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In the midst of every crisis lies opportunity

I’ve cut and pasted this input from an email received from the Jupiter European Growth fund management team yesterday (31/03/2020):

The pandemic has obliged many people to make significant changes to their daily habits. We can even expect an acceleration in some secular growth trends as a consequence of the crisis. We highlight three areas which could benefit over the longer term.

Clinical diagnostics: Expect an acceleration in some secular growth trends as a consequence of the crisis. In the diagnostic testing space, lab equipment companies such as Diasorin, Tecan and bioMerieux are all seeing a short-term increase in demand for their instruments. However, in our view, the real benefit is likely to come in the future as a consequence of their much larger installed base of customers and the greater revenues from the consumable reagents they will be selling to labs, once we get beyond the crisis. Our growth thesis on these companies has hinged on the cost-benefit to national health systems of being able to have faster, more encompassing diagnostic testing services. The coronavirus crisis clearly highlights the need for more investment into this area.

The industrialisation of the food supply chain: Governments will deem it critical to maintain food and farming industries during the worldwide battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the coronavirus, China had already seen African Swine Fever (ASF) wipe out 50% of the country’s pig herd. Here, Genus, the global leader in providing porcine and bovine genetics could be a long-term beneficiary; it receives royalties for each commercial pig weaned. That’s not to say the company hasn’t had short-term problems. In February, owing to transport restrictions within the supply chain, it did not sell a single pig in China. Nevertheless, we have actually become more positive about the outlook for the business. Following the ASF and coronavirus crises we are likely to see a rapid and more professional rebuilding of the highly-fragmented domestic pork supply through the creation of large-scale integrated pork producers. This is a key priority for the Chinese government and should drive significant demand for the company’s products as they will improve productivity in food production.

The Digital World: Following the crisis, we will all migrate back to the physical world. But the current lockdowns are likely to introduce vast swathes of populations to the opportunities in the digital world, such as accelerating the adopting of online shopping, home delivery and other digital produce such as gaming. One of the attractions of Ubisoft Entertainment, a French gaming company, is the growth and superior economics of its digital offering (very low distribution costs, broadband getting even faster) over the sale of physical discs, which are more expensive to produce and distribute. We expect the rate of digitalisation to see a material step up and bring forwards the benefits we had previously anticipated for the business over the next few years.

As the Jupiter European Growth fund management team have outlined above even in the face of this adversity opportunity arises. The fast thinking entrepreneurs of the world will lead, and we could see a new generation of businesses and business leaders coming to the fore.

Steve Speed