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Weintraub Aims to Beat Skagen Global’s 21% Returns at Labrusca

Filip Weintraub, who left Norway’s Skagen Global Fund earlier this year after almost a decade, is aiming for gains of more than 20 percent a year with his new Labrusca Fund.

The Swede plans to beat the Skagen Global Fund’s returns, adjusting for the level of risk incurred, Weintraub, 37, said in an Aug. 20 interview from the Stockholm headquarters of Labrusca Family Office AB. Skagen Global had a 21 percent annual return in dollar terms from Oct. 1, 2001, to March 31, 2010, compared with the 3.1 percent annual gain in the MSCI World Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Our ambition is higher than that over the next 20 years,” Weintraub said.

Weintraub and his partners together put in 400 million kronor ($54 million) to 500 million kronor of their own capital when the fund was formed in May. The total now stands at about 1.5 billion kronor and Labrusca is continuing to accept investors’ money for the time being, he said.

“We can’t comment on when we will close the fund, but we can handle $1 billion,” he added. “There is no rush for us.”

The open-ended fund lost 0.6 percent in the period through July, compared with a 3.5 percent drop of the MS AC World Index in euro terms, according to Labrusca’s semi-annual report. The portion of the portfolio’s capital deployed into equities was more than 40 percent at the end of last month and is “meaningfully” higher today, the report said.

Case-to-Case Basis

Labrusca’s investments are spread widely across industries and locations and are picked on a case-to-case basis, according to Weintraub. Consumer non-cyclical and energy stocks are its two largest investments, though no industries are more 10 percent of the total portfolio, data from the end of July show.

“We’ve a very price-driven philosophy,” Weintraub said. “We identify assets, what we believe they are worth and if we don’t think it’s cheap enough, we go somewhere else. That sweet spot changes over time, geography and industry. We really look at specific cases.”

Labrusca, whose name comes from the scientific title for a variety of grapevine, aims to have a portfolio of 30 to 40 stocks. Holdings include Greece’s Titan Cement Co., Hellenic Exchanges SA and Fourlis Holdings SA, Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. and Omega Protein Corp., which produces protein-rich fish meal and oil, and Rio de Janeiro-based Brazil Fast Food Corp. The fund has no investments in China or India, though has placed its money in equities in South Korea and Kazakhstan.

Weintraub has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics & Global Studies from the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington and is a qualified Chartered Financial Analyst. He announced in March his departure from Skagen, a Norwegian fund management company whose assets almost doubled to $16 billion last year.

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