SFS Crew AG (ISIN CH0239229302) – Tremendous uninteresting however attractive “Hidden Champion” from Switzerland






Disclaimer: This isn’t funding recommendation. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH !!!!!!


In my relentless effort to create essentially the most uninteresting and unremarkable inventory portfolio possible, I feel I recognized a super  candidate with SFS Crew from Switzerland.  Regardless of having a marketplace cap of ~4 bn CHF, this majority family-owned corporate isn’t very widely recognized and its merchandise and B2B trade fashion glance similarily unremarkable.

The corporate doesn’t have an simply identifiable moat, doesn’t pay top dividends or buys again inventory, isn’t tremendous reasonable and likewise no longer tremendous winning, doesn’t develop like loopy and doesn’t have attractive merchandise that one can see within the grocery store.

Nonetheless I do assume it’s an nice addtion to my portfolio as it’s attractively priced and each, the trade in addition to the control are of top (Swiss) high quality. Based totally by myself estimates, the inventory trades at a PE of ~12x for 2023, regardless of having delivered EPS enlargement in EUR of round 15% p.a. since its IPO in 2014 and maintaing double digit EBIT margins around the cycle.

Because the publish has turn into rather lengthy, right here an summary of the chapters:

  1. Background
  2. Corporate Historical past
  3. Industry Type
  4. Why did I turn into ?
  5. The place does the expansion and margin build up come from ?
  6. Moat and competivie benefits
  7. The Hoffmann Crew acquisition
  8. Control
  9. Shareholders
  10. Valuation
  11. Dangers
  12. Different stuff
  13. Professional’s and Con’s
  14. Abstract & Go back expectancies
  15. Recreation plan

1. Background:

SFS Crew has been on my watchlist since 2021 once I encountered them in my “All Swiss stocks” collection. Again then, the inventory appeared too pricey regardless of appearing some horny traits (EBIT margins, ROC and so on.). Within the period in-between, they have got made an important M&A transaction and  the proportion value got here down by-25%.


2. Corporate historical past:

SFS Logo

Regardless of being a 95 yr previous corporate, SFS Crew best IPOed in 2014 at a proportion value of 64 CHF. Consistent with the very detailed corporate historical past, they went global in 1971 and added new trade and trade strains alongside the best way on an opportunistic foundation.  Taking a look at SFS Crew’s Website online, it isn’t really easy to grasp what they’re in fact doing. Subsequently let’s bounce into the trade first:

3. Industry fashion

Successfully, they’re energetic in 3 other segments that I attempt to describe in my very own phrases:

a) Production of a various vary of very small however “Project vital” top precision portions for a lot of consumers. SFS elements can also be present in automobiles, cell phones or even Airplanes

b) Production of fastening and riveting answers which are used within the building and business sector

c) Distribution of gear to production companies. First of all best in Switzerland however since 2022 additionally by means of an acquisition the world over.

What those segments have in commonplace, that they’re all eager about B2B trade fashions catering to greater corperates. Inside those 3 segments, SFS operates 8 other divisions that appear to be kind of unbiased:

SFS Organization

To get a a primary review on their broad number of merchandise, their very own product website online is a great start line.

Considered one of their slogans is “native for native”, in order that they manufacture in the neighborhood in round 100 websites in 26 international locations all over the world. The HQ principally coordinates and is helping if additional technology is needed, as an example to broaden new particular machines.

4. Why did I turn into ?

Since its IPO in 2014, SFS Crew has delivered very forged effects regardless of having confronted finally 2 disaster and an overly robust CHF. That is how margins and profits evolved from 2014 to 2021:

SFS growth

Regardless of expanding gross sales best by means of 4,5% (in CHF), SFS controlled to beef up Web source of revenue by means of ~14% p.a. and EPS in virtually 12% by means of annum since its IPO. This used to be principally accomplished by means of making improvements to margins signifcantly. EBIT margins stepped forward from 9-10% to fifteen% and web source of revenue margins virtually doubled.

As an Euro investor, one will have to additionally take into accout, that over this era, the CHF higher considerably in opposition to the EUR from 1,23 to at least one,04. So in Euro, EPS would have higher even 14,2% p.a. vs. the 11,8% in CHF.

