Investing in Europe’s vacation hotspots


Just as some individuals can’t go away their work alone once they go on vacation, others can’t cease fascinated by their investments. Always eyeing up a brand new thought, even when markets are in turmoil as they’re proper now.

Sad, maybe. But everyone knows such individuals — certainly, expensive reader, chances are you’ll be one in all them. So for the advantage of these UK savers who can’t take a break, FT Money has taken soundings from FT correspondents on the inventory markets in European summer time vacationer locations. If you might be uninterested in the seashore, sick of the sights or simply uninterested in stress-free, we’ve pulled collectively for you a bagful of monetary titbits from France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

As elsewhere on the earth, European markets are typically down this 12 months, with the Euro Stoxx 600 index falling 14 per cent. Fears of inflation and rising rates of interest are taking their toll, with the European Central Bank this week lifting its key charge for the primary time in a decade, to 0.5 per cent. The Ukraine conflict has had a very extreme affect on the continent, with many EU members depending on Russian oil and gasoline.

But a sell-off could be a chance. There are world-class corporations in our 5 nations — starting from French and Italian luxurious items makers to Spanish inexperienced vitality corporations and Portugal’s revolutionary paper producers. Some locally-focused corporations are additionally doing properly, comparable to Greece’s development teams, having fun with a long-awaited restoration.

For UK buyers a vacation swap may be well timed: The London market has stood up properly this 12 months — with the FTSE 100 down simply 3 per cent — thanks largely to the energy of the vitality sector. Also, whereas the pound has been weak in opposition to the US greenback, the euro has been even feebler, falling about 2 per cent in opposition to sterling.

It may be the second to take income at residence and snap up a vacation discount, one which may be extra rewarding than that case of great native wine that by no means fairly tastes the identical whenever you get residence.


© George Wylesol

Visitors returning to Paris for the primary time for the reason that pandemic started will discover town endearingly acquainted: the boulevards, the terrace cafés and bars, and the crowds of vacationers are the identical as they had been. But, writes Akila Quinio, lynx-eyed investment-minded holidaymakers may spot a brand new identify on the CAC40, France’s most important inventory market index.

Eurofins Scientific entered the “top 40” final September, attributable to Covid-19, after its market worth soared to over €23.5bn. Its identify might not ring a bell, however many Britons have used its home-testing kits. The French-founded laboratory firm, with almost 60,000 employees and now based mostly in Luxembourg, has carried out greater than 40mn Covid PCR assessments. Net income jumped 45 per cent final 12 months to €783mn on a 24 per cent rise in revenues to €6.7bn.

What units Eurofins aside from different “pandemic winners” could also be that demand for its providers is prone to stay sturdy. The group has sizeable arms in meals and environmental testing and is rising genetics testing capability. “While there are cheaper stocks that investors could own, we think the long-term structural growth opportunity at Eurofins, combined with the business’s relative defensiveness, continue to make it an attractive share to own,” say Berenberg analysts

Eurofins trades on a historic value/earnings ratio of twenty-two, properly above the CAC40 common of round 16.5. That may nonetheless look costly, however at round €78 the inventory is down almost 30 per cent on the 12 months, so it’s loads less expensive than it was.

Meanwhile, defence is attracting curiosity due to the Ukraine battle. Speaking at a current commerce present, president Emmanuel Macron mentioned the nation had “entered a war economy” and referred to as for will increase in European defence manufacturing.

This is sweet information for arms makers. Despite potential political roadblocks for Macron in securing navy finances rises, JPMorgan aerospace defence analyst David Perry is bullish. He says there may be “clear evidence” that international navy spending will improve over the following decade — benefiting European defence corporations.

JPMorgan’s high European decide amongst large-cap defence shares is Thales. With its “rock solid balance sheet” and “well-covered dividend”, it made round 60 per cent of its €1.4bn web revenue from defence final 12 months.

Finally, Paris wouldn’t be Paris with out luxurious, and that applies additionally to the inventory market. Bernard Arnault’s conglomerate LVMH “is a fantastic company at a reasonable valuation” says Ludovic Labal, portfolio supervisor at Eric Sturdza Investments. Leather items producer Hermes additionally has a “big valuation premium” given its “unique positioning” within the luxurious market, he says. This 12 months’s inventory sell-off has created respectable shopping for alternatives for shares which, just like the purses, are not often low-cost.


© George Wylesol

With its excessive dependence on Russian gasoline, Italy’s markets have been hit notably laborious by the Ukraine conflict shock, hovering vitality costs, rising inflation and slowing financial development, writes Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli.

