2016 Recap – Long Overdue. How Did We Do?

One of the key reasons we started this blog was to make millions on advertising. One of the other (more practical and dependable) benefits is that it would help force us to look backwards. Ignoring instead of learning from your own investing mistakes is a true waste, but it is also easy to do. The fact that we are doing this 2016 recap in February of 2017 also reminds us we need to be more diligent about documenting our investments this year (and we’ll see how we did in January 2018!).


Here’s a reflection on a few of our public thoughts over the past year(ish)or so.


Vitreous Glass Inc. (TSX:VCI) – We originally wrote about this company in February 2015. At that time it was $2.62 and we said it’s “a fun story, but not cheap enough”. Today it is trading at $3.62 and, including dividends, we would have received a ~23%+ annualized return. And we still like this company (and one of us bought it above $2.62…). Sometimes we’re too negative, a big mistake in this case.


Kobex Capital (Delisted) – This was a wind up story where the company had no remaining operations and just cash. One of us bought at $0.53 in January 2016. It ended up being bought and turned into another company in May 2016, but we decided to take our money off the table and tendered at $0.655, a ~24% return over two months.


K-Bro Linen (TSX:KBL) – We wrote about this in November 2015 when it was trading for $48.80. We liked the business concept (long-term linen cleaning contracts for hospitals and such). However, we said it was too expensive. It’s now at $42.49 so that was a good call. There have been some changes in their contracts and facilities so maybe it would be worth looking at now (a March project probably).


AlarmForce (TSX:AF) – A November 2016 write up. It was trading at $10 and we said “who knows” if this was good value. It’s at $10.60 now and we still think it’s too early to tell how this one will turn out.


Albeta Oilsands (TSX: AOS)  - An August 2016 story about another mostly-cash wind-up story. This was not trading at a big discount to cash and was a bit messy with uncooperative management and a few weird assets (unlike Kobex). Ultimately we avoided it. It was trading at $0.12. Management ended up fighting a large shareholder and merging with an oil and gas company to save them by using AOS’s cash, instead winding up AOS and returning cash to shareholders. We don’t think this was a good deal. So far so right, the new company is trading at $0.125 (TSX Venture:MQX).


There were also ideas we didn’t write about and frankly would have liked to (sorry!) but we’ll do better this year, we promise. Overall though it was a pretty good year and we would be happy to repeat it.