Standard manages its founding family’s shareholdings.
It also acts as a platform for its entrepreneurial
ventures and creative drive.
We believe in hard work, humility, singularity, skin in the game and generational ownership. Preferring listed equities and family-controlled companies, we follow a value investing blueprint — endeavoring the disciplined pursuit of mispriced assets off the beaten path — and preserve a century-long legacy of resilience and entrepreneurship.
Headed by scientists turned entrepreneurs Jean-Paul and Martine Clozel, Swiss pharmaceutical company Idorsia (SWX:IDIA) was spun-off from its former parent Actelion with a pipeline of eleven compounds, among which four blockbusters material 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.
Trading at the time of our investment for a fraction of their proven reserves value, Canadian low-cost producers Peyto E&D (CAN:PEY), Gear Energy (CAN:GXE) and Petrus Resources (CAN:PRQ), all chaired by Don Gray, represented perfect vehicles to ride the recovery of the oil and gas sector. Also listed in Canada, but active in Tanzania and registered in the British Virgin Islands, natural gas producer Orca Energy (CAN:ORC.B), now controlled by the son of its regretted founder David Lyons, operates the 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 on both its earning power and sum-of-the-parts basis. In a like manner, Groupe Guillin (FR:ALGIL) is a steadily growing packaging and food safety company controlled by the Guillin family. During the energy crisis in early 2022, it got tarred with the wrong brush as it faced a terrifying but temporary rise of input costs.
Based in the Netherlands and partially spun out from Mark Leonard’s 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.
A specialist of furniture hardware with 112 centers and soon half of its business in the United States, Québec-based Quincaillerie Richelieu (CAN:RCH), which caters primarily to a clientele of professionals, sports a pristine M&A record, an unusually high level of employee shareholding and a thoughtful expansion strategy under the guidance of chief executive Richard Lord.
In the midst of an unprecedented dislocation in the biotech sector, Cambridge-based Generation Bio (US:GBIO), led by distinguished chief executive officer Geoffrey McDonough — whom we followed at his former leadership roles at Swedish Orphan Biovitrum and Genzyme — saw its enterprise value melting to a point where it did no justice to the promising platform of non-viral genetic medicine it has developed.
The Los Angeles company presided by Berkshire Hathaway’s vice-chairman Charlie Munger, Daily Journal Corporation (US:DJCO), had a portfolio of marketable securities and real estate properties that covered virtually its entire valuation at the time of our investment, leaving just a modest multiple on its burgeoning information technology business serving courts in the U.S. and Australia.
Commercial Real Estate
Designed as a platform to redevelop a vast portfolio of prime but underexploited real estate assets following Sears Holdings’ bankruptcy, Berkshire Hathaway-backed Seritage (US:SRG) upgraded, transformed 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 Les Compagnons du Devoir, La Fondation Ophtalmologique Adolphe de Rothschild and various children education causes, but we always strive to do more and broaden our horizons.