Best Income Companies To Watch For 2015


Friday’s report that 195,000 new jobs were created in June was much better than the consensus forecast for 155,000, as were the upward revisions of previous reports for April and May. The only negative in the report was that, while the headline unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6%, U6 unemployment, which includes workers who can only find part-time jobs, or have become too discouraged to look for a job any longer, climbed to 14.3% in June from 13.8% in May.

However, as I have written before, employment is a lagging indicator. It remains weak until well after the economy has begun to recover from a recession, and remains firm for some time after the economy has begun to slow. For instance, although the 2008-2009 recession ended in June, 2009, the economy continued to lose jobs monthly until December.


So the strong jobs reports for April, May and now June do not change the fact that the U.S. economy appears to be in trouble.

That observation is not based on opinions related to individual economic reports, but to actual disorders.

Best Income Companies To Watch For 2015: The Blackstone Group L.P.(BX)

The Blackstone Group, L.P., together with its subsidiaries, provides alternative asset management and financial advisory services worldwide. The company operates in five segments: Private Equity, Real Estate, Hedge Fund Solutions, Credit Businesses, and Financial Advisory. The Private Equity segment involves in private equity investing through five general private equity funds and one specialized fund focusing on communications-related investments. This segment engages in various transactions comprising leveraged buyout acquisitions of seasoned companies, transactions involving growth equity or start-up businesses in established industries, minority investments, corporate partnerships, distressed debt, structured securities, and industry consolidations. The Real Estate segment manages general opportunistic real estate funds and internationally focused opportunistic real estate funds. This segment also has debt investment funds targeting non-controlling real estate debt-rel ated investment opportunities in the public and private markets, primarily in the United States and Europe. The Hedge Fund Solutions segment manages funds of hedge funds, and Indian-focused and Asian-focused closed-end mutual funds. The Credit Businesses segment manages credit-oriented funds, CLOs, credit-focused separately managed accounts, and publicly registered debt-focused investment companies. The Financial Advisory segment offers financial and strategic advisory, including corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions advice; restructuring and reorganization advisory; and fund placement services for alternative investment funds. Blackstone Group Management L.L.C. operates as the general partner of the company. The Blackstone Group, L.P. was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in New York, New York.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tom Rojas and Maria Armental var popups = dojo.query(“.socialByline .popC”); ]

    Blackstone Group L.P (BX). announced plans Monday to pare its stake in Hilton by an additional $2 billion. Blackstone’s shares were flat at $30.12 premarket, while Hilton’s shares fell 2.5% to $24.60.

  • [By Jayson Derrick]

    Blackstone (NYSE: BX) plans to raise $13 billion for a new global real estate fund. Shares gained 0.53 percent, closing at $30.55.


    Alibaba's (NYSE: BABA) CEO Jack Ma said he is willing to cooperate with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) on a mobile payment system. Shares of Alibaba hit new 52-week highs of $100.67 before closing the day at $99.68, while shares of Apple gained 1.51 percent, closing at $106.70.

Best Income Companies To Watch For 2015: Ethan Allen Interiors Inc (ETH)

Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (Ethan Allen), incorporated in May 25, 1989, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Ethan Allen Global, Inc. and Ethan Allen Global, Inc.’s subsidiaries, is a manufacturer and retailer of home furnishings and accessories, offering a complement of home decorating and design solutions through home furnishing retail networks. The Company operates in two segments: wholesale and retail. As of June 30, 2013, the Company operated 147 design centers and its independent retailers operated 148 design centers. Its wholesale segment net sales include sales to its retail segment and sales to its independent retailers. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013 (fiscal 2013), independent retailers opened 11 new design centers, acquired two from the Company, closed 12, and sold two to the Company.


The Company’s customer service offerings include gift card, on-line room planning and Ethan Allen Consumer Credit Programs. Gift Card allows customers to purchase gift cards through its Website or at any participating retail design center, which can be redeemed for any of its products or services. The Company offers, through its Website, an online room planning resource, which serves to assist consumers with their home decorating needs. Through the use of this Web-based tool, customers can determine which of its product offerings fit their particular needs based on their own individual home floor plan. The Ethan Allen Finance Plus program offers consumers (clients) a menu of custom financing options through the use of just one account.


