Francis Chou

Francis Chou

Last Update: 08-11-2016
Related: Chou RRSP Fund

Number of Stocks: 25
Number of New Stocks: 0

Total Value: $257 Mil
Q/Q Turnover: 6%

Countries: USA
Details: Top Buys | Top Sales | Top Holdings  Embed:

Francis Chou' s Profile & Performance

Profile

Francis Chou, the fund manager of Chou America Mutual Funds, has been managing the Chou Funds in Canada since 1986.


Francis Chou's experience is an amazing success story of value investing. He came to Canada in 1976 at age 20 with $200 in his pocket. Without a college degree, he could only work on blue collar jobs. Finally he landed a job at Bell Canada as a telephone repairman. Somehow he was introduced to the books of Benjamin Graham. As written by Warren Buffett in his famous article, The Superinvestors of Graham-and--Doddsville, "It is extraordinary to me that the idea of buying dollar bills for 40 cents takes immediately to people or it doesn't take at all." The idea apparently took Francis Chou immediately.

In 1981, together with six of his fellow telephone repairmen, Francis Chou started an investment club with $51,000. He left Bell Canada in 1984 and became a retail analyst at GW Asset Management, where he met Prem Watsa, the great future Fairfax CEO. He turned the investment club into Chou Associates Fund in 1986.

The rest is history. If you had invested $10,000 in 1986, when Chou Associate Fund started to operate, that $10,000 would be worth $136,916 as of Dec. 31, 2010. During the 24 years of the fund's history, he had only five down years. Over the past 15 years, Chou Associate Fund average gained 13.6%, while the S&P 500 gained just 6.8% a year.

When asked about what the most important things are for him in investing, he said: "Buy bargains. Get the returns slowly. Think independently. Don't be afraid of what other people are saying."

This is exactly what he has done. In the 1990s, during the height of the tech bubble, Francis Chou wrote to his shareholders that he had "no concrete idea of where to proceed from here." He said the market at that time was a fool's game where investors were buying stocks trading at 100 times revenues in the hope of being able to to sell them for 200 times revenues a week later. His fund was down in 1999.

As the stock market made its first crash from 2000 through 2002, Chou Associate Fund gained 71%. By 2006, his fund gained 160% while the broad market just barely broke even from its high at the beginning of 2000.

Web Page:http://www.choufunds.com

Investing Philosophy

"The investment process followed in selecting equity investments for the Funds is a value-oriented approach to investing. This involves a detailed analysis of the strengths of individual companies, with much less emphasis on short-term market factors. Far greater importance is placed upon an assessment of a company's balance sheet, cash flow characteristics, profitability, industry position, special strengths, future growth potential and management ability."

Total Holding History

Performance of Chou Associates Fund

YearReturn (%)S&P500 (%)Excess Gain (%)
2015-6.951.19-8.1
201412.0613.69-1.6
201341.3332.398.9
3-Year Cumulative47.4 (13.8%/year)52.3 (15.1%/year)-4.9 (-1.3%/year)
201226.961611.0
2011-16.912.11-19.0
5-Year Cumulative55.5 (9.2%/year)80.4 (12.5%/year)-24.9 (-3.3%/year)
201019.2115.064.1
200929.726.463.2
2008-29.3-377.7
2007-10.225.49-15.7
200618.7715.793.0
10-Year Cumulative81.2 (6.1%/year)102 (7.3%/year)-20.8 (-1.2%/year)
200513.74.918.8
20049.0210.88-1.9
20033.5728.68-25.1
200229.99-22.152.1
200121.44-11.8933.3
15-Year Cumulative267.2 (9.1%/year)107.5 (5%/year)159.7 (4.1%/year)
20008.37-9.117.5
1999-9.6321.04-30.7
199823.2228.58-5.4
199740.3133.367.0
199622.6922.96-0.3
20-Year Cumulative662.9 (10.7%/year)381.4 (8.2%/year)281.5 (2.5%/year)
199531.0137.58-6.6
1994-2.581.32-3.9
199316.1910.086.1
1992207.6212.4
199123.2530.47-7.2
25-Year Cumulative1573.2 (11.9%/year)937.3 (9.8%/year)635.9 (2.1%/year)
1990-10.68-3.1-7.6
198918.731.69-13.0
198814.2716.61-2.3
19875.025.1-0.1

