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股神巴菲特在今年給股東的一封20頁長的信中,照例先向股東報告這一年的成績,但也不忘教育「菜鳥」股東,希望他們多了解公司的一切。他還提醒股東,面對千載難逢的投資機會,絕對不要猶豫。

波克夏在2月時新添約6.5萬名新股東,主要是來自去年以267億美元收購的伯靈頓北方聖大菲鐵路公司(BNSF)。這些新股東可能比較不熟悉巴菲特的投資和經營哲學,所以巴老在信中強調,希望所有股東都能了解波克夏的營運、目標、限制和文化。

巴菲特要求所有人、尤其是新股東,能細讀信中揭示的公司原則,「希望為BNSF的新人上一堂『新生訓練』,也幫所有老股東溫故知新。」

整體而言,去年是波克夏豐收的一年。公司持有的普通股淨價值,成長一倍至240億美元。在13檔市場價值超過10億美元的持股中,有八檔遠高於巴菲特當時買進的成本;尤其是可口可樂、美國運通和寶鹼(P&G),帳面獲利更可觀,至少在45億美元以上。

但康菲石油(ConocoPhillips)、卡夫食品(Kraft)和美國銀行集團(US Bancorp)這三檔持股的價值,最多卻銳減逾8億美元。巴老去年大幅縮減康菲石油的持股,卻仍無法止血,該股股價今年又跌5%至48美元附近,遠低於當時他購入的72美元。

在旗下其他公司表現方面,他提到市場關心的NetJets飛機租賃公司表現。該公司全年虧損7.11億美元,但他保證今年可能會轉虧為盈,只要美國經濟不再惡化,或者私人飛機租賃界出現負面發展。

巴老還預言,一年內住宅不動產市場的問題大多應該就會遠離,而過去這動盪的兩年,其實是最佳的投資時機。他覺得最佳的機會點是債券市場,可惜波克夏沒有多買一點。

他在信中寫道:「去年我告訴各位,當時公司和市政債市場存在相當不尋常的狀況,這些證券的價格相較於美國公債顯得出奇地低。我們看出這個情況也進場買了一些,但我應該多買一點。大好機會難得降臨,當天上掉下黃金時,要拿桶子去裝。」

巴菲特也說,在金融風暴最嚴重時期,他投資高盛和奇異(GE)等大企業的策略,就股利而言得到豐厚的回報。

【2010/02/28 經濟日報】

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王品集團董事長戴勝益。

1993年11月16日,第一家王品牛排從台中開始,當時只是一家小小的牛排餐館,但短短一年間,王品從一家變成11家,一個品牌拓展成九個品牌,地區則是由台中、台北擴散至全台灣甚至中國大陸,今年更開始思考往東南亞前進,洽談海外品牌授權,將集團帶向另一個新的里程碑。

今年要再開43家店

 

王品集團今年邁入第17個年頭,但事業拓展的腳步絲毫不停頓,所有的品牌加總,王品集團今年預計要再開出43家店,30家在台灣、13家在大陸,年營業額的目標更立下至少要成長25%,達65億元的目標,王品集團2008年營業額為46.6億元、2009年為52.8億元,年成長了13.4%。

以等比級數向前走

 

65億元這樣龐大的營業額,是一般餐飲業的好幾倍規模,光是西堤去年一年的營業額就達11億元,就已經超過一般餐飲上市公司的營業規模,董事長戴勝益指出,要達到這樣的營業規模,多品牌是關鍵,戴勝益自己形容,王品是以「等比級數」的型態在前進,而非等差級數,因為王品集團共有九個品牌,每多一個品牌就是多一個事業群,而同時每個品牌都在進行擴店的動作,因此版圖就像樹枝狀般的迅速延伸。


讓員工看得到前景

 

王品牛排可以從年營業額250萬元的一家小牛排館,一路成長到2009年營業額65億元的王品集團,這絕非單憑運氣,但從戴勝益的一句話「事業發展不停步」似乎就可以點出王品集團的成功之道,他指出,你要讓一個企業保持動力,你必須讓企業不斷的成長,讓裡頭的每個員工看得到前景,有努力的方向。

戴勝益以自己的觀察指出,許多企業常發展到了一定的規模後,停下腳步,這時會是一個危機,不但不會汰弱留強,反而會出現反淘汰的現象,有志之士會認為企業發展已經達到頂點,沒有機會再往上發展,就會心生離開的念頭,但相反的,安於現狀、無雄心的人卻反而會留下來。

強調差異化的優越性

 

