Author Archives: universalpressblog

Seafood Expo Global Brussels 25 – 27 march 2017

About Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global

Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global form the world’s largest seafood trade event. Thousands of buyers and suppliers from around the world attend the annual, three-day exposition in Brussels, Belgium, to meet, network and do business. Attending buyers represent importers, exporters, wholesalers, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, and other retail and foodservice companies. Exhibiting suppliers offer the newest seafood products, processing and packaging equipment, and services available in the seafood market. SeafoodSource.com is the exposition’s official media. The exposition is produced by Diversified Communications, the international leader in seafood-industry expositions and media. www.seafoodexpo.com/global

 

Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global press room Logo

About Diversified Communications
Diversified Communications is a leading international media company providing market access, education and information through global, national and regional face-to-face events, digital products, publications and television stations. Diversified serves a number of industries including: seafood, food service, natural and organic, healthcare, commercial marine and business management. The company’s global seafood portfolio of expositions and media includes Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global, Seafood Expo Asia and SeafoodSource.com. Diversified Communications, in partnership with SeaWeb, also produces SeaWeb Seafood Summit, the world’s premier seafood conference on sustainability. Based in Portland, Maine, USA, Diversified has divisions in the Eastern United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit: www.divcom.com.

Source: Two cents

Universal Press

Patrick GRIGNARD

New equities fund invests in listed European family businesses

 

Persistently low interest rates, the resulting quest for yield and control of risks are the main concerns for investors seeking to invest in equities.

Against this backdrop, BLI – Banque de Luxembourg Investments S.A. will launch the BL-European
Family Businesses fund, a new equities fund that invests in around 60 listed European family
businesses.
The current economic and financial situation is changing investment habits. An environment of
persistently low interest rates, the resulting quest for yield and control of risks are the main concerns
for investors seeking to invest in equities. Against this backdrop, Luxembourg-based asset
management company BLI – Banque de Luxembourg Investments has decided to launch a new
equities fund, the BL-European Family Businesses fund. The sub-fund is composed of around 60
listed European family businesses, rigorously selected according to strict criteria: a clear competitive
advantage, strong profitability, a value-creating business strategy and attractive valuation.
A distinctive management approach
“One distinguishing characteristic of family businesses is that they are not driven by short-term
financial objectives. Because of the family’s commitment to the next generation, the company naturally
develops a long-term strategy with an underlying desire for continuity and resilience over time. Of
course, growth and performance are also important, but these goals are balanced by socio-economic
values that can strengthen the organisation and its position in the market,” says fund manager Ivan
Bouillot, who is also fund manager for the BL-Equities Europe fund since 2004.
“Family business leaders are also able to steer the company’s strategy and shape the corporate
culture through the values they advocate, their passion for their profession and their social
commitment. It was during meetings with family business owners that we began to appreciate the
added value of businesses managed by families, and the idea of developing this family business fund
project grew from there.”

The BL-European Family Businesses fund invests in European equities, regardless of market
capitalisation. We define a company as a family business if at least 25% of its equity is owned by the
person or family that founded the company or acquired the company’s capital, if the family has an
active role in the company as a manager or a board member, and if there is a desire to preserve the
company as part of the family’s wealth.
Continuity in our development
“With this new fund, we continue to apply our proven investment strategy, which involves selecting
quality companies and taking an interest in their long-term development”, explains Head of Sales, Lutz
Overlack. “Our strategy focuses mainly on manufacturers of personal and household goods, food and
beverages and companies in the industrial, healthcare, chemistry and technology sectors.” Banking
and insurance, capital-intensive industries, commodities and telecommunication companies are
excluded from all the funds in the BL funds range.

