Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Jan 2021 Update – $OSS.v, $ISV.to, $STC.v, $VLN.to, $VMD.to, $SYZ.to, $MCB.to, $FRII.to, $RELL, $MTLO.v, $DWSN

Trying something new this month to catalogue some recent market activity and my thoughts around it.

Thoughts on Market Activity

I’m sure you’ve heard of activity around wallstreetbets reddit board and the short squeeze on some heavily shorted names (Gamestop being the most well known). Sorry to disappoint, but I won’t be participating in the short or long side of that corner of the market. It’s too risky for me. It is absolutely fascinating to witness in real time. I have been overly curious to understand what the thought process is for the individuals on each side. I will admit I have probably spent too much time listening to finance and non-finance people explain why they feel the way they do about it. Anyone interested in hearing some anecdotal data I’ve collected can send me an email or DM on Twitter.

I am not a macro guy. I can say that I have been finding interesting ideas lately, but I have not stumbled across businesses that I feel warrant a very large position in the portfolio. I am sitting on a higher than normal amount of cash, but that can change in a few weeks.

Posts this month

Relevant News from Companies Profiled Recently

  • OneSoft Solutions ($OSS.v)
    • Another customer signs on to integrate CIM into their pipeline operations
      • 4th customer in 3 months
      • This is a big positive and shares are up a bit for the month (about 15%)
  • Information Services Corp ($ISV.to)
    • They announced that they ratified a collective agreement with their in-scope unionized employees
      • They did this virtually which is good to hear
      • Provides 6 years of stability with the members with modest wage increases
  • Sangoma Technologies Corp ($STC.v)
    • Update on cyberattack
      • Had no material impact on sales or additional risks to the business
    • Huge acquisition announced
      • The had a call on Jan 29th to discuss
      • More details to come in the next few weeks
      • On the surface the acquisition seems like it is a good fit for the business and will further increase their value to customers, but the valuation is not cheap
        • This is common for Sangoma; all previous acquisitions looked a little off at first glance, but ended up being very well executed
      • I’ll likely to a more in depth post to help myself digest the news
      • As of this morning the shares are halted
  • Velan ($VLN.to)
    • CFO resigned to join a private owned company
      • Doesn’t seem a material event on the surface as he is staying to help transition the role
      • Would like to see a new CFO within a reasonable amount of time
    • Reported fiscal Q3 2021
      • The quarte was better than expected though covid is still having an impact on the business
      • They were able to execute the V20 plan remotely
      • They have the highest backlog in 8 years
      • Sale of the montreal plant resulted in a gain on the balance sheet
        • To me this gives additional margin of safety as looking at this as net-net gives no value to PPE which obviously has some value
    • I honestly think that this is one of those weird names that could earn more ebitda in a few years than the market cap in 2020
      • But that needs to be monitored
    • The bulletin boards are dead from this
  • Viemed ($VMD.to)
    • Released details of a recent Non-invasive vent study
      • Study was led by their CMO
      • Data was between 2012 and 2018
      • Seems like a good validation of NI vents and a helpful data point to bring to the table
  • Sylogist ($SYZ.to)
    • CI purchased shares
      • Bought 1.032 shares since Nov 10, 2020
      • About 40% of trading volume
      • These likely happened at the start of December as there was a spike in volume
    • New CTIO announced
      • Pedigree seems well
      • 225 options at $11.78
        • 5 year term that vest in equal tranches on 1st, 2nd, 3rd anniversary of $15, $17 and $19
  • McCoy Global ($MCB.to)
    • New board member announced (Cory Janssen)
      • Was co-founder of Investopedia
      • He’s quite connected as McCoy commercializes some of their digital products
  • Freshii ($FRII.to)
    • Alternative Monthly Report stating that Silver Ring Value Partners Fund LP
      • During the month ended December 31, 2020, Silver Ring acquired 195,500 Common Shares through open market purchases on the facilities of the Exchange, resulting in Silver Ring holding an aggregate of 2,806,233 Common Shares as at December 31, 2020, representing approximately 10.65% of the issued and outstanding Common Shares.1 Prior to December 1, 2020, Silver Ring owned, or exercised control or direction over, 2,618,733 Common Shares, representing approximately 9.95% of the issued and outstanding Common Shares.
      • Seems like a decent value shop
      • Nice to have a capital allocator own a large amount of the shares outstanding
    • Update on Special Meeting Circular announced
      • Reason for the special meeting is to reduce the stated value of the A shares so they can institute a NCIB
      • This is a step in the right direction
  • Richardson Electronics ($RELL)
    • Reported fiscal Q2
      • Results were better than expected and guidance was strong
      • Looks like wafer side of their business is rebounding and the current cycle could match or eclipse previous cycle
      • The CT tubes are seeing an increase in demand versus what was previously communicated, particularly seeing strength in Europe
        • looks like they could get the healthcare part of the business to break even closer than anticipated
      • shares spiked 20% on the news
  • Martello Technologies Group Inc ($MTLO.v)
    • Provided an update on operations
      • GSX (which was acquired in May 2020) is now fully integrated
        • Gizmo coupled with solutions MTLO already provides is set to take their DEM strategy to another level
        • Sales from all GSX and Savision were about 58% of rev in Q2 fiscal 21
      • Reiterated that legacy products have been declining and will mask core business growth
        • They noted that expenses related to managing the legacy part of the business are minimal
  • Dawson Geophysical – ($DWSN)
    • Wilks Family disclosed a passive stake of 2.28mil shares or 9.7% of the outstanding shares

