一个实业家的诞生——读巴菲特的信(12)

2011-10-24 11:04阅读:
一个实业家的诞生——读巴菲特的信(12) Barrons
企业目标
到了伯克希尔·哈撒韦时代,巴菲特的目标已经与合伙基金时期有了很大改变。他的目标已经不是简单的超越指数,而是在长期大幅超过美国大型企业的平均回报。指数在长期反映的是美国大型企业的平均业绩。如果长期大幅超越大型企业的平均回报,自然就会领先于指数。这体现了一个单纯的股票投资者与实业家的不同。
在思考问题,评估企业,投资决策时,巴菲特也已经与以前有了很大不同。他在评估一个企业时,会思考如果自己有足够的资金和人力,将如何与这个企业竞争。对好的企业(如GEICO)即使股价增长超过内在价值,巴菲特也会长期持有。但是,作为一个彻底的价值投资者,巴菲特绝对不会以远超内在价值的价格购买股票。
Berkshire’s economic goal remains to produce a long-term rate of return well above the return achieved by the average large American corporation. Our willingness to purchase either partial or total ownership positions in favorably-situated businesses, coupled with reasonable discipline about the prices we are willing to pay, should give us a good chance of achieving our goal.
伯克希尔的经济目标仍然是产生远高于美国大型企业平均水平的长期回报。我们愿意购买全部或部分处于有利地位的公司的所有权,加上我们有愿意支付的价格的合理准则,应该让我们很有可能取得我们的目标。
(1982年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
Our long-term economic goal (subject to some qualifications mentioned later
) is to maximize the average annual rate of gain in intrinsic business value on a per-share basis. We do not measure the economic significance or performance of Berkshire by its size; we measure by per-share progress. We are certain that the rate of per-share progress will diminish in the future - a greatly enlarged capital base will see to that. But we will be disappointed if our rate does not exceed that of the average large American corporation.
我们的长期经济目标(受后面所提的一些情况影响)是最大化每股内在商业价值的年度平均增长率。我们不用规模大小来衡量伯克希尔的经济重要性或者业绩。我们衡量每股的增长。我们确信每股增长率将在未来降低,一个增大很多的资本基数必然会是这样。但是,如果我们的增长率没有超过美国大型企业的平均增长,那么我们会感到失望。
Our preference would be to reach this goal by directly owning adiversified group of businesses that generate cash and consistently earn above-average returns on capital. Our second choice is to own parts of similar businesses, attained primarily through purchases of marketable common stocks by our insurance subsidiaries. The price and availability of businesses and the need for insurance capital determine any given year’s capital allocation.
我们偏向于通过直接拥有一个多元化的业务集团而达到这一目标。这一集团产生现金并稳定的取得高于平均水平的资本回报率。我们的第二选择是拥有类似的业务的一部分,主要通过我们的保险公司购买市场普通股来实现。购买价格及可选的业务,以及对保险资本的需求决定了当年的资本配置。
(1983年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
One question I always ask myself in appraising a business is how I would like, assuming I had ample capital and skilled personnel, to compete with it. I’d rather wrestle grizzlies than compete with Mrs. B and her progeny. They buy brilliantly, they operate at expense ratios competitors don’t even dream about, and they then pass on to their customers much of the savings. It’s the ideal business - one built upon exceptional value to the customer that in turn translates into exceptional economics for its owners.
当我评估一个公司时,我总是问自己一个问题:假如我有足够的资本和熟练技巧的人员,我将如何与之竞争。我宁愿与灰熊摔跤,也不愿与B夫人及其子孙竞争。他们采购的出色,他们运营的成本率竞争对手连想都不敢想,而且他们把省下来的大部分回馈给了客户。这是理想的生意,基于给客户的优异的价值,这种价值进而转化为对拥有者优异的经济回报。
(1983年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
However, GEICO’s increase in market value during the past two years has been considerably greater than the gain in its intrinsic business value, impressive as the latter has been. We expected such a favorable variation at some point, as the perception of investors converged with business reality. And we look forward to substantial future gains in underlying business value accompanied by irregular, but eventually full, market recognition of such gains.
虽然GEICO在过去两年的内在价值增长令人印象深刻,但其市场价值的增长却已经大幅度超越了内在价值的增长。当投资者的认识与商业现实趋同,我们预计有时会有这种有利的偏差。我们预计未来内在商业价值会有重大增长,伴随着不规律,但最终是对此种增长的全面市场认同。
Year-to-year variances, however, cannot consistently be in our favor. Even if our partially-owned businesses continue to perform well in an economic sense, there will be years when they perform poorly in the market. At such times our net worth could shrink significantly. We will not be distressed by such a shrinkage; if the businesses continue to look attractive and we have cash available, we simply will add to our holdings at even more favorable prices.
