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Jean-François Tardif
Jean-François Tardif

Stock-Picking Contest

Tardif leaves at the top of his game Add to ...

Globe Investor's 2009 stock contest participants had a steep challenge: pick one stock that could not just weather - but excel - during what was expected to be a severe recession. And they had to pick the stock after the markets had already tumbled in the midst of a brutal credit crisis. Not an easy feat. This is where experience paid off. For the third consecutive year, Jean-François Tardif, now retired from Sprott Asset Management, led the pack, this time with his choice of Premium Brands Inc., which rose 91.6 per cent last year as the markets gamely shrugged off the recession and surged ahead

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THE WINNING STOCK PICK: PREMIUM BRANDS

Price appreciation: 70.6% / Total return: 91.6%

"Last year when I picked the stock, I was mostly interested in companies that could survive in an important recession and could continue to generate lots of free cash flow.

Premium Brands generated roughly $1.25 of free cash flow in 2008. I thought the company could generate close to the same amount for 2009. At close $8 a share one year ago, I was getting a 15-per-cent distribution yield plus a multiple expansion as the stock got hurt too much in the correction of 2008.

The company is a food distributor, mostly in western Canada, which I considered pretty safe in the recession. I felt that the reward potential was very attractive for what I considered the low risk of the business and the low valuation at the time."

Jean-Francois Tardif

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How the others fared

Price

Total

Placing

Contestant

Stock Pick

Ticker

appreciation %

return %*

2

Lesley Scorgie

Suncor Energy

SU-T

56.9

58.3

3

Garey Aitken

Canadian Natural Resources

CNQ-T

55.9

57.0

4

Patrick McKeough

Canadian Pacific Railway

CP-T

38.6

41.6

5

Kim Parlee

Vermilion Energy Trust

VET.UN-T

28.7

39.4

6

Murray Soupcoff

HBP COMEX Gold Bull+ E.T.F.

HBU-T

36.0

36.0

7

Adrian Mastracci

Alcoa

AA-N

23.0

26.6

8

Kevin O'Leary

Energy Transfer Partners LP

ETP-N

13.6

24.0

9

Murray Leith

TimberWest Forest Corp.

TWF.UN-T

22.6

22.6

10

Team Churchill

Pfizer

PFE-N

-11.8

-7.0

11

Monica Rizk

Kinross Gold

K-T

-13.9

-13.5

12

Suraj Gupta

American International Group

AIG-N

-18.0

-18.0

* All returns calculated to C$ for Dec. 31, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2009, including reinvested dividends

Source: Bloomberg

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A look back at past winners

One-year

Year

Player

Firm at time of win

Stock pick

% gain

2009

Jean-François Tardif

Sprott Asset Management

Premium Brands

91.6%

2008

Jean-François Tardif

Sprott Asset Management

Duvernay Oil

218.8%

2007

Jean-François Tardif

Sprott Asset Management

Rally Energy

83.4%

2006

Jason Snow

Student

Petrobank Energy

99.1%

2005

Emilia Loewen

Wild card

Shell Canada

59.6%

2004

Moshe Milevsky

York University

Forbes Medi-Tech

179.0%

2003

Moshe Milevsky

York University

Canadian Superior Energy

117.3%

2002

Moshe Milevsky

York University

Ketch Energy

108.3%

2001

Veronika Hirsch

Hirsch Asset Management

Gulf Canada

61.6%

2000

Plastic Santa

Random Pick

Denbury Res.

179.2%

1999

Steven Misener

C.I. Fund Management

BCE Emergis

459.6%

1998

Colleen Moorehead

E*Trade Canada Inc.

ATI Technologies

110.9%

1997

Patrick McKeough

The Successful Investor

Canada Bread

84.0%

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