Warren Buffett Is Going to Waste
Warren Buffett is mistakenly called a ‘value investor.’ He isn’t – or at least he hasn’t been since the early 1960s.
To me, a value investor is someone who buys an asset because it is worth less than an easily measurable way of determining value. A basic example is the stock of a company that has $100 million of cash in the bank, no debt, and a $50 million market cap (a situation which happens often during market downturns). Then it is probably a good value. Eventually it will be at least worth its cash levels of $100 million as long as its not losing money.
Another metric that value investors use is the P/E ratio. If a stock is trading at only five times its earnings (e.g. if it earns $10 million and its market capitalization is $50 million) then it is usually a good buy.
There is more to it, but that is value investing at its most basic.
Buffett is more of a demographic investor. His long-term nature means he generally doesn’t do what value guys do: buy when stock that is worth less than its value; sell when it hits its value. He’s got too much money to work with and so takes a much longer term view.
Demographic stance: Everyone in the world will eventually drink flavored fizzy drinks
Investment stance: When other investors were down on Coca-Cola (KO), Buffett was a buyer
Demographic stance: Everyone in the world will eventually use a credit card.
Investment stance: Buy American Express (AXP). When Buffett first bought AXP in the early 60s it was when they were in the midst of the famous (at that time) ‘salad oil scandal.’ Investors were fleeing the stock. Buffett stood behind the cashier at his favorite restaurant, saw how many people were using the card, and decided this was a trend that was not going away.
Demographic stance: Everyone in the world will eventually shave with disposable razors (well, at least the men in the world would).
Investment stance: Gillette was having issues and vultures were circling. Buffett came in as a white knight and bought a chunk of preferred stock which he converted to common a few years later and continued to hold through its acquisition by Procter & Gamble.
Demographic stance: China will continue to be a voracious consumer of U.S. commodities.
Investment: Buy the railroad that transports those commodities from the Midwest to the shipping lanes of the West Coast – Burlington Northern (BNI)
So what’s the new demographic stance right now?
The average American creates more solid waste than ever before and that trend will never stop.
Since 1960, the amount of solid waste we create per year has tripled (to 400 million tons)while population has gone up less than 100%. Every year we create more trash than the year before.
Buffett tends to piggyback his bridge partner, a young former software engineer named Bill Gates. Gates invests through his personal investment vehicle (like most other former software engineers), Cascade Investments. Cascade was the largest shareholder of Allied Waste, which has since merged with Republic Service Group (RSG). Gates is now the largest shareholder of RSG. He also owns a stake in Waste Management (WM).
Gates also bought railroads (specifically Canadian National Railroad (CNI) ) long before Buffett. (Buffett has said, ‘I wish I had started buying railroads when Bill first got into them’).
Gates owns 57 million shares of RSG. Now Buffett has raised his stake from 3.6 million shares to 8.3 million shares, according to the most recent filings.
Buffett also added to his position in Iron Mountain (IRM) which, among other services in information management, provides ‘Secure shredding services’ to their clients. Gates also owns shares of Waste Management (WM) through his foundation.
I like to look at not only what Buffett is doing but the funds that tend to follow what Buffett is doing.
It turns out that other hedge funds that typically piggyback Buffett are buying in the waste space. Bridger Management, with $4bb in assets, in addition to owning Berkshire Hathaway and Republic has also been buying positions in Casella Waste (CWST) and Waste Connections (WCN)
The trash sector is perhaps the biggest demographic trend since the Internet bubble and following in the footsteps of the greats like Buffett and Gates (and their followers) is the best way to play the sector.
投资：吉列(Gillette)当时正在抵挡投机者的恶意收购。巴菲特以救星姿态出现，买进了一大批优先股，在几年后转换为普通股并继续持有，直至吉列被宝洁(Procter & Gamble)收购。
巴菲特可能走他的桥牌牌友、前软件工程师比尔•盖茨(Bill Gates)的老路。和其他从软件工程师转型为商业巨子的人士一样，盖茨也有自己的资金管理公司卡斯凯德投资公司(Cascade Investments)，并通过它进行投资。卡斯凯德曾经是垃圾处理企业Allied Waste最大的股东，在Republic Service Group将其收购后，卡斯凯德又成了Republic Service Group最大的股东。此外，盖茨还拥有另一家垃圾处理公司Waste Management的股权。
盖茨还早就抢先于巴菲特吸纳了多家铁路公司的股权，特别是参股了加拿大国家铁路公司(Canadian National Railway)。巴菲特曾经说过，希望自己在盖茨首次买进铁路类股时就开始投资这一领域。
最新的报告显示，盖茨持有Republic Service Group 5,700万股股票，巴菲特的持股量也从360万股上升到了830万股。
巴菲特还增持了数据与文件存储服务提供商Iron Mountain Inc.的股票。这家公司除了提供一般的信息管理服务外，还为客户进行安全的信息粉碎处理服务。盖茨还通过他的基金会持股Waste Management公司。
结果我发现，通常追随巴菲特的对冲基金正在买进垃圾处理公司的股票。拥有40亿美元资产的投资公司Bridger Management也在买进垃圾处理公司Casella Waste和Waste Connections的股票，此外这家公司还持有伯克希尔哈撒韦(Berkshire Hathaway)和Republic Service Group的股票。