While looking at General Electric some days ago, I remembered that I had the IPO/Spin-off GE Capital Credit Cards which is now Synchrony Financial on my research list for quite some time.
This is from the 2016 annual report explaining how Synchrony was separated from GE:
One story which is currently making the rounds is that of Warren Buffett’s huuuuuuuuuuge cash pile or “war chest” at Berkshire.
Bloomberg had an article in May about the 86 bn “war chest” , and then 2 days ago Bloomberg said that his “cash pile” is now close to 100 bn USD.
Speculations are rampant what he could do with it for instance:
To sum it upfront: In my opinion there was nothing “really new” or spectacular in Buffett’s 2016 letter.
Operationally, 2016 was not such a good year for Berkshire, operating profit was flat and book value gain lower than the S&P. Nevertheless Berkshire’s stock price outperformed the S&P 500. Comprehensive income however was very good, around 50% better than 2015 (which was not very good).
Net tangible assets declined to around 170 bn from 186 bn mostly due to the Precision Cast Part acquisition which added more than 40 bn in intangibles.
I made some notes which might be interesting to some reader (or not).
Berkshire share repurchases:
The most interesting part from my side was where he writes about share repurchases in general and Berkshire in particular. I actually know some investors who treat the “Buffett put” at 120% of NAV as a real one, assuming that the stock price can never go below that level. This is what Buffet says:
Following my Old Mutual “sum of parts” valuation I saw the following Ira Sohn presentation of Exor Spa, the Agnelli family holding (FiatChysler, CNH etc.) as a potential “Sum of part” value investment.
To summarize the presentation in my own words:
- Exor Spa is basically a “Berkshire like” company at a “Graham” valuation
- Exor is managed by a “great capital allocator” and trades at a discount as people see it as an Italian company
- After the acquisition of Reinsurance Partner Re Exor should trade at similar valuations as Berkshire or Markel
- Big upside potential as FiatChrysler, Ferrari (and CNH) are severely undervalued (“Coiled springs”)
The study sees a potential upside of several times the current share price. They forecast a 150 EUR NAV per share (vs. ~50 EUR now and 30 EUR share prices), driven by a quadrupling in value of the FCA and the CNH stakes.
In late 2014 I started looking into oil related companies. I have looked at a couple of energy related companies like explorer Peyto, LNG liquification terminal Cheniere , Consol Energy and Gaztransport. I only bought Gaztransport which I then sold 6 weeks later. As I am still interested in the Energy sector, I will cover some stocks from time to time.
Kinder Morgan, the US pipeline owner/operator looks like another typical potential contrarian “Value investment”.
What I liked at first sight: Read more
One general remark upfront: The 2015 annual report wasn’t that exciting in my opinion. Actually, I didn’t plan to write a post on it. However, after reading a couple of posts on the topic, I though maybe some readers are interested because I haven’t seen those points mentioned very often elsewhere.
- Bad year for GEICO
GEICO had a pretty bad year in 2015. The loss ratio (in percent of premium) increased to 82,1% (from 77,7%), the Combined ratio increased to 98% and the underwriting profit fell by -60%. Buffett talks about the cost advantage a lot in the letter, but the only explanation forthe increase in loss ratios are found in the actual report: