector, and as such the focus will continue to be on building up the real estate exposure of the portfolio. I plan on doing this by continuing to allocate spare capital into VRE.TO, H&R REIT, and RIOCAN, as the opportunities arise.

Closing Remarks…

While many Canadian’s experienced a stellar summer, they did not experience stellar markets. However, even in down times the important thing is to stay the course, and take advantage of market downticks if you can, by deploying any excess funds you have into the market while prices are suppressed.

Onwards and upwards!


2017 Goals: Mid-Year Checkpoint

As we pass the halfway mark of this year, it’s time to review the goals that I originally laid out in January.

Goal #1: Increase TFSA Contributions

My target for this year was to cut my TFSA contribution room in half. Going into this year, I had a little over $40,000 in contribution room, so to cut that in half meant I had to invest at least $20,000 into my TFSA. I’m happy to say that so far this year I have beaten that goal by 35%. Moreover, if I am able to maintain this pace, I will have completely used up all of my contribution room, meaning next year I would start with a fresh $5,500 limit.

Keep in mind that the funds transferred into my TFSA were not necessarily net new cash – much of it was moving holdings from my margin account to my TFSA to reduce my tax burden. Regardless of the source of money transferred in, the net result is that any gains from inside my TFSA will be tax free, forever.

Goal #2: Minimize Taxes

I’ve managed to completely eliminate about 98% of my margin account holdings, by moving all of my US investments into my RRSP, and all of my Canadian investments into my TFSA. One downside to doing this is that if I have any losers in my portfolio, I will no longer be able to use the capital losses to offset any capital gains. But, that shouldn’t matter…All investments in my TFSA are exempt from capital gains taxes, and any (capital) gains in my RRSP won’t be taxed until I retire years from now. So the loss of a tax write-off is more than made up for in the gain in no taxes.

Goal #3: Rebalance my Total Fund to my Target Allocation

I had intended on revisiting my IPS this year, but haven’t had a chance yet to do so. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to do that yet, nor rebalance my portfolio. Luckily I still have six months to do so!

Goal #4: Increase Passive Income by 5%

One goal was to increase my passive income by at least 5%, and that could have been done organically (i.e. through dividend increases), or accretively (i.e. through purchasing of additional shares). At the end of last year, my projected annual passive income was over $6,000. As of June 30, 2017, my projected annual income is has gone up by 20.15%, or $7,400. The source of the gains was both organic and accretive: dividend increases accounted for 28.10% of the overall gain, and accretive gains (i.e. new investments) accounted for 71.91% of the gains.

But wait, it gets better.

Because all of my investments are now in tax advantaged accounts, I no longer pay taxes at the moment on any of those investments. Assuming a marginal tax rate of 35%, that means I am currently avoiding over $2,600 in taxes!

Goal #5: Update and Expand Investment Research

Finally, I wanted to increase my investment research, by researching at least four companies this year. To support this goal, I started writing articles on Seeking Alpha, along with articles on this site. To date, I have written 12 articles on this site, and 9 on Seeking Alpha:

I have certainly passed my target of 4 companies to research!

Summary

To summarize, so far this year I have completed 4 of my 5 goals:

  • Increase TFSA Contributions: Exceeded!
  • Minimize Taxes: Complete!
  • Rebalance: Not yet started.
  • Increase passive income: Exceeded!
  • Update and Expand Research: Exceeded!

The rest of the year will be spent on re-formalizing my IPS, and continued research.

What about you? How are your investment goals going?

Onwards and upwards!


