This content is from: Research

Industries – Consumer/Nondiscretionary: First

Paul Steegers
& team
Bank of America
Merrill Lynch
"He thinks like an investor."

Paul Steegers, 42, guides the Bank of America Merrill Lynch squad of six up two levels to first place — and up one rung to lead the lineup for the first time in Consumer/Discretionary. The analysts “not only know the companies inside and out, but they also keep a close eye on changing demographics and their impact on consumer spending,” observes one buy-side loyalist. Working out of offices in Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, the researchers report on 22 companies across both sectors. “Based on our macroeconomic forecasts for [real gross domestic product expansion], real wages, consumption growth and low formal retail penetration, Russia and Saudi Arabia emerge as the favored areas to support food retail spending in 2013,” says Steegers. Hypermarket operator Magnit “remains our preferred way to gain exposure to the retail industry in Russia, owing to its growth profile, high but sustainable margins, industry-strongest execution and long and positive track record with investors.” They also like its competitor Dixy Group, “for its turnaround potential determined by improving execution, growing scale and good expansion pace.” The rise of prices in Turkey is one reason the team is recommending Migros Ticaret, “one of the best proxies for food inflation” in that country, the crew leader notes. Steegers earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from South Africa’s University of Cape Town and the University of London, respectively, then joined London’s Mercury Asset Management as an analyst and fund manager. Merrill Lynch bought that firm in 1997; Steegers moved to the sell side three years later. — Pam Baker

Related Content