Wholesale Segment

The wholesale segment, principally involved in the development of the Ethan Allen brand, encompasses all aspects of design, manufacture, sourcing, sale, and distribution of its range of home furnishings and accessories. Wholesale revenue is generated upon the wholesale sale and shipment of its products to its network of independently operated desig n centers and Company-operated design centers through its na! tional distribution center and one other smaller fulfillment center. The Company’s domestic manufacturing is included in the results of the wholesale segment. The Company operates four case plants (including one sawmill), three upholstery plants (two upholstery plants on its Maiden, North Carolina campus and one cut and sew plant in Mexico) and one home accessory plant. The Company also source selected case goods, upholstery, and home accessory items from third-party suppliers located both domestically and outside the United States.


Retail Segment

The retail segment sells home furnishings and accessories to consumers through a network of Company-operated design centers. During fiscal 2013, the Company opened seven design centers acquired two from independent retailers, closed four design centers and sold two to our independent retailers. As of June 30, 2013, the Company’s network of approximately 300 retail design centers and approximately 4,000 independent members of the Interior Design Affiliate program benefit from these marketing efforts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dividends4Life]

    Memberships and Peers: LEG is a member of the S&P 500, a Dividend Aristocrat, a member of the Broad Dividend Achievers™ Index and a Dividend Champion. The company’s peer group includes: Hooker Furniture Corp. (HOFT) with a 2.7% yield, Flexsteel Industries Inc. (FLXS) with a 1.8% yield and Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (ETH) with a 1.6% yield.

  • [By Gerelyn Terzo]

    Clearly Bob’s isn’t new to private equity ownership, but it is new to Bain’s way of doing things. So what can the company expect under Bain, which oversees $70 billion in assets under management? And is there a chance that Bob’s will present an investment opportunity and join the ranks of La-Z-Boy (NYSE: LZB  ) and Ethan Allen Interiors (NYSE: ETH  ) in the stock market in the future?    

Best Income Companies To Watch For 2015: JPMorgan Chase & Co (AMJ)


JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMorgan Chase), incorporated on October 28, 1968, is a financial holding company. The Company is a global financial services firm and a banking institution in the United States, with global operations. The Company is engaged in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity. JPMorgan Chase’s principal bank subsidiaries are JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association (JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.), a national bank with the United States branches in 23 states, and Chase Bank USA, National Association (Chase Bank USA, N.A.), a national bank that is the Company’s credit card-issuing bank. JPMorgan Chase’s non-bank subsidiary is J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JPMorgan Securities), the Company’s the United States investment banking firm. The bank and non-bank subsidiaries of JPMorgan Chase operate nationally, as well as through overseas bra nches and subsidiaries, representative offices and subsidiary foreign banks. One of the Company’s principal operating subsidiaries in the United Kingdom is J.P. Morgan Securities plc., a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. JPMorgan Chase’s activities are organized into four business segments, as well as Corporate/Private Equity. The Company’s consumer business is the Consumer & Community Banking segment. The Company’s wholesale businesses consists of Corporate & Investment Bank, Commercial Banking, and Asset Management segments. Effective January 7, 2014, JPMorgan Chase & Co acquired an undisclosed minority stake in Chi-X Global Holdings LLC.


Consumer & Community Banking

Consumer & Community Banking (CCB) serves consumers and businesses through personal service at bank branches and through automated teller machines (ATMs), online mobile and telephone banking.CCB is organized into Consumer & Business banking, Mortgage Banking (including M ortgage Production and Servicing, and Real Estate Portfolios! ) and Card, Merchant Services & Auto (Card). Consumer & Business Banking offers deposit and investment products and services to consumers, and lending, deposit, and cash management and payment solutions to small businesses. Mortgage Banking includes mortgage origination and servicing activities, as well as portfolios comprised of residential mortgages and home equity loans, including the purchased credit impaired (PCI) portfolio acquired in the Washington Mutual transaction. Mortgage origination channels consists of Retail, Wholesale, Correspondent and Correspondent negotiated transactions. Retail includes Borrowers who buy or refinance a home through direct contact with a mortgage banker employed by the Firm using a branch office, the Internet or by phone. Wholesale refers to third-party mortgage brokers loan application packages to the Company. The Company then underwrites and funds the loan. Correspondent includes Banks, thrifts, other mortgage banks and other financial i nstitutions that sell closed loans to the Firm. Correspondent negotiated transactions include mid-to-large-sized mortgage lenders, banks and bank-owned mortgage companies sell servicing to the Firm on an as-originated basis (excluding sales of bulk servicing transactions). Card issues credit cards to consumers and small businesses, provides payment services to corporate and public sector clients through its commercial card products, offers payment processing services to merchants, and provides auto and student loan services.


