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No. of Recommendations: 9
Markel just isn't as good a business as Berkshire for starters. I had a large position between 2011-2019 and made decent returns but the returns were mainly due to multiple expansion.
Book value in the last 5 year period to 2020 were around 6% pa despite it being a generally favourable environment.


That would be my main hesitation as well.
Nice firm, just not generating new value as quickly as I'd like.

The Markel Ventures stuff is showing nice enough growth, but it's not yet big enough to matter.
For the rest, book value isn't such a bad yardstick, and that dominates.
As you note, growth in the sum of the two isn't a super exciting number.

Though I do get a slightly better figure than you've quoted.
2.75 year rate of growth in book/share 6.8%/year
3.75 year rate of growth in book/share 8.4%/year
4.75 year rate of growth in book/share 8.3%/year
What multiple is that worth to you?

In 2018 it looked pretty dire, but things have been better lastly and that now looks more like a transient rough spot.
2 years to 2018 b/sh up 3.8%/yr
3 years to 2018 b/sh up 5.2%/yr
4 years to 2018 b/sh up 4.7%/yr
5 years to 2018 b/sh up 6.5%/yr

It all comes down to whether you think they can generate value at a double digit clip again, as they used to do with such regularity.

Jim
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