This week, we comment on the full earnings report from Volkswagen, which wraps up this earnings season. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is an off-cycle company and reports on March 28.
Volkswagen AG (VWAGY) – Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest car makers, with a portfolio of brands including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini, as well as commercial trucks and a major financial services unit. Investors worry about the sizeable China exposure, large but unsettled bet on electric vehicles and complicated governance structure, as well as the likely effects of a recession. Our view is that the market is over-discounting these risks while over-looking the company’s strengths including its sizeable profits and free cash flow and sturdy balance sheet that give it plenty of time to execute its plans. Several important catalysts look primed to unlock value within the company, including the Porsche IPO and new leadership.
Volkswagen reported full 2022 results, which provided only incremental information from a strategic perspective.
Standout items included the automotive balance sheet, which now holds €56 billion in cash against €11 billion in financial liabilities, for a net cash position of €45 billion compared to €29 billion a year ago. The €16.1 billion in cash proceeds from the Porsche IPO boosted last year’s ending net cash position.
Another standout item was the €8.4 billion increase in cash tied up in inventories. We anticipate this bloat to be reversed this year as better component deliveries will allow VW to sell vehicles that currently are incomplete.
VW clarified its capital outlay plans: It will ramp up its spending on EVs and expanding in China. Capital spending plus R&D spending will total nearly 14.5% of revenues in 2023, up from 12.7% in 2021, assuming that VW’s revenue projections are on target. Five-year combined spending will total €180 billion. This spending is front-loaded, with 2023 spending of €46 billion, almost double the €26 billion in 2021. The company is being very aggressive in its efforts to catch up to Tesla and push off other competitors, even though the returns on this vast outflow are difficult to gauge but will likely be lower than for gas-powered vehicles. How big is €180 billion? For comparison, VW’s enterprise value, which is the total of its market cap and its debt, is about €215 billion. Theoretically, the company could go into run-off mode and be worth almost as much as it is currently.
We’re surprised by the valuation discrepancy between VW and its Porsche unit. VW’s €78 billion market value includes €75 billion in Porsche shares. There may be some double-counting and other factors driving this bizarre math, but is VW ex-Porsche of zero value?
Our thesis on VW is that the Porsche IPO and new leadership will unlock value. So far, the Porsche IPO hasn’t unlocked any value and the new CEO is spending all of the efficiency improvements, plus many multiples of those, on EVs.
Friday, March 17, 2023 Subscribers-Only Podcast:
Covering recent news and analysis for our portfolio companies and other topics relevant to value/contrarian investors.
Today’s podcast is about 8½ minutes and covers:
- Earnings reports
- Comments on other recommended companies
- Dril-Quip (DRQ) – Brazil’s new president puts a damper on offshore drilling.
- Newell Brands (NWL) – Carl Icahn moves closer to a full exit.
- Elsewhere in the markets
- Tough week for value stocks
- Is it time to jump back into the banks?
