Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sir Robert Jones in his Autumn of Content

I am a contrarian investor of sorts. I say this because while I am buying stocks right now and looking at buying more, I also bought them while the market was at a higher level.

I have written about a couple over the last week, Michael hill and Doris Mousdale, and there are a couple of other New Zealand notables, Jan Cameron and Bricoe Group's [BGR.NZ], Rod Duke who are contrarians by nature.

Perhaps one of the worlds most famous contrarian investors is the world's richest man, Warren Buffett - he loves the current market turmoil, proclaiming such gems that he feels like a "Kid in a candy store" or a "Teenager in a whorehouse", when it comes to the prices he is paying for beaten down assets.

New Zealand has its own Waren Buffett in Sir Robert Jones.

He is as happy as a tar baby in a sandpit because the property tycoon has been buying property when everyone else is selling - NZ$100 million of deals done so far this year.

Some prescient quotes to a recent audience of property professionals show just how excited Sir Bob is:

"From a self- interest point of view, we look forward to a recession."

"We are not going broke. We buy buildings and those buildings are cheaper."

"Land developers go broke, building developers go broke, and for very good reasons, but they're too dumb to work it out for themselves."

"Why do banks keep financing them? Because the bankers get younger every year."

"I've survived more property cycles than most of you, so where's property going? Nowhere - property doesn't move."

You cannot get a more experienced commercial property man in Australasia than Sir Bob, as he points out he has seen this all before and no doubt capitalised on the troughs.

I recall him selling a large office block during one the boom times only to buy the same block back years latter for a much lower price - from memory it was a building in the 1980's Chase development, the full city block the "Finance Centre" in Auckland.

Sir Bob likens the economic cycles to the four seasons, with Winter the low point and Summer the high. He reckons we are in the Autumn of this cycle.

I think he is right and there is worse to come before it gets better but he certainly is making his autumn/early winter one of content rather than the alternative.

You should too if you have the cash.

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