Corporate & Investment Bank

The Corporate & Investment Bank (CIB) offers a suite of investment banking, market-making, prime brokerage, and treasury and securities products and services to a global client base of corporations, investors, financial institutions, government and municipal entities. Within Banking, the CIB offers a range of investment banking products and services in all major capital markets, including advising on corporate strategy and structure, capital-raising in equity ! and debt ! markets, as well as loan origination and syndication. The Company also provides Treasury Services, which includes transaction services, comprised primarily of cash management and liquidity solutions, and trade finance products. The Markets & Investor Services segment of the CIB is engaged in cash securities and derivative instruments, and also offers risk management solutions, prime brokerage, and research. Markets & Investor Services also includes the Securities Services business, which holds, values, clears and services securities, cash and alternative investments for investors and broker-dealers, and manages depositary receipt programs globally.


Commercial Banking

Commercial Banking (CB) provides industry knowledge, and service to the United States multinational clients, including corporations, municipalities, financial institutions and non-profit entities with annual revenue generally ranging from $20 million to $2 billion. CB provides financin g to real estate investors and owners. CB also provides financial solutions, including lending, treasury services, investment banking and asset management to meet its clients’ domestic and international financial needs. Commercial Banking is divided into four client segments: Middle Market Banking, Commercial Term Lending, Corporate Client Banking, and Real Estate Banking. Middle Market Banking covers corporate, municipal, financial institution and not-for-profit clients. Commercial Term Lending provides term financing to real estate investors/owners for multifamily properties, as well as financing office, retail and industrial properties. Real Estate Banking provides full-service banking to investors and developers of institutional-grade real estate properties. Lending and investment activity within the Community Development Banking and Chase Capital segments are included in other.


Asset Management

Asset Management (AM) clients include institutio ns, high-net-worth individuals and retail investors. AM offe! rs invest! ment management across all major asset classes including equities, fixed income, alternatives and money market funds. AM also offers multi-asset investment management, providing solutions to a broad range of clients’ investment needs. For individual investors, AM also provides retirement products and services, brokerage and banking services including trust and estate, loans, mortgages and deposits. The majority of AM’s client assets are in actively managed portfolios. AM’s client segments consists of Private Banking, Institutional and Retail. Private Banking offers investment advice and wealth management services to high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, families, money managers, business owners and small corporations worldwide, including investment management, capital markets and risk management, tax and estate planning, banking, capital raising and specialty-wealth advisory services. Institutional brings comprehensive global investment services including asset m anagement, pension analytics, asset-liability management and active risk-budgeting strategies to corporate and public institutions.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    The ETFs and funds held up on Monday:

    JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN (NYSEArca: AMJ) was down only 0.3% at $46.86, versus a 52-week range of $42.18 to $49.31. Volume was 1.1 million shares versus an average of about 628,000. ALPS Alerian MLP ETF (NYSEArca: AMLP) closed down 0.45 at $17.57, versus a 52-week range of $16.75 to $18.36. This ETF traded more than 3.1 million shares, up from an average of about 2.85 million shares. The closed-end fund of Kayne Anderson MLP Investment Company (NYSE: KYN) even managed to rise by 0.26% to $38.70 against a 52-week range of $33.11 to $40.22. Its volume was also almost 300,000 shares versus an average volume of closer to 218,000 shares.


    It still seems more than interesting that the investment community did not pound the rest of the sector in sympathy with Boardwalk. This Boardwalk MLP still has a $3.1 billion market cap, even after getting cut almost in half. Usually investors try to tie in peers when one implosion is seen versus others. It seems as though they are trusting that negative natural gas exposure here is not going to spill over into the rest of the sector, and maybe not even spill over into the price of units in its more direct peers.