Leaving Money on the Table

I spent Sunday helping out my brother in organizing his finances. He joined a major Canadian corporation a little over 11 months ago, and is approaching the point of vesting for his defined contribution pension plan. Within this context, vesting means that his employer will start matching any pension contributions he makes, subject to certain rules and maximums. This is a very common investment vehicle available to Canadians: many companies do not have Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans anymore, opting to provide Defined Contribution (DC) pensions instead. As an incentive for employees to save towards retirement, companies that offer DC plans often provide a “match”. A “match” is a provision wherein the employer will match any contributions an employee makes, subject to certain conditions. For example, one company I know of offers this match structure:

  • Match 100% for the first 2% of contributions
  • Match 50% for the next 2% of contributions
  • Match 25% for the next 2% contributions

In the above, the “2% of contributions” means 2% of the employee’s salary. A more concrete example would be as follows: Assume an individual makes $40,000/year, and wishes to maximize her employer match. The numbers would add up like so:

Employee contribution %

Employee contribution $

Employer match %

Employer match $

2.0%

$800

100.0%

$800

2.0%

$800

50.0%

$400

2.0%

$800

25.0%

$200

As you can see above, the employee contributed $2,400 of their salary, but the employer contributed $1,400. This means that the employee received an instant 58% return for doing nothing! This is quite literally free money: your employer is giving you an instant top-up as incentive to save for your own retirement. Let’s take the example a little further: assume someone starts working at age 30, works for 35 years to age 65, and maximizes their contributions every year. Moreover, assume they get a 1% raise every year. If we plot this example over the duration of the person’s employment, the difference—while still a 58% gain—is even more pronounced.

By the end of 35 years, the employee would have contributed $103,000 on their own, if they had contributed 6% of their salary. But, thanks to the employer match, their effective contribution was $164,000! They have received an additional $61,000 all for doing nothing.

However, when an individual contributes to a plan such as the above, they don’t just save the money; they typically invest in mutual funds which are made available to them through the DC plan. We can modify the above graph to show the theoretical balance at retirement, assuming 2%, 4%, and 6% returns on the investments.

Again, there was a 58% gain when you compare the Employee only to the Employee and Employer Match:

Employee Only

Employee + Employer

2% returns

$146,188.44

$231,464.99

4% returns

$194,337.71

$307,701.37

6% returns

$322,391.14

$510,452.58

The astonishing thing is that many people don’t take advantage of the employer match that is offered in their pension plans (here is an interesting read from the Financial Post). This means that there are people who are literally giving up free money. Often some people say that the reason they don’t do this is that they can’t afford to contribute money to their company sponsored pension plan, because that means that they will have less money paycheque to paycheque. To that, I have a couple of comments:

  • If you are truly living paycheque to paycheque, then there are more systematic issues at hand that you need to look at; you really need to sit down and plan out a proper budget for yourself.
  • You really can’t afford not to take advantage of a pension plan: if you don’t save now, then you will ultimately have to work longer later.
  • Contributing to your pension plan is a tax-advantageous activity: meaning that if you wish to contribute $500 to your DC pension plan, your effective contribution is lower because your taxes will be lower; I will be writing about this in a future blog post.

So there really is no reason not to contribute. Imagine this: you are walking home and there is a fork in the road to go around a building. Both roads from the fork lead you to the same place at the opposite end of the building. From your vantage point, you can see a $20.00 bill lying on the ground up ahead on the road to the right, and on the road to the left, you can’t see any money lying around. Would you take the fork to the left? Of course not, you would be foolishly ignoring money that was just lying around. Your pension is the same: don’t take the road of no contributions, but take full advantage of the free money your employer is willing to give you.

Onwards and upwards!


The Nine Year Plan

I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate work.

Well, let me rephrase that. I don’t hate work. I actually like work. I like the people I work with. The work is somewhat interesting, and occasionally challenging. But, I hate the idea of the structured daily grind, the rat race, the nine-to-five, whatever you want to call it. I also have a lot of side projects I’d like to work on, but with the newest edition to our family, I never have time for side projects. I work all day, come home, handle nightly duties (feeding, bathing, housework, paperwork, etc.), crash, repeat. On weekends I try my best to give my partner some time off from babysitting, and the rest of the weekend I spend time taking care of other errands and what not. In short: I spend so much time supporting life, I don’t have a life.

Now, don’t get me wrong.. This is all natural for me, at this stage in my life. A new family, a steady job, paying off car, house, condo, etc., all means that I have to make some sacrifices. Unfortunately, those sacrifices are things like pulling together a portfolio to participate in the annual Contact Festival, finish work on PART so that it is in a state that can be used by the public (truth be told I’ve used it for managing my investment portfolio for a few years now, and it works great), and some other side projects..

