Famous Belgian Chocolatier Hidden Inside An Obscure Holding Called 'Bois Sauvage'

Feb. 07, 2019 10:10 AM ET2 Comments
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Value Vault


  • Holding trading at 18% discount to conservatively valued NAV.
  • Owner/operator picked many right stocks in the last decade.
  • This illiquid and obscure name fully owns one of the few prestigious Belgian Praline houses "Neuhaus".
  • Neuhaus can be found in many large cities and airports and might benefit from the secular growth in global travel.

In this article, I will discuss the major investment holdings and philosophy of Bois Sauvage, a very old Belgian holding company. Let's start with the sum-of-the-parts.

Famous chocolatier Neuhaus and Corné Port Royale

As we can see, almost half of the NAV is from "United Belgian Chocolate Makers" or UBCM, a fully owned Belgian pralines holding company that owns Neuhaus (and some other less known niche names). Neuhaus's history dates from 1857 when it started its first store in the most famous gallery in Brussels. Today, Neuhaus is one of the most recognized Belgian pralines brands and has over 1,500 stores in over 50 countries. Other famous brands are Godiva, Leonidas, Jeff de Bruges, and Corné Port Royale. The latter two are actually owned by UBCM as well.

Famous and old Belgian praline brands are scarce assets in a world of consumers that are increasingly shifting towards experiences and travel. In addition, international travel is on the rise as the Chinese middle class is growing fast and getting richer to travel increasingly outbound. One important pillar in Chinese culture is to bring back many small presents for friends and family. Some Chinese even bring a spare suitcase. Pralines are unique souvenirs linked to Belgian national heritage that are convenient to carry (i.e. small) and yet of high perceived value.

I, therefore, believe old and famous praline houses have the moat to grow profitably for a long time to come. Strong brands can even capitalize on e-commerce by going direct to consumers.

Chocolatier Financials

The company does not break out many financials. Return on equity seems to confirm the moat UBCM has from its famous brands. We do observe slow revenue growth: in part, this can be explained by the lackluster tourism in 2017 in the aftermath of the Brussels airport terrorist attack. The most disconcerting

This article was written by

Value Vault profile picture
Belgian analyst with a long time horizon. Generalist. I prefer fishing in out-of-favor sectors and/or geographies. Not only do those ponds have lower valuations in aggregate, they tend to be less efficient as well. A double advantage for stock pickers.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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