Intelligent investment companies
Investment companies are a mixed bag when it comes to potential risk and reward. Which counter is the smart money on?
BUY: Astoria InvestmentsShare price: R11.92JSE code: ARA It is difficult not to view Astoria Investments as a low-risk "buy". For a start, the investment company trades at a significant discount to the value of its underlying portfolio, which is mostly made up of large global companies such as Apple, Facebook, Blackstone Group and Starbucks. At end-March, Astoria held a NAV of US$1.20. This translates into a rand value of about R15.85/share — well ahead of the ruling share price on the JSE. On top of the value proposition, there is a tilt by investment firm RECM & Calibre (RACP), which has made a cash offer of R13.50/share to buy 50.1% of Astoria. The offer is complicated by the fact that RACP wants to also offer as settlement a part payment in scrip — at a sizeable premium to its share price — should Astoria shareholders want to sell out en masse. There’s no doubt the investment philosophy will change markedly if RACP gains control — perhaps even a liquidation of the portfolio to m...