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The 2014 Emerging EMEA Research Team: Consumer/Nondiscretionary, No. 1: Paul Steegers & team
Repeating in first place on this roster is the Bank of America Merrill Lynch team of six under the guidance of Cape Townbased Paul Steegers, 43. As last year, this squad also headlines the Consumer/Discretionary list. Tracking 24 consumer companies in the region from their posts in Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, the analysts win praise for delivering great insights and providing considerable value in their coverage, in the words of one fund manager. Current favorites include several industry leaders: Magnit and X5 Retail Group, Russias No. 1 and No. 2 retailers, respectively; and Pick n Pay Stores, the second-largest supermarket operator in South Africa. Steegers and his teammates upgraded Pick n Pay from neutral to buy in October, believing they were seeing the first signs of recovery under new chief executive officer Richard Brasher, who took the reins in January. In addition, they anticipated significant opportunities for management to cut costs as the retailers investment in centralized distribution began to bear fruit. By the end of May, Pick n Pays shares had rallied 27.5 percent, rising to 58.06 rand even as the sector slipped by 5.5 percent, and the BofA Merrill crew projects a further 12 percent upside.