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Filed under Company Updates, Random Thoughts

Buy and Hold Quality Forever? Viemed $VMD.to

Congrats. You did it. You found a company (thanks to Chip for pointing it out) that no one was really looking at and put a decent amount of money to work when it mattered. You held onto it through ups and downs all along the way there were doubters to the story. You may have trimmed along the way, but it’s still a larger part of your portfolio than you would like and no longer a cheap company.

We will take a look at my real life example in Viemed – $VMD.to.  It’s less a profile of a company and more of a place to store my thoughts and look for feedback from others. This will be a quick one.

Backstory

Viemed was originally split from a Healthcare roll-up darling in Canada Patient Home Monitoring. It was purchased by Patient Home Monitoring in 2015 and eventually traded on the Venture in Dec 2017 after the split. PHM has a colorful history that was part of the reason the opportunity presented itself.

Viemed Healthcare, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides in-home durable medical equipment and health care solutions to patients in the United States. The company offers respiratory services and related equipment, including non-invasive ventilators; bi-level, continuous, and automatic continuous positive airway pressure (PAP) machines; and oxygen units, as well as services of respiratory therapists; and respiratory disease management, neuromuscular care, and oxygen therapy services. It also provides in-home sleep apnea testing services to determine the existence of sleep apnea at home. In addition, the company leases non-invasive and invasive ventilators, PAP machines, percussion vests, oxygen concentrator units, and respiratory equipment, as well as sells medical equipment and/or patient medical services. Further, it provides therapy and counseling to patients in their homes using its technology. The company was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana.

The company has a high touch service model that send Respiratory Therapists into the home, mostly for the proper use and monitoring of non-invasive ventilators (NIVs). This high service model helps the company separate itself from local and larger competitors.

Their service of treating patients in the home has proven to extent life and reduce hospital re-admission. This is a win for the patient’s quality of life as well as reducing costs to treat patients.

High Growth with lots of TAM

They have been specifically focused on stage 4 COPD that are candidates for their therapy. We all know the demographic profile of the US is a tailwind for this type of service. Despite the growth in recent years, they estimate to have about a 5% NIV market penetration.

There are opportunities to increase presence in existing states, expand into new states, expand product offerings, as well support patients that aren’t quite as severe as stage 4 COPD.

Management & Execution

Casey Hoyt (CEO) and Todd Zehnder (CFO) stayed on after the split from Patient Home to run the business. Both have proven to be excellent operators. Below is a list of accomplishments since early 2018.

  • surveys to educate their stakeholders on the value of their service – I’m refering to a KPMG and Harvard Medical School study
  • investor calls early on to tell the story
  • investing heavily to support patients remotely
  • Veterans Affairs contract win
  • growing in existing states and expanding into new ones
  • have growth in other products
  • providing PPE products during pandemic – this shows how quickly they can respond and is a nice bonus for shareholders
  • actively diversifying payor base and reducing their risk from a Medicare reimbursement cut
  • US listing

You can see they have been busy in just a few years.

Conclusion

This is all great, but with a market cap of over 500 mil and many institutional eyes on this, my edge of dealing with small illiquid companies has eroded. I will have to pivot my thinking if I continue to hold shares.

For me, VMD still warrants a position, albeit smaller. I have trimmed to where it is a less meaningful part of my portfolio. They want to be the largest respirator company in the US long term. That’s quite ambitious, but does provide some context to the long term plan for the business. They seem to have the runway and the strong leadership. I will be curious to see how they manage acquisitions if they do go down that road. There are risks to the business for sure.

