The 2016 All-Europe Research Team: Chemicals, No. 2: Laurent Favre & team

Despite a change at the head of its European chemicals research team, Bank of America Merrill Lynch extends its hold on this roster’s No. 2 position to a sixth year.

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< The 2016 All-Europe Research Team

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Laurent Favre & team
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
First-place appearances: 6

Total appearances: 29

Team debut: 1988

Despite a change at the head of its European chemicals research team, Bank of America Merrill Lynch extends its hold on this roster’s No. 2 position to a sixth year. In May, Andrew Stott shifted over to lead the firm’s consumer staples coverage, and this crew is now in the hands of Laurent Favre. The 33-year-old newcomer returned to the firm in February 2014 after a brief stint at hedge fund Millennium Capital Partners. Previously, he tracked this sector at BofA Merrill for three years and at UBS for five. Favre earned a master’s degree in finance and international management from ESCP Europe. He “sees things other analysts miss,” insists one fund manager. In August 2014 the squad raised its rating on French acrylics maker Arkema from neutral to buy, primarily citing valuation. The stock had rallied 10.5 percent by the middle of last month, to €55.35, outperforming regional chemicals shares by 14.1 percentage points. Favre and his colleagues moved in the other direction on Wacker Chemie — a Germany-based specialty chemicals provider — slicing their position from buy to underperform in May largely because of soft pricing for one of its major products, silicon wafers. In mid-January the shares were trading at €64.23, down 39.5 percent against the European sector’s drop of 18.4 percent. With a coverage universe of 25 names, the three London-based analysts “produce value-added calls that work,” insists another supporter.

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