And for those reasons, I hate work.

So, what to do?

I’ve been crunching numbers, and mulling over what would be realistic goals, and pulling together my vision for my financial future. To that end:

  1. Retire from full-time work in 9 years, working at most 6 months out of the year
  2. Have an average before-tax salary of $100,000

There, one vision, two goals. As I said, I don’t mind work, but I want time to do my own things. And having six months of free time every year, will certainly afford me with the time to work on those things. The assumptions baked into the above:

  1. The $100,000 average before-tax salary will naturally adjust by inflation
  2. Any debt load I have in 9 years will be covered b the $100,000 salary, with enough to have a comfortable lifestyle

To accomplish those goals s going to take some fancy financial engineering. One of the biggest logistical challenges is that the bulk of my investments are tied up in either my LIRA or my RRSP; this means that any income and/or gains from those investments will not be available to satisfy goal #2. My non-RRSP/LIRA funds are relatively minimal at the moment: the past few years I have shifted many investments (primarily US companies) into my RRSP to take advantage of the zero withholding tax Canadians have when they hold US investments in registered accounts.

So, I am essentially starting from ground zero. If we do some quick back of the envelope math, to generate $100,000 in income at an average yield of 4% (a number I literally pulled out of the air, but it is fairly trivial to find reliable ETFs and/or individual companies to pay an average 4% yield) would require $2.5million in capital: $2,500,000 x 4% = $100,000.

Luckily the entire $100,000 does not have to come from investments. Up until recently I was a Project Management Consultant, and as such I still have my corporation. If I were to go back to project management consulting, it would be a fairly easy task to pick up at least one six month contract per year. If we do some more back of the envelope math, even at a very low hourly rate of $70/hour (which is the low-end of project management consulting rates in Toronto, in the finance sector), working six month yields:

Days per Week 5
Weeks per Year 26
Hours per Day 7.5
Total Hours 975
Hourly Rate $70
Total Revenue $68,250
Less CPP Contributions $969.15
Net $67,280.85

A prudent decision would be to take out the $50,000 salary I need and leave the other $17,280.85 in the corporation “for a rainy day”; an added bonus!

So of our $100,000 target, there is now $50,000 remaining. Looking at the March results, I am currently generating approximately $1,000 net annual passive income that is not locked into a registered account; this leaves $49,000. Generating that much passive income is not an impossible task, but it is a daunting one: how to generate $49,000 in annualized income in 9 years? This is a classical risk-reward problem: the more risk you take on, the higher your potential reward.

If we use the benchmark Canadian Couch Potato Returns from the Couch Potato website, the balanced portfolio has a 10 year CAGR of 5.38%. $49,000 in passive income at 4% yield is $1,225,000 in capital required. At 5.38% CAGR, that means we need $765,000 today, so that it compounds at 5.38% over nine years to result in capital of $1,225,000. Regrettably, I do not have $765,000 lying around.

Some other considerations:

  • I am gainfully employed at the moment at a major Canadian company; assuming I continue to be employed, my salary will go up each year (which I can redirect to investing), and I can continue to participate in the company’s employee share ownership plan.
    • The plan gives me an instant 50% through the company’s match (i.e. for ever $1.00 the company kicks in $0.50), so I am making huge gains.
  • Who knows where the housing market will be in 9 years? We may sell off our property and become renters: even after paying rent, $100,000 in pre-tax income will be more than enough, assuming that the relationship between $100,000 in pre-tax income and rents remains constant. I.e. if I were making $100,000 right now, I could still afford to rent. Assuming that the $100,000 inflation-adjusted in 9 years is enough to cover rent inflation-adjusted in 9 years, I would still be okay

So while I do not have the capital now, there are options available such that in 9 years I can fulfill my vision.

What are your thoughts? Knowing you require $49,000 annual income in 9 years time, what would you do?