Source Bank of Luxembourg

Patrick GRIGNARD

Universal Press

 

 

ITB Berlin begins its 51 th edition next 8-12 march 2017

itb-2016-1This fair remains the unavoidable number in the world, for its 51 th edition the 26 halls already displays a full reservation despite the difficult economic situation of the tourism sector in the world

The organizer also announces a number of professional visitors never reached. The sector is currently in a deep geopolitical crisis or some countries
Suffers from a lack of tourism such as Tunisia, Egypt. Germany is undoubtedly one of the most important markets for international tourism.
International decision makers take advantage of the fair to sign new contracts. The 2016 edition already had more than 10,000 exhibiting companies from 187 countries and regions and attracted more than 120,000 visitors. The contracts reached more than 6.7 billion euros at the last show.
Dr. Christian Göke, President and CEO of Messe Berlin, said that it had never received so many professional visitors in the halls of the event and already enjoyed a greater affluence for the next edition. The next edition will have numerous exhibitors from 5 continents, 187 countries, 1000 qualified Top Buyers, 10,000 exhibitors, 26,000 Convention Visitors, 60,000 Private Visitors, 120,000 Trade Visitors, on a surface of 160,000 Square meters and 7 Bn.Euro Turnover.
The country of honor guest will be Bostwana offering tremendous wealth resources.

It’s all a question of technology.

Efficient technological solutions are increasingly becoming a decisive factor in successful travel industry business

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models.

The ITB Berlin segment Travel Technology features four halls where providers present their global distribution systems (GDS), tour operator databases, reservation systems, travel agency software and calculation programs. The main focus in Hall 5.1 is on software for tour operators and travel agencies. In halls 8.1 and 10.1 the focus is on technology providers for the hotel industry.

The Social Media, Big Data and Mobile Travel Services areas can be found in the – e travel World – in Hall 6.1.

8-12 March, 2017 –  Messe Berlin  – Messedamn, 22 –  14055 Berlin – Germany

http://www.itb-berlin.de

Investing in Japan – Thematic investments in light of the Pokémon Go craze

 

 

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock during the past few weeks, you must have heard about the Pokémon Go phenomenon that has taken the world’s attention by storm. The release of the smash-hit app by Niantic Inc. has not only resulted in global hype, but has also had significant repercussions on the stock market. Shares of Nintendo, which has a small stake in Niantic and a 32% stake in The Pokémon Company (the company that owns the rights to the Pokémon franchise), have been on a rollercoaster ride and their average daily turnover on the Tokyo stock exchange has multiplied by a factor of 30 after the release of Pokémon Go. The share price more than doubled during the first few days, then plummeted after the company had to play down the financial impact of the game’s success.


Source: 123RF

Other stocks have also been impacted by Pokémon fever: McDonald’s Japan, which distributes Pokémon characters with its Happy Meals, jumped by 25% after the game’s release. First Baking, the baker of “Pokémon Bread”, saw its share price increase by 23% and Fuji Media Holdings, which owns a small stake in Niantic, was also up by more than 20%. Sanoyas Holdings, an engineering company whose leisure arm runs Pokémon themed facilities, saw its share price temporarily skyrocket by more than 300%, while shares of Imagica Robot, a producer of Pokémon cartoons, briefly gained almost 200%.

Share prices of Nintendo, Sanoyas and Imagica Robot (ytd)


Source: Bloomberg

While the jury is still out on the potential impact of the game’s success and the Pokémon craze on the financial results of these companies, it is clear that riding these kinds of waves on the stock market means taking big risks. Getting the right timing for such investments (“bets” would probably be a more appropriate term) can turn out to be very frustrating, as short-term news flows result in big market swings. Often investments made during these volatile times are merely speculation on short-term trading gains and are rarely made for the purpose of establishing long-term holdings. As such, company valuations tend to be ignored and prices paid for the investments often prove to be too high over the long run.