Now comes the attention-grabbing section: This build up in margins and profits went in conjunction with a continuing lower in valuation as we will be able to see within the subsequent desk:

SFS valuation

Possibly the valuaion on the IPO used to be priced too wealthy, however for a “Swiss high quality” corporate, SFS does no longer glance pricey at the moment. As we will be able to see within the inventory chart, IPO buyers may not be too glad, as SFS has even underperformed the SMI for the reason that IPO:


To me, an organization with ceaselessly expanding margins is price taking a look at anyway and blended with a declining valuation much more so.

5. The place does the expansion and margin build up come shape ?

Taking a look one stage beneath the Crew to the segments, we will be able to see an overly attention-grabbing, diverging building:


The 3 segments diverge rather broadly. The smallest section, the Swiss targeted Distribution section has kind of stagnated, each in best line and running benefit. The biggest section, Engineered Elements, has carried out very soldily. Alternatively the megastar section used to be obviously the Fastening techniques section that just about doubled gross sales and stepped forward running benefit by means of 5x. This section is obviously the principle motive force these days and turns out to have accomplished really well in 2022 as smartly.


6. Moat & Aggressive benefits

In my figuring out, SFS doesn’t have a “exhausting Moat”. Alternatively, they appear to have some aggressive benefits. Particularly within the Engineered department, the competivie benefit appears to be the detailed technology in sure manufacturing applied sciences, together with the design of explicit machines, that permit them to supply top precision elements in places all over the world.

Many merchandise that they produce are just a small portion of the overall product in absolute price, however rather necessary for the capability which is steadily a excellent place to have as a provider. They appear to be very consumer centric and check out to turn into a building spouse fairly than an exchangeable provider for his or her shoppers.

On a extra strategic stage, the truth that SFS continues to be a kinfolk owned corporate. turns out to present them get admission to to sure M&A transactions the place the vendor doesn’t need to maximise the cost however desires to ensure that the corporate stays a somewhat independently run undertaking. So far as I perceive, the Hoffmann Deal used to be an instance but additionally imaginable as a result of hi there are nonetheless kinfolk owned.

So general, no exhausting moats however a mixture of aggressive benefits that permit them to earn respectable margins and returns whilst rising at a enough velocity.

7. The Hoffmann Crew Acquisition

In overdue 2021, SFS introduced that they are going to take over the German Hoffmann Crew, a privately owned, 1 bn EUR gross sales software distribution and producer. For SFS , that is obviously the most important transaction in its historical past and as such obviously a chance. SFS has paid ~1 bn for Hoffmann, I haven’t observed any particular EBIT/benefit numbers for Hoffmann but.

A couple of elements would possibly mitigate the dangers:

  • SFS and Hoffmann collaborate since greater than two decades and consistent with Breu have identical values and tradition
  • Hoffmann will run as an unbiased department
  • The Hoffmann CEO will sign up for the chief board
  • A undeniable a part of the acquisition value has been financed with on steadiness sheet money and stocks, the rest leverage isn’t vital. (<1,5 Web debt/EBITDA)

In some of the interviews, the CEO discussed that with this acquisition they plan to open up a 3rd platform on best of the producing and Fastening sector, as distribution up to now used to be just a native Swiss trade. Additionally they appear to mean to develop this platform the world over. As well as, a few of SFS merchandise may well be offered by means of Hoffmann (Fastening).

The Acquistion used to be consumated as of Would possibly 1st 2022. This leads to a captivating impact that the 2022 effects will best come with 8/12 of the profits have an effect on, while debt and addtional stocks are already totally accounted as of yr finish. so EV/EBIT and EV/EBITDA at yr finish 2022 aren’t totally represetative.

Simply the impact of totally together with Hoffmann in 2023 will build up gross sales by means of some other ~12,4% vs. 2022 (all different issues equivalent).

Up to now, SFS has indirectly discussed how winning the obtained trade is. Alternatively, control has dropped some hints, particularly of their 2d investor day with this slide:

SFS updated guidance

With this knowledge, one can estimate the anualized 2022 EBIT of Hoffmann in addition to the EBIT margin and the implied more than one that SFS paid which I did on this desk the use of mid issues for all estimated levels:

Hoffmann m&amp;A

So general, the Hoffmann acquisition turns out to were accomplished at a rather cheap more than one. Even if the EBIT margin is not up to the typical EBITT margin of the SFS Crew, a double digit EBIT margin continues to be excellent and obtaining this for an EV/EBIT of round 8,6 is obviously no longer overpaying.

