Ik heb nog een lading highlights uit de brieven aan aandeelhouders, door de jaren heen:
"Charlie and I have never been in a big hurry: We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds—though we have learned to live with those also."
"Obviously many companies in high-tech businesses or embryonic industries will grow much faster in percentage terms than will The Inevitables. But I would rather be certain of a good result than hopeful of a great one"
"In a business selling a commodity-type product, it's impossible to be a lot smarter than your dumbest competitor"
Anderzijds is de oplossing niet ver af : ""Buy commodities, sell brands" has long been a formula for business success. It has produced enormous and sustained profits for Coca-Cola since 1886 and Wrigley since 1891"
Over look-through earnings:
"Our perspective on such "forgotten-but-not-gone" earnings is simple: The way they are accounted for is of no importance, but their ownership and subsequent utilization is all-important. We care not whether the auditors hear a tree fall in the forest; we do care who owns the tree and what's next done with it."
en wat dit betekent voor u en mij:
"We also believe that investors can benefit by focusing on their own look-through earnings. To calculate these, they should determine the underlying earnings attributable to the shares they hold in their portfolio and total these. The goal of each investor should be to create a portfolio (in effect, a "company") that will deliver him or her the highest possible look-through earnings a decade or so from now"
"if you are a know-something investor, able to understand business economics and to find five to ten sensibly-priced companies that possess important long-term competitive advantages, conventional diversification makes no sense for you. It is apt simply to hurt your results and increase your risk. I cannot understand why an investor of that sort elects to put money into a business that is his 20th favorite rather than simply adding that money to his top choices—the businesses he understands best and that present the least risk, along with the greatest profit potential. In the words of the prophet Mae West: "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."
In dezelfde context:
"Why search for a needle buried in a haystack when one is sitting in plain sight?"
Ik vind het altijd raar als men al weet wat de full year earnings/share gaan zijn in 2015, zeker van een slechte, cyclische business zonder FCF, ook al respecteer ik de auteur.
En ik ben niet alleen:
"Finally, be suspicious of companies that trumpet earnings projections and growth expectations. Businesses seldom operate in a tranquil, no-surprise environment, and earnings simply don't advance smoothly (except, of course, in the offering books of investment bankers). Charlie and I not only don't know today what our businesses will earn next year — we don't even know what they will earn next quarter. We are suspicious of those CEOs who regularly claim they do know the future — and we become downright incredulous if they consistently reach their declared targets. Managers that always promise to "make the numbers" will at some point be tempted to make up the numbers."
Over snelgroeiende banken e.d. :
"Investors should understand that in all types of financial institutions, rapid growth sometimes masks major underlying problems (and occasionally fraud). The real test of the earning power of a derivatives operation is what it achieves after operating for an extended period in a no-growth mode. You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out."
Over snel groeien mbv debt en een kleine kans op een total loss:
"Any other approach is dangerous. Over the years, a number of very smart people have learned the hard way that a long string of impressive numbers multiplied by a single zero always equals zero. That is not an equation whose effects I would like to experience personally, and I would like even less to be responsible for imposing its penalties upon others."
"Life and Debt The fundamental principle of auto racing is that to finish first, you must first finish. That dictum is equally applicable to business and guides our every action at Berkshire.
Unquestionably, some people have become very rich through the use of borrowed money. However, that's also been a way to get very poor.
When leverage works, it magnifies your gains. Your spouse thinks you're clever, and your neighbors get envious.
But leverage is addictive. Once having profited from its wonders, very few people retreat to more conservative practices.
And as we all learned in third grade — and some relearned in 2008 — any series of positive numbers, however impressive the numbers may be, evaporates when multiplied by a single zero. History tells us that leverage all too often produces zeroes, even when it is employed by very smart people. Leverage, of course, can be lethal to businesses as well. Companies with large debts often assume that these obligations can be refinanced as they mature. That assumption is usually valid. Occasionally, though, either because of company-specific problems or a worldwide shortage of credit, maturities must actually be met by payment. For that, only cash will do the job."
"Borrowers then learn that credit is like oxygen. When either is abundant, its presence goes unnoticed. When either is missing, that's all that is noticed."
Nog een briljante quote:
"Its effects bring to mind the old adage: When someone with experience proposes a deal to someone with money, too often the fellow with money ends up with the experience, and the fellow with experience ends up with the money."
