Tracking Michael Price's MFP Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Michael Price's MFP Portfolio US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:






To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Jim Chanos' Kynikos Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Jim Chanos' Kynikos US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:






As Kynikos is focused on short-selling, his long positions covered in the 13F are probably hedged. For an introduction to short-selling, check-out the book "Short Stories from the Stock Market: Uncovering Common Themes Behind Falling Stocks to Find Uncommon Short Ideas".

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.  

Tracking Dinakar Singh's TPG-Axon Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Dinakar Singh's TPG-Axon US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:



 To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.  

Tracking Thomas Gayner's Markel Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Thomas Gayner's Markel Portfolio US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:



 To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Larry Robbins' Glenview Capital Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Larry Robbins' Glenview Capital Holdings US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:



 To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Eric Mindich's Eton Park Capital Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Eric Mindich's Eton Park Capital US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:






To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital Holdings US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:



John Griffin is a "tiger cub" who posted an outstanding 65% return in 2007 and followed it up with just an 8% loss during the financial crisis. To know more about Julian Robertson and his legendary Tiger Management, check out Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the Land of Bulls and Bears.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Thyra Zerhusen's Fairpointe Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Thyra Zerhusen's Fairpointe Portfolio US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:



 To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Chase Coleman's Tiger Global Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Chase Coleman's Tiger Global Holdings US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:



Chase Coleman is a "tiger cub" who is best known for a stunning 44% annualized return during the 2001-2008 period. To know more about Julian Robertson and his legendary Tiger Management, check out Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the Land of Bulls and Bears.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Philippe Laffont's Coatue Management Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Philippe Laffont's Coatue Management US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:






Philippe Laffont is one of the most successful among the "tiger cubs". To know more about Julian Robertson and his legendary Tiger Management, check out Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the Land of Bulls and Bears.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:







Stephen Mandel is a bonafide "tiger cub". To know more about Julian Robertson and his legendary Tiger Management, check out Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the Land of Bulls and Bears.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking John Armitage's Egerton Capital Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to John Armitage's Egerton Capital US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:






To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the holdings have progressed click on our previous update:






To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Charlie Munger's Daily Journal Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

The spreadsheet below show Charlie Munger's Daily Journal US stock holdings as of Q4 2014. Please visit our previous updates to get an idea on how the portfolio has progressed:






To know more about Charlie Munger, check out the book Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy .

Tracking David Swensen's Yale Endowment Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows the changes to Yale Endowment's US long portfolio holdings as of Q4 2014. To have an idea of how the endowment's holdings have progressed click on our previous update:







To learn more about their investing style and philosophy and how to profit from such strategies, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy .

Tracking Leucadia National Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

The spreadsheet below show Leucadia's US stock holdings as of Q4 2014. Please visit our previous updates to get an idea on how the portfolio has progressed:



 To learn more about their investing style and philosophy and how to profit from such strategies, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy .

Tracking WIlbur Ross's Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that shows changes to Wilbur Ross's US long portfolio as of Q4 2014. To see how his portfolio has progressed, click on our previous update:



To know more about Wilbur Ross, check out the book The Vulture Investors.

To learn more about their investing style and philosophy and how to profit from such strategies, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Michael Dell's MSD Capital Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Michael Dell's MSD Capital US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. For a look at how his portfolio has progressed, see our previous update:



To know more about Michael Dell, check-out the book Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Stanley Druckenmiller's Duquesne Family Office Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Stanley Druckenmiller's Duquesne Family Office US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. For a look at how his portfolio has progressed, see our previous update:



To know more about Druckenmiller's trend-following trading style check out Trend Following: Learn to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of following the best hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Charles Akre's Akre Capital Management Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Charles Akre's Akre Capital Management US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:



 To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy .

Tracking Francis Chou's Chou Associates Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Francis Chou's Chou Associates US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. For a look at how his portfolio has progressed, see our previous update:



To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy .

Tracking Richard C. Blum's Blum Capital Partners Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Richard C. Blum's Blum Capital Partners US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:



  To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:



To know more about Gates and the Foundation, check-out the book Bill Gates: The Inspirational Life Story of Bill Gates; Businessman, Inventor, and the World's Most Remarkable Philanthropist.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.  

Tracking Joel Greenblatt's Gotham Asset Managent Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Joel Greenblatt's Gotham Asset Management US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:






To learn more about Joel Greenblatt and his investing philosophy, check-out his best-selling books "You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits" and "The Little Book That Beats the Market".

