What is working for me is pretty obvious to anyone following. HCLP and BAS are setting my year, single handedly. Even factoring in my biggest misses so far, my gains stand back above 10% YTD.
But I’m not going to just steadily publish a slew of feel good pieces, brushing my ugly ducklings under the mat. So this post will focus on them, why they aren’t performing, and what I intend to do about it.
First up is NRP. NRP is a debt ridden resource MLP whose largest assets are comprised of metallurgical coal deposits. The partnership has been hammered since I bought in at $20, currently standing just below $14. Back in January, I cut a lot of this position for around $16, but recently added back above $15. The position stands at around 6% of assets and I have a big loss attached to it.
As for why NRP is down more than 40% this year, there are two big factors driving the outcome. The first is the obvious hatred of all things coal, based on falling global demand and unfriendly domestic politics. The second is that people generally mistrust this position specifically and are betting they’ll have to raise cash through dilutions. The company has a lot of debt coming due.
My opinion is that NRP has already suffered enough to justify the prices at $20, and my opinion hasn’t changed much at $14. I’m not knee jerk afraid of shareholder dilutions and like the steps NRP has taken to diversify their assets away from a pure coal play. I also think coal is set to rebound. In the meantime, even if they slash their distribution by 25%, that would leave it paying out 7% annually, which is far above market yield. However, I will not be adding more until I see market sentiment shift, preferring instead to add other coal related investments and keeping company specific risk low – building my coal thesis out of many smaller parts. BTU is my first secondary choice, and I’ll probably follow up with a third play next year if coal names are still depressed then.
My second ugly child is CCJ. This is kind of amusing, as I really haven’t lost money on CCJ this year. Cameco and related names rallied hard starting around February helping press my gains to 15% early on, and CCJ’s unceremonious relapse was one of the biggest contributors to those gains sliding back below 10% a month ago. CCJ stands at $19, 5-10% below my average cost per share.
CCJ’s problem is also bicausal. The market for uranium remains abysmal, and spot prices have plunged another 20% this year. That’s the pricing for when there are uranium trades at all. My smaller, half scaled position, UEC, made ZERO sales in the first quarter of this year. The market for uranium is near-totally dead. CCJ has largely fended off impact from this pricing issue through their long term supply agreements. However, that can only get you so far.
But CCJ has a second big problem, which is a very large (and growing) deferred (some may say dodged) tax liability to the Canadian government. The price tag is set to cross $1 billion shortly and will probably be almost three years worth of earnings when we’re set and done here. This is why CCJ’s stock is performing so much worse than its dumber, small peers this year.
And I am not at all concerned about CCJ. I’m electing to sit back and do nothing. The tax bill is a non issue. Without question, Canadian corporate governance is much harsher than the US, and there will be consequences for CCJ. They will be made to pay up, and someone will probably get punished. However, even given the magnitude of the bill, it’s hard to see how this changes the stock dynamics.
To put this into perspective, consider APC back when the oil well blew up. People freaked out at the billions of dollars they would owe in damages and bid the stock down an absurd amount. And then, it no longer mattered. The company made a full recovery in a hurry. As then, CCJ’s market prospects look bright on the horizon. They will be made to pay past owed taxes and that hit will sting, but it’s a one time issue and when you consider how stock multiples are priced into shares, the truth is CCJ’s larger problems (business) when worked through will more than totally swallow this blip on the radar. From the perspective of shareholders, at this point and at this price, CCJ’s only problem is the uranium market. The tax liability will be worked through and take care of itself shortly, if only the damn uranium market can recover.