年度的变化不可能一直对我们有利。即使我们部分拥有的公司继续在经济上表现良好,有些年他们也会在市场上表现糟糕。在这种时候,我们的净资产有可能严重缩水。我们不会被这种缩水困扰。如果业务持续有吸引力,而且我们有可用的现金,我们会以更优惠的价格增加我们持有的股份。
(1982年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
The market, like the Lord, helps those who help themselves. But, unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do. For the investor, a too-high purchase price for the stock of an excellent company can undo the effects of a subsequent decade of favorable business developments.
市场,如上帝,帮助那些自助者。但是,与上帝不同,市场不原谅那些不知自己在干什么的人。对投资者来说,以一个过高的价格购买优秀公司的股票,这能抵消未来10年的有利的商业发展。
(1982年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
衡量业绩
由于伯克希尔的控股结构,会计盈利无法真实反映其盈利。因此,巴菲特放弃了ROE作为衡量业绩的指标,转而采用“经济盈利”的概念,不论控股结构,包括了所有未分配利润。在巴菲特看来,一个公司的存留收益对拥有者的价值取决于这些收益的有效使用,而不是拥有的百分比大小。
Operating earnings of $31.5 million in 1982 amounted to only 9.8% of beginning equity capital (valuing securities at cost), down from 15.2% in 1981 and far below our recent high of 19.4% in 1978. This decline largely resulted from:
1982年的3千1百5十万美元运营利润只相当于年初权益资本(以成本计)的9.8%,从1981年的15.2%有下降,而且远低于最近1978年的19.4%的峰值。这一下降主要是由于:
(1)a significant deterioration in insurance underwriting results;
(1)保险承销结果严重恶化。
(2)a considerable expansion of equity capital without a corresponding growth in the businesses we operate directly; and
(2)权益资本大幅度增加,但是直接运营的业务没有相应的增长。
(3)a continually-enlarging commitment of our resources to investment in partially-owned, nonoperated businesses; accounting rules dictate that a major part of our pro-rata share of earnings from such businesses must be excluded from Berkshire’s reported earnings.
(3)持续增加的资源投入到部分拥有而不直接运营的公司。会计准则要求我们必须把这些部分拥有的公司中我们按股权比例计算的盈利从伯克希尔的汇报盈利中剔出。
It was only a few years ago that we told you that the operating earnings/equity capital percentage, with proper allowance for a few other variables, was the most important yardstick of single-year managerial performance. While we still believe this to be the case with the vast majority of companies, we believe its utility in our own case has greatly diminished. You should be suspicious of such anassertion. Yardsticks seldom are discarded while yielding favorable readings. But when results deteriorate, most managers favor disposition of the yardstick rather than disposition of the manager.
仅仅在几年前,我告诉你们运营利润/权益资本的百分比,辅以适当的一些项目拨备,是衡量单一的一年管理层业绩的最重要尺度。虽然我们仍然相信这对大多数公司是适用的,但我们认为这已经越来越不适应我们自己的情况。你应该对这样一个论断表示怀疑。在产生良好的读数时,衡量尺度极少被弃用。但当结果恶化时,大多数管理者青睐替换衡量尺度,而不是替换管理者。
To managers faced with such deterioration, a more flexible measurement system often suggests itself: just shoot the arrow of business performance into a blank canvas and then carefully draw the bullseye around the implanted arrow. We generally believe in pre-set, long-lived and small bullseyes. However, because of the importance of item (3) above, further explained in the following section, we believe our abandonment of the operating earnings/equity capital bullseye to be warranted.
对面临业绩恶化的管理者来说,一个更灵活的测量系统常常是不言自明:把业绩的箭射向空白的画布,然后仔细的在其周围画上标志着靶心的牛眼。我们通常相信预先设好的,长期和小的牛眼靶心。但是,由于上面第(3)项的原因(我们在后面有更多的解释),我们相信我们弃用运营利润/权益资本这一牛眼靶心是有正当理由的。
(1982年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
We prefer a concept of “economic” earnings that includes all undistributed earnings, regardless of ownership percentage. In our view, the value to all owners of the retained earnings of a business enterprise is determined by the effectiveness with which those earnings are used - and not by the size of one’s ownership percentage.
我们更喜欢“经济”盈利的概念,包括了所有的未分配利润,而不论我们拥有的百分比是多少。在我们看来,一个公司的存留收益对拥有者的价值取决于这些收益的有效使用,而不是拥有的百分比大小。
(1982年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
We never take the one-year figure very seriously. After all, why should the time required for a planet to circle the sun synchronize precisely with the time required for business actions to pay off? Instead, we recommend not less than a five-year test as a rough yardstick of economic performance. Red lights should start flashing if the five-year average annual gain falls much below the return on equity earned over the period by American industry in aggregate. (Watch out for our explanation if that occurs as Goethe observed, “When ideas fail, words come in very handy.”)
