In November 2020, BBH Select Series – Large Cap Fund (“BBH Select” or “the Fund”) rose by 9.90%, which compared to a gain of 10.95% for the S&P 500 Index. One of our top performers in the month was Linde PLC and our largest detractor was Progressive Corp. (“Progressive”).
We were pleased with Linde’s Q3 financial results and the sequential improvement in many of its key operating measures considering the challenging backdrop that remains in many of its end markets and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite year-over-year volume reductions linked to weaker demand, adjusted earnings per share increased 11% year-over-year and 13% sequentially. Linde achieved price improvement across all geographic operating segments, and the company continued to make progress on its productivity initiatives. Operating margin expansion of 230 basis points1 year-over-year highlights Linde’s relentless focus on operational excellence. Operating margins have now increased by 600 basis points over the last seven quarters, a testament to the attractiveness of the industrial gas business model and Linde’s strong execution. We continue to have high conviction that Linde has a leading competitive position in the industry, and we foresee continued opportunities for significant value creation given the company’s long history of strong execution and focused capital discipline.
Progressive shares declined modestly as monthly results for October (reported in November) showed a modest uptick in lost costs from recent levels. Given the unique nature of the company's monthly reporting it is not unusual to see some share price volatility around its monthly releases, with such variance typically becoming muted in the quarterly or annual figures. Lost costs and combined ratios remain at very attractive low levels while growth in premiums and policies-in-force remains robust. Financial results for Q3 (ended in September) continued to be exceptionally strong for Progressive, with operating earnings growing by 42%. On all critical metrics, the company continued its industry-leading performance. Premiums and policies-in-force both increased 11% as the company’s market share gains continued. Net investment income has been pressured by the fall in interest rates, but given that Progressive’s operating profit is dominated by its underwriting results, the interest rate impact has been more than offset. The company’s balance sheet remains very well capitalized and liquid.
1 Basis point (bps) is a unit that is equal to 1/100th of 1% and is used to denote the change in price or yield of a financial instrument
Holdings are subject to change. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
Price/Earnings (P/E) ratio is a company’s current share price divided by earnings per-share.
Turnover ratio is the rate of trading in a portfolio; higher values imply more frequent trading.
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The Fund is ‘non-diversified’ and may assume large positions in a small number of issuers which can increase the potential for greater price fluctuation.
International investing involves special risks including currency risk, increased volatility, political risks, and differences in auditing and other financial standards.
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Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. ("BBH"), a New York limited partnership, was founded in 1818 and provides investment advice to registered mutual funds through a separately identifiable department (the "SID"). The SID is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. BBH acts as the Fund Administrator and is located at 140 Broadway, New York, NY 10005.
Not FDIC Insured No Bank Guarantee May Lose Money
IM-08810-2020-12-10 BBH003106 Exp. Date 01/31/2021