Update No. 247 – 24/12/15

I hope you all have a nice Christmas Day tomorrow. Would you like to know how a value investor holidays? Cheaply, first and foremost…

We leave for Europe on Monday. One way I minimise travel cost is to enlist friends. Pick the right ones and it also enhances the experience and increases the ‘stories’ stemming from the trip. We are a party of 6, each one an EGP investor, so they are already well versed with my frugality.

Flights from Australia to Europe are expensive, there’s not much way to avoid this, so I recommend booking about 5 or 6 months out if that’s possible. This serves a secondary purpose of giving the holidayer something to look forward to, which is half the pleasure of a holiday. Maximise this ‘free anticipation bonus’ by booking many months out.

As an example, a flight Sydney to Milan booked now for in May can be sourced via Air China for less than $1,300. These are decent flights, a longish 6 hour stopover in Beijing heading to Europe & a shorter 3 hour stopover heading home. I still fly economy. I can’t help it. If you asked me if I’d sit in relative discomfort for 24 hours for $3,500, I probably would. Paying an extra $3,500 (or more) for Business Class is practically the same to my mind. The cramped time can be used for doing work anyway. Discomfort focuses the mind.

As it happens, we are flying to Zurich. This was my main mistake when booking the travel. We were flexible about where we landed as we intended to do a large driving lap of honour with a flexible route, so after investigating landing prices for all the major air-hub cities on the tentative route (Rome, Milan, Munich, Zurich), I (naturally) booked the cheapest flight. Despite being the cheapest to land, Zurich I subsequently discovered is a breathtakingly expensive place to rent a large passenger van. Quotes were around AU$3,000 per week for a 9-seater (with 6 travellers and luggage, a 9 seater is best – trust me, I’ve jammed the same party size into a 7-seater on previous expeditions…). I found a 9-seater out of Milan for less than AU$450 per week. Despite the mistake being entirely mine, given we will hire the van for about 3 weeks, I’m counting that as a $7,500 saving!

So in my haste to find the cheapest flight, I added the cost of a return train-ticket Zurich to Milan. A direct flight into Milan would have probably worked better in hindsight for a few extra dollars, but I reckon the trip on the Alpine railway on NYE will be a memorable one (I will be using the journey to finalise the 2015 annual letter, hopefully it’s inspiring, but I’ll still enjoy the journey…)

Our accommodations have been sourced through AirBNB and mostly comprise entire homes/apartments of 3 or 4 bedrooms, which will have certain conveniences for simplicity of washing clothes etc. that hotels make difficult/expensive. Our accommodation costs are less than AU$32 per person per night. They are much more than this in the Northern stops, Zurich, Genoa, Milan, Munich and Salzburg, but get incredibly cheap in the southern parts of Italy.

All in all, our all in per person per day cost once landed, including car hire, train trips, accommodation and a number of pre-booked excursions (such as a trip to see DaVinci’s Last Supper & watching an AS Roma football game among a few others) amount to less than $50 per day. Not quite backpacking, but pretty cost-effective all told. Obviously, there will be other costs when landed, but it still shows that the thrifty traveller can squeeze plenty from their travel dollar, even with our currency worth a lot less than it has been in the last few years.

So whilst I’ll be working over the next 4 weeks, it will be combined with considerable travelling, so the blogging may take something of a back seat.

This week was the best single week for the fund since January 2013. A spike in our largest position UOS was largely responsible. They have delivered an amazing record profit result in 2015; it’s always nice to have your largest holdings performing well – Tony Hansen 24/12/2015


Apr 1st 2011

Jul 1st 2015

Current Price

Since July 1st 2015

Since Inception

EGP Fund No. 1












EGP Fund No. 1 Pty Ltd. Up by 5.87%, leading the benchmark by 6.72% since July 1st 2015. Since inception, EGP Fund No. 1 Pty Ltd is Up by 96.57%, leading the benchmark by 61.34% all-time (April 1st 2011).

*1 after a 31 May 2013 dividend of 2.333 cents per share (cps) plus 1.000 cps Franking Credit, a 31 May 2014 Dividend of 7.000 cps plus 3.000 cps Franking Credit and a 31 May 2015 Dividend of 8.6667 cps plus 3.7143 cps Franking Credit

*2 calculated based on dividends reinvested