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    The biggest problem with the fund is that while it yields an attractive 7.5 percent annually based on the most recent quarterly distribution, the total expense ratio is presently an astronomical 4.4 percent. This is bound to be a drag on performance over the long run (although it still potentially offers an attractive short-term play). As a result, my preference for a long term investment in and IRA would be to own an exchange-traded note (ETN) based on one of the Alerian indices that I reviewed recently in Navigating the Universe of MLPs. There are several to choose from, including the JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN (NYSE: AMJ), which presently yields 5 percent and has an expense ratio of 0.85 percent.

Best Income Companies To Watch For 2015: J P Morgan Chase & Co(JPM)


JPMorgan Chase & Co., a financial holding company, provides various financial services worldwide. Its Investment Bank segment provides various investment banking products and services, including advising on corporate strategy and structure, capital-raising in equity and debt markets, risk management, market-making in cash securities and derivative instruments, prime brokerage, and research services serving corporations, financial institutions, governments, and institutional investors. The company?s Commercial Banking segment provides lending, treasury, investment banking, and asset management services to corporations, municipalities, financial institutions, and not-for-profit entities. Its Treasury & Securities Services segment offers cash management, trade, wholesale card, and liquidity products and services to small and mid-sized companies, multinational corporations, financial institutions, and government entities. It also holds, values, clears, and services securities, cash, and alternative investments for investors and broker-dealers, and manages depositary receipt programs worldwide. JPMorgan?s Asset Management segment provides investment and wealth management to institutions, retail investors, and high-net-worth individuals. This segment offers investment management in equities, fixed income, real estate, hedge funds, private equity, and liquidity products, as well as trust and estate, banking and brokerage services, and retirement services. Its Retail Financial Services segment offers retail banking and consumer lending services that include checking and savings accounts, mortgages, home equity and business loans, and investments through ATMs, online banking, and telephone banking, as well as auto dealerships and school financial-aid offices. The company?s Card Services segment issues credit cards and processes various credit card payments. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was founded in 1823 and is headquartered in New York, New York.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Financials are certainly having a good day today. The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) has gained 0.7% to $24.25 at 12:24 p.m., while Citigroup (C) has risen 1% to $54.03, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has advanced 0.8% to $60.62 and Bank of America (BAC) is up 0.9% at $17.16.

  • [By WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]

    www.blackcard.com Black cards are the most exclusive credit cards on the market, and these rare credit cards are in the pockets of some of the wealthiest citizens around the world. Here’s what it takes — and what you can get. 1. Eurasian Bank Diamond Card Featuring a 0.02-carat diamond surrounded by a golden heart design, the Eurasian Bank Diamond Card is a sign of wealth and elegance through and through. The black card requirements for this exclusive credit card is you have to be a member of the Eurasian bank in Kazakhstan, and you also have to have $300,000 or more in your bank account. 2. The Visa (V) Signature Card Visa’s true top of the line card is the Visa Signature Card, which features some amazing perks like no preset spending limits; access to special sporting events and concert tickets; VIP access to entertainment venues like Broadway shows and musicals; travel accommodations at spas, hotels and with airlines; and special dining experiences. 3. The Chase (JPM) Sapphire Preferred Card For those who look for exclusivity but prefer not to bank with Visa or Amex (AXP), there is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The Preferred Card is aimed at households in the United States earning at least $120,000 per year. Big perks include no preset spending limit and a strong rewards program for members. Other notable differences from other black card offerings include: Identity protection; a small $95 per year fee; enhanced travel rewards redemption points; rental insurance; travel protection insurance; emergency travel assistance and extended warranty protection for up to one year. 4. The Black Brazilian MasterCard (MA) from the Santander Group The Santander Group (BSBR) in Brazil offers the unlimited Brazilian Black MasterCard, which is only issued to members of its private bank with a certain undisclosed amount of funds in their accounts. Currently, it is one of the hottest cards in Latin America — with only about 3,000 in circulation. Perks of the c

  • [By Ben Rooney]

