Genworth MI

It is quite obvious by trading action over the past month that some institution is accumulating shares of Genworth MI (TSX: MIC) and is sweeping up the supply that is being applied at existing prices. I loaded up in shares during the second half of January and bought a very small position in some out-of-the-money options (the Canadian options market is illiquid, high-spread, expensive to trade in and generally junky, but there was somebody on the ask that was not the market maker and at a reasonable price, I hit his ask). Genworth MI is once again the largest component in my portfolio.

It is difficult to understand how something trading at a greater than 1/3rd discount to tangible book value and giving a greater than 7% cash yield, and trading at a P/E of 8 can continue to trade so low unless if it can be explained by general paranoia (which exists on Canadian housing).

Insiders (as of February 22) have reported purchases of common shares of Genworth MI. They are not huge but it is something.

The reports of the Canadian housing market’s demise is clearly over-blown except in very narrow sectors that have traditionally had resource commodity concentration (looking at Fort McMurray as the prime example).

The underlying entity is incredibly profitable. The only real risk is whether the parent entity (NYSE: GNW) will sell Genworth MI out, which is a real possibility.

Such a sale, if done presently, would likely be done under book (CAD$36.82 presently). A sale at 10% under book ($33.14/share) would still be a 25-30% premium over current trading prices. The company’s P/E would still be 8 at this point and an acquisition would be instantly accretive to some other financial company.

This take-out price does not reflect my true value that the company should be trading at, which I would judge at least at book value. The Canadian economy, and thus residential mortgages servicing abilities, is not the most robust so the premium to book would be modest before I started to sell shares again. I also apply a general discount to majority-controlled entities, but suffice to say my target price is north of CAD$36.28.

Genworth Financial’s issues I do not want to get into in depth, but they have a pending May 22, 2018 debt maturity (bonds are trading at 87 cents on the dollar at the moment) and a series of maturities 2 years later (June 15, 2020, trading at 68 cents) that the market is getting panicky about. This may cause them to sell out their equity holdings in the mortgage insurance firms they have taken public (Canada and Australia), but it is a decision I do not think they would want to make lightly.

2 thoughts on “Genworth MI”

  1. This sale was announced in late October 2015 so it shouldn’t be surprising to anybody. However, to sell at 1/3rd book must have meant the underlying insurance portfolio was a disaster.

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