The collapse of prime minister Mario Draghi’s authorities on Thursday has solely elevated the monetary strains, with Italian bond costs dropping sharply on the day. The yield on Italy’s 10-year authorities bond jumped 0.24 share factors on the day to three.6 per cent, taking the hole between Italian and German benchmark 10-year yields — a key threat gauge — to 2.3 share factors, the widest for months. Italian equities fell by 2 per cent, extending the decline this 12 months to 23 per cent, far worse than the European common.

It definitely appears like a time for vacationer buyers to remain clear. Mediobanca’s co-head of fairness analysis Javier Suàrez, says the political disaster comes on the worst doable time: “A further increase in borrowing costs for Italian firms and households would aggravate an already deteriorating macro-outlook, a consequence of soaring energy prices, the Ukrainian conflict and the resurfacing of the pandemic.”

But regardless of the turbulence, some analysts nonetheless imagine there are good alternatives. It wouldn’t be the primary time that Italian corporations had been in a position to overcome the nation’s persistent difficulties — and generate profits for shareholders.

Macroeconomic tensions ought to immediate “a cautious stance” on Italian banks, cyclicals, mid-cap corporations and extremely indebted corporations, based on Mediobanca’s Suàrez. But “sectors exposed to underlying long-term growth patterns such as energy, telecoms, transport infrastructure, companies exposed to the ongoing digital transformation, or sectors, such as luxury goods, that provide protection to persistent high inflation, should outperform”. 

As in France, designer style ought to prosper — the world’s wealthy have pulled by the pandemic properly to this point and have cash to spend. Luxury home Moncler is one to look at.

Italian high-tech additionally has promise. Investors may take into account vitality and fibre optic cables producer Prysmian, wi-fi infrastructure operator Inwit, and Technoprobe, the semiconductor maker. Analysts say their technological benefits ought to assist them climate the financial storm.


© George Wylesol

Relaxing poolside in Spain, a customer’s ideas can simply flip to buying a everlasting residence within the nation, writes Peter Wise. For the investment-minded holiday-maker, may Spanish residential property be of curiosity?

The reply from inventory market analysts is a powerful “sí”. “Real estate development has grabbed attention over the past three years and companies have delivered,” says Pedro Garnica, a companion at Alantra Equities.

Fifteen years after Spain’s housing bubble burst, the sector is lastly in restoration. Buyers making post-pandemic relocations and searching for much less hectic lives are serving to to elevate the market — each foreigners, and Spaniards transferring from huge cities.

“There has been a complete change in the sector,” says Garnica. “Covid-19 has changed what people are looking for and developers are meeting their demands. [Development] companies have also become less leveraged and more professional.”

José Ramón Iturriaga, fund supervisor at Abante Asesores, says that, for British buyers, comparisons with the UK housing market are all beneficial, as properties are cheaper in Spain and mortgages are extra inexpensive, even when the European Central Bank is tightening coverage.

Neinor Homes and Aedas Homes — each listed in IPOs in 2017 — are two housebuilders often cited by Spanish funding advisers as corporations prone to profit from the upturn.

The broader market has been secure, regardless of the worldwide uncertainties. The Ibex 35, the principle index of the Bolsa de Madrid, Spain’s principal inventory alternate, has dropped solely round 8.5 per cent this 12 months, outperforming most European indices.

Meanwhile, the identical weather conditions that appeal to vacationers are supporting a rising renewables business, notably photo voltaic. The EU’s new vitality programme to chop reliance on Russian vitality and broaden wind and solar energy, will assist corporations overcome red-tape obstacles and allow the sector to make a “leap forward” in including capability, says Garnica.

The huge diversified gamers within the sector are Iberdrola and Acciona. More domestically-focused corporations, comparable to Solaria and Grenergy, are additionally branching out internationally, doubtlessly boosting their funding attraction.

As elsewhere, the Ukraine disaster makes defence value a glance. Ignacio de la Torre, chief economist at Arcano Partners, highlights Spain’s dedication to double navy spending from 1 to 2 per cent of GDP by 2030. Indra Sistemas, which develops software program for the pan-European Eurofighter undertaking, may revenue.


© George Wylesol

As elsewhere in Europe, wildfires have destroyed swaths of Portugal’s in depth forests this summer time in a heatwave aggravated by local weather change, writes Peter Wise. The destruction solely intensifies the strain to go inexperienced — not least within the nation’s substantial pulp and paper sector.

“The industry is exploring new technologies designed to replace plastics and other oil derivatives with plant-based fibres, textiles and paper products, as well as biofuels derived from forestry waste,” says João Queiroz, head of buying and selling at Banco Carregosa.

Altri, for instance, one in all Portugal’s two dominant papermakers, is investing in utilizing pulped wooden to provide material yarn, creating alternate options to petroleum-based fibres.

