Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Two that got away: BMW and Afren.

Strange old start to the year with my portfolio once again having a push at new highs but the air of caution that I felt in the run-up to Christmas (and limited funds) has possibly seen my miss out on a couple of investments that I had been looking for an "in" on.

The first, Afren, has jumped following a new oil exploration find and a step up in production from exisiting developed wells.
Delays in production ramp up have dented the full year figures somewhat as the annualised barrels of oil produced per day came in at 19,200 with an average selling price of $109.
But, the rate achieved in the last quarter was 53,200 leading to estimates (in the trading statement) for 2012 of an average 42,000 - 46,000 boepd (barrels of oil equivalent per day).
The share had jumped from the 80p region to 130p (the 52 week high is 171p) but have since come back to 116p following Mondays Trading statement and Operations Update (http://www.afren.com: Investor Relations).

I find oil producers a little easier to understand than pure explorers who invariably have a speculative asset but not the funds to realise it.
Afren still looks to be on a trend of cashburn (2010 Cash $140m from 2009 Cash $321m) with 2012 capital plans at a similar level to 2011.
But the company stated that there was still $321m in hand in their 2011 half year results. And, with production and revenues expected to double, the company looks set for a 2012 forecast P/E of just 5.5 times earnings.
The company's 2011 full year results are due on the 27 March so depending where the oil price is heading over the next couple of years it continues to be one I am keeping an eye on.

The share price of BMW also seems to be climbing following release of record trading numbers from its Rolls-Royce division, expectations of a good year for the parent company, and a positive stance on Germany's financial strength and exports.

In the case of BMW the shares have climbed from a low 50 Euro level and 4% forecast yield to a recent high of 63.88 Euro's and a lowering yield of 3.6%.
A lot to like about BMW not least of which is the brand name and resilient global sales.
There has been some increase to borrowings through the last few years and margins have suffered but inventories have been kept under control and the company seems set for a big increase in profits and a resumption of its trending performance up to 2008.

Along with other major manufacturers China presents a big opportunity for BMW particularly, in my opinion, where the Mini and 3 Series are concerned.
Like most German exporters BMW does seem to be benefitting from the Euro's exchange rate so a downside risk is that any return to the DM will probably make their products less competitive due to the perceived financial strength of Germany.

As it is my concerns around the Euro have held my hand as it does not seem to have weakened to a level that seems relative to the risks. 
All a bit of a balancing act though and the appreciation in BMW's share price does seem to have negated what might have seemed a reasonable depreciation of the Euro. 
As such, it looks to have got away from me unless the Eurozone hits another speedbump.

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