    General Electric (GE) Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) Procter & Gamble (PG) Wells Fargo (WFC) Apple (AAPL, Tech30) IBM (IBM, Tech30) AT&T (T, Tech30) Verizon (VZ, Tech30) JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Exxon Mobil (XOM)

Best Income Companies To Watch For 2015: Gentherm Inc (THRM)

Gentherm Inc, formerly Amerigon Incorporated, doing business as Gentherm, incorporated in 1991, is a global developer and marketer of thermal management technologies for a range of heating and cooling and temperature control applications. Automotive products include actively heated and cooled seat systems and cup holders, heated and ventilated seat systems, thermal storage bins, heated seat and steering wheel systems, cable systems and other electronic devices. The Company is developing materials for thermoelectrics and systems for waste heat recovery and electrical power generation for the automotive market that may have applications for consumer products, as well as industrial and technology markets. Gentherm has facilities in the United States, Germany, Mexico, China, Canada, Japan, England, Korea, Malta, Hungary and the Ukraine. In February 2013, it announced the closing of the acquisition of W.E.T. Automotive Systems AG (W.E.T.).


The Company designs, deve lops and markets products based on its thermoelectric device (TED) technologies for a range of global markets and heating and cooling applications. As of December 31, 2011, its principal product was its Climate Control Seat (CCS), which it sells to automobile and light truck original equipment manufacturers or their tier one suppliers. The Company’s CCS product is offered as an optional or standard feature on automobile models produced by Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan, Tata Motors, Ltd. and Hyundai. On May 16, 2011 the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary Amerigon Europe, GmbH (Amerigon Europe), acquired a majority interest in W.E.T. Automotive Systems AG. (W.E.T.).


Thermoelectric device

The Company’s products are primarily based upon its TED technology. A TED is a solid state circuit that has the capability to produce both a hot and cold thermal condition. TEDs also have a capability known as the S eebeck effect that is reciprocal to the Peltier effect.

Climate Control Seat

The Company’s CCS product uses one or more TEDs, which generate heating or cooling depending upon the direction of the current applied to the device. If a manufacturer wishes to integrate its CCS product into a seat, it provides the Company with automotive seats to be modified so that it can install a unit in a prototype. The seat is then returned to the manufacturer for evaluation and testing. If a manufacturer accepts the Company’s CCS product, a program can then be launched for a particular model on a production basis.


Heated and Ventilated Seat

The Company sells a heated and ventilated only variant of the CCS. This product works in a similar fashion to its CCS, only there is no active cooling capability and no TED. In the cooling mode, the vent only system will use the ambient cabin air to provide a degree of cooling comfort to the seat occupant. In the heating mode, the vent only system is suppleme nted with more traditional resistive heating elements. Similarly, W.E.T.’s core seat comfort product uses a resistive element heater mat to generate heat when the seat is in heating mode and ambient cabin air for cooling.


Heated and Cooled Cup Holder

The heated and cooled cup holder represents an adaptation of the technology found in its CCS, including the use of a TED and other key elements. The dual cup holder provides separate temperature settings in each holder allowing the driver and passenger to individually maintain a heated or cooled beverage. The vehicles that feature the heated and cooled cup holder was the 2011 Dodge Charger and 2011 Chrysler 300 during the year ended December 31, 2011.

Heated and Cooled Mattress

The Company’s heated and cooled mattress incorporates its Climate Control Sleep System (CCSS) technology. The mattress is sold in the United States by its retail partner, Mattress Firm, under its Yu Me brand. Mattress Firm has over 800 retail stores located a! cross 26 ! states. There are five available settings in each of the heat and cool modes, as well as an ambient setting. The bed can be controlled using either the Master Control Unit (MCU) or one of two remotes provided for each zone.