因此在七年前,當他發現光是以王品一個品牌市場已經達到飽和時,開始思考拓展新的品牌,不過,發展新品牌也非易事,需找出市場的需求又不能傷害原有的品牌,對於這點,戴勝益有自己一套心法,他寫下17字箴言「客觀化的定位,差異化的優越性,焦點深耕」,表示在發展新品牌前會先作市場調查,以近期開張的涮涮鍋石二鍋為例,調查發現台灣有5000家小型的涮涮鍋,但卻未出現領導品牌,戴勝益判斷這有市場需求,另外並在食材上則特別強調品質,他特別強調優越性的重要,指出市場常有人要求差異化、區隔性,但缺少了優越性是沒有意義的,且也不要過分差異,導致最後過於冷門,也會失去其市場。

戴勝益也給集團立下一個標準,指出每個品牌至少要有20家店、臺灣地區營業額要有5億元,這樣做連鎖店才有意義,因為每個品牌需有一定的經濟規模才符合成本效益,經由這樣不停歇的腳步,王品集團不斷開枝散葉,今年也開始與國外集團洽談授權事宜,希望可已將王品旗下的品牌拓展至其他國家,戴勝益認為,飲食應當是一種優雅的文化,他希望王品集團可以成為一個永續經營的企業,融入當地生活,成為當地文化的一部分,甚至成為人們記憶中的一部分和人們一同成長。




【2010/02/20 聯合晚報 - 記者張涵婷】

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All over the country on Valentine's Day, men were down on bended knee proposing marriage. They spoke of love and affection and devotion. Few, however, mentioned what really matters: money.

Crass, maybe. But true nonetheless.

When you think about it, couples don't fight over love. They fight over money. They fight because one person didn't balance the checkbook or made a bone-headed investment without consulting the other. They fight because one partner exerts dictatorial control over the money, or because one has secretly amassed thousands of dollars in debt on a credit card, imperiling the couple's finances.

Whether the issues are big or small, money will prove a powerful force impacting your marriage -- sometimes overtly in the form of routine arguments; sometimes quietly as animosities seethe beneath the surface for years, only to explode into a potentially marriage-ending supernova.

What couples don't always grasp is that money is rarely the real culprit. It's the lack of communication, often stemming from a lack of knowledge about each other's personal financial quirks and beliefs.

So, some time between "Yes, I will marry you," and "I do," you and your partner need to have The Money Talk -- the key questions all couples should ask of one another.

Here are four of the more important questions to ask each other, since they provide insight and information on how money will flow through your marriage.

1. What Are Your Assets and Liabilities?

This question is paramount because assets and liabilities are the basic building blocks of the financial life you'll live together. Assets (banks accounts, investments, retirement plans and a house) help you strive for the life you want. The liabilities (a mortgage, credit-card debt, auto loans and leases) will hold you back.

Your goal is to pinpoint where you are financially as a couple so that you can map out where you want to go together. That could mean determining how much you want to save each month for retirement, or how much you want to put into an account for a new house, a new car or an annual vacation.

It also could mean talking about how you each use debt and the amount of debt you each have -- and mapping out a plan to pay off as quickly as possible the combined debt you will have as a family.

The best way to approach this: Present each other with a copy of your net-worth statement, a simple list of all your assets and liabilities. And voice no judgments. Mocking a partner's choices will simply lead to future silence.

2. What Is Your Money History?

What you experienced financially as a child -- how your parents managed their bills, how they talked or yelled about money, what they taught you about saving and spending -- has shaped who you are today.

Problems arise in marriage because partners don't always see money from the same perspective. You might abhor debt for anything other than a mortgage, yet your spouse-to-be thinks nothing of putting lunch, groceries and the afternoon Slurpee on a credit card, and then paying the minimum each month and allowing the balance to roll over.

In talking to one another about how you each see money, you will begin to understand one another's money habits. That, in turn, will help you find a common approach for managing money successfully as a couple.

Neither of you will -- nor should -- get your way completely. Marriage is about compromise. A better understanding early on of how you each see and use money will give you the tools to find a middle ground you're each happy with when financial discord arises.

3. How Should We Divide Financial Duties?

In many marriages, one partner exerts financial dominance over the other, leaving the silenced partner anxious and angry. Other times, one partner shirks financial duties because of disinterest, leaving the other to shoulder the burden. Neither is fair.

Couples should determine how to divvy up the various financial obligations that exist. Maybe one takes charge of investing and the other balances the checkbook. Play to each other's strengths. If you're good at challenging bureaucracy, maybe you agree to handle the insurance companies and the medical bills.

The point is that you both have an obligation to the family's financial well-being, and both spouses need to be aware of the household's financial situation.

If one partner wants to opt out of the daily financial minutiae, that's fine, so long as the other spouse is OK with handling the full obligation. But even then, you need to remain aware of what's going on with the finances so there are no unsavory surprises.

