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Here’s Why Miller Value Partners See General Motors (GM) as an ‘Attractive Investment Opportunity’

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Miller Value Partners, an investment management firm, published its “Miller Opportunity Equity” third quarter 2021 investor letter – a copy of which can be seen here. A quarterly net decline of 14.2% has been recorded by the fund for the third quarter of 2021, compared to the S&P 500 that rose 0.6% in the same period. You can take a look at the fund’s top 5 holdings to have an idea about their best picks for 2021.

Miller Value Partners, in its Q3 2021 investor letter, mentioned General Motors (NYSE: GM) and discussed its stance on the firm. General Motors is a Detroit, Michigan-based multinational automotive manufacturing company with an $85.1 billion market capitalization. GM delivered a 40.83% return since the beginning of the year, while its 12-month returns are up by 40.83%. The stock closed at $58.64 per share on November 4, 2021.

Here is what Miller Value Partners has to say about General Motors in its Q3 2021 investor letter:

"Another name we’ve recently purchased and have grown incredibly excited about: General Motors (GM). GM is interesting on many levels. We see it as an attractive investment opportunity and it might be a microcosm of current markets, both past and prospective.

Tesla trounced GM over the last decade. Tesla rose 15,797% crushing GM’s 238% increase, which lagged the S&P 500’s 365%. Tesla came out of nowhere creating what many said was the best car ever made. A decade ago, no one saw that coming, including GM. GM’s historical strength led to arrogance. It completely dismissed the threat of any newcomer.

Where are we now? Expectations are entirely different. Tesla’s current price embeds 18 years of growth while GM embeds under one year (see a pattern in what we like?!). Tesla’s expectations look even loftier when you consider that in that 18th year, Tesla would be projected to earn $1.35 trillion revenues at very high, Ferrari-type margins. The largest automakers today generate roughly $250 billion revenues at less than half those margins.

Tesla’s priced to go where no man (or woman!) has gone before. It’s impossible for Tesla to meet these expectations with auto manufacturing alone. It requires something more. Bulls believe Tesla can dominate an autonomous driving future and make significant money on software subscriptions. We don’t have a view on this other than that Tesla needs to do so to be attractive at the current price.

Market expectations for GM, on the other hand, are muted. There appears to be no innovation or growth priced into the stock. Yet GM plans to launch 30 EV (electric vehicles) models globally by 2025 (Tesla has launched a total of 4). GM’s new electric vehicles, like the Hummer and Cadillac Lyric, are extremely impressive. It’s revamping its manufacturing production to be modular, allowing greater speed and adaptability. The entire culture has transformed from a stodgy, bureaucratic old manufacturer to a speedier, more innovative software-enabled automaker. GM currently employs 25,000 software engineers.

GM believes it can double revenues by 2030, and improve margins through software and services. GM currently earns $2 billion of high margin software and services revenue, which is more than Tesla. Cruise, GM’s majority owned autonomous company, recently detailed why it sees the potential for $50B in revenues within 6-8 years of its 2023 launch of the Origin vehicle. BrightDrop, its autonomous commercial vehicle unit, looks promising as well with the potential for $10 billion in revenues. We don’t think this optionality is reflected in the current price. Investors started to see the potential after GM’s recently analyst day. We can easily get values for GM more than double its current price of $58.

The contrast between GM and Tesla illustrates what we see more broadly in the market, which is why we see more opportunity in classic value names than in the secular growth names. After a decade of dominance, expectations for innovative and disruptive companies are quite high. Many classic value companies were caught flat-footed, but have invested heavily to catch up. Muted expectations don’t reflect their improved prospects."

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), showroom, car, Cadillac
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), showroom, car, Cadillac

TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com

Based on our calculations, General Motors (NYSE: GM) was not able to clinch a spot in our list of the 30 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds. GM was in 86 hedge fund portfolios at the end of the first half of 2021. General Motors (NYSE: GM) delivered a 6.52% return in the past 3 months.

Hedge funds’ reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. Our research has shown that hedge funds’ small-cap stock picks managed to beat the market by double digits annually between 1999 and 2016, but the margin of outperformance has been declining in recent years. Nevertheless, we were still able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by 115 percentage points since March 2017 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that underperformed the market by 10 percentage points annually between 2006 and 2017. Interestingly the margin of underperformance of these stocks has been increasing in recent years. Investors who are long the market and short these stocks would have returned more than 27% annually between 2015 and 2017. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 in our quarterly newsletter.

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, billionaire John Paulson is loading up on the miners, so we are checking out stock pitches like this mining stock. We go through lists like the 10 best EV stocks to pick the next Tesla that will deliver a 10x return. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our homepage.

Disclosure: None. This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.