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The 2015 All-Europe Research Team: Nordic Countries, No. 3: Thomas Steen Hansen & team
Danske Bank Markets debuted on this list last year as a runner-up and now rises to third place.
Total appearances: 2
Team debut: 2014
Danske Bank Markets debuted on this list last year as a runner-up and now rises to third place. Leading its 37-analyst team in Copenhagen is Thomas Steen Hansen, 47, the firm’s global head of equity research since July 2006. Before joining Danske, Hansen directed the Denmark equity research efforts at ABN Amro’s Alfred Berg unit and worked as a telecommunications analyst. He previously covered that sector for Handelsbanken Capital Markets and holds a master’s degree in finance from Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School. Hansen and his team report on 240 Nordic companies. “They’re the biggest Danish broker, and while they follow companies in Sweden and Finland, they provide the best focus on Denmark,” observes one client in France. “They also bring a large number of companies to Paris, on average about one per week. They’re exceptional at providing corporate access.” One Denmark-based company that earns the Hansen team’s nod is pharmaceuticals giant Novo Nordisk. The world leader in diabetes care, Novo Nordisk is positioned to benefit as that high-growth market expands at a 10 percent annual clip, the analysts believe. It moreover boasts a stronger pipeline than the competition, they note, including Tresiba, a new-generation insulin therapy with an ultralong action period of more than 42 hours. The treatment’s potential 2016 launch in America, pending approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “is most important, as this is targeting the biggest segment of the insulin market,” Danske’s researchers advised in December. Novo management also wins favor for returning excess cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Rated buy and trading at 295.50 Danish kroner at the end of January, the stock earns a target price of Dkr345. At the other end of the spectrum is Swedish telecommunications equipment provider Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson, which they have assigned a sell rating and a price objective of 78 kronor — implying a 22.7 percent downside to the shares’ value late in January. Danske’s bearish case is informed by a shrinking market for Ericsson’s products; sharpened price competition from Alcatel-Lucent of France and Finland’s Nokia Corp.; and a fairly high valuation, with a projected price-earnings ratio of 19.1 for 2015.