Despite a rather grim outlook for Europe in 2012, Jim Moffett, portfolio manager for the Scout International Fund (UMBWX) is still finding value in some companies based in Great Britain including GlaxoSmithKlein (GSK), British American Tobacco (BTI) and Vodaphone. (VOD).
"The British economy and its policy-makers are wrestling with the same issues as the rest of Europe, but they many of the region's best companies are not only undervalued but under-the-radar, so we think that's an attractive place to invest," Moffet said.
The $7.2 billion fund, which garners 4 stars from Morningstar (MORN), is down 8% over the past year, better than 51% of its peers in the foreign large growth category. Over the past ten years, the fund has returned an average of 7% annually, outpacing 84% of its Morningstar rivals.
Although several of the GlaxoSmithKlein's patents on key products have expired, Moffett believes the company has moved past patent issues and says the company has several good drugs in the pipeline. He also says the drugmaker has consolidated and cut down a lot of its costs.He is also a fan of British American Tobacco as a play on the emerging markets, where the company sells a lot of its products. "The developed world has gotten smart and they don't smoke as much, but in the emerging markets the people are still smoking and they've got pricing power. And it isn't a volume growth story, it's a pricing power story and we think they are in good position to take advantage of it," says Moffett. Finally, Moffett likes Vodaphone's growth among global cell-phone users, as well as the increasing profitability of the company's deal with Verizon.
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