Navigator, the sector’s different huge participant, can also be specializing in alternate options to fossil-based fuels, chemical compounds and plastics. “The green transformation component of companies like these is likely to become a key value in the future,” mentioned Queiroz. Both teams’ shares are up this 12 months — Altri by 47 per cent and Navigator by 19 per cent.

A smaller participant is Greenvolt, listed in a €150mn IPO final 12 months. It hyperlinks forestry and energy by producing renewable vitality from woodland waste. Ricardo Seabra of Banco de Investimento Global sees the corporate as one in all Portugal’s “most interesting stories”. Altri owns 38 per cent.

The PSI, Lisbon’s most important share index, stands out in Europe, having gained about 4 per cent since January. The smallish market is dominated by vitality utilities, which make up virtually two-thirds of its complete capitalisation. Millennium BCP is the one giant financial institution listed, after different lenders both collapsed or had been taken over by Spanish opponents after the monetary crises of a decade in the past.

A slender focus may be a plus in as we speak’s circumstances. “The fact that there is not much exposure to the technology sector means the index has not suffered the volatility we have seen in Europe and the US,” says Henrique Tomé, an analyst with XTB, a dealer. “Its position as an outlier this year should capture the attention of new investors.”


© George Wylesol

Tourists in Greece may be shocked by the variety of cranes, bulldozers, and vehicles engaged on summer time villas, writes Eleni Varvitsioti. As in Spain, they may be tempted to purchase property — and contribute to a file movement of overseas capital concentrating on actual property.

Total inward overseas direct funding soared 72 per cent final 12 months to €4.8bn, the best degree in a few years, based on Enterprise Greece, the official funding company.

Athens analysts anticipate development exercise to greater than double within the subsequent few years, topping €18bn in 2025, up from €7.6bn in 2020. A possible beneficiary is Lamda, the main actual property developer, at the moment buying and selling properly under web asset worth.

Visitors may favor to go for an ESG funding: Greece, a rustic crammed with sunshine and powerful winds, affords many alternatives in renewable vitality. Helped by the EU restoration fund, the nation goals to double put in capability in renewable vitality by 2030. Terna Energy is a inventory value contemplating: it has the biggest put in renewables capability and an enormous undertaking pipeline.

The Athens bourse is barely 9 per cent off this 12 months — making it a greater performer than the European common. But Greek shares have been pretty flat since 2014 and are nonetheless far off the peaks scaled earlier than the 2008 international monetary disaster and the Greek eurozone disaster, when the nation stood on the verge of monetary collapse. Those shocks additionally robbed Greece of many investable shares, with 100 corporations leaving the alternate. So buyers now face restricted selections.

Still, a powerful deal movement is fuelling optimism. Manos Hatzidakis, head of analysis in Beta Securities, says capital will increase at two main banks, and the Public Power Corporation — backed primarily by overseas buyers — have created a “protective mound” across the market.

Meanwhile, away from the listed market, Mondelez, a worldwide snacks big, has acquired Chipita, a neighborhood producer for about $2bn, in one in all Greece’s greatest offers. And US financial institution JPMorgan has purchased 49 per cent of Athens- based mostly fee fintech Viva Wallet for over $1bn. 

“That is a good sign for listed stocks as well,” says Hatzidakis. “Especially when the energy crisis will be over, foreign investors will be more willing to take a closer look at Greek companies.”

Reporting crew: Akila Quinio, Peter Wise, Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli, Eleni Varvitsioti and Stefan Wagstyl

Money monuments

Founded in 864, La Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) is without doubt one of the world’s oldest corporations and nonetheless stamps euro cash. Its summer time exhibition options greater than 200 conventional currencies, from Polynesian feathers to Zairean velvet.

But the Monnaie de Paris’s crown jewel may simply be its restaurant. The Guy Savoy has three Michelin stars and a value to match: €585 for the set menu. In characteristically French style, the restaurant takes an August break.

Though banks is probably not a lot of an funding alternative now, one Italian lender is value a go to — Monte dei Paschi, the world’s oldest financial institution. While Rocca Salimbeni, the financial institution’s palatial residence in Siena can’t be accessed by the general public, the magnificent piazza during which it stands most definitely can, as can town’s pebbled medieval centre. In mid-August town holds the well-known Palio horse race.

Madrid’s spectacular neoclassical inventory alternate constructing sits solely a brief stroll from the Prado Museum. Weekly guided excursions should be booked prematurely by emailing: Closed in the course of the pandemic, the alternate will reopen for visits from September 1.

The Bank of Portugal’s Money Museum (Museu do Dinheiro), in Lisbon, affords a captivating fashionable exhibition on the historical past of filthy lucre.

In Athens, an important place to chill down from the warmth is the numismatic museum. Have an iced espresso in its backyard and stroll across the halls and discover a group relationship again to the fourth century.