Automotive Cable Systems

W.E.T. produces automotive cable systems to be used to connect automotive components to sources of power. W.E.T.’s cable systems include both ready-made individual cables and ready-to-install cable networks.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Gentherm (Nasdaq: THRM  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Best Income Companies To Watch For 2015: LKQ Corp (LKQ)


LKQ Corporation (LKQ) provides replacement parts, components and systems needed to repair vehicles (cars and trucks). The Company operates in four segments: Wholesale-North America, Wholesale-Europe, Self Service and Heavy-Duty Truck. Buyers of vehicle replacement products have the option to purchase from primarily five sources: new products produced by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which are known as OEM products; new products produced by companies other than the OEMs, which are sometimes referred to as aftermarket products; recycled products originally produced by OEMs, which it refers to as recycled products; used products that have been refurbished; and used products that have been remanufactured. October 1, 2011, it acquired Euro Car Parts Holdings Limited (ECP). On May 27, 2011, it acquired AkzoNobel Coatings Inc.’s paint distribution business consisting of 40 locations across the United States. In February 2012, the Company announced that it had acquired Pieces Automobiles Lecavalier IncEffective August 6, 2013, LKQ Corp acquired Premier Paints Ltd, a manufacturer of motor vehicle parts, form Iris Coatings Ltd, and concurrently, LKQ acquired Bee Bee Refinishing Supplies Halstead, JCA Coatings, Milton Keynes Paint & Equipment and Sinemaster Motor Factors Ltd.


The Company distributes a variety of products to collision and mechanical repair shops, including aftermarket collision and mechanical products, recycled collision and mechanical products, refurbished collision replacement products such as wheels, bumper covers and lights, and remanufactured engines. Collectively, it refers to its products as alternative parts. The Company is a provider of alternative vehicle collision replacement products, and a provider of alternative vehicle mechanical replacement products. Its sales, processing, and distribution facilities reach markets in the United States and Canada. In addition to its wholesale operations, it operates self service retail facilities that sell recycled automotiv! e products. The Company also sells recycled heavy-duty truck products and used heavy-duty trucks.


The Company obtains its aftermarket inventory from auto parts manufacturers and distributors based in the United States, Taiwan, Europe and China. The Company procures recycled automotive products mainly by purchasing salvage vehicles, typically severely damaged by collisions and primarily sold at salvage auctions or pools, and then dismantling and inventorying the parts. The refurbished and remanufactured products that it sells, such as wheels, bumper covers, lights and engines, originate from Companyparts from the salvage vehicles bought at auctions, parts received in trade at collision shops purchasing replacement products from the, and damaged parts bought through bulk purchases from core sales companies that collect damaged parts. The majority of our products and services are sold to collision repair shops, also known as body shops, and mechanical repair shops .


WHOLESALE AUTO PRODUCTS-NORTH AMERICA

The Company’s wholesale automobile product operations in North America are organized by geographic regions serving the United States and Canada that sell all four product types to collision and mechanical automobile repair businesses. As of December 31, 2011, these wholesale operations conducted business from more than 290 facilities. its aftermarket product operations may include a combination of sales, warehousing and distribution, and in many cases will be co-located with its refurbishing operations. Its salvage operation typically has processing, sales, distribution and administrative operations on site, indoor and outdoor storage areas, and include a warehouse with multiple bays to dismantle vehicles.


The Company’s 2011, sales included more than 86,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) of aftermarket collision products and repair materials for the models of domestic and foreign automobiles and light trucks. Its aftermarket product types consist of thos! e frequen! tly damaged in collisions, including automotive body panels, bumper covers and lights. The Company distributes paint and other materials used in repairing damaged vehicles, including sandpaper, abrasives, masking products and plastic filler. The paint and other materials distributed by the Company are purchased from numerous suppliers in the United States and Canada. Certain of these products are distributed under the brand Keystone. Platinum Plus is its exclusive brand offered in the Keystone product line of aftermarket products. The aftermarket products it distributes are purchased from independent manufacturers and distributors located primarily in the United States and Taiwan. The Company has business arrangements with manufacturers to produce its Platinum Plus products.


The Company’s recycled products include engines, transmissions, doors, front end assemblies, trunk lids, bumper assemblies, head and tail lamp assemblies and mirrors. Some insurance compan ies mandate that the recycled products must be of the same model year or newer as the vehicle being repaired. The Company procures recycled products for its wholesale operations by acquiring damaged or totaled vehicles. During the year ended December 31, 2011, LKQ acquired approximately 228,000 salvage vehicles for its wholesale recycled product operations. Vehicle processing for its wholesale recycled operations involves dismantling a salvage vehicle into recycled products that are ready for sale.