Short-term investment themes on the Japanese stock market

Riding such thematic waves is a more common phenomenon on the Japanese stock market than other markets. After decades of disappointments, the mood of many investors has veered away from fundamental investing. Even after the nice rally we’ve enjoyed in the past three years, most global investors are underweight on Japan and shy away from long-term commitments. To gain exposure to the Japanese market, they tend to play certain themes for a while, without paying too much attention to company fundamentals or valuations. The recent Pokémon frenzy, although extreme, is just an example of many others in the past.

In 2003 for example, the SARS outbreak hit Asia and Japanese investors rushed to buy makers of masks and dumped travel-related stocks. In 2008, the spike in crude oil prices prompted investors to buy companies that were somehow connected to the theme of alternative energy. In 2012, the spread of smartphones and the proliferation of social games led to a strong rise in the share prices of game-related companies. In recent years, the rise in foreign tourists visiting Japan has increased demand for transportation and consumer stocks. Although some themes have influenced investor behaviour more than others, they have often resulted in big market swings and unfulfilled expectations.

At BLI – Banque de Luxembourg Investments, we are not trying to capture and ride these waves. Our investment approach leads us to buy companies which benefit from a competitive edge that allows them to create shareholder value over the long term

We also put a big emphasis on company valuation in order to avoid falling into the trap of overpaying for our investments. We do not base our investment decisions on short-term themes and tend to avoid over-hyped stocks that are buoyed by growth expectations that are not sustainable.

Thematic investments at BLI

However, while we don’t actively follow the trend on short-term themes, our individual investments often profit from certain interesting long-term trends:

For export-orientated companies, our Japanese equity fund BL-Equities Japan holds several companies that respond to the themes of industrial automation and the growth in mobile data communication. Industrial and chemical companies like Fanuc, Keyence or Nitto Denko, which have been described in detail in a previous blog entitled “Automation for the people”, are well positioned to benefit from these structural growth themes. Another long-term theme is the rapidly growing middle class in emerging countries, where companies like Pigeon, a leading producer of baby bottles and dummies , and Unicharm, Japan’s leading producer of baby nappies, are well positioned to benefit.

Among companies exposed to the domestic market, the fund’s portfolio includes several companies that are boosted by consolidation in Japan’s retail sector. Ain Holdings, ABC-Mart or Don Quijote are some of the retailers mentioned in an earlier blog entitled “New adventurers in retail”, which gain market share at the expense of smaller competitors. Demographic change is also an important theme in Japan. Secom for example, a virtual monopolist in security systems, benefits from the ageing population as it has expanded its product range to offer services for the elderly.

A key recurring theme on the Japanese stock market is the rotation between sectors more exposed to exports and those more exposed to the domestic economy. Investment switches between these segments are generally based on the outlook for the global economy and the Japanese yen. They can occur suddenly, continue over longer periods of time and heavily influence stock performance. As predicting parameters like currencies, economic data or investor sentiment influencing this sector rotation is very difficult, we have decided that our Japanese fund must always keep a sound balance between domestic and export-orientated companies. This decision is essentially a risk-control measure, as it prevents the fund from being too heavily exposed in either direction. It is the only top-down decision made for the portfolio, the choice of companies included in the two categories being purely based on bottom-up stock picking.

 

Themes and their impact on fund performance

Apart from this structural choice to balance export and domestic companies, fund performance over the short term can still be heavily impacted by many other themes that influence investor behaviour on the Japanese market. For example, in 2013, the main investment theme playing out in Japan was the monetary policy aspect of Abenomics, resulting in a depreciation of the yen and a decrease in investors’ risk aversion, as I noted in an earlier blog entitled “The impact of Abenomics“. Investors have consequently been on the hunt for high-beta and highly leveraged stocks, small caps, and stocks in sectors like brokerage or real estate. None of this played into our hand as our exposure to these categories is structurally low. As a result, BL-Equities Japan trailed the market during this period.

