Murray K. Mullen
Chairman, CEO & President
March 29, 2021
Dear Friends and Fellow Shareholders:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second-best time is now.”
This ancient proverb resonates with me as I look back at how many of our past decisions, including acquisitions, have shaped and defined what our organization is today – a large, diversified, Canadian-based logistics company. We planted the trees years ago so that our shareholders could harvest the fruit today. And just as we did yesterday, we will plant new trees today so that shareholders can benefit tomorrow. Quite simply – there is no better time to plant for tomorrow than today.
This is what traditional investing is all about. To those who know me, you understand that I am a disciple of value investing, a long-practised philosophy made famous by the likes of Warren Buffett and his trusted partner Charlie Munger. Value investing is how we built Mullen Group and why I believe we have been successful over many decades, despite capital market disruptions, business interruptions, commodity price swings, changes in regulatory and tax regimes, technological revolutions and tough competition. We carefully and thoughtfully studied every decision we made, always giving consideration to the long term.
But the world changes. Old norms are replaced with new ideas, new ways of thinking. Nothing remains constant. Yesterday the concept was labelled “change”. Successful companies simply adapted and moved forward. Today it is known as “disruption”. The meaning may be basically the same, but the velocity and the radical nature of the transformation taking place today are unprecedented, providing precious little time to adapt. Technology is driving an innovation trend that is lightning-quick, transforming everything everywhere.
We need look no further than the financial markets. New trading platforms like Robinhood, a commission-free tool for today’s new investor who collaborates with like-minded peers on social media outlets like Reddit, have spawned a new form of investing, so different from the old ways that some refer to it as a form of online gambling. Individually, these new investors are not large, let alone are they institutional money managers. Collectively, however, when acting in unison they can become market movers. It appears this new investor is not interested in the old theory of value investing. But they sure are disrupting the capital markets and certain stocks. I wish them all success!
There are lessons to be learned here and it is within this context that I pen this message. And, I do admit, I am confused by some of what is occurring. But it is not my role to tell others what to do with their money. I do, however, have one simple message for our shareholders: we will not gamble or take undue risk with your investment. We will stick to what we know best and will plan for tomorrow the old-fashioned way: investing in what we understand and where we see the opportunity to generate free cash.…. More