Tag Archives: URB

April 2021 Update – $OSS.v, $REPH, $ISDR, $PSD.to, $ISV.to, $FTG.to, $XTC.to, $RELL, $MTLO.v, $DWSN, $SVT, $URB/A.to

TIKR

I use TIKR to quickly look through ideas and check comparable companies. Would recommend. Referral code below.

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Thoughts on Market Activity

This month seen a bounce in the markets to some degree. Hearing more and more mention of inflation on conference calls from companies and some larger companies have implemented cost increases due to rising input costs. I am not a macro guy but thinking about how a business will perform with higher input costs feels more prudent than ever. There seems to be a big disconnect on what I hear on Twitter vs. how the indexes are performing. I do consistently hear “it’s a tough market for microcaps” and “these aren’t getting the attention they deserve”. It seems to be a story of what worked in 2020 isn’t working in 2021. Is it a temporary phenomenon or something longer lasting I’m not sure.

On a personal note, my portfolio has been treading water for a few months. Keeping up with the Russel YTD will have to be good enough. I have been deploying into more and more smaller bets as some companies have reached large portions of the portfolio and not sure if the valuations warrant very large positions. This will make it harder to substantially outperform by a wide margin but could lead to less volatility. Also, I’m expecting that the churn in positions will lead me to underperform in the short term.

Posts this month

Developments on Companies Mentioned

  • OneSoft Solutions – $OSS.v
    • Announced another client
      • Nice to see some continued traction
  • Recro Pharma – $REPH
  • Issuer Direct – $ISDR
    • Announced a 1% pledge
      • I like the concept and how ISDR is an entity that gives back to the community
  • Pulse Seismic – $PSD.to
    • Reported Q1 2021 and held AGM
      • 3.8 mil in sales in April
      • They have now booked 77% of the entire year of 2020 rev (although depressed) in the first 4 months
      • I have tried hard to purchase additional shares, but the share price has run away from me
  • Information Services Corp – $ISV.to
    • Filed a shelf prospectus to raise up to 200mil over the next 25 months
      • Interesting development and something to monitor
  • Firan Technology – $FTG.to
    • Reported fiscal Q1 2021
      • Results were impacted by covid from a demand and operational standpoint
      • Trading quite cheap based on trailing numbers with some uncertainty with commercial aerospace returning
  • Exco Technologies – $XTC.to
    • Reported fiscal Q2
      • Results were above my expectations and outlook given was strong
  • Richardson Electronics – $RELL
    • Reported Fiscal Q3
      • Things are looking positive
      • Trading at about NCAV
  • Martello Technologies Group Inc – $MTLO.v
  • Dawson Geophysical – $DWSN
    • Adopted a shareholder rights plan
      • Expires in 2022
      • Not a fan
  • Servotronics – $SVT
    • Released 10-K
      • Not a ton of details that we don’t already know
      • Revs down 10% in 2020
        • ATG down 16% as they are tied to commercial aviation
      • CPG up 34% as they shipped more units
    • Still interesting to follow
  • Urbana Corp – $URB/A.to
    • NAV is slowly creeping up

The author is long $OSS.v, $ISDR, $PSD.to, $URB/A.to

2 Comments

Filed under Company Updates

URBANA Corp – $URB.to & $URB/A.to

Another two weeks since posting…. a couple started but I don’t think they are good enough to publish yet.

Another very simple idea. Hat tip to DD for the help and data collection.

I originally posted about Urbana 10 years ago here in March of 2011. I ended up selling about 6 months later and posted about it here. Originally, I was overly attracted to the discount to NAV. I don’t believe I appreciated the growth potential in NAV on a per share basis.

Background

Price – $2.99

Shares – 44.2 mil

Market Cap – $134mil CAD

Here is URB/A vs. the TSX over the last 5 years

Urbana Corporation is an investment fund launched and managed by Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. For its equity investment the fund primarily invests in public equity markets of United States and Canada. The fund primarily focuses on U.S. financial companies and Canadian resource companies for equity investments. The fund also focuses on private equity investments.

Private company and start-up investments are usually vetted by the board and generally at arm’s length from Urbana.

Fund Perf

When looking at the performance of the fund, I am thinking about the growth in NAV. Despite the fees and annual dividend, the NAV has grown at quicker pace than the TSX. Below is the average performance in NAV growth.

Discount to NAV

Despite the performance the, shares are trading near the largest discount to NAV in the last 15 years.

Share Structure

There are two classes of shares. 10 mil voting/common shares and 38.9 mil class A or non-voting shares. The share repurchases are from the A shares. There is more liquidity in the A class shares.

They have bought back about half the shares since 2009.

Ownership

As mentioned the Caldwell family owns the majority of the voting shares.

EdgePoint has been selling some class A shares. This could weigh on the shares, but they could also arrange a block trade and buyback the shares.

Portfolio

Portfolio as of March 12, 2021

They are fairly concentrated. The largest 5 public equities make up 34% of assets. The top 5 private investments make up 32% of assets. The largest holding is the Canadian Securities Exchange at 13% of assets. They have had the position for many years and Brendan Caldwell is on the board. The CSE recently announced record trading volume and capital raised in Jan 2021. The marked value of their holdings was recently raised in 2020.

Mineral Properties

The company has a some mineral claims that are carried at zero value. There are 44 claims for 2,852.7 acres. So far, they have not commented on if/when this claim will be crystalized. The last time there was an update was in 2017.

Pros

  • Continue to buy back shares at a discount to NAV.
  • Pays an annual dividend. If the dividend is maintained it yields just over 3%.
  • The Caldwell family about $18 mil worth of the company and should be incentivized to have the shares perform.
  • Potential value in mineral properties.

Cons

  • There is a 2% investment and advisory fee (used to be 1.5%).
  • Dual class share structure.
  • Private investments may not be liquid and can be subjected to judgement by management.

As mentioned, simple idea. I’m comfortable parking some cash here in the A shares. Not a huge position, but enough to move the needle if it runs one way or another.

For those interested, you can hear the Chair & CEO share his thoughts on an audio podcast here.

Am I the only one holding some URB/A?

Thanks,

Dean

*the author is long URB/A

5 Comments

Filed under Company Analysis

Urbana…Sold because I screwed up.

Some lessons are expensive. I bought URB.to because it was trading at a discount to NAV and buying back shares. It seemed pretty good. I mean URB used to trade at a premium to NAV. Most recently NAV has dropped but the share price has dropped faster. So there is an even bigger gap. One would think that I should buy more, and maybe I should.

So it begs the question…”why?” Why would there be such a large gap between NAVPS and share price? I think there is no real confidence in management to execute or there is no real confidence in the sector as a whole. It may be true, things change and exchange market could look quite different from today.

I am selling because I blindly bought URB without dissecting why it was so cheap. I feel that the lack of liquidity has something to do with it. I also have no real opinion of the future of the businesses in the fund. So I feel that there are companies out there with clearer visibility. There has been around a 20% discount to NAV since summer 2008. I am selling cheap to buy cheaper.

More to come…

Dean

Disclosure: Author has sold URB.A

3 Comments

Filed under Company Updates