Ben Preston Long Peabody Energy: London Value Investor Conference 2018 ~ market folly

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ben Preston Long Peabody Energy: London Value Investor Conference 2018

We're posting up notes from the 2018 London Value Investor Conference.  Next up is Ben Preston of Orbis who pitched a long of Peabody Energy (BTU).

Ben Preston's London Value Investor Conference Presentation

Peabody is the world’s largest publicly listed provider of coal. Coal mining had a particularly tough time in 2015/6. At one point almost half of US coal was being produced by companies that had filed for bankruptcy.  Peabody produces 200m tons of coal per year mostly in the US which it mostly sells to power stations. A lower volume of coal is produced in Australia but that is where Peabody makes most of its money from export markets, particularly China.

After the commodity markets peaked in 2011 Peabody found itself with too much debt. It filed for bankruptcy in 2016 and spent a year sorting itself out. The shareholders were wiped out. The re-incarnation has lower capex and debt interest payments. Whilst production is down, free cash flow is up. As Peabody are not opening new mines the money is flowing back to shareholders. There is a very high FCF yield at 25% on a trailing basis.

Since the commodity crash coal production has declined. In addition, China has been trying to tackle its pollution problems by moving away from coal. This has been good for the environment but does not keep Chinese people warm. China relaxed the new clean air policy in 2016. There is a conflict between the E and the S of ESG (environment, social, governance). Tackling air pollution has led to more demand for high quality coal because it is more efficient and pollutes less. Peabody’s coal is high quality.

Peabody is cheap because investors are worried the price of coal will fall back again. Mr Market is convinced it will but if it doesn’t Peabody will do well.

Be sure to check out the rest of the presentations from the London Value Investor Conference 2018.

blog comments powered by Disqus