It must be discussed alternatively that Hoffmann didn’t grew that a lot for a few years. That is from a 2021 presentation and would possibly give an explanation for the somewhat reasonable value:


Any other attention-grabbing facet is that ~25% of Hoffmann’s gross sales appear to be their very own software manufacturers.

8. Control

The CEO Jens Breu (since 2016)  has a captivating background. He isn’t from the founding kinfolk and likewise no longer a “MBA/McK clone” however began as an business apprentice and labored his manner up after becoming a member of SFS in 1995. I’ve watched a few movies with him and I’m in truth tremendous inspired together with his down-to-earth method.

Jens Breu

On the age of fifty years, he obviously has some years to move, however blended already with numerous revel in. He’s additionally member of the Supervisory board of Daetwyler, some other, 3,5 bn marketplace cap “Hidden Swiss Champion”. General it sort of feels that SFS Crew most commonly develops Control from inside as a substitute of hiring “Mercenaries”, an method I really like so much.

The supervisory board incorporates participants of the founding famlies Huber and Stadler. The long run CEO and Supervisory board head Heinrich Spoerry retired (because of age) in 2021 and used to be changed by means of the previous CEO of Schindler, Thomas Oetterli. Oetterli himself used to be a part of the Supervisory board since 2011, so continuity appears to be ensured. The Supervisory board could be very Swiss, as a coicidence, some of the participants (Urs Kaufmann) heads the Manager board at Schaffner Crew, some other o my Swiss holdings.

Apparently, one member of the founding kinfolk, Claude Stadler is Government Director and HEad of Company services and products, proudly owning round 400K stocks (or 40 mn CHF) however he turns out to transport out by means of the top of 2024 as a way to center of attention at the kinfolk administrative center.

Reimbursement for the overall government board used to be ~7 mn CHF in 2021, with 1,6 mn CHF for the CEO which I feel is rather low. Jens Breu owns ~28k stocks and will get round 2500 stocks in keeping with yr as a part of his repayment package deal.

9. Shareholders

Even after the capital build up to finance the Hoffmann transaction, the founding households Huber and Stader personal greater than 50%, joined now by means of the heirs of the Hoffmann Crew with 4%. There are not any different “well-known” or noteworthy buyers consistent with TIKR.

10. Valuation

The usage of SFS’s forecasts from above, the midpoint estimated EBIT for 2022 would by means of 370 mn CHF. Assuming ~10 mn of passion bills and 20% in taxes, this  would lead to 7,55 CHF in keeping with proportion in Incomes for 2022 or, at a proportion value of 105 CHF a trailing p/E of ~13,9. For a top of the range corporate like SFS this isn’t tremendous reasonable however rather cheaup.

Alternatively, taking a look into 2023, issues appears to be like much more attention-grabbing. Assuming a 4,5% enlargement charge in profits plus the impact of the entire yr for Hoffmann, I be expecting round 433 mn EBIT and ~8,70 CHF EPS. This may imply a P/E of best 12x and an EV/EBIT of ~11x for 2023.

Taking a look at every other “Swiss high quality manufacurers”, we will be able to see that this appears to be like actually reasonable, despite the fact that gamers like VAT and LEM are obviously extra winning:

Quality peers

Daetwyler alternatively, can be obviously a peer to SFS and so they industry at round 2x the valuation of SFS Crew.

What I discovered attention-grabbing is, that promote aspect analysts who quilt SFS have considerably decrease estimates wich individually don’t mirror the Hoffmann acquisition:

SFS BB estimates

The Bloomberg consensus is best 6,72 EPS GAAP for 2022 and seven,00 for 2023 which is considerably even beneath the low finish of managment estimates. For some causes, the promote aspect turns out to forget about this acquistion.

Taking a look to 2024 and additional, I feel it’s real looking to think a forged mid-single digit enlargement charge

11. Dangers

Up to now we now have eager about whats excellent and fascinating. However there are obviously dangers. Amongst them are:

  • the trade is geared against the producing and building business. A big and prolongued slowdown on this sectors may even hit SFS
  • An M&A transaction in that dimension is at all times a chance
  • The Hoffmann transaction will increase the burden against Europe, particularly Germany
  • The corporate has publicity to China particularly within the very winning Fastening department

Structurally, the largest guess one is making with SFS is that Eu production is not going to die. Studying the clicking at the moment, as soon as once more many of us assume that Europe will turn into a ancient theme park for wealthy Asian vacationers. This may be obviously no longer optimum for SFS. Individually alternatively; I do consider that top of the range production has in fact a beautiful excellent long run in Europe. The hot disaster has proven that suply chains shouldn’t be too lengthy and that the outsourcing of producing isn’t a good suggestion.