Notable dividend announcements for the week ending June 2, 2017

Earnings season is wrapping up, and as such companies are making the last of their dividend announcements alongside their quarterly results. At the Dividend Gangster blog we monitor a large selection of companies on the Canadian exchanges, which have a solid history of dividends. For the week ending June 2, 2017 there were five notable companies that announced dividends, where their dividend increased year over year from F2016. There was also one runner-up, whose dividend is in line with F2016, but over the past 10 years has increased their dividend; that said, they still have one more fiscal quarter to increase their dividend to keep up their streak.

Of the five companies (discussed below in alphabetical order) who increased year over year, the average year over year increase was 3.71%. Moreover, three of the five, and the runner up, are all from the Financial Sector. Here are some stocks for your consideration, if you are looking for new companies to add to your portfolio.

CAE Inc.

Since 1947, CAE Inc. (CAE.TO) has been providing training and simulation services and equipment to a number of industries, with a focus on the civil aviation, defence and security, and healthcare sectors. While they are a Canadian firm, they are a global organization, with branches and services offered in over 35 countries (either independently, or through joint ventures).

CAE’s most recent dividend pushes it to a $0.32 annualized dividend, which is 3.23% over its F2016 annual dividend of $0.31. At $0.32, its yield is 1.46% based on the June 2, 2017 closing price of $21.93.

Laurentian Bank of Canada

Top Financial Firms by Market Capitalization

Laurentian Bank (LB.TO) is the smallest bank that announced this week, and being the eighth largest by market cap. In business for over 150 years, it is a mainstay—albeit a smaller one—in the Canadian market, with a focus on small and medium businesses, as well as retail clients. Like most fully integrated firms, it offers a broad suite of services for different customer markets:

  • Retail banking
  • Business banking
  • Capital Markets
  • Financial services (e.g. investment advisors)

Moreover, it has a wholly owned subsidiary—B2B Bank—which focuses on providing banking products to a wide network of financial advisors and brokers.

Laurentian’s most recent dividend of $0.62 pushes it to $2.46 annualized for F2017, which represents a 4.69% yield over the June 2, 2017 closing price of $52.40, and a 4.24% increase over the F2016 dividend of $2.36.

National Bank of Canada

National Bank (NA.TO) is the first bank after the Big Five, as measured by market capitalization. The bank has four key lines of business:

  • Personal and Commercial Banking (e.g. retail, small business, etc.)
  • Wealth management
  • Financial markets
  • US and International Speciality Finance

Like many of the key banks in Canada, it has a national presence, with branches in most provinces. However, one of its key areas of focus is in the Quebec market, where it works with many small and medium size businesses through the Commercial component of its Personal and Commercial Banking line of business.

With the recent dividend announcement of $0.62, its forward yield is 4.55% based on the June 2 closing price of$54.05, which represents an annual $2.30 annualized dividend. Its fiscal 2016 dividend was $2.20, and as such the $2.24 dividend is a 4.55% increase over the previous year.

Saputo Inc.

In business for over 50 years, Saputo (SAP.TO) is a key player in the national and international dairy markets, and manufacturers and distributes a number of dairy based products, including cheese, milk, cream, and cultured products. It is in one of the top four firms engaged in the dairy market in each of Canada, Australia, and Argentina.

From a yield perspective, Saputo is the weakest of all companies reviewed in this article, with a yield of only 1.34%, based on the June 2, 2017, closing price of $44.64. However, its announced dividend of $0.15 for the quarter equates to $0.60 annualized, which is a 5.26% increase over its F2016 dividend of $0.57. That said, based on yield and growth alone, what you an investor loses in yield, potentially makes up for in year over year growth.

Scotiabank (aka The Bank of Nova Scotia)

Of the banks discussed in this article, Scotiabank (BNS.TO) is the only one that falls into the Big Five category of Canadian banks. Its lines of business are split between Domestic (i.e. Canadian) and International Markets:

  • Retail and small business
  • Commercial banking
  • Wealth management

The bank also has a global banking and markets (GBM) line of business which works with corporate, government, and institutional clients. GBM offers commercial/institutional products and services such as trade and/or cash management, corporate lending, underwriting, research, commodity and foreign exchange trading, etc.