我们从来不看重一年的数字。到头来,为什么商业行动产生效果所需的时间必须正好是一个行星环绕太阳一周的时间?与之相反,我们建议在衡量经济业绩时,以不少于五年的测试作为粗略的尺度。当五年平均年度收益大大低于同期美国行业的总体股权回报率时,红灯就应该闪烁报警。(如果这发生了,当心我们的解释。Goethe曾经说到“当想法失败,说辞召之即来。”)
(1983年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
We report our progress in terms of book value because in our case(though not, by any means, in all cases) it is a conservative but reasonably adequate proxy for growth in intrinsic business value -the measurement that really counts. Book value’s virtue as a score-keeping measure is that it is easy to calculate and doesn’t involve the subjective (but important)judgments employed in calculation of intrinsic business value. It is important to understand, however, that the two terms - book value and intrinsic business value - have very different meanings.
我们报告帐面价值的进展,因为在我们的情况下(虽然肯定不是适合所有情况),帐面价值增长是一个保守但相对足够的内在商业价值增长的近似,这才是真正重要的衡量标准。帐面价值作为计分尺度的好处在于其易于计算,而且不涉及在计算内在商业价值中的主观(但是重要的)判断。但是,重要的是理解这两个术语:帐面价值和内在商业价值的不同含义。
Book value is an accounting concept, recording the accumulated financial input from both contributed capital and retained earnings. Intrinsic business value is an economic concept, estimating future cash output discounted to present value. Book value tells you what has been put in; intrinsic business value estimates what can be taken out.
帐面价值是一个会计概念,记录了所积累的财务投入,包括投入的资本和存留的收益。内在商业价值是一个经济概念,估计未来的现金流输出并折现。帐面价值告诉你已经投入了什么,内在商业价值估计能拿出多少。
Ananalogy will suggest the difference. Assume you spend identical amounts putting each of two children through college. The book value(measured by financial input) of each child’s education would be the same. But the present value of the future payoff (the intrinsic business value) might vary enormously - from zero to many times the cost of the education. So, also, do businesses having equal financial input end up with wide variations in value.
一个类比将揭示这两者的区别。假定你在两个孩子身上花费了一样多的钱供他们大学毕业。那么每个孩子教育的帐面价值(用投入的资金衡量)都是一样的。但是,未来回报的折现值(内在商业价值)可能差异极大,从零到教育成本的很多倍。同理,从事商业,投入同等的资金,最终的价值有可能差异极大。
At Berkshire, at the beginning of fiscal 1965 when the present management took over, the $19.46 per share book value considerably overstated intrinsic business value. All of that book value consisted of textile assets that could not earn, on average, anything close to an appropriate rate of return. In the terms of our analogy, the investment in textile assets resembled investment in a largely-wasted education.
在伯克希尔,在1965财年初,当目前的管理层接手时,那时19.46美元一股的帐面价值过分夸大了内在商业价值。那时的帐面价值由纺织资产构成。那些资产平均而言无法获得接近合理的回报率。用我们的类比来说,在纺织资产的投资就像投资于很大程度上被浪费了的教育中。
Now, however, our intrinsic business value considerably exceeds book value. There are two major reasons:
目前,我们的内在价值远超过帐面价值。这有两个主要原因:
(1)Standard accounting principles require that common stocks held by our insurance subsidiaries be stated on our books at market value, but that other stocks we own be carried at the lower of aggregate cost or market. At the end of 1983, the market value of this latter group exceeded carrying value by $70 million pre-tax, or about $50 million after tax. This excess belongs in our intrinsic business value, but is not included in the calculation of book value;
(1)标准的会计准则要求我们的保险子公司把持有的普通股按市场价反映在帐面上。但是,我们拥有的其他股票却只能按综合成本和市场价值两者中更低的一个计算。在1983年底,第二类股票的市场价值在税前超过了帐面价值7千万美元,或者税后的5千万美元。这多出来的部分属于我们的内在商业价值,但是却没有在计算帐面价值时包括进去。
(2)More important, we own several businesses that possess economic Goodwill (which is properly includable in intrinsic business value) far larger than the accounting Goodwill that is carried on our balance sheet and reflected in book value.
