Ask The Experts: Why Agribusiness Remains Undervalued
Bill Barbour, Director and Investment Specialist at Deutsche Asset Management, shares his views on the agribusiness sector and explains some of the holdings in the DWS Global Agribusiness fund.
The fund has a significant exposure to the fertilisers and agricultural chemicals sector based on its latest factsheet. Can you explain this allocation?
- Fund has increased the allocation to fertiliser companies from 32% in 2011 to 41% currently
- Fund thinks that 2 companies, Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG, have been misclassified under fertiliser companies when they should be modified seed companies or biotech companies
- Agribusiness stocks were sold down to very low levels last September; one of the fund's top 10 holdings, CF Industries Holdings Inc., was sold down to a PE of 6X
- In May 2012, these stocks were sold down again due to the incorrect belief that a correlation exists between GDP growth and food prices
- Sell downs provide mispricing opportunities for the fund
The last time we spoke, the fund was positive on the global organic food industry as well as the rise in popularity of generic food labels. Do you still hold the same views now and has the fund added on to these positions?
- Fund remains positive on the outlooks for both the organic food industry as well as generic food labels
- Added a German company that specialises in generic lines to the fund's portfolio and maintained investments in the large supermarket chains
How did the fund's portfolio respond with respect to the takeover interest in Viterra, which has been on the fund's top five holding list for some time?
- The news was wonderful for the fund as the stock price jumped 48% in a month and the fund sold off its position in Viterra
- Fund has been emphasising for some time that supply chain managers such as Viterra are priced at discounts below their net tangible assets; Viterra was in fact, trading at 70% discount to its net tangible assets
- Fund still has 2 supply chain managers on its top 10 holdings, Bunge Ltd and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and the team believes they are trading at about 20% discount to their net tangible assets
Can you elaborate further on some investment ideas the fund is positive on and others where the fund is less keen to pursue?
- Fund is positive on the fertilizer companies, retailers and supply chain managers
- Fund also likes biotechnology and modified seeds companies
- Fund is concerned with the changes in global weather patterns e.g. drought in the US and has been monitoring this trend for the most part of this year and could take advantage of these changes
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