Icahn Enterprises, the publicly traded investment firm through which Carl Icahn works his magic, reported its third quarter earnings this morning.
And say what you will about Wall Street’s most outspoken septuagenarian and his controversial activist investing strategy, but these numbers don’t lie.
Icahn enterprises reported revenues of $US5.7 billion for the three months ended September 30, 2013 and net income attributable to Icahn Enterprises of $US472 million. That’s up from $US4.5 billion of revenues and a net income of $US84 million for the same quarter in 2012.
That’s something worth writing about, so Icahn attached this little note to his earnings statement. His basic point — if you’d bought Icahn stock in 2009, as the global economy was getting back on its feet, you would’ve scored an average annual return of 39%:
“I believe that by far the best method to utilise in investing is the “Activist” model. I have spent a great deal of time and effort perfecting its use and I am happy to say that IEP has been a beneficiary of this. An investment in IEP stock made at the beginning of 2000 has increased by approximately 1,500%, or an average annual return of 22%, through October 31, 2013. But perhaps more compelling is that since April 1, 2009, when the economic recovery started: 1) an investment in IEP stock resulted in a total return of 347%, or an average annual return of 39%, through October 31, 2013, and 2) IEP’s indicative net asset value has increased during this period by 282%, or an average annual return of 35%, through September 30, 2013. Most importantly to current IEP unit holders is that in my opinion there has never been a better time than today for activist investing, if practiced properly. Several factors are responsible for this: 1) extremely low interest rates, which make acquisitions much less costly and therefore much more attractive, and 2) the current awareness by many institutional investors that the prevalence of mediocre top management and non-caring boards at many of America’s companies must be dealt with if we are ever going to end high unemployment and be able to compete in world markets. I believe that the greatly increasing need for a catalyst to make acquisitions possible and to make mediocre managements accountable will be of meaningful benefit to IEP in future years. As a corollary, I expect that low interest rates will greatly increase the ability of the companies IEP controls to make judicious, friendly or not so friendly, acquisitions.
That’s a love letter to activist investing if I’ve ever read one.
It’s a pretty impressive stock chart too. In the last five years, Icahn Enterprises’ stock is up 197% (via Yahoo Finance).