(2)更重要的是我们拥有几个具有大量经济商誉(这被适当的归进内在商业价值)的公司。这些商誉远远大于在我们资产负债表上及体现在账面价值的会计商誉。
(1983年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
商誉的思考
对无形资产和商誉的重新思考,重视具有轻资产但良好持久商誉的公司,这标志着巴菲特从100%格雷厄姆式投资的转型。多年以后,巴菲特终于走出了老师的光环,有了自己独到的投资理念与体系。
Goodwill, both economic and accounting, is an arcane subject and requires more explanation than is appropriate here. The appendix that follows this letter - “Goodwill and its Amortization: The Rules and The Realities” - explains why economic and accounting Goodwill can, and usually do, differ enormously.
商誉,无论是经济上的还是会计上的,都是一个晦涩难懂的话题,需要更多篇幅的解释,超过了这封信所适合覆盖的内容。这封信后面的附件“商誉及其摊销:规定与现实”解释了为什么经济和会计商誉通常相差甚远。
You can live a full and rewarding life without ever thinking about Goodwill and its amortization. But students of investment and management should understand the nuances of the subject. My own thinking has changed drastically from 35 years ago when I was taught to favor tangible assets and to shun businesses whose value depended largely upon economic Goodwill. This bias caused me to make many important business mistakes of omission, although relatively few of commission.
你根本不用想商誉和其摊销,也能生活得很充实有益。但是投资和管理的学生们应当理解这个话题的微妙之处。我自己的思考与35年前有了巨大的改变,当时我被教育要重视有形资产,避开主要依赖于经济商誉的公司。这一偏见让我犯了很多严重的商业错误,主要是忽视,虽然也有相对很少的过失。
Keynes identified my problem: “The difficulty lies not in the new ideas but in escaping from the old ones.” My escape was long delayed, in part because most of what I had been taught by the same teacher had been (and continues to be) so extraordinarily valuable. Ultimately, business experience, direct and vicarious, produced my present strong preference for businesses that possess large amounts of enduring Goodwill and that utilize a minimum of tangible assets.
凯恩斯指出了我的问题:“困难不在于新的想法,而在于从老的想法中解脱出来。”我的解脱耽搁了很久。部分原因就在于,这同一个老师教给我的大部分东西曾经是极为宝贵的(而且未来仍将是极为宝贵的)。最终,商业经验,无论是直接的还是间接的,让我目前强烈偏好拥有大量持久商誉,却利用最少的有形资产的公司。
(1983年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
产能过剩行业
在产能过剩的行业,盈利只是昙花一现,除非供应长期紧缺,或者产能需要很长时间建设。
To understand the change, we need to look at some major factors that affect levels of corporate profitability generally. Businesses in industries with both substantial over-capacity and a “commodity” product (undifferentiated in any customer-important way by factors such as performance, appearance, service support, etc.) are prime candidates for profit troubles.
为了理解这一改变,我们需要研究总体上影响企业盈利水平的主要因素。如果一个公司处在同时拥有大量产能过剩和“大宗商品”特性的产品(无法在客户重视的因素上,如性能,外观,服务支持等,进行差异化)的行业,那么这个公司很有可能会有盈利问题。
(1982年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
In many industries, differentiation simply can’t be made meaningful. A few producers in such industries may consistently do well if they have a cost advantage that is both wide and sustainable. By definition such exceptions are few, and, in many industries, are non-existent. For the great majority of companies selling “commodity” products, a depressing equation of business economics prevails: persistent over-capacity without administered prices (or costs) equals poor profitability.
在很多行业,根本就无法做到有意义的差异化。在这样的行业,少数生产者如果有广泛而可持续的成本优势,他们有可能持续稳定的取得好的业绩。从定义上讲,这些特例非常少,而且在很多行业根本不存在。对大部分销售“大宗商品”类产品的公司,一个令人沮丧的商业经济公式是普遍存在的:持续不断的产能过剩而无价格(或成本)管理,这就等于糟糕的盈利状况。
(1982年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)
What finally determines levels of long-term profitability in such industries is the ratio of supply-tight to supply-ample years. Frequently that ratio is dismal. (It seems as if the most recent supply-tight period in our textile business - it occurred some years back - lasted the better part of a morning.)
最终决定这些行业长期盈利状况的是供应紧缺与供应充足年份的比例。通常这一比率是惨淡的。(似乎在我们的纺织生意,最近一次供应紧缺的时候,是多年前了,持续了将近一个早晨。)
In some industries, however, capacity-tight conditions can last a long time. Sometimes actual growth in demand will outrun forecasted growth for an extended period. In other cases, adding capacity requires very long lead times because complicated manufacturing facilities must be planned and built.
但是,在一些行业,产能紧张的情况能持续很长时间。有时候,在一个很长的时期,实际的需求增长会超过预测增长。在其他情况下,增加产能需要极长的时间,因为必须计划和建造复杂的生产设施。
(1982年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)