Top Ranked Articles

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We had a great success for 2016 GuruFocus Value Conference last week. More than 140 investors from 14 countries attended the conference. We had 9 great speakers and our attendees thoroughly enjoyed it. 92% of the attendees indicated that they are likely to attend GuruFocus Value Conference again in 2017. Read more...
Franchis Chou Is Buying In to the John Malone Model Guru has been buying an apparently money-losing, highly levered, acquisition-happy dog, but is that all it is?
Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio)'s rise to guru status is as amazing as it is inspiring. His first victory after coming to Canada with $200 in cash and without a college degree was to get a job at Bell Canada as a telephone repairman. He ended up reading the "Intelligent Investor" and other Graham works that led him to start an investment club with six of his colleagues at Bell. The telephone repairman started compounding the initial $51,000 at 13.6% per year blowing away the Standard & Poor's 500’s 6.8% gains per year over the same period. See his Gurufocus profile page to read more about his amazing story and to check out his entire portfolio. He has been managing Chou Funds in Canada since 1986. Read more...
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Update: Chou refiled his first-quarter 13F on May 18. The position in Westmoreland Coal Co., previously reported as representing 35.4% of his portfolio, did not appear on the new 13F filing. - GuruFocus editorial Read more...
Francis Chou Comments on Resolute Forest Products Guru stock highlight
Resolute Forest Products (NYSE:RFP) is primarily involved in newsprints, specialty papers, wood products and market pulp. As the downturn in global commodities intensified, RFP was not spared, hitting all four of the company’s business segments. Management has concentrated on lowering the cost of every segment but this wasn’t enough to compensate for the deterioration of prices in their respective markets. Read more...
Francis Chou Raises Stake in Resolute Forest Products Guru makes 3 trades in 4th quarter
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Commentaries and Stories

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Chou RRSP Fund Buys Valeant Fund acquires shares in troubled company Chour RRSP Fund,Francis Chou,Bill Ackman - Chou RRSP Fund Buys Valeant
The Chou RRSP Fund (Trades, Portfolio) acquired a new holding in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (TSX:VRX)(NYSE:VRX) in the second quarter. More...

VALEANT, CHOU, ACKMAN, PERSHING SQUARE


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Francis Chou Adds to 2 Positions in 2nd Quarter Guru reports quarterly portfolio Francis Chou,Ruane Cunniff,Bill Ackman,Fairholme F - Francis Chou Adds To 2 Positions In 2nd Quarter
During the second quarter, Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio) of Chou Associates Management added 48.11% and 38.77% to its positions in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE:VRX) and Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLD). As the stock prices continue to decline, the companies offer investing opportunities. The above transactions align with Chou’s strategy of investing in companies with depressed prices. More...

FRANCIS CHOU, RUANE CUNNIFF, BILL ACKMAN, BRUCE BERKOWITZ


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Francis Chou Comments on Sears Holdings Corp Guru stock highlight
In July 2015, Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD) announced that it had closed its rights offering and sale-leaseback transactions with Seritage Growth Properties (“Seritage”), a recently formed, independent, publicly traded real estate investment trust (“REIT”). More...

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Francis Chou Comments on Resolute Forest Products Guru stock highlight
Resolute Forest Products (NYSE:RFP) is primarily involved in newsprints, specialty papers, wood products and market pulp. As the downturn in global commodities intensified, RFP was not spared, hitting all four of the company’s business segments. Management has concentrated on lowering the cost of every segment but this wasn’t enough to compensate for the deterioration of prices in their respective markets. More...

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Chou Associates Fund 2015 Annual Investor Letter The latest from value investor Francis Chou Francis Chou - Chou Associates Fund 2015 Annual Investor Letter
Dear Unitholders of Chou Associates Fund, More...

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Francis Chou Takes Stake in Valeant, Coal Company [update] Chou made two large buys during the quarter Francis Chou - Francis Chou Takes Stake In Valeant, Coal Company [update]
Update: Chou refiled his first-quarter 13F on May 18. The position in Westmoreland Coal Co., previously reported as representing 35.4% of his portfolio, did not appear on the new 13F filing. - GuruFocus editorial More...

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We had a great success for 2016 GuruFocus Value Conference last week. More than 140 investors from 14 countries attended the conference. We had 9 great speakers and our attendees thoroughly enjoyed it. 92% of the attendees indicated that they are likely to attend GuruFocus Value Conference again in 2017. More...

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Chou RRSP Fund Buys 1st Oil Stock on Acquisition News Suncor acquires Canadian Oil Sands for higher price than Chou paid Chou RRSP Fund,Francis Chou - Chou RRSP Fund Buys 1st Oil Stock On Acquisition News
During the second half of 2015, the Chou RRSP Fund (Trades, Portfolio) led by Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio) purchased only one new holding of 348,000 shares in Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (TSX:COS) for an average price of C$9.05 per share. More...