4. Do We Combine Accounts or Operate Individually?

This is a divisive issue. Many financial pros argue that operating from individual accounts helps maintain marital peace. Since neither partner knows what happens in the other's account, there's no bickering.

Maybe. But it's far from perfect. Resentments can emerge if one partner is better at saving and always has money for larger, more meaningful purchases. Moreover, individual accounts mask the family's true financial position, which can hamper the main purpose of marriage: operating as a team.

If neither of you know how much money is really flowing through the individual accounts, nor how much is being saved and invested, then it's impossible to plan a future together.

That doesn't mean individual accounts can't work. They can. But they require a large degree of openness so that you can both work toward common goals.

Ultimately, all of these questions are about one thing: communication. Learn to talk about money early and often, and you can mitigate the financial tensions that are normal in all marriages.

Write to Jeff D. Opdyke at jeff.opdyke@wsj.com

from: Yahoo! Finance

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The kitchen is still king .

LAS VEGAS -- Americans want smaller houses and they are willing to strip some of yesterday's most popular rooms -- such as home theaters -- from them in order to accommodate changing lifestyles, consumer experts told audiences at the International Builders Show here this week.

 

"This is a traumatic time in this country and the future isn't something we're 100% sure about now either. What's left? The answer for most home buyers is authenticity," said Heather McCune, director of marketing for Bassenian Lagoni Architects in Park Ridge, Ill.

Buyers today want cost-effective architecture, plans that focus on spaces and not rooms and homes that are designed 'green' from the outset," she said. The key for home builders is "finding the balance between what buyers want and the price point."

For many buyers, their next house will be smaller than their current one, said Carol Lavender, president of the Lavender Design Group in San Antonio, Texas. Large kitchens that are open to the main family living area, old-fashioned bathrooms with clawfoot tubs and small spaces such as wine grottos are design features that will resonate today, she said.

 

"What we're hearing is 'harvest' as a home theme -- the feeling of Thanksgiving. It's all about family togetherness -- casual living, entertaining and flexible spaces," Lavender said.

Paul Cardis, CEO of AVID Ratings Co., which conducts an annual survey of home-buyer preferences, said there are 10 "must" features in new homes.

1. Large Kitchens, With an Island

"If you're going to spend design dollars, spend them where people want them -- spend them in the kitchen," McCune said. Granite countertops are a must for move-up buyers and buyers of custom homes, but for others "they are on the bubble," Cardis said.

2. Energy-Efficient Appliances, High-Efficiency Insulation and High Window Efficiency

Among the "green" features touted in homes, these are the ones buyers value most, he said. While large windows had been a major draw, energy concerns are giving customers pause on those, he said. The use of recycled or synthetic materials is only borderline desirable.

3. Home Office/Study

People would much rather have this space rather than, say, a formal dining room. "People are feeling like they can dine out again and so the dining room has become tradable," Cardis said. And the home theater may also be headed for the scrap heap, a casualty of the "shift from boom to correction," Cardis said.

4. Main-Floor Master Suite

This is a must feature for empty-nesters and certain other buyers, and appears to be getting more popular in general, he said. That could help explain why demand for upstairs laundries is declining after several years of popularity gains.

5. Outdoor Living Room

The popularity of outdoor spaces continues to grow, even in Canada, Cardis said. And the idea of an outdoor room is even more popular than an outdoor cooking area, meaning people are willing to spend more time outside.

6. Ceiling Fans

7. Master Suite Soaker Tubs

Whirlpools are still desirable for many home buyers, Cardis said, but "they clearly went down a notch," in the latest survey. Oversize showers with seating areas are also moving up in popularity.

8. Stone and Brick Exteriors

Stucco and vinyl don't make the cut.

9. Community Landscaping, With Walking Paths and Playgrounds

Forget about golf courses, swimming pools and clubhouses. Buyers in large planned developments prefer hiking among lush greenery.

10. Two-Car Garages

A given at all levels; three-car garages, in which the third bay is more often then not used for additional storage and not automobiles, is desirable in the move-up and custom categories, Cardis said.

