Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Larry Robbins' Glenview Capital Adds to Lincare Holdings (LNCR) Stake

Larry Robbins' hedge fund Glenview Capital filed a 13G with the SEC regarding its position in Lincare Holdings (LNCR). As of October 11th, Glenview owns 6.14% of LNCR with 5,731,403 shares.

This marks an increase of 85% in their position size since the close of the second quarter. Glenview crossed the 5% regulatory threshold in Lincare shares on September 29th and continued buying up to a 6.14% stake.

Glenview was already one of the largest owners of LNCR shares and now they move into the top-5 stakeholders. For other portfolio activity from Robbins' fund, we also detailed Glenview's thesis on Clearwire (CLWR).

Taken from Google Finance, Lincare Holdings is "a provider of oxygen and other respiratory therapy services to patients in the home. Its customers suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis or asthma, and require supplemental oxygen or other respiratory therapy services. Lincare also provides a variety of durable medical equipment (DME) and home infusion therapies in certain geographic markets."

Berkowitz's Fairholme Cuts Regions Financial Position in Half

Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Capital filed an amended 13G with the SEC regarding shares of Regions Financial (RF) and disclosed they now have a 4.8% ownership stake in RF with 60,568,917 shares.

The SEC filing was made due to activity on September 30th and marks a 51% reduction in Berkowitz's position. The last time we covered Berkowitz was at the Harbor Investment Conference where he said there was black box risk to owning banks but that after three years you can get an idea of who's going to do well.

Fairholme also owns stakes in other financials like AIG (AIG), Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs (GS), and CIT Group (CIT). In our Hedge Fund Wisdom premium newsletter, we outlined the investment thesis on AIG as Berkowitz has pressed his bet there and it is by far his largest position at over 20% of his portfolio.

Per Google Finance, Regions Financial is "a financial holding company. The Company operates throughout the South, Midwest and Texas. Regions provides traditional commercial, retail and mortgage banking services, as well as other financial services in the fields of investment banking, asset management, trust, mutual funds, securities brokerage, insurance and other specialty financing."

Steve Mandel's Lone Pine Buys More Esprit Holdings

Steve Mandel's hedge fund Lone Pine Capital recently raised its stake in Esprit Holdings (HK:0330) listed in Hong Kong. The hedge fund is now the second largest shareholder at 6.23% of Esprit Holdings. This is up from a 3.22% stake previously.

Lone Pine Capital purchased almost 39 million shares at around HK $9.50 on October 4th according to Hong Kong regulatory disclosures. Over the past month, shares of Esprit are down 45% as the company saw revenue from Europe decline again due to the debt crisis there.

In other activity from this hedge fund, last week we covered how Lone Pine added to its Oceaneering position as well as their new position in Williams Sonoma.

Per Google Finance, Esprit is "principally engaged in wholesale and retail distribution, and licensing of fashion and life-style products designed under its own Esprit brand name. The Company operates with 12 established product lines offering women’s wear, men’s wear, kid’s wear, edc youth, as well as shoes and accessories in over 800 directly managed retail stores and over 14,000 controlled-space wholesale point-of-sales internationally."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Steve Cohen's SAC Capital Buys More Forest Oil (FST) on Dividend Play

Steven Cohen's hedge fund firm SAC Capital just now filed a 13G with the SEC regarding shares of Forest Oil (FST).

As of October 10th, SAC owns 4.8% of Forest Oil with 5,457,851 shares. This marks an increase of 50% in their common stock position size since the end of the second quarter (though it should be pointed out that SAC also owned FST call options at the end of Q2).

Since then, SAC Capital has bought 1,829,850 additional shares of FST. However, in the footnotes of the SEC filing, it notes that SAC owned more than 5% of FST on September 30th. Yet over the past 10 days, their ownership stake has decreased down to 4.8%.

Forest Oil Special Dividend

The September 30th date is important here because Forest Oil executed a special dividend of 70 million shares of Lone Pine Resources (LPR) that are owned by Forest. That distribution was made to FST investors on September 30th and shareholders on record as of September 16th received 0.612 of a share of Lone Pine common stock for every share of FST owned.

In early September we covered how Jeffrey Altman's hedge fund Owl Creek started a Forest Oil stake, presumably playing this dividend catalyst just like SAC. So while these major hedge funds held a sizable position before the special dividend, it will be interesting to see if they will still hold a position going forward.

Per Google Finance, Forest Oil is "an independent oil and gas company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids in North America."

