I know the marginal investor seems to dislike AZJ (Aurizon) because of the coal exposure. It’s a bet we have on in the portfolio, that hasn’t really worked out all that well. Coal producers are doing very well, as a price story, coal haulers not so much, as a volume story.
But it is worth reiterating a) that thermal is keeping the lights on, in a lot of places, so we shouldn’t hate it too much, just now, and b) a lot of that coal is met coal. We don’t have too many ways of making steel just yet, and it’s important too.
In 15 years it seems plausible that the thermal goes to naught. By that time, “other stuff they haul” will have grown by a lot, replacing much of it.
So, in 15 years, earnings might be flat. Currently, it is priced to be deeply down.
We think that makes it a decent risk reward play, and as such, continue to own it in our direct equity portfolios.
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