Charlie Munger Handling Big Losses

BM C14 01

Majority of the big winners’ companies have also seen the worst period during their journey. It is not necessary that if the company has delivered a 25%+ CAGR then it will get into the smooth way. There always be a huge up and downs to it. Many storms such companies have experience but as investors, we need to stay during those storms if we have made an investment into the great companies then only we can able to earn good returns from it.

Mr. Munger has established a hedge fund company, Wheeler, Munger & Company in the year 1962 which has a pre-fees return of 37.10% during the year 1962 to 1969. And 14-years of partnership, Mr. Munger has delivered around 19.82% CAGR compared to 5.20% CAGR with the dividend of S&P500.

BM C14 02

If we love when stocks moving into the upward direction then we must have to be ready to accept its downward journey also. It is a part of the game and without accepting the losses, we cannot become a seasoned investor. Even Mr. Sachin Tendulkar cannot hit a century into the each of the match, some of the match having a ZERO score also. If he only focuses on the century then it might be possible that he cannot able to play well. Similarly, if we keep focussing on the scoreboard then we may not able to create a good investment fortune.

Mr. Munger has an investment of 61% of his portfolio to the Bluechip stamp and original business of the bluechip stamps has started getting deteriorate from the peak revenue of $12.42 crore in 1982. Bluechip has made an investment into the See’s Candies, the Buffalo Evening News, and Wesco Financial before getting merged into the Berkshire Hathway in the year 1983.

The firm of Mr. Munger has lost 31.90% in the year 1973 and 31.50% in the year 1974 v/s 13.10% and 23.10% decline of Dow Jones respectively. And he bounces back by 73.20% of the gain to the year 1975 but few of the large investors have left him which break him mentally and emotionally. He decided to liquidate the partnership. But after the worst performance during the year 1973-1974, Mr. Munger has delivered a 24.30% CAGR before fees.

BM C14 03

We need to be mentally ready for the big losses during our investment journey if we want to earn a decent return for the long term. If we are not mentally and emotionally ready we will not able to survive to the investment journey.

BM C14 04

We should not sell stocks just due to a fall in the price of the stocks. If we keep on doing such practices then we will not survive for the long term to the stock market. If we know that stock can fall by 50% after we bought it, then we will make a position which is comfortable for us during the decline.

BM C14 05

We need to make a balance between equity and debt as per own comfort. So that we can able to play an investment game in a good manner. Also, get the strength of absorbing such shock.

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

BIBLIOPHILE: WARREN BUFFETT’S LETTER 1957 – 2017

Mr.Buffett has taught us – 

Never count on making a good sale. Have a purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results. The better sales will be the frosting on the cake.

Our business is making excellent purchases – not making extraordinary sales.

Mr. Buffett believes that big money can be made by making investment decisions based on qualitative factors whereas sure money can be made by making investment decisions based on quantitative factors. And hence, on the basis of this; he considers himself as a quantitatively focused investor.

The primary test of managerial economic performance is the achievement of a high earnings rate on equity capital employed (without undue leverage, accounting gimmickry, etc.) and not the achievement of consistent gains in earnings per share.

Business must have two characteristics: (1) an ability to increase prices rather easily (even when product demand is flat and capacity is not fully utilized) without fear of significant loss of either market share or unit volume, and (2) an ability to accommodate large dollar volume increases in business (often produced more by inflation than by real growth) with only minor additional investment of capital.

Many a time, management only focuses on the increasing future Earning Per Share (EPS) by sacrificing the strength of the balance sheet. But they forget that if the balance sheet does not remain strong for a longer period of time then business is going to have a tough time into the future.

Accounting numbers, of course, are the language of business and as such are of enormous help to anyone evaluating the worth of a business and tracking its progress. Charlie and I would be lost without these numbers: they invariably are the starting point for us in evaluating our own businesses and those of others. Managers and owners need to remember, however, that accounting is but an aid to business thinking, never a substitute for it.

“What we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.”

Any company’s level of profitability is determined by three items: (1) what its assets earn; (2) what its liabilities cost; and (3) its utilization of “leverage” – that is, the degree to which its assets are funded by liabilities rather than by equity. Great companies = Float + Investment + Cash with higher return ratio

If the choice is between a questionable business at a comfortable price or a comfortable business at a questionable price, we much prefer the latter. What really gets our attention, however, is a comfortable business at a comfortable price.

Buy commodity, sell brand has long been a formula for business success.

Capital-intensive business, look for PBT / interest cost rather EBITDA / interest cost.

When we are fearful with our investment decisions then we focus on the each and every aspects which can result in the erosion of the capital.

Mr.Buffett has taught us many concepts and wisdom which is essential to us while making an investment decision. I am hereby compiling all my learning from the letters of Mr.Warren Buffett. Also an evolution of Mr.Buffett from bargain to quality businesses.

For all in one learning from Mr.Warren Buffett’s Letters, Click here –>  BIBLIOPHILE WARREN BUFFETT’S LETTER 1957-2017

WARREN BUFFETT’S LETTER – 1971 – 1975

I am really grateful to Riddhi for helping me with editing work.

WB Letter 1971

Mr.Buffett’s objective is the growth of the business by improvising returns on total capital and returns on equity of the business.

Textile Operation

Berkshire’s textile business was facing recession and that dropped the performance of the business. To sustain profitability of the business; management is even trying to reduce costs as well as control inventories.

Insurance Operation

Berkshire started with reinsurance operation and home-state insurance operation, by acquiring home & automobile insurance company.

WB Letter 1972

Berkshire did not issue additional share capital to run the business. Instead, he repurchased his own company’s shares from the public during the recession.

WB 1972 01

WB Letter 1973

Mr.Buffett believes that premium rate will drop in future due to increasing competition in the Insurance business.

The merger of Diversified Retailing Company into Berkshire got approved pertaining to the terms and conditions of issuing shares of Berkshire. Berkshire and Diversified Retailing Company both had shares of Blue Chip Stamps and after the merger of Diversified Retailing Company into Berkshire, the holding of shares of Blue Chip into Berkshire increased.

WB 1973 01

WB Letter 1974

Textile operation

Berkshire, in order to avoid the buffer inventory, started its operations at 1/3rd of its installed capacity.

Insurance operation

Unusual profitability into insurance business increased the competition level into the industry. On account of this competition; the profit level of various companies decreased and the underwriting losses increased on a larger scale. But above all of this, the insurance business kept on growing and earned higher returns on capital employed.

The merger of Diversified Retailing Company into Berkshire was terminated by Board of Directors but Mr.Buffett planned to reopen possibilities of the merger in the future.

WB Letter 1975

Textile operation

During 1975, the textile industry again faced recession and that resulted in the operation losses and reduction of employment by ~53%. Most of the textile producers decreased their production and this resulted into business rebound in the fourth quarter of 1975.

WB 1975 01

We can able to see that we should buy cyclical companies during the worst time in the industry as Mr.Buffett has done.

Iron ore price

Metal company

Metal company 1

From the above, we can analyze that investors who had purchased shares of metal companies which dealt in iron ore during December 2015 where the prices were the lowest in the period of 10 years; have received decent returns.

Insurance operation of the company showed underwriting losses which in turn reduced the fund available to make an investment into the stocks and as a result of this; the investment portfolio reported an unrealized loss.

WB 1975 02

Mr.Buffett says that short-term market price fluctuation is not important; only business performance counts and hence he explains the criteria for the selection of stocks for holding the businesses for a longer period of time.

Warren Buffett’s Letters 1957 – 2012

 

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