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Just wanted to share some thoughts as I am seeing brokers call a bounce on utilities based on mean reversion and sector rotation. 

Despite being the biggest underperformer YTD, the utilities sector has four mounting problems:

a) €65bn to refinance to 2010
b) €35bn in asset disposals to keep single A rating
c) ROCE keeps sliding after five years of M&A at peak multiples
d) €20bn in capital increases (Enel, Gas Nat, Snam, Vestas, SSE, Centrica…)
Look at the chart attached, because it’s scary. The utilities have been re-rating year on year on commodity exposure, asset valuation increase from M&A and multiple expansion from new technologies (renewables) and at the same time it has become more cyclical, but with very inflexible capex (the sector spends 33% of its market cap every year on capex to deliver 3-4% EPS growth)… while ROCE has been deteriorating steadily (see chart).
On top of this, the sector trades on “growth” multiples (7x EV/EBITDA), but considering the loss of industrial demand and the forward cruve on spark and dark spreads, we could see a continued de-rating of the sector to ex-growth multiples.

About Daniel Lacalle

Daniel Lacalle (Madrid, 1967). PhD Economist and Fund Manager. Author of bestsellers "Life In The Financial Markets" and "The Energy World Is Flat" as well as "Escape From the Central Bank Trap". Daniel Lacalle (Madrid, 1967). PhD Economist and Fund Manager. Frequent collaborator with CNBC, Hedgeye, Wall Street Journal, El Español, A3 Media and 13TV. Holds the CIIA (Certified International Investment Analyst) and masters in Economic Investigation and IESE. Holds the CIIA (Certified International Investment Analyst) and masters in Economic Investigation and IESE.

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