The banks recently announced dividend of $0.76 equates to a $3.02 annualized dividend, representing a 4.86% increase over the F2016 dividend of $2.88. Based on the June 2, 2017 closing price, the dividend yields 3.94%, which is the lowest of the banks reviewed in this article which had a year over year increase. However, the low yield is compensated for in the year over year increase, which is the highest of the banks discussed, and second only behind Saputo.

Runner up: Canadian Western Bank

As illustrated previously, Canadian Western Bank (CWB.TO) is the seventh largest financial services firm in Canada, measured by market capitalization. The bank is unique in that it is the only Schedule 1 bank which specializes in mid-market commercial banking, and have a number of key lines of business, including:

  • Speciality business banking services for small- and medium-sized companies
  • Industrial equipment financing and leasing solutions for companies with requirements between $100,000 and $50 million
  • Franchise Finance to help growth of franchisees and franchisors in the hospitality and restaurant industries
  • Commercial equipment leasing with deals ranging $5,000 to $2 million
  • Structured loans and customized leasing
  • Mortgages
  • Wealth and investment management

The most recent dividend of $0.23 equates to $0.92 annualized, which is in line with its F2016 annual dividend. However, as CWB has increased their dividend every year for the past 10 years, it is highly likely that they will increase their dividend next quarter, to keep up their streak.

Closing Remarks

The following table summarizes the above discussion:

Summary

For income oriented investors who are looking for new companies to broaden their portfolio, any of the five companies mentioned above would be worthy additions. With consistent dividend growth over the past 10 years, except for our runner up stock (Canadian Western Bank), all four companies would be great hedges against inflation, whilst helping to provide a steady stream of income.

Notes & Disclosures

  • All figures in Canadian dollars.
  • Long BNS.TO, CAE.TO

The CART Model

One of the greatest challenges in investing in individual companies is in identifying which companies to invest in. There are literally thousands of stocks to choose from, and trying to find great value is like looking for a needle in a haystack at times.

One of the easiest things to do is to use a stock screener, of which there are several. A stock screener will let you filter through all of the stocks on a particular exchange, based on preset criteria. For example, you could do a screen on the common shares of stocks listed on the TSX, with a P/E ratio of less than 30, that pay a minimum annual dividend of $0.50/share:

Your screener would then output a list of companies that match that criteria.

Often, some screeners have pre-built screens, such as the one at Yahoo:

However, a stock screen is only the first step. The challenge with screens is that they typically only show the most recent year’s worth of data. For that reason, you often have to dig a little deeper. That said, pulling the past ten years of fundamental data to drop into a spreadsheet is not a trivial task: you often have to collect the data directly from a companies annual filings found on SEDAR or Edgar, which takes a considerable amount of time. However, often service providers such as BMO InvestorLine or The Globe and Mail have the most recent few years of data available.

Historical Data from BMO InvestorLine

Historical Data from BMO InvestorLine

Globe and Mail

Historical Data from The Globe and Mail – Globe Investor

To that end, I have created the CART model:

  • Cursory
  • Analysis
  • Research
  • Template

I’ve already covered a few companies using the CART model on Seeking Alpha:

The CART model provides me with a template for doing a high level analysis of a company by importing data from BMO InvestorLine. This high level analysis:

  • Looks at the most recent 5 years of data (vs. a standard analysis of 10 years)
  • Gives a quick view of underlying fundamental data such as:
    • Revenue
    • Balance sheet
    • Earnings and Dividends
  • Provides a quick view of how under or overvalued the stock is

The resulting template then lets me make a decision if I should go forward with a deeper analysis, which usually covers a wider timeframe (e.g. 10 years), and goes into more fundamental comparisons with competitors, a more detailed SWOT analysis, etc. All of this allows me to maximize my time in searching for value dividend payers, to help improve the returns on the overall portfolio.

Onwards and upwards!


Cursory Analysis: Richelieu Hardware Ltd. (RCH.TO)

The following is a brief summary of an analysis note that I posted to Seeking Alpha. The full article may be found at this link.