BL-Equities Japan vs. MSCI Japan NR since launch


Source: Bloomberg

Over the short term, it is always possible for performance to be negatively impacted by theme-driven markets but over the long term, we are convinced that stock markets reflect economic realities and that our approach consisting of buying quality companies at reasonable valuations pays. Since the beginning of 2014, BL-Equities Japan has been able to make up the ground lost in 2013, and since its inception in 2011 it has significantly outperformed the market.

Theme-driven markets can also play in your favour: for instance, during the last two years, the focus of Japanese investors has been on the theme of “improvements in corporate governance and shareholder returns”. I described the reasons for this trend in past year’s blog entitled “an Emerging Interest in Corporate Governance”. Profitable companies that generate large amounts of free cash flow have become the focus of investors’ interests and demand for quality growth stocks has increased. As these are the kind of companies that are the preferred investment candidates for BL-Equities Japan, this theme has certainly helped to contribute to the fund’s excellent performance during this period.

Theme-driven markets as opportunities for investors

As we have seen, in the short term, markets do not always reflect economic realities. On the one hand, stocks can fall out of favour for simply not being in tune with a certain theme, while on the other hand, markets can drive up stock prices purely based on short-term news flow and sentiment. At BLI, as fund managers with a long-term view, we try to use these market movements to our advantage. We can seize opportunities that arise when unloved companies with attractive and sustainable long-term growth prospects become cheap for the wrong reasons. And we can take profits on those popular companies in our portfolio whose valuations have been driven up too far, just because they were responding to a favourable theme. With this contrarian approach, investors might miss out on some short-term investment opportunities and sometimes be on the wrong side of the equation when certain themes play out. But over the long term, this approach should turn out to be reasonably rewarding for investors and help them register better and more sustainable returns than those achieved by following the herd in theme-driven markets.

Steve GlodEquity Fund Manager

 

Source : Banque of Luxembourg

Patrick GRIGNARD

Universal Press

 

 

After Brexit: losses in financial sector, safe havens benefit

 

Equity markets have reacted negatively to the UK’s vote in favour of exiting the European Union. The biggest loser was the financial sector, while defensive stocks like consumer staples and healthcare benefited from a withdrawal to quality, indicate Guy Wagner, Chief Investment Officer at Banque de Luxembourg, and his team, in their monthly analysis, ‘Highlights’.

Equity markets have reacted negatively to the UK’s vote in favour of exiting the European Union. However, after 2 days of losses, the markets stabilised in anticipation of support from the central banks, which are likely to step in to support the financial markets if the negative reaction persists. The biggest loser was the financial sector, while defensive stocks like consumer staples and healthcare benefited from a withdrawal to quality. “Although the Brexit vote has not triggered a general meltdown on the equity markets, it reflects a steady erosion of confidence in public institutions among a large segment of the population”, says Guy Wagner, Chief Investment Officer at Banque de Luxembourg and managing director of the asset management company BLI – Banque de Luxembourg Investments. “If this loss of confidence extends to the central banks, equity markets could correct sharply. Between now and then, given the lack of alternatives, equities could continue to rise despite there being no sign of any improvement in economic fundamentals.” And he continues: “In an environment characterised by prolonged uncertainty, investors usually value quality and visibility. Within equity markets, these attributes are generally not found within sectors that are very cyclical or within the financial sector.”

Federal Reserve and ECB do not change their monetary policy

At the FOMC (the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee) meeting in June which took place just a few days before the Brexit referendum, Chairman Janet Yellen left interest rates unchanged given that a vote in favour of the UK’s exit from the European Union could have unfavourable economic and financial consequences worldwide. In Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) did not react to the result of the British poll. It is continuing to execute its planned programme of buying up debt securities from corporate and public issuers in the eurozone. The Bank of England announced its intention of easing monetary policy during the summer to offset the unfavourable economic and financial effects of the British referendum.

