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Mutual Fund News


Special to The Globe and Mail

Brent Larsen, 38


Business owner

The portfolio

Shares in Gemini Corp., High Arctic Energy Services Inc., New Look Eyewear Inc., Keg Royalties Income Fund, Epicore BioNetworks Inc., Titan Logix Corp. and other companies.

The investor

Brent Larsen is president of Halifax-based Steep Hill Solutions Inc., which makes Omega Crunch Flax (a nutritional supplement sprinkled on yogurt, salads and meats).

How he invests

From 1998 to 2005, Mr. Larsen analyzed small-capitalization stocks for the Vancouver-based investment advisory KeyStone Financial Publishing Corp. He continues to subscribe to their research.

His portfolio buys and holds shares in small-cap companies with low price-earnings ratios, good growth, little debt and (often) solid dividends. "It's also important to see potential for the company to be discovered by fund managers," he adds.

Moreover, the management team should be responsive to shareholders. "I will call the company and talk to the president and [chief financial officer]," he says. "If they do not get back to me, they miss out on a new shareholder."

A recent purchase was Gemini Corp., a provider of engineering services to industrial facilities. When its profit margins started to improve, Mr. Larsen called the company and discovered a new management team was in place, one more focused on maximizing profits.

Sales and margins for Epicore BioNetworks Inc., a supplier to the aquaculture industry, began trending upward over the past year. He contacted the managers and found a passionate group - plus learned that high shrimp prices were boosting demand for Epicore's products.

Worst move

Losing all of his 1996 investment in Loewen Group, a funeral-home chain with a lot of debt.

Best move

"I bought New Look Eyewear over the past four years at an average price of $7.50. The company was paying an excellent dividend and ... made a big acquisition back in November. The stock is now at $18.50. I am still holding."


"Do your digging and understand what is behind the stock."

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© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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