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Wallace Weitz's Weitz Investment Managent Holdings - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Wallace R. Weitz's Weitz Investment Management US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:






To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Holdings Portfolio - Q4 2014 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Holdings US long stock portfolio as of Q4 2014. Please check out our previous update to have an idea on how the portfolio is progressing:



To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Berkshire Hathaway 2014 Annual Letter & Report - Notes



The Book Value (BV) of Berkshire Hathaway per 2014 AR (released 2/2015) is $146,186 per BRK.A share or $97.46 per BRK.B share compared to $134,973 per BRK.A share or $89.98 per BRK.B share as of last year. The stock currently trades at $147.41 or 151.25% of BV - the premium over book value has gone up substantially over the last year as that percentage was at 128.67% ($115.78 share price) this time last year. Buffett’s repurchase criterion is 120% of BV or $116.95. The premium to book value has widened as the stock returned 27% over the last year compared to book value growth of 8.3%. Net earnings are at $12,092 per BRK.A share for a ttm-PE of 18.29. This is compared to a ttm-PE of 14.66 last year and 16.93 the year before.

Historical BV Growth: CAGR 1965-2014 at 19.4% vs 9.9% for S&P500. For 2014, BV-growth was 8.3% for Berkshire Hathaway compared to 13.7% for S&P 500.

Earnings: $12,092 in 2014 vs $11,850 in 2013 and $8,977 in 2012 per BRK.A share.  2% YOY increased compared to 32% YOY last year. The increases are attributable to impressive cash generation of its operating entities. It was also helped by realized investment gains (after tax) of $3.3B in 2014, $4.3B in 2013, and $2.2B in 2012. PE is 18.29 including investment gains - at this time last year, PE was at 14.66.  Roughly a third of Berkshire earnings are realized gains historically and so the last few years have shown a divergence on that count. 

Intrinsic Business Value:  The two quantitative components of value:
  1. Per-share investments grew 8.4% to $140,120 in 2014 - lower compared to 13.6% for 2013. CAGR since 1970 is at 19% but was only 6.6% in the 2000-2010 time period - long-term growth is stunning but lumpy over shorter timeframes, and 
  2. Pre-tax earnings from businesses other than insurance and investments increased 19% to $10,847 - higher compared to 12.8% for 2013. CAGR since 1970 is at 20.6% and 20.5% in the 2000-2010 time period.
The third is a measure of the efficacy with which retained earnings will be deployed in the future - the subjective component.

Growing operating earnings is the main focus. Berkshire did a few deals whereby ownership stakes in businesses were exchanged for parts of operating businesses: Phillips 66 and Graham Holdings shares were exchanged in tax-free transactions. Also, they have a contract with Procter and Gamble to acquire Duracell the same way.

Plans to continue building Berkshire’s per-share intrinsic value by:

  1.  Focusing on increasing earning power at subsidiaries both organically and through bolt-on acquisitions,
  2.  Growth of equity investments,
  3.  Repurchasing when there is meaningful discount to intrinsic value,
  4.  Making acquisitions while rarely issuing new shares.
Earnings at the non-insurance businesses: Pre-tax earnings at $17.5B in 2014 compared to $15.5B in 2013. One bad news: $6B capex projected for BNSF in 2015.

“Powerhouse Five” - Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE - formerly MidAmerican Energy), BNSF, IMC (Iscar), Lubrizol, and Marmon - $12.5B of the earnings is from these five businesses.

This year, they contracted for 31 bolt-on acquisitions - to cost $7.8B in aggregate - Duracell to close H2 2015 and to be placed under Marmon.

BHE & BNSF are capital intensive with a huge amount of regulated assets partially funded by long-term debt. The debt coverage is very good (8:1 for BNSF currently) even under worst-case assumptions about economic conditions - further, the coverage ratios are based on pre-tax earnings - EBITDA to interest is the commonly used measure but that is flawed as it ignores the capital-intensive nature of the business.

Manufacturing, service & retail operations: ROC at 18.7% after-tax on $24B of tangible assets.

Finance Products - ~31K homes sold - $13B mortgage portfolio. Leasing businesses benefit as manufacturing is in-house in some cases: this reduces the cost-of-inventory compared to retail pricing which will filter over to the income statement (smaller annual depreciation charges) in coming years.

Underwriting profit at the insurance businesses stood at $2.7B for 2014.

Van Tuyl Automotive dealerships acquisition: ambition is to grow it to multiples the size of $9B of sales at Van Tuyl currently.

3G Capital Partnerships: Successful Heinz partnership and participation in the Tim Hortons acquisition by Burger King in a financing role. They are also conducive to more partnerships with 3G, Mars, Leucadia, and others.