Over capital allocation, ofwel investeren:
"Our second advantage relates to the allocation of the money our businesses earn. After meeting the needs of those businesses, we have very substantial sums left over. Most companies limit themselves to reinvesting funds within the industry in which they have been operating. That often restricts them, however, to a "universe" for capital allocation that is both tiny and quite inferior to what is available in the wider world. Competition for the few opportunities that are available tends to become fierce. The seller has the upper hand, as a girl might if she were the only female at a party attended by many boys. That lopsided situation would be great for the girl, but terrible for the boys. At Berkshire we face no institutional restraints when we deploy capital. Charlie and I are limited only by our ability to understand the likely future of a possible acquisition. If we clear that hurdle — and frequently we can't — we are then able to compare any one opportunity against a host of others. When I took control of Berkshire in 1965, I didn't exploit this advantage. Berkshire was then only in textiles, where it had in the previous decade lost significant money. The dumbest thing I could have done was to pursue "opportunities" to improve and expand the existing textile operation — so for years that's exactly what I did. And then, in a final burst of brilliance, I went out and bought another textile company. Aaaaaaargh! Eventually I came to my senses, heading first into insurance and then into other industries. There is even a supplement to this world-is-our-oyster advantage: In addition to evaluating the attractions of one business against a host of others, we also measure businesses against opportunities available in marketable securities, a comparison most managements don't make. Often, businesses are priced ridiculously high against what can likely be earned from investments in stocks or bonds. At such moments, we buy securities and bide our time. Our flexibility in respect to capital allocation has accounted for much of our progress to date. We have been able to take money we earn from, say, See's Candies or Business Wire (two of our best-run businesses, but also two offering limited reinvestment opportunities)...
... focus will be equities but he is not restricted to that form of investment. (Fund consultants like to require style boxes such as "long-short," "macro," "international equities." At Berkshire our only style box is "smart.")"
Buffett heeft ook nog een (recente) waarschuwing voor beleggers in verzekeringsfirma's, zeker in het soort waarvan de CEO niet weet hoe float te beleggen, behalve in bonds, zoals Ageas :
"A further unpleasant reality adds to the industry's dim prospects: Insurance earnings are now benefitting from "legacy" bond portfolios that deliver much higher yields than will be available when funds are reinvested during the next few years — and perhaps for many years beyond that. Today's bond portfolios are, in effect, wasting assets. Earnings of insurers will be hurt in a significant way as bonds mature and are rolled over. "
Een nagel waar m'n getormenteerde ziel graag op hamer: muntjes. Volgens een heleboel idioten die er "onderzoek" naar gedaan hebben, maakt de keuze van muntjes geen verschil.
Ik ben in goed gezelschap om er anders over te denken, want ook Buffett disagrees :
"...currency positions have yielded $2.3 billion of pre-tax profits over the past five years, and in addition we have profited by holding bonds of U.S. companies that are denominated in other currencies. For example, in 2001 and 2002 we purchased €310 million Amazon.com, Inc. 6 7/8 of 2010 at 57% of par. At the time, Amazon bonds were priced as "junk" credits, though they were anything but. (Yes, Virginia, you can occasionally find markets that are ridiculously inefficient — or at least you can find them anywhere except at the finance departments of some leading business schools.) The Euro denomination of the Amazon bonds was a further, and important, attraction for us. The Euro was at 95¢ when we bought in 2002. Therefore, our cost in dollars came to only $169 million. Now the bonds sell at 102% of par and the Euro is worth $1.47. In 2005 and 2006 some of our bonds were called and we received $253 million for them. Our remaining bonds were valued at $162 million at yearend. Of our $246 million of realized and unrealized gain, about $118 million is attributable to the fall in the dollar. Currencies do matter."
Kijk goed naar de begindatum: 2002. Toen was de USD enorm duur, de euro is begonnen @1,15USD maar toen de eerste briefjes verspreid werden (1/1/2002) , was het rap naar beneden gegaan tot onder de 1,00USD.
Buffett had de hoge USD waardering dus meteen in de gaten, en diversifieerde vanuit het niets opeens enorm in andere munten.
Ik had het omgekeerde probleem. Ik had dat jaar m'n allerlaatste eurocent bij mekaar geschraapt om een grote lap grond te kopen, die helaas in USD betaald moest worden- en ik had geen overschot.
Als je dan elke dag/week de koopkracht van die euros ziet zakken (en de transactie nog niet afgesloten/betaald is), maakt dit blijvend diepe indruk.
Na forex kosten en andere bank charges, kreeg ik amper 0,80cent per Euro - vrij onvoorstelbaar nu men meer dan 1,25USD "normaal" vindt.
Het is uiteindelijk gelukt (ik typ nu deze post vanop die lap....), doch het scheelde echt geen haar.
Sindsdien heb ik altijd (sub-)rekeningen in andere munten dan de euro gehad, mij gaan ze niet meer liggen hebben.
Currencies do matter.