Last updated: 09:42 / Monday, 20 June 2016
Says Generali Investments

It is Time to Invest in Southern European Equities

It is Time to Invest in Southern European Equities
  • Southern European companies show low valuations and upside potential
  • Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece represent 99% of the total equity invested
  • The fund has an annual turnover ratio of 25%

“We believe Southern Europe has a significant recovery potential”, said François Gobron, fund manager of GIS European Equity Recovery, a Generali Investments' fund. “Clear signs point in that direction, including the economic growth in Spain and a rapidly rising employment in Italy. Furthermore, as companies in Southern Europe still trade at lower earnings multiples than their European peers, we believe their potential to outperform is meaningful. By leveraging our proven stock-picking skills, the fund will benefit from the re-rating of Southern European markets as soon as confidence in the macroeconomic environment is fully restored.”

More dynamic Southern European economies and supportive valuations at company level reinforce Generali Investments’ confidence in the recovery potential of Southern Europe and the investment theme underpinning the GIS European Equity Recovery fund, one of the few equity funds on the market specifically focused on this region.

The GIS European Equity Recovery fund invests mainly in equity securities issued by companies listed on Southern European markets. Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece represent 99% of the total equity invested. The fund favors companies with strong operational leverage and large restructuring potential. The fund adopts a pure stock-picking investment process and selects companies based on the quality of their strategy and management. The shortlisted companies are valued through a Discounted Cash-Flow model combined with a recently introduced, proprietary and innovative Monte-Carlo model designed for highly uncertain environments. The fund invests in companies offering at least a 50% upside potential in terms of total return on a 3 to 5 years’ time horizon, leading to a low annual turnover ratio of 25%.

“Companies in Southern Europe still show higher upside potential relative to their European peers as the local financial markets have not fully recovered yet from the 2008 and 2011 crises and valuations remain lower on a relative basis”, added Gobron. For instance, the 11x median of the 2017 price-to-earnings ratio estimates of the fund’s portfolio compares with 15x for the Eurostoxx. The 1.0x median of the 2017 price-to-book value ratio estimates of the fund’s portfolio compares with 1.7x for the Eurostoxx. “We are therefore strongly convinced that the companies we decide to invest in after our careful strategic analysis have the potential to outperform peers on an operational basis going forward.” He concluded.