Hedge Fund Manager Jonathan Ruffer Concerned About Inflation

UK hedge fund manager Jonathan Ruffer's third quarter letter highlights the UK economic and investment environment and outlines his concern regarding the potential for high inflation.

Ruffer LLP manages £12 billion and has seen annual returns of around 11.5%. Ruffer's well known for warning investors of the credit crisis as early as 2006. When markets tanked in 2008, Ruffer returned positive double digits. His next concern is inflation.

Ruffer writes, "Interest rates are welded to a near-zero rate. The central banks simply cannot put interest rates up, almost whatever happens to inflation. It is a gaping hole above the waterline, which could sink the ship if rates are raised to combat inflation. It leaves us all defenceless."

While the manager says inflation isn't violent yet, there are many catalysts that could make it so. He cautions that high inflation, low interest rate environments are horrible for savers. So how do you combat it?

Ruffer writes, "Inflation-linked government bonds (of surviving nations) are designed for exactly this economic climate. It is not a high inflation rate which makes them thrive – it is the differential between inflation and interest rates. They have the capacity to become enormously valuable – like Titanic lifeboats – in a world where the ordinary saver despairs of keeping his nest egg safe. We have a great deal of your assets in them because we are approaching what I’ve described before as an airless valley which we have to pass through."

It seems the hedge fund manager is advocating indexed linked Gilts in the UK - the equivalent of TIPS in the US. This is one of the recommendations for the best investments during inflation.

Embedded below is Ruffer's letter (email readers click the link to come read it):

We've also highlighted how hedge fund Kleinheinz Capital says inflation is the biggest threat to emerging markets.

Hedge Fund Lansdowne Partners Increase Prudential Plc Short

Paul Ruddock and Steven Heinz's UK-based equity long/short hedge fund Lansdowne Partners has increased its short position in London listed financial services group Prudential plc (LON: PRU).

According to a filing made on October 6th, Lansdowne now hold a short position equivalent to -1.6% of Prudential's outstanding shares. The hedge fund has actually held a short in this company since 2009. In February 2009, their short represented -0.45% of outstanding shares and that position was gradually increased throughout 2010 and 2011 (now at its highest point).

Prudential Plc is Lansdowne Partners only disclosed short position in a UK listed financial company at the moment. As we have reported previously, during 2010 and 2011 Lansdowne reduced their shorts in Old Mutual (LON: OML), Legal and General (LON: LGEN) and Aviva (LON: AV.) to below the regulatory threshold of -0.25%.

In our September hedge fund performance numbers post, we highlighted that Lansdowne's $8 billion UK equity fund was -1.59% in September and -15.16% for the year at the end of September.

In other UK hedge fund activity, we also just detailed how hedge fund manager Odey added to their RSM Tenon Group Position. You can also read Odey's market outlook as well.

Per Goodle Finance - "Prudential plc (Prudential) is an international financial services group, with operations in Asia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Prudential is structured around four business units: Prudential Corporation Asia, Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Jackson), Prudential UK insurance operations and M&G. Prudential Corporation Asia's core business is life insurance, health and protection, either attached to a life policy or on a standalone basis, and mutual funds. It also provides selected personal lines property and casualty insurance, group insurance, institutional fund management and consumer finance (Vietnam only). In the fund management business Prudential holds a 49% stake in a joint venture with ICICI, in the People’s Republic of China, it had a 49 % stake in a joint venture with CITIC and in Hong Kong it has a 36% equity stake in a joint venture with Bank of China International."

Corsair Capital: Is Negativity "Priced In" the Market? (Q3 Letter)

Jay Petschek and Steve Major's hedge fund Corsair Capital outline how their portfolio has performed in their third quarter letter. They pinpoint the notion that fear has been driving markets for the past few months. Instead of focusing on hindsight, they look to what investors should be doing today.

Simply put, Corsair does not believe this is a repeat of 2008. They point to better liquidity, solid corporate balance sheets, and insider buying. While they acknowledge that things are not "rosy," they wonder if all the negativity is now priced in the market.

Their letter goes on to talk about their positions in Globe Specialty Metals (GSM), Lyondell Basell (LYB), Neo-Material Technologies (TSE:NEM), Reader's Digest (RDA), and TNS (TNS). They also mention they sold their position in Keystone Industries (KYCN) in a negotiated transaction.

For some of the hedge fund's latest investments, we posted Corsair's investment thesis on Shaw Group (SHAW).

Embedded below is Corsair's letter (email readers click the link to come read it):

As noted in our September hedge fund performance numbers update, Corsair was -9.5% for the year at the end of September but has seen 14.2% annualized returns since inception in 1991.