- Final note
- Evacuation Day, March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day
|Rating and Price Target|
|Small cap||Gannett Company||GCI||Aug 2017||9.22||2.08||-||Buy (9)|
|Small cap||Duluth Holdings||DLTH||Feb 2020||8.68||6.92||-||Buy (20)|
|Small cap||Dril-Quip||DRQ||May 2021||28.28||27.58||-||Buy (44)|
|Mid cap||Mattel||MAT||May 2015||28.43||16.62||-||Buy (38)|
|Mid cap||Adient plc||ADNT||Oct 2018||39.77||39.67||-||Buy (55)|
|Mid cap||Xerox Holdings||XRX||Dec 2020||21.91||15.20||6.6%||Buy (33)|
|Mid cap||Ironwood Pharmaceuticals||IRWD||Jan 2021||12.02||10.47||-||Buy (19)|
|Mid cap||Viatris||VTRS||Feb 2021||17.43||9.50||5.1%||Buy (26)|
|Mid cap||TreeHouse Foods||THS||Oct 2021||39.43||47.26||-||Buy (60)|
|Mid cap||Kaman Corporation||KAMN||Nov 2021||37.41||22.43||3.6%||Buy (57)|
|Mid cap||The Western Union Co.||WU||Dec 2021||16.40||10.72||8.8%||Buy (25)|
|Mid cap||Brookfield Re||BNRE||Jan 2022||61.32||29.43||1.9%||Buy (93)|
|Mid cap||Polaris||PII||Feb 2022||105.78||109.17||-||Buy (160)|
|Mid cap||Goodyear Tire & Rubber||GT||Mar 2022||16.01||10.43||-||Buy (24.50)|
|Mid cap||M/I Homes||MHO||May 2022||44.28||58.89||-||Buy (67)|
|Mid cap||Janus Henderson Group||JHG||Jun 2022||27.17||25.78||6.1%||Buy (67)|
|Mid cap||ESAB Corp||ESAB||Jul 2022||45.64||60.08||-||Buy (68)|
|Mid cap||Six Flags Entertainment||SIX||Dec 2022||22.60||25.73||-||Buy (35)|
|Mid cap||Kohl’s Corporation||KSS||Mar 2023||32.43||23.23||8.6%||Buy (50)|
|Large cap||General Electric||GE||Jul 2007||304.96||91.97||0.3%||Buy (160)|
|Large cap||Nokia Corporation||NOK||Mar 2015||8.02||4.57||2.0%||Buy (12)|
|Large cap||Macy’s||M||Jul 2016||33.61||18.94||3.5%||Buy (25)|
|Large cap||Toshiba Corporation||TOSYY||Nov 2017||14.49||15.80||6.6%||Buy (28)|
|Large cap||Holcim Ltd.||HCMLY||Apr 2018||10.92||12.22||3.6%||Buy (16)|
|Large cap||Newell Brands||NWL||Jun 2018||24.78||11.76||7.8%||Buy (39)|
|Large cap||Vodafone Group plc||VOD||Dec 2018||21.24||11.24||9.1%||Buy (32)|
|Large cap||Molson Coors||TAP||Jul 2019||54.96||51.48||3.0%||Buy (69)|
|Large cap||Berkshire Hathaway||BRK.B||Apr 2020||183.18||302.01||-||HOLD|
|Large cap||Wells Fargo & Company||WFC||Jun 2020||27.22||39.30||3.1%||Buy (64)|
|Large cap||Western Digital Corporation||WDC||Oct 2020||38.47||35.34||-||Buy (78)|
|Large cap||Elanco Animal Health||ELAN||Apr 2021||27.85||9.64||-||Buy (44)|
|Large cap||Walgreens Boots Alliance||WBA||Aug 2021||46.53||33.41||5.7%||Buy (70)|
|Large cap||Volkswagen AG||VWAGY||Aug 2022||19.76||16.97||5.4%||Buy (70)|
|Large cap||Warner Bros Discovery||WBD||Sep 2022||13.13||14.16||-||Buy (20)|
|Large cap||Capital One Financial||COF||Nov 2022||96.25||93.56||2.6%||Buy (150)|
|Large cap||Bayer AG||BAYRY||Feb 2023||15.41||14.96||3.6%||Buy (24)|
Disclosure: The chief analyst of the Cabot Turnaround Letter personally holds shares of every Rated recommendation. The chief analyst may purchase securities discussed in the “Purchase Recommendation” section or sell securities discussed in the “Sell Recommendation” section but not before the fourth day after the recommendation has been emailed to subscribers. However, the chief analyst may purchase or sell securities mentioned in other parts of the Cabot Turnaround Letter at any time.Please feel free to share your ideas and suggestions for the podcast and the letter with an email to either me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to our friendly customer support team at email@example.com. Due to the time and space limits we may not be able to cover every topic, but we will work to cover as much as possible or respond by email.