Copyrighted, MarketWatch. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of MarketWatch content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of MarketWatch. MarketWatch shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
by Steve Kerch
Thursday, February 4, 2010

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特力集團執行長童至祥今年初離開IBM之前,為了準備過退休生活,把過去20多年工作攢下來的錢,在距離安坑交流道車程約15分鐘的新店山上,買了一幢200坪的房屋。

 

轉戰到特力集團後,剛好董事長何湯雄欲完成零售事業整合大業,將成立全屋裝修公司「特力爵家」,搶進室內裝潢市場。

 

10月份特力爵家才成立,身為集團執行長的她,連價格都不比,馬上簽約成為特力爵家第一號客人。

 

「一方面當消費者體驗,確保流程沒問題,最重要的是肥水不落外人田嘛!」總是一身優雅套裝和及肩長髮的童至祥笑著說。

 

特力爵家設計總監吳報安猶記,對於房子的設計,童至祥沒有太多意見,只給了他「高寬廣亮」這四個字。

 

這四個字是當初童至祥在兒子飛往美國念高中前,給他的臨行叮嚀,期盼他的格局要高,視野要寬,心胸要廣,做人做事要明亮、正直。

 

高寬廣亮正好也是她對這間房子的第一印象。站在剛做好隔間的工地,童至祥回想,當初一踏進來,就感覺這是間能夠呼吸的房子,置身其中,心很容易沉澱下來,「我希望維持這種感覺。」

 

打造實景以減少錯誤判斷

不久前才和設計師討論完3D設計圖的童至祥,更阿莎力地答應,過年前完工後,如果客人的喜好不是內湖賣場的新古典風格,而是像童至祥般的現代極簡,她也願意出借房子讓客人參觀,「動輒幾百萬的裝潢,如果沒看到實體,真的很難下決定。」

 

童至祥這一番話,也點出一般消費者裝潢住宅時,花大錢卻又求助無門的窘境。

 

在過去,傳統設計公司都用「圖」和客戶溝通,選擇室內建材也都依小塊的磁磚、木條或布塊來挑選,等完工後才發現,跟當初想像的完全不同。但礙於都是自己確認無誤的選擇,只能啞巴吃黃連,對自己的「美感」懊惱不已。

 

最大的風險,還是完工後找不到人。因為小型設計公司或個人工作室,通常會把工程發包給不同的工班,當施工完成,發現問題,如馬桶破裂,再回頭找工班修理時,可能會成為名副其實的裝修孤兒。 今年10月挾著集團奧援之姿搶進住宅裝修市場的特力爵家,就把讓消費者親臨實境當作最大賣點。

 

特力爵家在HOLA內湖店二樓展示中心的1400坪賣場裡,斥資600萬打造了三房兩廳的樣品屋,風格就是時下最流行、典雅中帶著華麗的新古典風格。

 

這樣讓消費者看得到、也摸得到的樣品屋,方便駐店設計師利用體驗與互動,和客人溝通空間與裝潢理念,設計溝通不再是紙上想像,也能夠減少完工後的期待落差。

 

「很湊巧,目前簽約全屋裝修的兩個客人,也要求新古典風格,代表現場眼見為憑的溝通奏效,」特力爵家總經理彭聖忠表示。 整合資源以產生規模經濟 特力爵家創新的服務不只如此。

 

首先,特力爵家的設計價格透明公開,不會像坊間有些宣稱不收設計費,卻偷偷把金額灌到承包總價的事情。

 

特力爵家也擁有自己的設計師。吳報安指出,目前九位設計師的業界經驗都超過六年,也參與過類似信義之星、遠雄大未來等大建案,「不同於過去消費者只能買一個設計師擅長的風格,特力爵家提供不同風格的團隊設計,供消費者任意挑選。」

 

而且,不光只是全屋裝修,特力爵家還統包以往設計師認為沒賺頭的局部住宅裝修。

 

集團的奧援,更是特力爵家無可匹敵的優勢。

設計師們除了能採用集團代理 的西班牙ROCA、德國ESPRIT等頂級廚衛品牌,也運用設計師絕佳的設計能力,自創強調環保與客製化的「爵家廚櫃」品牌,等於擁有自己的家具工廠。

 

有趣的是,量身訂作的家具,售價竟和系統家具業者差不多,甚至有可能更便宜,原因就在於集團議價能力。

 

原先在特力集團內負責賣場營建工程的彭聖忠說,對於原本就與集團有生意往來的工廠,若多接一件訂製家具,成本不會增加太多。

 

硬體完成後,爵家還能包辦所有的布置。因為集團旗下公司的支援,只要消費者提出預算,不管桌布、床單、掛畫等細碎小物,爵家都能搞定。

 

種種創新,都為裝修設計市場投下震撼彈,也難怪不過才開幕半個月,就有將近上百張的預約單上門,「週末的來客量很多,但要快點踢進球門,」童至祥比喻。

 

一位經手許多豪宅客戶的明星設計師就觀察,受爵家影響最深的,莫過於小型設計公司及個人工作室,因為爵家的風格符合大部分人對豪宅的期待,應該能夠成功打響名號,「不過未來爵家如果接案太多,仍得避免產生品質管控的問題。」

 

【本文摘自《遠見雜誌》12月號】

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