Richelieu Hardware Ltd. (RCH.TO) was brought to my attention by a colleague when he was searching for stocks that he found that met Peter Lynch’s stock selection criteria. Upon first hearing about Richelieu, it seemed to hit on some of the key levers I look for in a stock:

  • Small/medium capitalization
  • Dividend paying, with increasing payments
  • Canadian based
  • A boring industry
  • Focused on a tangible product/service (e.g. they make/sell things that you can “hug and hold”)

Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Richelieu Hardware Ltd. is an importer, distributor, and manufacturer of specialty hardware and related products, focused on the North American Markets. Its primary customers are split amongst retail customers vis-à-vis the residential and commercial woodworking industry, home furnishing and office furniture manufacturers, and hardware and renovation superstores (e.g. Home Depot, Lowes). In performing a cursory analysis of the past five years of Richelieu’s fundamentals, the company has a strong balance sheet, great profitability, and a compelling dividend. However, it is presently overpriced.

A cursory analysis shows that Richelieu appears to be a strong company based on the past five years of fundamentals. Richelieu’s fundamentals have some intriguing characteristics, but based on the most recent fiscal year it is overvalued. Based on this cursory analysis, I would rate this company a hold, pending further analysis into the fundamentals, over a larger window (e.g. 10 years vs. the 5 years used for my cursory analysis). That said, Richelieu certainly deserves a deeper analysis to establish if it is a company which should be placed on long term watch-lists, to purchase on dips.


Portfolio Update – March 2017

Quite some time since I last posted, and the markets have been a bit of a roller coaster. The last of my statements have finally come in, and I’ve been able to compile the first quarter results for my portfolio.

The total fund T3M (trailing three month) return was 4.94%, dragged down primarily by my EPSP portfolio.. While this portfolio is a relatively small amount (less than 1% as of this quarter), it is a visual drag, as illustrated by the huge negative orange bars in the graph. The benchmark T3M was 4.06%, so I am still beating my benchmark, which is the ultimate goal (otherwise, why would I bother doing the work of picking my own investments?).

As I am an income oriented investor, the following graphs are somewhat more important, as they illustrate the going concerns for the portfolio (e.g. a stable, growing, cashflow).

Passive income for the quarter came in at 7.70% under the benchmark. How much of this is due to timing, and how much is due to selection, is a different story. The income power of the portfolio is something that I am watching more closely.. I liquidated a large percentage of the portfolio in May 2016 to purchase our new house, so by the next quarter, we will see what the one year run rate of passive income is. As you can see from the charts, passive income has been generally trending downward, and March was the first month that we did not break the $6M mark in over a year. This does concern me, especially since we broke the $7M mark in 2016 at this time.. But given the percentage of the portfolio that was liquidated, I am not surprised.

Presently the portfolio is in the accumulation phase, as I push as much spare cash as I can into my various accounts, to start building up a sufficient capital base to generate large amounts of passive income again. That said, this build-up will also provide me with an opportunity to revisit my allocations:

Equity exposure is still in the high seventies (~75%), which is surprising since I have been pushing virtually all spare cash into real estate ETFs (primarily VRE.TO) to increase my real estate exposure. The lack of relative growth in real estate is not due to real estate performing poorly, but it is a reflection of equities performing relatively stronger than the real estate sector.. While I have invested an additional 2% of capital in real estate, real estate itself went down by less than 1%…which means that even though I have put capital in, the equity growth is overshadowing the real estate growth! I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, but this does mean that I will continue to move more capital into real estate in the coming months, primarily through VRE.TO, HR-UN.TO, and REI-UN.TO.

Onwards and upwards!


I Invested on Thursday and Lost $352 on Friday

..but I’m not worried.

I recently published an analysis of Magna International, and concluded that the stock was very undervalued, to the tune of 26%. Following my own advice, I picked up 100 shares in my Tax Free Savings Account on Thursday February 23, 2017. Following that, on Friday February 24, 2017 the TSX composite was down 1.57%, its biggest drop in 5 months. I had picked up Magna for an average cost per share of C$59.95 including commissions, and on Friday it had closed at C$56.43/share, a 5.87% drop in a single day; this equating to a C$352 cash loss in 24 hours.

