Friday 21 October 2016

The Punt: Al Gore’s fund for generations

Published 30/10/2015 | 02:30

Former US Vice President Al Gore
Former US Vice President Al Gore

IT has been one of the curious business stories of the last few years.

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Generation Investment Management - AKA Al Gore's hedge fund - spent millions building up a position in the insulation specialist Kingspan.

Generation tends to keep a low profile, but US magazine 'The Atlantic' has been allowed inside.

In one of those epic long reads that US mags are known for, the Man Who Used To Be The Next President Of The United States and his colleagues walk us through the firm's investment strategy: namely, that sustainability can be achieved without sacrificing profit.

According to Gore, below, the big oil companies are completely overvalued because their value is derived from assets that in many cases, will never come out of the ground. Coke isn't worth it because of the growing problem of obesity.

Kingspan was worth it because of a new kind of insulation it uses, but it seems Generation has lost interest in it. It now holds only 3.5pc, down from 13pc a few years back.

A winning milk formula

Shares in Glanbia closed up yesterday, just like shares in French food giant Danone, and US toiletries group Johnson & Johnson. The common thread? Chinese babies.

There are about to be a lot more of them, which is good news for a plethora of global corporations - including our own Glanbia. The Irish company's powdered infant formula, Johnson and Johnson's nappies and wipes and Danone's baby food could all reap big rewards after China's ruling Communist Party relaxed the country's notorious "one child policy," a decades-long restriction on births aimed at boosting wealth by slowing population growth.

Under the new rules more couples can have a second child without incurring state penalties.

The timing of the change may be a reaction to China's slowing growth, but the decision reflects the danger of the country's enforced demographic trends. China's rapidly aging population will leave a dwindling pool of workers supporting an ever growing cohort of pensioners. The workers' paradise needs more workers.

Diplomacy rules at awards

The 2015 Business & Finance Irish Business Awards Programme will see two heavy hitters on the diplomatic stage - namely Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson.

The former UN Secretary General will present Robinson with the outstanding contribution to Ireland award at the event on December 17 at the Convention Centre in Dublin.

In addition to announcing the 2015 Business Person of the Year, Company of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to Ireland, this year's event will honour and celebrate the 100 most significant foreign direct investors (FDI) in Ireland over 60 years.

The awards have honoured a number of high profile business leaders.

The 2014 awards programme recognised four honourees including former UK Prime Minister John Major and the late Albert Reynolds, Martin Naughton, and Paul McGinley.

Irish Independent

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