The Spanish boutique Bestinver held this evening its annual investors’ reunion in Madrid. Francisco Garcia Paramés, Alvaro Guzman de Lázaro and Fernando Bernad Marrase exposed, in front of an audience that exceeded 2000 people, the main keys to its domestic and international strategies.
Both strategies closed an exceptional 2012, outperforming index in 5 percentage points in the international fund, and a spectacular 15% in the domestic fund. It would seem as if Bestinver’s funds are not being affected at all by any crisis, regardless of where it comes from.
“We like the companies that have family members in their management team, it is fundamental to us”
This year the domestic portfolio -Bestinver Bolsa– turned 20 years – and the international strategy –Bestinver Internacional– turned 15. The asset manager has €6.5 billion in AuM (data as from the end of March, 2013) in all its strategies with quite a stable environment of inflows and outflows. Bestinver has ensured that there is no predetermined limit for the size of their funds, and they are not planning on closing the fund regardless of the inflows.
Bestinver’s managers exposed that the domestic portfolio has lowered its country risk, increasing its cash position and reducing the exposure to companies as Repsol, utilities or Pescanova, a position that Bestinver has reduced by 60% -from a 4% weight in the fund to 1.5% a the end of February- emphasizing that “they wish they had been able to unload the position even more”. Pescanova, that filed for pre-bankruptcy on February 28, and has been suspended of trading in the Spanish Stock Exchange since March 12th , is an example of the turn from more cyclical companies to more defensive ones that Bestinver has carried out in its portfolio since 2008. “Usually, we avoid commodity-related companies or companies that have a lot of debt”, explained the managers, who invest searching for high quality companies.
True to its value strategy, the portfolio of the international strategy has an estimated PE of 8.7x in 2013, which compares to a PE of 12.5x for the S&P500 Index. Another characteristic of Bestinver’s management style is its trust in the family run companies. “We like the companies that have family members in their management team, it is fundamental to us”, they state.
In regards to the Spanish real estate sector, Bestinver’s managers say that “they are not looking in that direction”, although on a personal note they do admit that the sector has been improving, and that in fact all three of them are taking their some steps on the housing market.