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Francis Chou Raises Stake in Resolute Forest Products Guru makes 3 trades in 4th quarter Francis Chou - Francis Chou Raises Stake In Resolute Forest Products
Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio)’s fourth-quarter portfolio activity consisted of three transactions, which seems light for an investment guru. Nevertheless, while that is half the volume of his third-quarter activity, it is triple his activity of the first and second quarters. More...

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Francis Chou's Holdings Trading at Low PE Canadian guru holds several cheaply valued stocks Francis Chou - Francis Chou's Holdings Trading At Low PE
Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio), the fund manager of Chou America Mutual Funds, has been managing the Chou Funds in Canada since 1986. The investment process followed in selecting equity investments for the funds is a value-oriented approach to investing. This involves a detailed analysis of the strengths of individual companies, with much less emphasis on short-term market factors. More...

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Franchis Chou Is Buying In to the John Malone Model Guru has been buying an apparently money-losing, highly levered, acquisition-happy dog, but is that all it is? Francis Chou,Warren Buffett - Franchis Chou Is Buying In To The John Malone Model
Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio)'s rise to guru status is as amazing as it is inspiring. His first victory after coming to Canada with $200 in cash and without a college degree was to get a job at Bell Canada as a telephone repairman. He ended up reading the "Intelligent Investor" and other Graham works that led him to start an investment club with six of his colleagues at Bell. The telephone repairman started compounding the initial $51,000 at 13.6% per year blowing away the Standard & Poor's 500’s 6.8% gains per year over the same period. See his Gurufocus profile page to read more about his amazing story and to check out his entire portfolio. He has been managing Chou Funds in Canada since 1986. More...

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Francis Chou Adds to Positions in 3 Companies Reduction of Nokia Oyj was guru's largest single transaction in third quarter Francis Chou - Francis Chou Adds To Positions In 3 Companies
Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio)’s Chou Associates Fund has been quite successful in its value-oriented approach to investing. Last year, at a time when lower oil prices were taking a toll on many investors, the Chou Associates Fund recorded returns exceeding 12%. In the years preceding 2014, the Fund’s returns were double, even three times that. More...

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Francis Chou Doubles Stake in Dundee Corp, Sells Out Ridley Inc. The investor called the market low on bargains in his letter Francis Chou - Francis Chou Doubles Stake In Dundee Corp, Sells Out Ridley Inc.
Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio) doubled one position and sold out of another in a second quarter that had otherwise light investment activity at Chou Associates Management. More...

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Chou Funds' June 2015 Semiannual Report and Investor Letter Value investor Francis Chou gives a midyear assessment Francis Chou - Chou Funds' June 2015 Semiannual Report And Investor Letter
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Berkowitz Sells Citigroup During First Quarter Bruce Berkowitz,Francis Chou - Berkowitz Sells Citigroup During First Quarter
Bruce Berkowitz (Trades, Portfolio), founder and managing member of Fairholme Capital Management, did not see opportunities to invest in new stocks during the first quarter, and instead sold one stock and trimmed his position in eight others. More...

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Investor Francis Chou Buys 2 New Stocks in Q1 Francis Chou - Investor Francis Chou Buys 2 New Stocks In Q1
Prominent value investor of Canada-based Chou Associates Management Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio) announced Monday that he purchased two new holdings in the first quarter: Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD.WS) and Ascent Capital Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ASCMA). More...

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Chou RRSP Fund's Top Stocks Also Trading At Low P/E Chou RRSP Fund,Francis Chou - Chou RRSP Fund's Top Stocks Also Trading At Low P/E
In his annual shareholder letter, Chou RRSP Fund (Trades, Portfolio) manager Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio) singled out six stocks that contributed to the fund’s 14.2% return in Canadian dollars, compared to the 10.6% return for the S&P/TSX Index. Coincidentally, three of these stocks — Torstar Corp (TSX:TS.B), Ridley (TSX:RCL), and Canfor Pulp Products (TSX:CFX) — are also trading near the low end of their historical P/E range. More...

CHOU RRSP FUND, FRANCIS CHOU, TORSTAR, RIDLEY, CANFOR PULP PRODUCTS


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Francis Chou Comments on Sears Holdings Corp
As we have indicated before, we believe that Sears Holdings (SHLD) is a misunderstood story. There are many moving parts but we believe Sears Holdings’ intrinsic value lies in its real estate assets. It also has other valuable assets such as Kenmore, Craftsman and Diehard. Being a traditional department store has become a tough business during the last decade but, according to management, Sears is transitioning its historic focus on running a brick and mortar department store into a business that provides and delivers value by serving its members in the manner most convenient for them: whether in store, at home or through digital devices. More...

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