Standard manages its founding family’s shareholdings
and acts in an advisory capacity for like-minded
We believe in hard work, humility, singularity, long-term ownership and total integrity. Favoring public equities and family-controlled companies, we follow a value investing blueprint — endeavoring the disciplined pursuit of mispriced assets off the beaten path — and seek opportunities across all sectors and geographies.
Headed by scientists turned entrepreneurs Jean-Paul and Martine Clozel, Swiss pharmaceutical company Idorsia (SWX:IDIA), our largest investment, was spun-off from its former parent Actelion with a pipeline of eleven compounds, of which four blockbuster materials in late-stage development. In Canada, Knight Therapeutics (CAN:GUD) is structured as a carbon copy of Jonathan Goodman’s successful first venture, Paladin Labs, this time with a broader focus on Latin America and a specific expertise in licensing and distribution.
Well-capitalized, superbly managed and trading at the time of our investments for a fraction of their net reserves values, Canadian low-cost producers Peyto Exploration & Development (CAN:PEY) and Gear Energy (CAN:GXE), both chaired by Don Gray, represented perfect vehicles to ride the recovery of oil and gas markets. Also listed in Canada, but active in Tanzania and registered in the British Virgin Islands, natural gas producer Orca Energy (CAN:ORC.B), our oldest investment, operates the prolific Songo Songo field and plays a strategic role in the country’s path to economic development.
Run and controlled by Luc Tack — the turnaround artist of Picanol fame — Tessenderlo (BEL:TESB) sports entrenched competitive positions in each of its subsidiaries and has plenty of leeway to grow, yet it remains chronically undervalued based on both its earning power and sum-of-the-parts. In a like manner, Groupe Guillin (FR:ALGIL) is a fast-growing, well-capitalized packaging and food safety company founded by François Guillin and nowadays run by his daughter Sophie. Despite a sizable competitive advantage, it undeservingly traded as a hopeless cause at the time of our investment.
Based in the Netherlands and partially spun out from Constellation Software, which retains oversight and a controlling stake, Topicus (CAN:TOI.V) intends to replicate its parent holding company’s extraordinarily successful approach to M&A within the European vertical market software sector — a fragmented landscape with many hidden champions and less private equity money chasing acquisitions.
In May 2022, seeking to take advantage of an unprecedented dislocation in the biotech sector, Standard established a small venture arm in order to manage equity investments in Generation Bio (US:GBIO), a Cambridge-based, pre-clinical rare diseases company led by distinguished chief executive officer Geoff McDonough that develops an innovative non-viral genetic medicine platform; as well as in Aravive (US:ARAV), a Houston-based, late clinical-stage oncology company controlled by Fred Eshelman that advances a promising treatment against metastatic carcinoma and platinum resistant ovarian cancer.
Commercial Real Estate
Designed as a platform to redevelop a vast portfolio of prime but underexploited real estate assets, Berkshire Hathaway-backed Seritage (US:SRG) upgraded and leased commercial space formerly occupied by Sears department stores to a diversified group of tenants. Rents grew fourfold in the process, paving the way for solid value creation over a decades-long horizon.
The fifth largest brewer worldwide, Molson Coors (US:TAP) has a 25% market share in North America, where it also controls highly strategic distribution networks. Despite stable earning power and multiple short-term catalysts — dividend reinstatement, asset sales, restructuring program, etc. — the company saw its shares priced at badly depressed multiples during the pandemic, triggering our interest and most sizeable — albeit short-lived — investment in recent years.
Grants & Endowments
We are keen on supporting social entrepreneurs engaged in thoughtful, high-impact philanthropy. Our involvement so far has been with children education and more recently cancer research, but we always strive to do more and broaden our horizons. A specific area of interest closely related to our history would be to help resourceful refugees in their quest for a better life. Read more on this subject →