Jeffrey Gendell's Tontine Associates Boosts Willbros Group (WG) Stake: 13G Filing ~ market folly

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jeffrey Gendell's Tontine Associates Boosts Willbros Group (WG) Stake: 13G Filing

Jeffrey Gendell's hedge fund firm Tontine Associates recently filed a 13G on Willbros Group (WG) due to activity on August 31st, 2009. In the filing, they've disclosed a 5.36% ownership stake in WG with 2,125,661 shares. This is an increase from their last disclosure when they held 1,744,166 shares as of June 30th, 2009. In the span of 2 months, Tontine has added 381,495 shares of Willbros Group. We haven't yet covered Tontine Associates in our hedge fund portfolio tracking series yet, but be on the lookout when we'll detail all of their long US equities positions. In terms of other notable recent activity, we saw that Tontine sold shares of Broadwind Energy (BWEN).

Tontine specializes in macro investing by taking large, concentrated positions in companies they feel are poised to benefit from select themes. Occasionally, an activist role will be taken if necessary. While Tontine returned over 100% in both 2003 and 2005, the year of 2008 was one to forget as their Partners fund ended up -91.5% and their 25 LP fund was -63.6%. As such, two of their hedge funds closed down and Tontine found themselves on the top hedge fund manager losers of 2008 list. However, they've started off 2009 with a bang. When we last checked their performance in May, their 25 fund was up 72.3% and their Partners fund was up 49.8% for the year as of that time.

Taken from Google Finance, Willbros Group is "an independent international contractor serving the oil, gas and power industries, government entities, and the refinery and petrochemical industries. Willbros operates its business in three segments: Upstream Oil & Gas, Downstream Oil & Gas, and Engineering. These segments operate primarily in the United States, Canada, and Oman. The Company provides engineering; construction; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), and specialty services to industry and governmental entities worldwide, specializing in pipelines and associated facilities for onshore and coastal locations."

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