As well as, the approaching Power transition calls for numerous production and because it looks as if, the USA and Europe is not going to make the similar mistake once more and outsource the whole lot to China. My feeling is that top price production may have a beautiful respectable long run.

12. Different subjects (Reporting, Capital allocation, Cashflow technology and so on.)

What I do like about SFS that they’ve superb reporting. One very explicit merchandise that I really like is how the existing returns on capital. The display Go back on invested capital (ROIC) in addition to ROCE.

Underneath Siwss GAAP, they’re allowed to deduct Goodwill without delay from Fairness after they make an acquisition. Subsequently the ROIC (in keeping with Fairness and web debt) would glance rather excellent however they’re appearing and are monitoring the “actual” numbers:


As well as, they at all times display obviously which a part of the expansion is natural and which is on account of M&A. Many corporations don’t do that.

General, capital allocation individually is excellent. They appear to be disciplined in M&A, have a transparent dividend goal and are occassionally purchasing again some inventory despite the fact that they used the present treasury shares for the Hoffmann acquistion.  One will have to no longer be expecting massive and even debt financed proportion purchase backs from SHS. Following the Hoffmann acquisition, they have got obviously communicated that they prioritize lowering debt and that they even goal a web money certain place. I will are living with this.

The trade as such is producing respectable cashflow. Obviously with Hoffmann, the dynamics would possibly trade a little bit bit as distribution is a little bit bit other to an industial.

My affect is that SFS is administered very conservatively. They appear to possess maximum of inheritor actual property, slaary ranges for Managment are ok and steering is at all times conservative. SFS is “constructed to remaining”.

One different subject I discovered very attention-grabbing is that SFS has been ranked because the quantity 8 of all Corporations energetic in Switzerland with reference to Virtual Transformation. Inside the Production business they have been rated no 1. Even if one will have to at all times be wary with such ratings, that is obviously a captivating facet and an extra poece of the puzzle.

After all, I additionally like the truth that SFS doesn’t do quarterly stories. For a longer term funding, this protects my no less than 2 instances a yr the place I don’t want to learn or analyse stories.

13. Professionals and Cons

Sooner than transferring to a conclusion, as at all times I’ll attempt to summarize whats excellent and what isn’t so excellent:


  • kinfolk owned, longer term orientation
  • an excellent trade (low price however challenge vital top precision consumable portions)
  • a good valuation (particularly in comparison to Swiss friends)
  • excellent managment
  • Cast budget, conservatively run
  • decentralized construction
  • resilient trade (power, enter subject matter)


  • very massive acquisition closed in 2022
  • unsexy and tough to give an explanation for merchandise
  • no longer tremendous reasonable
  • no transparent moat
  • Publicity to production / China

14. Abstract & go back expectancies

SFS Crew is neither an “superb broad moat” corporate nor a great reasonable alternative. Alternatively this can be a superb trade/corporate at an overly respectable valuation. Getting superb corporations at respectable valuations is in fact my candy spot, particularly when I’m satisfied that the corporate is administered in order to the longer term which I feel is right here the case.

I additionally like the truth that the corporate isn’t very attractive from the out of doors. It doesn’t draw in numerous consideration which is some other large plus for me.

On the present valuation, I’d be expecting a go back of round 10% p.a. with out  making an allowance for any more than one enlargement. This is in keeping with a 2023 FCF yield of 4-5% and a longer term enlargement charge of additionally 5-6% that I feel is real looking or even conservative, taking into consideration the monitor file. So my base case can be to double my cash in 7 years plus dividends..

I due to this fact made up our minds to allocate ~4% of the protfolio into SHS at a median value of round 104 CHF/in keeping with proportion throughout January.

15. Recreation plan

Even if the discharge of the profits on March third may possibly cause a definite revaluaton if EPS is available in as I be expecting, my plan is to carry this positon longer term. If my EPS expectancies become proper and relying on their steering and the proportion value response, I would possibly build up the placement by means of some other 1% or 2%.


Disclaimer: This isn’t funding recommendation. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH !!!!!!


Appendix: Some bonus subject matter.





Jens Breu, CEO SFS, im Interview




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