Co-Managers: Todd Combs and Ted Weschler invested $7B each and they outperformed Buffett in 2013. For 2014, their roles were expanded to also include running businesses - they took over as Chairman of one business each - combined, those businesses are very small earning around $100M annually - Buffett’s way of developing a deep-bench!

Long-term economic goal: maximize average rate of gain in intrinsic business value on a per share basis. Preference is to own a diversified group of businesses with consistent above-average ROC and second choice is to own parts of such businesses.

Look-through earnings relevance: “Undistributed earnings of our investees, in aggregate, have been fully as beneficial to Berkshire as if they had been distributed to us”. So,
  1. It is preferable to purchase $2 of earnings that are not reportable rather than $1 of reportable earnings for the same acquisition cost, and
  2. Look-through earnings realistically portray yearly gain from operations.
“Big-four investments” (AXP, KO, IBM, WFC) - Berkshire’s share of their earnings was $4.7B - this is compared to the $1.6B dividends that is reported. But, since these are excellent businesses, the unreported $3.1B in earnings are as valuable as the $1.6B reported.
Use of leverage: “We use debt sparingly and, when we do borrow, we attempt to structure our loans on a long-term fixed-rate basis”

Selling businesses: No interest in selling good businesses Berkshire owns. Sub-par businesses are also not sold as long as they are able to generate at-least some cash and managers/labor relations are good. Capex decisions for the latter are made in a much more cautious fashion compared to the former - it is unlikely that sub-par businesses will see increased profitability with increased spending.

BV growth vs S&P 500 Performance Comparison: While this comparison is shown in the first page of the Annual Letter, it has become less meaningful over time. The reasoning has to do with how Berkshire’s business structure has evolved: equity holdings tend to move with S&P 500 and that is now a much smaller portion of overall value. Also S&P 500 gains are reported at 100% while Berkshire’s realized gains get reported at 65% because of taxes.

Also, there is another major shortcoming with this comparison: The carrying value of the businesses that are controlled by Berkshire is much more than their carrying value and so the BV far understates Berkshire’s Intrinsic Value. But, IV by definition (discounted value of cash that can be taken out during the remaining lifetime) is an estimate and so is not quoted in any of the releases.

Below is a YoY comparison of Berkshire Hathaway's largest equity investments:



Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Tesco plc (TSCDY) are not in the list as they were both sold-out. Phillips 66 (PSX) is not in the list as the shares held were exchanged for an operating business acquired from PSX in a tax-free-transaction. Davita HealthCare Partners (DVA), Deere & Company (DE), and USG Corporation (USG) are new to this list this year as those holdings and their values have grown to be among his top investments - not because they are new positions.

Below is a comparison of Berkshire Hathaway's asset distribution in the "Insurance & Other" area for the last five years: 



The equity exposure is at just over 53% - it is near the highs reached last year. So, it is apparent that Buffett is not that concerned about valuation of his holdings despite the increases in the last few years. 

Expects stocks to outperform with lesser risk over the long-term: Vast out-performance of stocks versus other securities (treasuries, etc.) historically can be traced back to the fact that currency-denominated-securities are far less volatile but higher risk (purchasing power reduction of currencies over time constantly works against you). This is the opposite of what is taught in business schools - volatility is synonymous with risk. Vast majority of investors should have a long-term (lifetime) orientation - the focus should be on increasing purchasing power over time - for that, partial ownerships in a diversified set of businesses (stocks) purchased over time is far less risky compared to currency-denominated options. 

Conglomerate Advantage: Conglomerates receive a bad rap mainly because of CEO dishonesty and/or incompetence: many CEOs go for easy ways out - buying low-quality businesses with low-PE and projecting per-share-earnings growth is a classic but deeply flawed strategy. If done right, conglomerates can develop a deep competitive advantage over time: the CEO does the role of capital allocator amongst the various businesses and his focus is on doing it in the most optimal way - compare that to a declining business where it is much more difficult to redeploy capital (would involve admitting mistakes made, firing associates and probably the current CEO as well, etc.) into unrelated businesses (would involve hiring expensive “money shufflers” - hiring experts in the field, investment bankers, lawyers, accountants, etc.).
  
Warren Buffett's writings (pdfs) are a treasure trove of information and are a very good option for anyone starting out on individual investing. In this year’s letter Warren Buffett recommended two books: 
To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning super-investors, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.


Related Posts:
  1. Berkshire Hathaway 2016 Annual Report - Notes.
  2. Berkshire Hathaway 2015 Annual Report - Notes
  3. Berkshire Hathaway 2014 Annual Report - Notes (this post)
  4. Berkshire Hathaway 2013 Annual Report - Notes .  

Last Updated: 03/2017.


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