STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Sic Transit Bill Gates?
By Staff News & Analysis - January 18, 2013

Bill Gates is leading a group of U.S. investors committing $1 billion for a stake in construction and fertilizer company OCI NV in one of Egypt's largest foreign currency inflows since the 2011 uprising. OCI will absorb all local stock and global depositary receipts of Orascom Construction Industries under a share exchange offer that has attracted more than $2 billion in commitments, said the company, which is relocating from Cairo to Amsterdam. Its shares will be traded in both locations. … Orascom is Egypt's biggest publicly traded company. After exchanging their GDRs for OCI shares, the Sawiris family and Abraaj Group expect to at least maintain their holdings relative to their Orascom stakes, according to a statement today. Orascom Construction Industries, headed by billionaire Nassef Sawiris, has a market value of 55.8 billion Egyptian pounds. – Bloomberg

Dominant Social Theme: Now the smartest man in the world is an investor, too.

Free-Market Analysis: This caught our beady eye because we can never figure what Bill Gates is up to, and he is certainly a man to follow. Or at least, he was. But after announcing he was going to keep his fortune intact until he died, he changed and decided he was going to give much of it away to a friend, Warren Buffet.

Together, they created a US$ 30 billion non-profit that has been providing children overseas with various kinds of vaccines. Now our position on vaccines – following various exposes on the Internet – is that makers ought to be thoroughly investigated to make sure that the medicines do what they are held to be doing and that they do not have destructive "side effects" (which are merely other effects, not "side" ones.)

Bill Gates doesn't seem very interested in investigating vaccines, however, despite good evidence that they DO have injurious effects and cause such syndromes as autism in certain sensitive children. As we've pointed out before, Gates's interest in a variety of projects – including his own fortune – seems to be markedly on the wane.

It all started after the US government sued Microsoft successfully for monopoly practices. Of course, a company cannot maintain a market in a non-socialist country if consumers do not wish for that market to exist in its current manner. In other words, a voluntary monopoly is not really feasible, but as the US is more socialist than not these days (or perhaps fascist), it is perfectly possible that Gates was guilty … of something, anyway.

The verdict was the beginning of the end for Gates. We noticed after that his father – a powerful lawyer – seemed to take over more and more of his affairs. And soon after that, one of his father's acquaintances, Warren Buffet, seemed to become Gates's "BFF."

It was announced that Gates had decided after all that he was going distance himself from his huge fortune and go into the philanthropy business full time. Interestingly, Gates had not seemed to us the philanthropic type. We never heard him mention the word "vaccine" before he met fellow billionaire Buffet.

Just as interestingly, Gates's wife seems as involved in his charitable endeavors as Gates himself. She seems to give lots of speeches on public health, vaccines, etc. Also, we hardly ever hear from Gates anymore, or not in any high-profile way. Used to be a pronouncement from Gates was big news; not anymore.

So we were a bit surprised to find that Gates has become an investment mogul. We are told by Business Insider that In 2012, he wound up $7 billion ahead with a net worth of $63.4 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index published today. That means two things: One, he kept a good deal of his fortune, and two, he's been making a lot of money with his money.

Much of Gates's investing is run through Cascade Investments. According to FranklySpeaking.com, "Cascade is run by Michael Larson, a value investor who reportedly follows Buffett's principles in investing on behalf of Gates (and, indirectly, Buffett himself, since Cascade manages the portfolio of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the beneficiary of Buffett's pledged largesse)."

High profile Cascade investments include Coca Cola and John Deere, investments that are held – no surprise to us – by Buffet, too. And now there is this investment in OCI. Wonder if Buffet is there, as well? Here is more from the article:

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) co-founder Gates' Cascade Investment LLC joins Southeastern Asset Management and Davis Selected Advisers in helping fund expansion in Egyptian infrastructure projects as well as other activities. The Sawiris family and Dubai-based buyout firm Abraaj Group, which together owned 60 percent of Orascom, will take part in the tender.

"The transaction underpins genuine investor appetite to invest in Egypt," said Nassef Sawiris, who was chief executive of Orascom and will be an executive director of OCI. "Unlike local shareholders who monitor events on a daily basis, sophisticated investors see the evolution of democracy having a long-term positive impact on the economy."

The Egyptian economy has struggled to recover from the chaos that followed the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak Mubarak, as foreign direct investments tumbled. The government is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan to help stem the decline in foreign-currency reserves.

Notice Dubai, please, one of the very favorite places of what we call the power elite, a group we figure wants an increasingly globalized world. Dubai is a kind of test tube for Islamic/Western investing and, again, we are not surprised that Gates is involved both with Egypt (which needs stabilizing) and some of Dubai's wealthiest investors.

We've observed before that Gates has provided us with a lesson about how wealth is handled in the 21st century. The elites are not about to leave the owners of large fortunes alone, in our view. Make over a certain amount – billions and billions – and you attract their attention.

The top elites are mercantilist, running governments behind the scene. After Gates was sued his father entered the picture, we believe, to smooth things over. Buffet was brought in, as well.

After Thoughts

Now Gates runs a foundation and an investment company. But one seems to involve his wife and the other Buffet. How much control does Gates really have over his assets or his even his professional existence at this point? His money is obviously "in use." Sic transit gloria mundi.

Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
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