At the same time, Magna announced its fiscal 2016 results, some highlights of which include:

  • Record 2016 sales up 13%, well above 4% growth in global light vehicle production
  • Record 2016 diluted earnings per share from operations increased 9%
  • Record 2016 cash generated from operating activities of $3.4 billion, up 45%
  • Returned $1.3 billion to shareholders in 2016

To sweeten the news, the dividend was hiked to U$0.275/share, up from U$0.25/share, a 10% increase.

To sum things up:

  • The market dropped 1.57% in a single day
  • My investment lost 5.87% in a single day
  • Magna had a record year
  • Magna increased its dividend 10%

Days like this only go to emphasise the importance of a long-term view. The market will always go up and down, and there is really no way to time things out (I’ll ignore the technicians in the audience). If I had a crystal ball, I would have waited 24 hours before pulling the trigger on my trade, and by now I would have been up 2.23% week-over-week, instead of down 1.54% week-over-week. Alas, I’m a Dividend Gangster, not a Dividend Clairvoyant. My original investment thesis stated that:

  • Magna had a strong dividend history (26.97% CAGR over the past 6 years, when measured in USD Dollars. When measured in CAD dollars the dividend is a little wonkier (in the favour of Canadians) as it has to take into account currency fluctuations)
  • Magna was undervalued to the tune of 26%

With the 10% increase, Magna is continuing to maintain the course of a strong dividend player. Even though the price dropped (like a rock!), it is still undervalued, and still has plenty of upside before reaching its Graham number.

Now, a novice investor might have panicked on the Friday when the market dropped, and sold off on the Monday. Let’s take a look at the stock performance over the past few days, and see where we’ve landed:

Date Price (CAD$) Gain (Loss) for the Day Gain (Loss) Since February 23
2017-02-23 $59.20
2017-02-24 $56.43 (4.68%) (4.68%)
2017-02-27 $57.18 1.33% (3.41%)
2017-02-28 $56.79 (0.68%) (4.07%)
2017-03-01 $58.00 2.13% (2.03%)
2017-03-02 $57.86 (0.24%) (2.26%)
2017-03-03 $58.06 0.35% (1.93%)

If a novice had sold immediately after the drop on Feb 24 (i.e. they sold on Monday Feb 27), they would have lost 3.41%, or $2.02. If they had held until today (Mar 3), they would only be down 1.93% or $1.14. How would they know when to sell? How would they know why to sell? The short answer is: they wouldn’t! And that is what differentiates an investor from a trader. The former does not panic at the drop in price in the short term. Guess what happened between February 23, 2017, and February 24, 2017?

  • The price dropped 4.68%
  • EPS rose 12.02%
  • Book value rose 7.19%
  • The dividend rose 10.00%
  • The dividend payout ratio increased from 17.23% to 17.82%

So except for the dividend payout ratio, some of the key per share metrics improved, and the price dropped. If the EPS went up, and the dividend went up, and the book value went up, and the share price went down, that screams “buying opportunity”! However, the general trend of the market on that one day pushed most stock prices down, including Magna. If anything, I wish I had some additional capital kicking around: I would have doubled down on my position in a heartbeat.

As investors, more importantly, as dividend investors, we have to keep our eye on our 3-year, 5-year, 10-year, and 20-year goals… A minor blip in stock price shouldn’t shake us, it should drive us to invest more of our capital. The classic quote from Baron Rothschild is to “[b]uy when there’s blood on the streets, even if the blood is your own.” Now, I didn’t have blood of my own that day (because I was investing in my TFSA, if I had leveraged my line of credit, the interest to purchase the stocks would not be tax-deductible)… But nonetheless, while a market downturn is bloody, but it is also an opportunity.

Onwards and Upwards!

Notes

  • Fundamental figures are in US currency
  • Share prices are in Canadian currency
  • My ACB was C$59.95, which was based on an intra-day price; the values listed in the historic pricing table are the CAD close price