Polaris noted that J M Smucker Co (NYSE:SJM) is suffering from deflationary trends as the price index for meat, poultry and egg dropped 6.5% during the period of past 12 months. In addition, pet food business Big Heart, which J M Smucker acquired last year, also showed a decline in volumes and sales in the second quarter, which was contrary to the company’s expectations to offset the decline in food prices. Polaris held 5.1 million shares of the company valued at $24.75 million, being one of the 30 funds from our database that reported long positions as of the end of June.
In Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ:ABCB), Polaris owned 917,543 shares worth $27.25 million at the end of the second quarter. The investor praised the company for its “healthy quarterly metrics”, which included revenue growth and higher net income generated from its mortgage and Small Business Administration-backed loans. Polaris also noted organic loan growth for the company. Ameris recently reported its earnings for the third quarter at $0.61 per share, beating street estimates of $0.59 per share. Its revenue for the quarter stood at $85.9 million, topping the expectations by some $90,000. A total of 12 investors from our database had positions in Ameris Bancorp worth $84.41 million in aggregate at the end of June.
According to the letter, Polaris closed its stake in Astoria Financial during the third quarter, using the proceeds from the sale of some 1.11 million shares held at the end of June to initiate a stake in Popular Inc. (NASDAQ:BPOP). The timing of the acquisition seems to be right as the stock has climbed by more than 24% since the beginning of the third quarter. Polaris considers that Popular Inc. stock to be undervalued on account of local debt crisis, which, however, is likely to be resolved with the introduction of Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act. During the second quarter, the number of funds tracked by us that held shares of Popular went up by five to 27.