Mason Hawkins’ Southeastern Ups Stake in Consol Energy (CNX)

Mason Hawkins’ Southeastern Asset Management, a significant stakeholder of CONSOL Energy Inc (NYSE:CNX) has upped its skate in the company for a second time this year to 23.1 million shares from approximately 22.7 million shares held previously. The stake currently amounts to 10.1% of the company’s shares outstanding.

Mason Hawkins

CONSOL Energy Inc (NYSE:CNX) is one of the largest independent natural gas exploration, development and production companies. The stock sports a forward P/E of around 21, and has a beta of 1.74.

Late last month, the company entered into an agreement with Ineos Europe AG, part of the Ineos Group, to supply ethane for its European cracker plants. By signing this agreement, Consol has secured long-term access to a pipeline that can transport this product to market and this also provide the company an opportunity to realize the full benefit of the natural gas it develops.

For the fourth quarter 2013, Consol Energy reported EPS of $3.20 compared to $0.65 recorded a year ago. For the full 2013, the company reported revenues of $3.3 billion, down from $3.7 million in 2012 and EPS of $2.87 per share, up from $1.70 per share in 2012.

Other significant stakeholders of Consol Energy include Bill Miller’s Legg Mason Capital Management, which holds 2.4 million shares, followed by Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors, with ownership of 1.5 million shares. Next up is Blue Mountain Capital, led by Andrew Feldstein and Stephen Siderow, which owns 1.4 million shares of the energy company.

Founded in 1975, Southeastern is an independent global money manager investing in undervalued securities for clients worldwide. It is headquartered in Tennessee and has a portfolio value of $20.4 billion. Mason Hawkins received a B.A. in Finance from the University of Florida in 1970, and an M.B.A in Finance from the University of Georgia in 1971. Prior to founding Southeastern, Mr. Hawkins was serving as Director of Research at First Tennessee Investment Management. Then in 1975, Mr. Hawkins and three other partners founded Southeastern. Two partners left the firm in the 80s. Since 1989, Mr. Hawkins has also served as the co-portfolio manager of Longleaf Partners Small-Cap Fund.

Some of the largest investments of the fund as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013 includes Fedex Corp (NYSE:FDX), in which Southeastern owns approximately 13.3 million shares, worth $1.9 billion. The fund also holds 68.7 million shares of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), with a reported value of $1.9 billion. The third largest stake of Southeastern Asset Management is in Loews Corp (NYSE:L), which amounts to around 35.0 million shares worth $1.6 billion.

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