As of December 31, 2011, it operated 34 plastic bumper and bumper cover refurbishing plants, a chrome bumper plating plant, 15 wheel plants, one light refurbishing plant and four engine remanufacturing facilities. Most of its refurbished and remanufactured products are sold through its wholesale distribution channels. The balance is sold to retail automotive stores, wholesale distributors and through Internet sales. Its wholesale recycled product operations generate s crap metal and other materials that it sells to recyclers. T! he Compan! y has a distribution network of over 290 wholesale plants and warehouses across the United States and Canada, of which 50 function as hub or cross dock facilities.


WHOLESALE AUTO PRODUCTS-EUROPE

The Company’s European wholesale operating segment was formed in 2011 with its acquisition of ECP, the distributor of automotive aftermarket products. The Company operates 90 branches, supported by eight regional hubs and a national distribution center, which allows us to reach major markets within the United Kingdom. In 2011, it sold more than 121,000 SKUs of aftermarket products, primarily composed of mechanical aftermarket parts for the repair of vehicles five to 15 years old. Its products include electrical products, such as spark plugs and ignition coils, clutches and related parts, steering and suspension parts, and brake pads and sensors. The Company sells its products to over 32,000 professional repairers, including primarily independent mechanica l repair shops and collision repair shops.

SELF SERVICE RETAIL PRODUCTS

The Company’s self service retail operations sell parts from older cars and light trucks directly to consumers. In addition to revenue from the sale of parts, core and scrap, it charges admission fee to access the property. Its self service facilities typically consist of a fenced or enclosed area of several acres with vehicles stored outdoors and a retail building through which customers are able to access the yard. As of December 31, 2011, it conducted our self service retail operations from 47 facilities in North America. Its self service auto recycling operations generate scrap metal, alloys and other materials that it sells to recyclers.

HEAVY-DUTY TRUCK PRODUCTS

As of December 31, 2011, it had a total of 18 facilities in the United States and Canada. Its inventory is comprised of used heavy- and medium-duty trucks, usually five years or older, which are purchased at salvage and truck auctions or direct! ly from i! nsurance companies or fleet operators. During 2011, it purchased approximately 6,000 vehicles. Depending on the condition of the vehicles, they may be dismantled for parts or resold as running vehicles. If certain mechanical parts are damaged, such as transmissions, it may remanufacture them and offer them to its customers. The vehicles that are acquired for resale are typically special purpose or vocational use trucks, such as those used for garbage pickup or cement delivery. If requested by the sellers of the vehicles, it provide an assurance that the vehicles will be sold to foreign buyers and exported to countries for use outside of the United States, or to domestic buyers after the vehicles have been reconditioned and modified for use other than their original purpose.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    Our worst performers during the third quarter were Cummins (CMI) (-­14.5%), Schlumberger (SLB) (-­13.8%) and Cognizant Technology (CTSH) (-­8.5%). Our best performers during the quarter were EMC (EMC) (+11.1%), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (+9.2%) and Apple (AAPL) (+8.4%). During the quarter we trimmed positions in Apple as it approached our maximum position weighting of 10%. We added to existing positions in Qualcomm (QCOM), LKQ (LKQ) and Cognizant Technology (CTSH) – all on improved prospective risk-­reward on respective share-price declines. The Great Bull Market of 2009-2014 started on March 9, 2009 when the S&P 500 Index stood at 667. The S&P 500’s relentless bull market advance over the course of the next 2,000 days would reach a record high index level of 2000 in late August. Relentless indeed, according to Bespoke, the S&P 500 Index has been up seven quarters in a row – the best streak since 1998 and the fourth best since 1950.

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    LKQ Corporation (LKQ) is the world’s largest procurer and distributor of alternative and aftermarket collision replacement parts for automobiles and other vehicles. The Company has grown rapidly since its inception in 1998, by executing an expansion strategy that has included aggressive organic and inorganic investments. To date, LKQ’s strategy has resulted in a business with unparalleled scale, at over $5 billion in revenues across three continents, compared with aftermarket and salvage parts competitors that routinely post less then $100 million in sales, usually with the largest footprints limited to regional geographies.