Global economy is continuing to generate stable, moderate growth

In the meantime, the global economy is continuing to generate stable, moderate growth. “In the United States, the economy is being driven by domestic consumption, while corporate investment is weak”, underlines the Luxembourgish economist. In Europe, political uncertainties have not so far led to an economic slowdown; growth is weak but positive. In Japan, the government is delaying the implementation of further stimulus measures despite ongoing economic stagnation. “In China, fiscal stimulus is cushioning the economic slowdown at the cost of adding to the country’s debt.”

Government bonds are playing their role of safe haven despite the weak yields on offer

Bond yields continued to decline in June. Over the month, the 10-year government bond yield dropped in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, and in the United States. Guy Wagner: “With growing political uncertainty, government bonds are playing their role of safe haven despite the weak yields on offer.” Even negative yields do not seem to be putting investors off maintaining or increasing their positions. “As the probability of monetary tightening in the United States is now diminishing, the US yield curve should continue to flatten.”

Source  Banque de Luxembourg Investments

Patrick GRIGNARD

Universal Press

 

Hilton Frankfurt Airport

Hilton Frankfurt

Iconic, impressive and ideally situated just 15 minutes away from down town Frankfurt, the futuristic THE SQUARE building is home to Hilton Frankfurt Airport.  With pedestrian access to Terminal 1 at Frankfurt Airport, this stylish hotel also offers direct connecting to the motorway and high speed railway station underneath the building

The hotel provid 249 rooms guest and suites; 2 Executive floors with 83 Executive rooms and 17 suites offer even more space upgrated amenities and access to the exclusive Executive Lounge who provied private breakfast and evening cocktail with foods complimentary:

Hotel propose also fitness by Precor, featuring the lastest generation of cardio and strength training equipment, Open 24 hours; 7 days a week, leisure facilities also including sauna and stream bath.

Hilton Frankfurt offers a wide range of meeting and conferencing facilities; suitable for staging and prestigious corporate event event from automobile exhibitions to gala dinners.

For the larger events; the spectacular Ballroom ” Globe ”  can acco,,odate up to 490 guests theatree-style, with the adjoining foyer providing an excellent venue for coffee breaks,

A further 28 conference rooms are available at the conference centre:

The Hilton enjoys a prime location with directly acess to the airport; not far from Frankfurt a Main by train or car, the European financial and commercial metropolis Frankfurt is far more than a hub banking and trade fairs, you admire the dramatic ‘ Mainhatan ‘  skyline from viewing platfrom at main tower with historical district.

Patrick Grignard

Universal press

Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg

 

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The Grandhotel Schloss was built in 1703 according the wishes’ of Prince Johann Wilhelm II. At first the palace was intended as a  hunting manor for is second wife Maria-Luisa from the Medici family. However after a visit Versailles, the prince know as  ” Jan Wellem ” in Rhineland vernacular – change his plan . The second largest baroque palace north of the Alps, with its exposed position on the Bensberg plateau.

The building was also a hospital fro Austrians, French and Prussians, after extensive reconstruction, the building served as a Royal Prussian Cadet School around 1840.

In 1997 the Aachen Munchener Lebensversicherung AG, round 75 million euros were invested in the renovation before the house was opened as a five-star hotel and member of the renowned Cologne Althoff hotel Collection in August 2000, under the direction of Thomas H . Althoff opened the modern-day Grand hotel Schloss Bensberg.

The 84 rooms and 36 suites are luxurious and furnished with modern technology. The hotel facilities provides meeting rooms as “Zanetti Salon” for different civil events.

In a relaxing area a spa centre of 1000 m2 with a blue stars swimming pool, saunas,  fitness room provides also beauty treatments using products as La Prairie, Clarins, …

The hotel’ s ultimate dual gastronomy offers the finest culinary pleasures in its two restaurants : in the gourmet restaurant “Vendome”, star cook Joachim Wissler which received his first Michelin Star in 2001 and today 3 stars.

The second restaurant , the Trattoria “Enotica” gives rather an Italian cuisine with an extensible collection of wines. The breakfast is varied and served in large schedule.

Noelle Gosset

Global press