Standard Life's 3 Stock Picks

Andrew Paisley, manager of the Standard Life European Smaller Companies fund, picks three quality stocks for growth investors

Emma Wall 22 June, 2017 | 11:03AM
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Emma Wall: Hello and welcome to Morningstar. I'm Emma Wall. I'm joined today by Andrew Paisley, Manager of the Standard Life European Smaller Companies Fund. Hello, Andrew.

Andrew Paisley: Hi.

Wall: So, what's your first stock pick today?

Paisley: So, the first stock pick I have today is a German company called Nemetschek (NEM). It's the European market leader in the provision of 3D, 4D and 5D software to the architectural and construction markets. It's a classic German Mittelstand business set up by Professor Nemetschek in the 1950s. He is still a big shareholder in the business and is involved in the management and the supervisory board.

Now, this is a business which has a long growth trajectory in front of it we believe. The construction industry, in particular, has being quite late to adopt technology, and you know we've all seen some big construction projects overrunning with fairly disastrous consequences for the contractor. Now what the software does is to reduce that risk, both in terms of 3D being able to visualize the building, 4D in terms of the actual timeline of construction of the business and a 5D, which also takes into account price and cost.

Collectively, this is called Building Information Management. As now being mandated by the EU and all public sector tenders. But on top of that, there is strong growth coming through from the private sector. You clearly see the benefits from managing contract risk. As I say the European market leader now branching into North America, strong growth prospects there, we believe the market is underestimating the growth potential of this business as company have held for a couple years, but we believe we'll be able to hold it for many years to come. So, high quality business with good growth and strong momentum.

Wall: And what's the second stock pick?

Paisley: So, the second stock pick, a bit closer to whom is a company that we own in the U.K., the European and the global small cap fund, Fevertree Drinks (FEVR), which is a manufacturer of premium tonic water for the premium gin markets. Again, setup by – there's two founders who are still involved in managing the business. They still have a big shareholding in the business. So, clearly, aligned to us as external shareholders.

This business has seen very strong earnings momentum. The two analysts, when it first floated quite conservative forecast and it's quite clear to us that they were likely to do much better than was expected by the consensus. That's what we've seen, quite dramatic upgrades and the share price has performed accordingly.

Now, we believe the consensus is still too conservative looking a couple of years, given the growth prospects of the business, both in terms of geographic expansion, but also product expansion. So, moving away from purely the gin market into other product categories, particularly addressing the dark spirits markets, which is actually six times bigger than the gin market.

So, premium cola, premium ginger beer and ginger ale, and none of that is in analyst forecast. So, you know, we expect again to be holding this business for the long-term. Very high quality, excellent growth and very strong momentum from this business.

Wall: Do you think Fevertree is a prime M&A target, because of course you have in this soft drink space some ginormous U.S. companies, such as Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola. Surely, as we've seen with other brands, it gets to a point where someday I think I'd like a piece of that.

Paisley: I think absolutely that's correct. It's not part of the investment case. However, clearly, this is a very attractive business with great growth dynamics and a very strong brand. It wouldn't surprise us if at some point that one of these multinational brands that buys Fevertree to complement their staple of brands, particularly targeting the premium end of the market.

Wall: And what's your third and final stock pick?

Paisley: The third stock pick, again, a completely different company and that reflects very much the eclectic bottom-up process that we run is a Norwegian company called Borregaard (BRG).  Now, this business is a manufacturer of a chemical, which is a by-product from the wood pulping process called lignin.

It is an environmentally-friendly product, which is used in hundreds of different applications, mainly as a binding agent in areas such as concrete, in agriculture, but also in car batteries. And what we're seeing is a structural growth trend here as this environmentally product is displacing oil-based equivalents, which are really quite nasty chemicals.

Our non-consensus view is around on increasing capacity, which we believe will result in significant earnings growth over the next three years, which the market is not factoring in at the moment; and effectively, as much of this product that they can produce, they can sell. So, very long-term structural growth driver here. Again, a high-quality company; margins of over 20%, and good earnings momentum, not well-covered by the sell-side at all.

Emma: Andrew, thank you very much.

Paisley: Thank you.

Emma: This is Emma Wall for Morningstar. Thank you for watching.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
abrdnII-Eu SmlCo A Acc EUR37.35 EUR-0.51Rating
Borregaard ASA199.40 NOK3.21
Fevertree Drinks PLC1,062.00 GBX3.81
Nemetschek SE91.65 EUR0.66

About Author

Emma Wall  is former Senior International Editor for Morningstar

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