In the past I have tried to model out the future with a couple of different scenarios. Those models never seem to work for me. I’ve posted it below for entertainment purposes. This model doesn’t include any (temporary) sales of PPE made during the pandemic.

At the end of the day, this is a business with a long runway and a solid management team. Valuation is not cheap, but I think with a long enough time horizon it’s worth having a position.

Anyone else own Viemed?

Thanks,

Dean

*the author is long shares of Viemed at time of writing

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Getting caught off guard; Recro Pharma ($REPH)

If you’ve been in this game long enough you are going to get caught off guard once in a while (unless you are part of Fintwit where everyone bats 1.000). I would say that of all the executive functions, emotional regulation is probably my weakest. It is kind of funny given that I realize that it takes a higher EQ than IQ to be successful at this investing thing.

There are usually some minor positive or negative surprises on quarterly or annual financial statements. More often then not these lead to a minor reaction in the share price, say 5-10%. These “surprises” are usually easily explained on the conference call or in the MD&A. Once in awhile, you really get a surprise and the stock rises or drops by 25+%. The company releases numbers and the stock gaps up or down. You had no idea and where caught off guard. These are the moves that test your conviction in the company and in your process. It’s easy to take credit for the positive surprises and blame management for the negative ones. In reality it doesn’t matter who’s “fault” it is, but how you pick up the pieces and move forward is what is important. It’s so hard to remember that in 2 or 3 years, you won’t care about this specific quarter unless you did something you regret based on the results.

This recently happened to me with REPH as they released numbers and the stock gapped down 40%. I’m going to share how I am approaching the situation now.

Here is a good post on REPH. The author does a great job going over the business and valuation. Check it out before continuing.

Despite not being in an industry that I’m familiar with, the REPH investment thesis was fairly easy to articulate:

  • decently high barriers to entry
  • deep relationships with customers
  • producing drugs that are not going away anytime soon
  • split of the 2 businesses (CDMO and specialty pharma) to focus on core competencies
  • not immediately or materially affected by COVID (at least from what I understood)
  • discount to peers and previous buyouts
  • issued guidance for the business and previously beat guidance
  • there is likely to be a push for drugs to be produced in North America given some supply shortages of certain critical drugs during the Covid pandemic

There were some things to get comfortable with:

  • high cost debt
  • no CEO for the CDMO business
  • not cheap on an absolute basis
  • not expecting stellar growth (though I am not expecting negative growth either)
  • management communication has not been great
  • compensation seems high for a business of this size, but that does seem to be normal for pharma companies

Given all this, I took half a starter position or about 3%.

Now with shares about 45% lower than when I bought, I’m left with a pretty small position.  At a this point REPH is about 2% of my portfolio. When the shares crashed, REPH occupied way more than 2% of my bandwidth. I needed to take a step back and reassess. I could average down, hold or lick my wounds and blow out the position.

Here are some questions I ask myself whenever I get one of these surprises:

  1. Is this a temporary bump in the road or is this quarter indicative of the long term prospects of the business getting worse?
  2. Is there a reasonable explanation for the surprise? Did management do everything in their control?
  3. When communicating bad news, did management take accountability?
  4. If you didn’t already own shares, what would you do?

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. I don’t think the long term prospects of the business have changed and the barriers to entry have lessened.
  2. Yes and No. They were expecting a re-entry of a competitor into their market (Mylan) and seemed to have the underestimated the impact. Covid has led to delays in reorders as customers have worked through some inventory on hand. As well, business development efforts were paused due to Covid.
  3. I do feel that they took accountability for what they could control and revised guidance was issued. They have set up a Covid task force to help navigate the pandemic. They adjusted costs and are looking to save 2 mil.
  4. If I didn’t own shares, I would likely wait on the sidelines.

Given that the position is quite small and I don’t have a better use of the capital at the moment, I’m going to hold on to my shares and not add or sell. I realize that this means that I am missing out on a potential rally in the shares.

I have come up with tangible milestones to build confidence in management before adding to my stake and working towards a full position. To me, these should all be complete by the end of the year.

  • Have a better idea of how the new competitor in one of main markets
  • Hire new CEO for the CDMO business
  • Refinance high cost debt
  • Signs of significant growth in new products to fill existing capacity
  • Meet previously issued guidance

When’s the last time you got a negative surprise? What did you do?

Dean

*the author owns shares of REPH at time of writing

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Filed under Company Analysis, Investing Lessons, Random Thoughts